Local Products

Find it Local Friday: The Valentine’s Edition

Prepare to be bombarded with lovey-dovey, full-on-prince-charming, revoltingly romantic Valentine’s Day info. This is the local food post to get you some local love next Tuesday. Welcome to Find It Local Friday: The Valentine’s Edition.

For starters what says “I love you” more than:

  • I bought my Darlin’ local because it shows I’m smart enough to read a label. It’s best to spend Valentine’s Day with someone who can read.
  • I bought my Snuggle-Buddy local to save the planet. If we save the planet then I can be the big spoon forever.
  • I bought my Sugar local because if we support our local economy, there’ll be more fun date-nights to try later on. I know you love date-night.
  • I bought my Stud Muffin local because it’s fresh and healthier. I want us to be healthy enough for all those extracurriculars I have planned later.
  • I bought my Marshmallow local because it’s what all the cool kids were doing this year. And you deserve the coolest.

I know? Right? I heard this argument last year and was totally convinced. A buy local Valentine’s Day is the only way to your snag your Eye Candy’s heart. Good thing you stopped in for some tips on how to have a Minnesota Locavore V-Day. Here’s how to make said guy or gal swoon next Tuesday:

Buy Local Chocolates

Nothing says “I stopped at the gas station on the way over” than a heart-shaped box of your grandmother’s cardboard-flavored chocolates. Get real people. Minnesota and the Upper-Midwest is home to some fantastic chocolatiers who are pumping out a WAY better product. Show your Valentine that you’re an adult (with a brain) and give a box of creamy, hand-crafted truffles. Or wrap three handcrafted chocolate bars with a fancy ribbon and a love note. Snag some heart-shaped ganache. And ladies, get this: Men like chocolate too. They’re human after all and we humans love chocolate. Many gourmet chocolate shops now offer more diverse flavors for your Dream Boat (think artisan bacon, salty caramel, bourbon toffee). My Favorite:  B.T. McElrath Prairie Dog Bar, Minneapolis, MN

Reserve a locally sourced meal 

Many chefs prepare special menus for Valentine’s Day, and because it’s one of the big dining events of the year some seek out specialty ingredients to attract customers. Fresh and local are both big trends right now. It’s worth calling around to some of your small-town places and asking “Hey, have anything local on the menu for Tuesday?”  You might be surprised what you can reserve for your Love Muffin. If you’re in the Twin Cities on Tuesday there are a few spots left in Chowgirls Killer Catering Locavore Love Affair. It’s their 2nd annual 5 course local meal featuring fresh greens, meats and cheeses from area producers. Top it off with a glass of local wine or a bottle of local brew. Elton John signing Can you feel the love tonight? is starting to play in my head. Your Main Squeeze will hear it too.  Check out special local food events and menus at Birchwood Cafe and Heartland Restaurant  as well.

Buy Local Flowers

I have my environmental qualms about cut flowers, but every year on Valentine’s Day I seem to make an exception (kitchen partner…if you’re reading this I’m soundly dropping a hint). It’s hard to stomach the carbon footprint of flowers being grown overseas, shipped first by plane and then by refrigerated trucks all the way to the Upper Midwest. About 60% of the U.S. cut flower industry is supplied by imports; Columbia alone will send 500 million stems to the U.S. by plane in the coming days.  It’s especially hard to stomach when there’s a local option. You heard me. This Valentine’s Day all around the Upper Midwest you can buy fresh-cut flowers from Len Busch Roses, grown right here in Plymouth, MN. More than 1,000 florists carry their roses, tulips and specialty stems. You can also find them ready-to-purchase at Twin Cities Kowalski’s (pictured).

You already know how expensive flowers are this time of year. Why would you want to spend all that money on blooms a week or more old when you could have freshly cut?  Trust me. Buy the flowers and then whip out this line: “Pookie, did you know these were grown in Minnesota? I wanted you to have the ones that would last the longest. Just like our love.” (Cue Hallmark Channel music).

Okay. So maybe not the last part. But you get the idea.

Make a Local Meal

Finally, if candlelight and light jazz over a home-cooked meal is what will make your Buttercup smile, there’s plenty of deals on local steaks, lamb chops, fresh fish and cheeses available for the holiday. Check out your co-op this weekend for semi-prepped or pre-prepped meal ideas. Extend your Valentine’s Day into this weekend and take your Lovie to a local farm or farmers’ market for the ingredients. Or my personal fave, bust out that fondue pot from your wedding registry and dip some crusty local bread in smoked gouda. Nothing makes me melt more than melted cheese. Finish up desert with these:

There you have it.

How to have a Minnesota Locavore Valentine’s Day. And a post with an obscene number of affectionate but cute pet names.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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