FEAST! Local Foods SCOOP: December 2018


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Got Local? | Eateries | Fresh & Tasty | Contest Fun! | Who's Fueling FEAST!?


It's the December issue of The Scoop!
We're pleased to offer a special edition that wraps up the annual FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace, and also to wish you good connections to your foodmakers and growers in the new year.
—FEAST! Local Foods Network team members 


Got Local?

People's Choice Award 2018: The Bee Shed

With nearly 200 votes for 52 of the vendor booths at FEAST! 2018, it was a decisive win for 4-time vendor The Bee Shed! 

Was it their whipped, flavored honeys that won them this favor, or was it their status as a Specific Benefit Corporation? Perhaps a combination, along with their unique wit—did you see the sign casually referring to the risk involved in beekeeping? (see caption)

Either way, we think they're true leaders in the community and would like to congratulate them, and thank you for making an excellent People's Choice!

More from The Bee Shed

The Bee Shed with award

John Shonyo (left) and Chris Schad with their engraved "People's Choice 2018" award.

The small sign over John's right shoulder hints at the everyday risk of the trade:
"If you see me running then things have gone poorly and you should run too."

-John S
The Beekeeper

A Tribute

to Local Foods Leader Nicci SylvesterNicci at State Fair 2018

We are still stunned at the sudden and tragic loss of Nicci Sylvester, who passed away on November 30, 2018. She has been one of the driving forces behind the FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace and Restaurant Week. 

Nicci's work is a constant reminder of why we do what we do — a true realization of a healthier, more sustainable, and vibrant local food system. To eat Nicci's food is to know someone cared deeply for you and respected all those who had a hand in growing and making it. We miss her energy and passion, her joy and bright smile and, of course, her delicious pierogies.

You can support Nicci's family at her Go Fund Me page, which is getting close to the goal amount. Community support has been strong, from the Benefit at the Bleu Duck on Dec. 10, to the 5K TerraLoco held in her honor.



In addition, TONIC - Local Kitchen and Juice Bar is still open, so you can support Nicci's leadership in that way as well!

We are grateful for her friendship and collaboration! Nicci holds our deepest respect and admiration—she will always inspire us.

Fresh & Tasty

Squash Blossom Farm

From a mile away, you can see the Squash Blossom Farm barn, perched on the crest of the hill. Although the barn is still used for many of the expected farm activities – storing tools and hay —it also houses a beautiful commercial kitchen with a large wood-fired oven, where farm owners Roger Nelson and Susan Waughtal bake wood-fired sourdough bread and pastries, sold at the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market and People’s Food Co-op.

“We are focused on our passions —Local Food, Local Art, Local Music,” explains Roger. In the summertime, the farm is open every Sunday for wood-fired pizza and live music.  Festivals featuring artisans and musicians are held throughout the year, including the annual Cow Puja & Farm Fair, a fall celebration of music and artisans that honors cows with a Hindu ceremony.

Squash Blossom Farm is the home of 2 cows, a donkey, a turkey, a few ducks, about 60 assorted chickens, and an aquaponic growing system, with catfish, koi and bluegills.  The large garden provides vegetables for a small CSA program.  Farm eggs, herbs, berries and veggies are used in the pizzas and baking. Most of the sourdough breads are made from locally-grown organic heritage grains, milled by Nelson.  

Weddings, classes, dinners, theatrical and musical events are frequently held in the farm’s greenhouse. Follow them on Facebook to stay in touch!


Squash Blossom Farm’s Squash Soup

1 winter squash (butternut or buttercup are great)
1-2 sweet potatoes
2-3 carrots, sliced or chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
~ 2 c Vegetable or Chicken Stock (more or less depending upon the size of your squash and how thick you like your soup)
~1 c Apple cider
Juice from 1 orange
1 apple, peeled, seeded and quartered
12-oz can Coconut milk (for vegan version) or 1 cup cream
Cayenne pepper, cilantro and slivered almonds for garnish

Roast the whole squash and sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven until done; Peel, remove seeds.

Sauté the carrots, onion, garlic, and ginger in a bit of  olive oil in a large soup pot until tender.

Add ~1 c vegetable or chicken broth 

Add cooked squash and sweet potatoes, remaining broth, apple cider, orange juice and apple to the pot—enough liquid to cover the vegetables.  Simmer on low for at least 45 minutes.

Blend to smooth consistency with immersion blender

Stir in coconut milk or cream½ to 1 tsp Cayenne pepper to taste

Add seasonings and garnish each serving  with a sprig of cilantro and a tablespoon of toasted slivered almonds

Makes  6-8 servings


Memories at FEAST! 2018
What's your best memory from the 5th Annual FEAST!? 
(Don't say "the snow!")

We were happy to have some of the exhibitors gracing the cooking demo area, and even happier to snap this action shot of some fans enjoying a smoothie from My Sweet Greens MN. 

Beth Nordaune (right) says, "What a perfect way to spend time with our daughters and get some amazing, local, and unique holiday gifts!  We enjoyed trying new things and found some new favorites."


Who's Fueling FEAST!?

Minnesota Grape Growers Association

FEAST! has been happy to host Minnesota farm wineries from the very beginning, but this year's event marked the first time those wineries were able to sell bottles of wine to festival-goers. That arrangement was thanks to our partnership with the Grape Growers Association, and we think it created a fun area of activity for those who purchased the wine-sampling wristband tickets.
We were proud to have 15 wineries and cideries and four breweries as part of the festival this year, and were surprised to have 350 attendees take advantage of the sampling wristband opportunity at FEAST. In addition, if you enjoyed the wine offerings, you might have also heard about the Sampling Passports that MGGA sells, opening up a world of wineries across the countryside. It's a fun way of supporting local!

The FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace is a production of the FEAST! Local Foods Network, which is always open to new members. Founded by Renewing the Countryside (RTC) and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), both the Network and the Marketplace depend on collaboration with partner organizations and individuals.  
The Network supports local food growers and makers by boosting access to financing, peer networking, and sales opportunities. We welcome you to share this newsletter with the buttons below.

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