FEAST! Local Foods SCOOP: March 2021



The Scoop - masthead

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

MARCH 2021  |  VOL. 3, NO. 9


Hold on to your hats, the spring winds are blowing in and word is, foodie gifts are all the rage for Mother's Day this year...lucky for you, we've got you covered: the FEAST! Online Marketplace is BACK FOR ROUND TWO! 

Scroll down for details on that, plus discover who won the local foods gift bag drawing among those who filled our our feedback survey, learn about what drives the woman behind the Madame Chu brand, and what's new with The Greensted, and more.

—FEAST! Local Foods Network newsletter team 


Got Local?

Try Madame Chu


“It all comes down to what I’m passionate about,” says Josey Chu, founder of Madame Chu brand Southeast Asian sauces. “I love meeting people, educating people about my culture through the food, and enjoying home cooking through a different medium.”

She didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur, though. When Josey came to the U.S. from Singapore, she first earned a degree in industrial engineering. After four years in that field she decided to go back to school for nursing, and has been a practicing nurse since 2012. Then, in 2017, came Madame Chu. The business is named in honor of her grandmother, Madame Tan, whose handwritten recipes were discovered in an old cookbook and led Josey down this road.

The three varieties of sauces can transform an otherwise simple dish—such as sambal on grilled cheese or satay peanut blended with coconut milk on noodles. Check out her website for recipes. A new green sambal flavor, which Josey describes as ‘lemony,’ will be rolled out gradually at events later this year, before it hits store shelves.

The pandemic has been difficult for this small, handcrafted sauce business, not only because of reduced opportunities to offer samples and sell to the public, but also because of supply chain disruptions. Because the cost of ingredients is volatile, and jars have been difficult to source, Josey prefers to produce sauce to order rather than have inventory stuck in a warehouse.

FEAST! has been proud to have Madame Chu as part of the event since 2018, and glad that she’s able to share a bit of her culture with the world. She’s glad to have her teenage son learn while helping with the business, too. “It has added to his perspective on what he sees on the shelves at the grocery store,” she says. “That the food system needs to support a lot of people, from those who grow and harvest it to those who transport it and process it; and this is why we support sustainability and limiting food waste.”

Josey Chu with her Madame Chu sauces: Ginger Garlic, Sambal Nyonya, and Satay Peanut Nyonya

Photo: Ben Johnson (Josey's husband)

“In the Peranakan culture, making sambal is a very intense process, and my grandma grew her own peppers for it. It takes about half a day to create that sambal paste for the family, and then that’s used as just one component of a meal, which would take another half day. The term ‘Nyonya’ is a term of respect for women, and I wanted that culture to be incorporated in the brand.”   

FEAST! introduction video
Madame Chu website





Know Your Farmer

The GREENSTED Regenerative Project

Jayne and Dean Bredlau have been growing microgreens for five years now, catapulting their business through a rebranding from their original name, My Sweet Greens MN, in late 2019. This month they moved into a brand new facility to accommodate the fantastic demand for their microgreens; their 18+ varieties and mixes can be found at an impressive list of grocery stores throughout the Twin Cities metro, as far North as St. Cloud, and south to Rochester, as well as farmers markets in Faribault, Goodhue, Northfield and Rochester. Their website lists many ways to find them, and you can also purchase right from their site.


If you’ve been to one of the recent FEAST! Festivals you might have sampled some of these flavor-packed, ultra-healthy greens—they’ve been regulars since 2017. In 2018 they won the award for Most Engaging Booth, and in 2019 they contributed greens to the colorful Vegetable Alfombra mandala made for the event. For the 2020 event they joined us for a FEAST! Local Food Maker Interview, and talked about their favorites: pea shoots, anyone? Apparently the Zesty Mix is well liked by people who don’t like veggies—is that really a thing? Their newest is the Pizzazz Mix, which has spicy cress, broccoli and red cabbage, and amaranth for its bright pink color: vegetable confetti! The interview is full of suggestions for ways to enjoy them, including introducing their single-serving packs for optimal grab-and-go freshness. There’s even a crazy story about an animal clinic ordering microgreens for their reptiles and guinea pigs—check it out! 


Stay in touch:
The Greensted website

Who's Fueling FEAST!?

AmeriCorps VISTA

Did you know that we’ve had volunteers from the AmeriCorps VISTA program helping out with the FEAST! festival each year? VISTA stands for Volunteers in Service to America, and we’ve enjoyed having each of these eager and enthusiastic volunteers helping out with things like wearing the carrot and pea costumes and posing for photos, or, in 2019, helping construct the Vegetable Alfombra.

This year we have two VISTA volunteers working on extended projects investigating ways to strengthen our local food system and foster collaboration, especially for traditionally underserved populations: women, beginning farmers, Black and Indigenous people of color, and new Americans, for example.


Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly is the Farmers’ Market Economic Opportunity VISTA at SMIF working with the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association. She will be working on developing a survey to capture data from farmers’ markets and the local food economy to specifically study Diversity Equity and Inclusion. They hope to support markets that are under-represented, and inform the development of more sustainable, inclusive and financially sound local food economies. 

James Harren is the Local Producer Economic Opportunity VISTA at SMIF working with Renewing the Countryside and Sustainable Farming Association. He will be working on developing a stronger network of support for food-producing businesses in Southeast Minnesota. From the CSA-style vegetable farmer and seasonal pickler and canner to the specialty cheesemaker and coffee roaster, food producers bring life to our rural communities while facing many challenges. 

A strong local food economy is a key part of sustainable rural development, and we’re thrilled to have Maeve and James working on this Local Foods Sustainability Project as a collaboration among the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association, Renewing the Countryside, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, and Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota. Stay tuned!



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.
We welcome you to share this newsletter with the buttons below.

Follow us on Facebook!
Follow us on Twitter!
Follow us on Instagram!
Email a question
Copyright © 2021 FEAST! Local Foods Network, All rights reserved.



Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Elena Byrne
    published this page in FEAST! blog 2021-04-02 00:46:52 -0500


get the scoop on Feast!