MARCH 2020 | VOL. 2, NO. 9
How are you?
This used to be a commonplace question, even a rhetorical greeting. But now, it bears new weight. We have many new worries for ourselves and others—from the difficulties of homeschooling children to the very life-changing threat of the virus, and of course, to our food supply.
Farms, food makers and sellers are classified as essential, but still face significant challenges to their labor force and supply chains. We'd like to "look to the helpers," as Fred Rogers famously quoted his own mother. Below, we're sharing information that we hope helps you see actions you can take to support the essential farmers and food makers in our short supply-chain.
—FEAST! Local Foods Network newsletter team
Scholze Family Beef delivers
A 3rd generation farm near Osseo, Wisconsin, Scholze Family Farm is run by brothers Theo and Will Scholze and their spouses. The brothers didn’t originally intend to go into farming—but it turns out, it was in their blood, and they were both back on the farm by 2012. They have diversified the dairy operation considerably since then. In addition to milking about 500 cows, they also graze beef cattle on their 1700 acres, have a farm store, and sometimes hold events.
The pasture-raised beef is available in various packages and cuts from their website. Since the COVID-19 situation, they’ve seen a noticeable uptick in their online sales, which is great considering that sales to their major customers—restaurants, schools and other commercial buyers—have screeched to a halt. Luckily for them, they were able to fill some gaps in local grocery store shelves who were out of their standard ground beef. Prior to the pandemic, about 70% of their sales were to commercial buyers.
Theo and Will are happy to be raising their kids where they grew up. Theo says, “These are good times together and it allows us to teach them early on the responsibilities we have toward each other, animals, and the earth.”
Pictured: Theo with wife Sarah and their kids (left); Will, with wife Becky and their kids (right).
The Scholze's follow practices such as minimal tillage, cover crops, crop rotation and rotational grazing. “As farmers and producers of food, we are at the intersection of people and nature and we have a responsibility to do what we can to do and promote the best practices... we live in a complex and intertwined Ecosystem that requires careful planning, resource utilization, and a blend of agriculture practices, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share that with my children.”
Scholze Family Beef website
Editor's note: More ways to find local producers are shown below.
Follow for updates, offers, etc:
Takeout options abound!
Restaurants and bars in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin have been restricted to takeout only as of last week, with staggering effects for the restaurants, their staff, and their suppliers—which includes small regional farms. One thing we can do to support them is to continue to patronize the ones who've remained open. This past Tuesday was the launch of a new campaign called "The Great American Takeout," encouraging Americans to order at least one delivery or pick-up meal and share pics on social with the hashtag. The Minnesota Dept of Health advises taking care to transfer food out of to-go containers and wash your hands before eating, as a precaution.
Check with your faves—they're likely offering pickup. And consider buying gift certificates for post-pandemic brighter days. A recent article from Civil Eats lays out some facts and projections, along with the status of legislation in progress that might provide assistance to restaurants. Social media hashtags #TooSmallToFail and #SaveRestaurants are part of the rallying cry. As of today a $2 trillion federal CARES Act has passed the Senate, and the Independent Restaurant Coalition was formed to keep an eye on the provisions that will matter for independent restaurants.
Finally, a shout-out to the distilleries who are now making hand sanitizer. Thanks to these and others (not a complete list):
Du Nord Craft Spirits (Minneapolis)
Tattersall Distillery (Minneapolis)
Vikre Distillery (Duluth, MN)
La Crosse Distilling Co. (La Crosse, WI)
Do your best to stay informed, speak up, and order out!
Fresh & Tasty
Drive-thru Farmers' Markets ++
Did you hear about this adaptation? Some farmers markets are using online selling platforms to allow consumers to select products ahead of time, and pick them up from a farmers market DRIVE THRU! Now there's something that wasn't around during the 1918 flu pandemic!
Rochester Farmers Market and others involved with the Minnesota Farmers' Market Food Hubs have been using a service called Local Line for over a year now for commercial sales—they were able to shift it to retail for last Saturday's Market in Rochester, and more farms are signing on. The next Rochester market is April 4; orders must be in by April 1. Pictured here is what you see when you visit the site to browse products for Rochester.
Farmers Markets are grocery stores (#FarmersMarketsAreGroceryStores)—therefore essential. That's why there's so much current emphasis on innovation and collaboration in the farmers market scene. Kudos to Minnesota Farmers' Market Association for organizing and lobbying for this!
Post-Bulletin article, Mar 16, 2020
Minnesota Farmers Market Hubs website
Minnesota Cooks "Buying Local While Social Distancing" Directory of farm products.
Minnesota Grown online directory
Online Meat listing from Stephanie March
Fairshare CSA Coalition farm search
Iowa CSA Directory
Farm Fresh Atlas Wisconsin
MISA Farmer Resources for COVID-19
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is advocating for small, independent farms. Check out their latest:
3/23: COVID-19 Economic Impact ...
3/26: A Closer Look at Farmer Relief...
From our partners at the Artisan Grain Collaborative comes Neighbor Loaf: a new and growing initiative, coming soon to communities in Minnesota. In less than 2 weeks, 500 neighbor loaves have been purchased!
Questions? Email [email protected]
Something Special from Wisconsin (SSfW)
Founded in 1983, Something Special from Wisconsin™ is the marketing program of Wisconsin's Agricultural Development Division at the Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Businesses are eligible for the program if at least 50% of the value of their product or service is attributable to Wisconsin ingredients, production or processing activities. Besides the recognizeable red logo, SSfW provides shelf tags for retail locations and other marketing tools, such as assistance in attending trade shows like the FEAST! Local Foods Marketplace.
Since 2014, 62 different Wisconsin businesses have attended FEAST!, many of them with the assistance of the SSfW program. SSfW has sponsored an exhibitor award since 2016, and in 2019 the winner was Mitch Maier of Out of the Kitchen (pictured). If you missed him at FEAST!, he makes unique sauces based on that trendy new fermented product, black garlic.
Photo by Ashley Aukes/Beruck Studios.
Thanks for reading!
We'll leave you with this video memory: FEAST! 2019 Vegetable Alfombra with Susan Waughtal
|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!
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