FEAST! Local Foods SCOOP: September 2019


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

SEPTEMBER 2019  |  VOL. 2, NO. 3

Welcome to fall—it's the pumpkin spice edition!

Let's make the most of the farmers' markets we have left—have you preserved any of that harvest? If not, never fear: the food businesses of the region are GREAT at using that bounty for their artisan products.

This month we're sharing profiles on West Indies Soul Food and Open Hands Farm, and introducing you to a marketing partner, Hospitality Minnesota. Also, a preview of this year's FEAST! Restaurant Week—coming October 7-13! 

Speak your mind in this month's contest for a chance to win some awesome sauce from West Indies Soul Food!

—FEAST! Local Foods Network team members 


Got Local?

West Indies Soul Food

Immigrant entrepreneur Sharon Richards-Noel of West Indies Soul Food has her heart in the right place, and her cooking really draws people in.

Pictured: West Indies Soul chef and owner Sharon Richards-Noel, at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair.

The food truck came first—now it's been 15 years running at the Minnesota State Fair, and amidst a busy schedule of events they've also brought their Caribbean flavors to Allianz Field this past year (see truck locations on their website calendar).

It's been four years since she began bottling some of the special sauces she uses in her food truck and catering work, and she's steadily increased the number of stores that carry the trio: barbecue, hot pepper, and jerk sauce. Inspired by the flavors of her homeland, Trinidad and Tobago, the sauces are great for dipping, basting, or marinating to awaken "dat real island delight."


Tip: Sample the sauces at FEAST! Dec. 7!


Along the way, she realized that bottling the sauces would allow her to start the nonprofit she's been dreaming of: to help kids and young adults learn life skills to lift themselves up. Ultimately, Sharon wants to purchase a building and offer transitional housing to support young moms. This is the passion and drive that keeps her going, growing the business. 

West Indies Soul Food website

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FEAST! Restaurant Week is October 7-13

It's back for year 3!

We've gathered this list of 14 great restaurants offering farm-to-table specials designed for the week —check out our website to see them as they're announced!

For example, at the Bleu Duck Kitchen you're invited to try their prix-fixe menu featuring ingredients from five different farms! Heading to Cannon Falls? Try the new Falls Landing for pumpkin soup with spiced pepitas, venison sausage goulash, and caramel pecan bread pudding...yum

By visiting these eateries during Restaurant Week, you're practicing food activism. You'll be supporting mission-driven restaurants that are championing small farms—so shout it from the rooftops (or social media, anyway)!

Plus: ordering FEAST! Restaurant Week Specials gets you coupons for the FEAST! festival on Dec. 7... $2 off gen. admission OR $10 off an alcohol-sampling wristband!


Let's summarize: Delicious food, a great cause, and coupons...mark your calendars now and invite your friends!

See the full list of participating restaurants with links & specials!




Fresh & Tasty

Open Hands Farm

A certified organic, 17-acre  vegetable farm, Open Hands is committed to feeding their community the freshest, most nutritious produce possible. Erin and Ben are the farmers, and alongside their team of employees, aim to grow food in the most ecologically and economically sustainable ways possible.

Just 2 miles north of downtown Northfield, MN, off of Highway 3, they grow over 270 varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members and local wholesale accounts, including the Minneapolis Public Schools—where their carrots are famous!


Did you know?

Open Hands Farm has a "Barrett the carrot" puppet that Ben takes with him when he visits classrooms to talk with students about farms & healthy food.

Pictured: Ben Doherty with Barrett at FEAST! 2015

Erin and Ben were also supporters of Minnesota's farm to school legislation, and are featured in a story about the farm to school movement in our FEAST! Local Foods Magazine Vol. 2, out in October (see sneak peek below)!

At the farm to school press conference last February, Ben described the impact of being able to sell to schools for farms like theirs. Find the link to that, and more, on their Facebook page.

Open Hands Farm website

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What does the term "foodie" mean to you?

Wikipedia says: 
foodie is a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and who eats food not only out of hunger but due to their interest or hobby. 

We definitely don't love that definition. Doesn't it also mean appreciating food, being thoughtful and intentional about food choices? 

Share your thoughts & tag a friend to be entered in the drawing!

The Prize: Win the trio of Caribbean sauces from West Indies Soul Food, featured in this months' profile!

Reply here to enter, OR enter by posting your thoughts on our social media using the hashtag #LocalFeastFTW (as in, For The Win!)
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay tuned!


CONGRATULATIONS to our contest winner from August:

Bonnie Feenstra!

Bonnie shared a great photo of her son with a cheesy farm-to-table breakfast sandwich at the Rochester Farmers Market, and won a variety pack of muesli with a soaking jar from Seven Sundays, featured in last month's SCOOP. 
Keep enjoying those outdoor farmers markets—we've got just one month left!


Who's Fueling FEAST!?

Hospitality MINNESOTA

Hospitality Minnesota is the voice of the hospitality industry in the state, representing over 2,600 businesses, $15.3 billion in sales and 18% of the annual sales tax revenue. They are a coalition of the Minnesota Restaurant, Minnesota Lodging, and Minnesota Resort & Campground Associations, which, collectively, involves a lot of foodservice operations!

For the food and beverage businesses that FEAST! works to support and grow, the hospitality industry represents an important audience, looking for unique and special touches to grace their menus.

We've been happy to have their support in helping us spread the word about FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace, and look forward to joining them for their Expo, coming Oct. 1st. For more info, check out the links below...

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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