FEAST! Local Foods SCOOP: February 2021


The Scoop - masthead

Got Local? | Know Your Farmer | Contest Fun! | Who's Fueling FEAST!?

FEBRUARY 2021  |  VOL. 3, NO. 8

Is it spring yet?

Does the recent warm weather have you thinking about your garden? At the least, it's much easier to spend time outdoors, and we hope you're enjoying it! 

Below you can read what's new with FEAST! vendors Infuzn Foods and O'Neill Family Farms, plus learn about a brand new conference for foodmakers. And, it's last call for the Online Marketplace feedback survey for a chance to win a gift bag full of local foods goodies!

—FEAST! Local Foods Network newsletter team 


Got Local?

Try Infuzn Foods

Three-time FEAST! vendor Infuzn Foods has adapted to the pandemic this year with weekly delivery of Infuzn2go Hot Meals and Infuzn2go Heat N' Eat meals. The menu includes vegan and gluten-free options among the 100+ items offered on a rotating basis. “We are grateful to all our patrons that have kept our business and spirit alive,” says Chandu Valluri, one of Infuzn’s three owners. It was difficult to gauge demand at the farmers’ markets this year—they’re typically present at Rochester, Winona, and Linden Hills—but that led them to develop the Heat N' Eat line, which features a specialty soup/chili, a good-for-you grain like quinoa or buckwheat, a potato-based entree, a rice and curry item, and their Super Entreé featuring Indian cheese, tofu, vegan pulled pork or cauliflower. 

You can find their packaged paneer at People’s Food Co-op and Bluff Country Co-op, and their line of simmering sauces, chutneys, and beverages (smoothies and chai lattes) are currently available from their website. 

“Folks are dealing with a lot right now, and when a customer tells us our Heat N’ Eat meals made their lives a little easier, it makes our day.”

They ran a campaign to provide cooked meals to the community in order to assist with COVID relief efforts, raising over $1400 within a few days to serve over 1500 lbs of meals to local agencies and first responders.

“We are truly blessed to be part of such a wonderful inclusive and generous community,” says Chandu of the generosity and goodwill they experienced.

Chandu Valluri posing for the camera at FEAST! 2019

Photo: Ashley Aukes, Beruck Studios

Infuzn2go offers freshness and variety.

Photo: Tiffany Alexandria, Choochoo-ca-Chew

These hard-working entrepreneurs are currently running this business in their spare time while holding full-time jobs, because they enjoy the opportunity to infuse an Indian touch to global cuisine in a way that’s relatable and inviting.
Check it out!

FEAST! introduction video



Know Your Farmer

O'Neill Family Farm

Talking with Kelley and Cindy O’Neill, you quickly understand two things: they are passionate about caring for their livestock and even more passionate about the ecological value of raising animals on pasture. “A lot of the why of what we do is really trying to provide products or services that people cannot eat, and that people don’t even pay for, but they’re important anyway,” Kelley explained. “Namely, clean air and clean water.” 
He goes on to talk about how pasture sequesters more atmospheric CO2 than any conventional or organic row crops, and even more than trees. He easily offers examples of farmers Jay FuhrerDwayne Beck, and Fred Provenza, people working to demonstrate these benefits to soil health and as a result, to human health.

Cindy, a practicing small-animal veterinarian, says she’s been attending the local food pop-ups at Bleu Duck Kitchen lately, in addition to being a regular vendor at the Rochester Farmers Market. “We started trying to do more direct sales a long time ago, to share the story of what we’re doing,” Kelley explained. That includes restaurants too, but even before COVID those would come and go, as restaurants do. “Signatures, a white tablecloth restaurant in Winona, has served our lamb for years and is gearing up for outdoor seating,” said Cindy. 

They explained that it can be challenging to sell to restaurants because they’re often looking for discounts. However, it can also be a thrill to see your farm name on the menus. “It makes the challenges of farming feel more worthwhile when world-famous musicians performing at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival go to Signatures to have our lamb,” said Kelley. 

They’re hoping to pick up more restaurant customers as restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, find them at the farmers' market, or contact them through their website to arrange a special order.

Stay in touch:
O'Neill Family Farm website

Who's Fueling FEAST!?

Cottage Foods Con!

It takes a lot to start a food business, and we celebrate the 300 unique food businesses who have joined us at FEAST over the years. Some of those, and surely some in the future, will have taken the path of starting by selling at farmers markets, and some will have also started by selling under the legal allowance known as Cottage Foods before obtaining a food business license. We salute the many makers who start this way, working to preserve the local harvests and sell their products directly to customers in their communities. For that reason we’re excited to see the Home-Based Food Entrepreneur National Virtual Conference coming up April 6-9!

Cottage food leaders and operators will present on a range of topics from marketing and pricing, business structure, new product ideas as well as insight into the future of the food freedom movement nationally.  Registrations by March 1st will be entered in a giveaway of over 50 copies of the Homemade for Sale book. Stay engaged at @cottagefoodcon on Facebook and Instagram.  

Photos: John D. Ivanko Photography


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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  • Elena Byrne
    published this page in FEAST! blog 2021-03-04 22:11:45 -0600


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