Joys and Challenges of Localizing your Pantry

After four years of sharing stories, the staff at LOCAL FEAST! Magazine wanted to include some content from you, our readers. So, we created a contest to learn a little more about the joys and challenges consumers experience in adding more local foods to the routines of daily life. 

Many thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about the Localize Your Pantry contest and entered the contest by answering our question: 

In 100 words or less, tell us:

What does buying, cooking and eating local foods mean to you? 

Describe the challenges you face incorporating them into your kitchen and lifestyle.

Our Grand Prize winner was Meeghan P. of Minneapolis, whose winning entry highlighted her appreciation for the way local food nourishes the mind and body, connects her to the past, present and future, and supports farmers and co-ops “who are contributing to a sustainable, healthy, and beautiful world.”

Here are some of the other thoughts you shared:

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FEAST! Tradeshow Honors Exemplary Local Food Businesses

Cannon Falls, MN – The FEAST! Local Foods Network held its first-ever standalone tradeshow earlier this month to introduce wholesale buyers to the many unique food businesses in the tri-state region of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. 

The FEAST! event included recognition of exhibitor businesses for exemplary practices in two categories: supporting regional farms by using locally-grown ingredients in their products, and giving back to their communities in charitable and inspirational ways. 

Ameeta Jaiswal-Dale of Panache talks with fellow exhibitor John Shonyo of The Bee Shed at the FEAST! Local Foods Tradeshow, March 17, 2022 in Cannon Falls, MN.

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Spring FEAST! Tradeshow to Focus on Strengthening Food Businesses

The FEAST! Local Foods Network will hold its first-ever standalone Local Foods Tradeshow for wholesale buyers and manufacturers on Thursday, March 17, at The Grand O2 Event Center, Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Buyers and foodmakers from Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota are encouraged to attend.

The Tradeshow focuses on strategies for growing a regional food business such as building relationships with buyers, entrepreneur peer networking, financing and marketing. The FEAST! Network believes it’s vital to support these businesses because they enhance their communities positively—creating jobs, markets for regional farms, unique food products, and business models that give back to the community. “When we support our local shops, local food growers and local food makers, we are helping our neighbors succeed,” says Katie Ruff, owner of By the Spoonful, a small grocery in McGregor, Iowa that champions local foods.

The day’s schedule includes a wholesale expo, networking lunch, and Makers’ Forum comprised of panel discussions and an optional driving tour of Cannon Falls area businesses.

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Choose your own adventure with Fall FEAST! events

Rochester, MN – Buying unique local foods is a great way to amplify the holidays, and the FEAST! Local Food Marketplace makes it easy. 

Starting now, you can browse the FEAST! Online Marketplace and order online anytime until midnight Dec. 9 for curbside pick-up at the Mayo Civic Center on Sat., Dec. 11. In addition, you’re invited to come in person for the eighth annual FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace festival, Dec. 11 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. Find links to shop and buy festival tickets on the website at

“This is much more than a farmers’ market—it’s like a farmers’ market on steroids,” says event co-host Tim Penny, President and CEO of Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. “The FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace offers dozens of items ranging from Caribbean and Southeast Asian sauces to regeneratively raised meats, and vendors ranging from beekeeping chocolatiers to artisan cheesemakers.”  

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Blue Fruit Farm Goodness

by Kathryn Orme


Joyce Ford and Jim Riddle began Blue Fruit Farm in 2008. This organic farm in Winona, Minnesota grows a variety of nutrient-packed berries, including aronia berries, black currants, blueberries, honeyberries, and elderberries. They also grow and sell cherry plums and plums. Additionally, they sell jams and juices made from their antioxidant-rich fruits. These fruits are even more nutritious because the perennial shrubs are tended with the utmost care for soil health. 

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Do you Luvafoodie?

by Kathryn Orme


Luvafoodie began as a dating website for single foodies in 2014. From there, it evolved into a brand dedicated to clean eating options for sweet treats in 2015. Starting off with caramels and chocolates, the ambitious owner, Michelle, has continued to grow her product line, most recently adding iced tea and all natural spice blends for humans and dogs. Michelle points out that many of the big companies selling spices add so many unnecessary ingredients, and it appears they don’t care about their customers’ health. Her spice line includes blends with no salt, because she knows that excessive salt can be a problem for some people. She emphasizes that she would never make or serve products that she wouldn’t consume herself. 

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Panache Infused Juices

by Ellen van Roekel


Panache is a women-owned business based in Minnesota’s Twin Cities specializing in artisan, infused apple juices and hard ciders, using Ayurvedic recipes. With these health-conscious drinks, founder and CEO Ameeta Jaiswal aims to amplify the benefits of heirloom apples and support the market for regional orchards’ sustainable farming practices, as opposed to mass production of “table apples.” 

With Panache, Ameeta is committed to maximizing nutritional benefits and creating 100% apple juice with no preservatives, added sugars, or chemical colors. Their apples are sourced from the region around La Crescent, MN and all of its surrounding ridges and valleys formed by the river beds of the Mississippi, St. Croix, Iowa and Kickapoo rivers. The infusions of ginger, mint, turmeric, and elderberry and their creative names tie back to Ameeta’s culture of origin in South Asia, focusing heavily on ayurveda—the food science that is part of the yoga philosophy and lifestyle.

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CannonBelles are Resonating

By Lilah Doster



Deeann Lufkin and Jackie Ohmann first decided to attempt making cheese in the fall of 2012. You might say it was a whim. Jackie had married a dairy farmer, so she had a constant supply of delicious milk. Logical, right?

The first time Deeann and Jackie made cheese together they thought it was fantastic, but soon decided to put some serious time into improving it. They kept at it—trying different ingredients to make the perfect cheese. When they created a cheese that looked, felt, smelled and tasted amazing, they knew they were hooked. 


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Deep Rooted Sno Pac

By Lilah Doster



Peter Gengler and his family have worked hard to grow the best organic and processed frozen fruits and vegetables for the past 70 years. Their business, Sno Pac Foods, was established in 1943 by J.P. Gengler with the mission to create good quality food and share it with the community. Sno Pac Foods is a very family-oriented business based in Caledonia, Minnesota, that has been a part of the Gengler family for more than four generations.

This company finds interesting ways to stay connected to their past, such as the name of their company. Peter Gengler’s great-grandfather was a lumberjack back in the 1940’s after serving in WWII and he built his own man-made ice pond. He created his own shaved ice to preserve turkey meat, which is where the name Sno Pac Foods originated.

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FEAST! Festival returns Saturday, December 11

Rochester, MN – Food and beverage businesses from Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota are invited to register for the eighth annual FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace, to be held on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. Fans of the event should save the date to join us for the in-person festival at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, and participate in the Online Marketplace, where customers can preview products and order online for curbside pick-up. Regional food makers can learn more and register online at

With both the in-person event and the online shopping experience you can savor the taste of the Midwest and learn why local is best. Buying regional food helps to build and support our local food system, from the families growing and creating the food all the way to your kitchen table. While a hybrid event is currently planned, hosts are actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will switch to an online-only event if necessary. 

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