FEAST! Local Foods SCOOP: April 2020


The Scoop - masthead


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

APRIL 2020  |  VOL. 2, NO. 10

Down, but not out.

We're over 5 weeks into the #StayHome initiatives, and the curve has definitely been flattened. In the meantime, the food industry is taking a hit on all levels. 
We've checked in with many in our Network to give you some updates, which include some highs and some lows. Read on for a fun contest to give you the ultimate mood boost. Let's all celebrate the farmers, food makers, and farm to table restaurants we know and love.

—FEAST! Local Foods Network newsletter team 


Got Local?

All you need is...internet!

Suddenly, buying groceries online is a completely logical thing to do, right? So it's a great time to check out some of your favorite local food makers—many of them not only sell online, but also deliver direct to you.

Have you run out of some of the great products you found at FEAST! last year? Try this MAP of FEAST! 2019 vendors, with links to their web pages.

:: The Good Acre is offering Maker Medley Gift Boxes - order online and pick up at their Falcon Heights location.

:: You Betcha! Box is offering healthy grab-n-go snacks from small local businesses for Covid-19 frontline healthcare workers—you can send a team a box, or contribute what you can to the Feed the Frontlines effort.

Pictured:  The MN Hero Snack Pack was featured on The Today Show early this month.

Conceived by Robyn Frank of Thumbs Cookies, each donation of $25 will provide grab-and-go snacks for 8-10 medical workers. The snacks come from 15 Minnesota food businesses, including Kakookies, Gustola Granola, You Betcha Kimchi, Chocolate San Jose Minneapolis, North Mallow and Mademoiselle Miel (all who have attended FEAST!), among others.

Learn more and donate:



Checking in, checking out

Here's how some of our restaurant partners around Rochester are rising to the challenge of COVID: 

Bleu Duck Kitchen is offering oven-ready "Social Distancing Dinners," weekly pop-up concepts and Craft Cocktail Kits to pick up curbside. They're open Tues-Sat, 4-7pm, and will be offering delivery soon! Find menus here.

Forager Brewery is keeping staff busy with takeout for curbside and delivery, and has launched a meal kit program! The #StayHome Forager Food Plan offers 6 prepped meals for two, ready to be cooked—plus the option to add a curated beer pairing! Details + ordering here. 

Fiddlehead Coffee Co. has closed their kitchen for now, but are offering whole bean coffee, fresh roasted weekly, for delivery—free within 20 miles of Rochester. With their "COVID Crushers" program, customers can buy a bag of to be delivered to a frontline healthcare workers, and Fiddlehead will match that with an additional bag! Order here

To close on a sober note, we're sad to share that our friends at TONIC Local Kitchen & Juice Bar have made the difficult decision to close their doors permanently. As Tim Wiste said in his Facebook announcement, "These unexpected circumstances have unfortunately set us back. And, reopening is not an option. Again, a big heartfelt THANK YOU to all of YOU who have made Tonic what it is."

We at FEAST! want to extend OUR thanks to Tim and everyone at TONIC for their constant dedication to local, healthy foods. After losing Nicci in 2018, Tim worked hard to continue without his business partner. They had updated the layout of the tiny gem of a cafe last year, and he and Adrian demoed Nicci's delicious Quinoa Tabouli at FEAST! 2019.

Head over to Tonic's Facebook to let them know how much they'll be missed. 


Fresh & Tasty

Serio Farms

Have you been lucky enough to enjoy the local, year-round tomatoes from Serio Farms?

You may have seen Andrew at FEAST! 2019 in the Farmers' Market area (pictured here with @RochFarmMkt dynamos Jess Joyce and Mike Schmitt—photo by Ashley Aukes/Beruck Studios)...or you may have eaten his hydroponically-grown lettuce, tomatoes and basil at one of the six Rochester restaurants that Andrew *used* to sell to.

Since the social distancing switch, those sales have dwindled to just one restaurant—Forager, so it's great that the People's Food Co-op in Rochester has started selling his produce, telling him, "Bring them in, I'll take 'em!" PFC's first order was gone in a few days, so their second order was double the amount.

Andrew also sells online for drive-thru pickup and at the winter farmers market, saying, "Drive thru has been easy. I really like this online thing!

While drive-thru sales have been great,  Andrew estimates sales at the indoor farmers markets since the shut-down order have been about 1/3 of normal. Farmers Markets are essential, and are following distancing guidance carefully, including the use of masks, gloves, hand-washing stations, and other strategies that limit person-to-person contact.

It's a decent alternative until we can get back to the normal scene we know and love. As Jess Joyce said during a recent webinar describing their drive thru and in person markets, "Many people view farmers markets as a social event, and we have had to cast away that identity for now. First and foremost, we are a source for healthy, local food." 

And thank goodness for that!

Online sales link (re-opens this Sun, 4/26)

KAAL TV news story on Serio Farms


Who's Fueling FEAST!?

Channel One Regional Food Bank

If you enjoyed the FEAST! 2019 vegetable alfombra, you might be aware that Channel One helped by distributing the produce to those who could use it—as they do so well. Now, with record unemployment, they're stepping up to serve more clients. Luckily, there are new donations coming in, such as the effort spearheaded by Joe Powers. The Canadian Honker owner rallied local restaurants to collect their produce and get it to Channel One when the restaurants were first shuttered. 

Hy-Vee and Sol Group have been rising to the occasion, recently donating 2,000 jumbo watermelons. Fat Noodle is offering baked pasta and focaccia-style pizza on Fridays and Saturdays, and proceeds during the month of April will go to charities including Channel One. Monetary donations are especially helpful because they can access bulk purchasing deals. For example, they can provide 40 meals with every $10 they receive in donations. They received funds from 320 new donors in the first two weeks of the shut-down. [More about Channel One's COVID-19 response efforts from Board member Sharon Rosen.]

That's a lot of work for the dedicated staff at Channel One—who are basically another type of frontline workers. We at FEAST are joining with them in mourning the passing of Vince McCoy on April 12th. Vince devoted 30 years to the Channel One mission and was an enthusiastic supporter of the FEAST mission as well - serving as our first liaison to the food bank. It was just two years ago that Vince celebrated his retirement with colleagues, pictured below. We were honored to have known him. 

Visit the Channel One Regional Food Bank website to donate or volunteer.

What is your favorite silver lining of the Social Distancing we're all enduring?

Reply with your answer— (to elena [at] local-feast.org)
We'll enter you into a drawing for a $25 gift card to use at an area farm-to-table restaurant (either for takeout now, or dine-in when possible).

We'll leave you with this timelapse video from last December and hope that you are finding joy in the colors of spring and in creative endeavors. We are flattening the curve and we WILL prevail!
Thanks for reading!

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. Have a subject we should cover? Hit 'reply' and let us know!
The FEAST! Local Foods Magazine Vol.1 & 2 are available online here.
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