All you need is...internet!
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:
MN HERO SNACK PACK
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.
Fresh & Tasty
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)
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!