Century Sun Oil

When you’re around entrepreneurs for any time at all, you immediately notice how impressively hard they work. Among entrepreneurs, food businesses have additional worries with food safety and manufacturing regulations, not to mention the key factor that has really taken the spotlight in today’s food culture: supply chain. “Where does your food come from?” is an oft-repeated question, and that’s at the center of Century Sun Oil’s message.

Century Sun Oil is made from local, organic sunflower seed and there are many reasons that co-founders Pam and Dale Johnson call their sunflower oil “Your Midwest alternative to olive oil”.


Dale and Pam started Century Sun in 2009, and run the business from the 130-year old Johnson family farm in rural Pulaski, Wisconsin. Besides the farmers who grow for them, they employ two-to-three part time contract workers. They have re-purposed their processing facility from a former dairy barn, even repurposing the  stainless steel dairy equipment that is now exclusively used for their sunflower oil. Their oil is cold-pressed, which means no chemical extraction such as with cheap canola, corn, and soybean oils. It also means the extruder press never exceeds temperatures of 110 degrees, therefore maintaining the nutrients in the raw oil. Dale oversees the processing, while Pam focuses on marketing.


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Country View Dairy

In just five years, the Dave and Carolee Rapson family has gone from creating their first commercial batch of yogurt having their product served at the Chicago Google Headquarters and throughout O'Hare Airport.

“Sales are up 40 percent [this] year to date. We are now in more than 100 stores in six states, 20 public schools, 11 colleges, four health care institutions and several restaurants,” says Bob Howard, director of marketing and sales.  “Also, our distributor in Chicago has helped us break into new markets in Chicago from cafe chains downtown, to Google Headquarters, to parfaits in the book stores throughout O'Hare Airport.”

Country View Dairy been crafting quality yogurt in their on-farm processing plant for five years and they are looking forward to sharing their products at Feast! again this year.

Country View Dairy, located between West Union and Hawkeye, Iowa has been growing. After three years in business, Country View was using about 7,000 pounds of milk for processing yogurt four days a week. This year they are averaging about 15,000 pounds of yogurt production per week with a staff of ten (half of those are family).


During the past year they added a second pasteurizer, enabling them to make two batches of yogurt at once, and they are in the process of adding a second filler machine which will increase production. This past spring they completed an addition onto the plant including a much larger walk-in cooler to accommodate pallets, a larger incubation room, a loading dock, storage space and new office.

The Rapsons have not only been increasing the quantity of their production, their quality remains high as well. “Over the last year we have won the Iowa Venture Award, second place ribbon in the American Cheese Society competition in the flavored, cultured milk category (they won with theirAronia Blackberry Greek yogurt, the only Aronia yogurt in the United States) held in Des Moines this year, and we also swept all the ribbons in the yogurt category at the Iowa State Fair,” said Howard.

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Mama Stoen's: Gluten Free Products Everyone Will Love

Mama Stoen’s started when Christine Stoen was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in August of 2009. Celiac Disease causes damage to the lining of the small intestinal wall and prevents proper absorption of important nutrients the body needs. This diagnosis forced Christine to change to a gluten-free diet. Later that month, the Stoen’s youngest daughter, Gracie, was also diagnosed with Celiac Disease. After six years of trying different recipes, she finally created gluten-free recipes that she and her family love. Now the recipes have become a line of gluten-free products that taste every bit as good as gluten-containing foods but without the gluten, corn and nuts.


Mama Stoen’s offers a variety of baking mixes including angel food cake, chocolate cake, cornbread, brownie,  banana bread, cookie, bread, carrot cake, pizza crust, and pancake or waffle mix that do not make you sacrifice the taste and textures.

“Our family really likes the pizza crust mix because it tastes like a regular pizza,” shared Christine. “You can’t even tell that it is gluten-free!”


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Fizzeology Taps Ancient Wisdom to Offer Healthy Probiotics

Did you know that fermentation is one of the hottest food trends?Faith Anacker

Fermentation is just as much art as science, and for Faith Anacker, it’s the perfect blend to allow her creativity to intersect with the fruitful harvests of Wisconsin’s driftless region.

Fizzeology Foods is the craft fermentation business that she operates out of Viroqua’s Food Enterprise Center, but Anacker (aka “Dr. Fizz”) is frequently out and about. Her passion for fermented foods leads her all over our region as she looks for opportunities to educate consumers on the techniques and benefits of fermentation. Anacker has offered a series of classes with UW-Richland Center Extension that she hopes to reestablish, and most recently she appeared at Fermentation Fest in Reedsburg, Wisconsin.  

Anacker advises folks to “Go Fermental!” She reminds us that fermented foods are found in all cultures around the world and are a true representation of ancient wisdom. If you need a good Fermentation 101, Anacker can tell that story faster than you can track down the dozens of books on the subject. 

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Dairy Done Right

In 2011, two families from Allamakee County in Northeast Iowa decided the time was right to enter the local food market with dairy products made with milk from their own farms.

Five years later, WW Homestead Dairy is a growing brand in Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, and Southwest Wisconsin.  


WW Homestead Dairy is owned by Tom Weighner, Paul Weighner, and Tom Walleser. Between the three of them they have over 90 years of experience in the dairy industry. “We work hard to produce dairy products that are natural, have great flavor and taste, and are as fresh as possible,” say the WW Homestead Dairy owners.

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O'Brien's Own Granola

“It’s amazing how far we have come by keeping things simple. We use only the finest ingredients with no preservatives and trade shows like FEAST and local farmer’s markets have been a huge blessing and a catalyst for our growth,” say Rick and Belinda O’Brien of O’Brien’s Own Gourmet Granola.

In October of 2010, the O’Briens perfected a  recipe for their own granola, and soon realized they had a spectacular product.

After a few months, they started producing granola for friends, family and co-workers in their home kitchen, and things quickly grew from there.


“Every day is an adventure and you never know exactly what to expect. That's why it's nice to have a convenient snack available,” the O’Briens say.

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Yellow River Dairy

The folks at Yellow River Dairy in Northeast Iowa are gearing up for Feast!Local Foods Marketplace and will be offering new products to try this year!


In addition to the chevres and other goat cheeses they have offered to Feast!-goers in the past, Yellow River Dairy recently started making feta in plain and basil flavors. Pat Lund, co-owner and co-cheesemaker said they purchased a new cheese vat and an additional cheese press this past summer for their on-farm creamery. This allowed them to diversify their retail product line.

Chevre is a soft cheese packaged in a tub, whereas feta is a block cheese with a longer shelf life. It is drier and saltier.

Yellow River Dairy is proud to announce that their "Sterling Reserve" chevre variety earned a red ribbon in its category at the 2016 American Cheese Society Contest.

To learn more about Yellow River Dairy and their delicious cheeses go to http://iloveinspired.com/people/yellow-river-dairy-feast/ or visit their website at http://yellowriverdairy.net/.

This is the third year Yellow River Dairy has attended Feast! and event organizers are glad to see them back again!  Visit their booth at the third annual Feast!Local Foods Marketplace festival, Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota.


Extra-ordinary Pies

Pies are pies, right? Not according to Sara Hayden!  Using a little liquor and her mother’s pie crust recipe, Sara’s Tipsy Pies are far from ordinary. Whisky, wine and beer are common ingredients in all of your favorite pies crafted by Sara; however, it is not just the local alcohol that makes these pies unique.


In March of 2014, Sara began the “Pie with a Purpose” campaign to raise funds for the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota. Partnering with a local brewery, Sara donates the proceeds from her two “give-back pies”, salted caramel apple and maple bacon apple, that are both made with beer from Minneapolis-based Finnegans. The campaign has already been able to donate $2,575 to the association—it’s close to Sara’s heart because her daughter Madi is living with Down Syndrome.   

“Everyone said it would be hard, and no doubt, there are extra worries and concerns with raising a child with special needs. But more than anything, having a child with Down Syndrome has been a joy, because having children is a joy,” shared Sara. “Madi’s diagnosis provided me with new perspectives, ways to love, and a deeper appreciation for the little things.”


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The True Story of True Dough

What do a corporate HR runaway and a full-time high school teacher have in common? They both love pizza night! Sisters Elizabeth Aarness and Rebecca Biederman have turned their love of pizza into a business, selling specialty “healthy” pizza doughs using local, organic food sources.


It all started when the sisters wanted to begin a family tradition of pizza night once a week with their children. However, the high cost of quality pizza or pizza layered in grease did not sound appealing. So the sisters worked together to create their own healthy pizzas at home.

Elizabeth and Rebecca began experimenting with healthy, creative options for the pizza dough. As the sisters started to perfect the pizza doughs, they began to give out their dough as gifts. People enjoyed the dough so much they started placing orders for more.


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FEAST Local Foods Network Wins Food Stewardship Award



Bill Swanson, Lanesboro; Jane Olive, UMN SE Regional Sustainable Development Partnership; Devon Ballinger, Renewing the Countryside (RTC); Brett Olson, RTC; Jan Joannides, RTC; Tim Penny, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF); Eli Goodwell, RTC; Pam Bishop, SMIF; Neal Cuthbert, The McKnight Foundation

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., June 20, 2016 - The FEAST Local Foods Network and its partners won the Environmental Initiative Award in the Food Stewardship category on Thursday, May 26. This program, hosted by the nonprofit Environmental Initiative, annually honors projects that have achieved extraordinary outcomes by harnessing the power of partnership.

The FEAST Local Foods Network is a collaborative network across Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin of local foods advocates. The FEAST Network organizes the annual Feast! Local Foods Marketplace. Partners accepting the award included Renewing the Countryside, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), University of Minnesota Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, The McKnight Foundation, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Mayo Clinic and People's Food Co-op. The network was created to support local food producers and foodmakers by boosting access to financing, resources, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities...

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