FEAST! Local Foods SCOOP: May 2020


The Scoop - masthead


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

MAY 2020  |  VOL. 2, NO. 11

Warm weather is here...

and farmers are growing nourishing food for us, as they do every year. Do you know your farmers and food makers? We're happy to help with that! 

This month we introduce you to a company working to help you find local makers NearestYou, check in with one of the many CSA farms selling out their membership subscriptions, and recognize a Rochester restaurant cooking for students and front line workers. Finally, we introduce you to FEAST! partner, GreenSeam, and invite you to enter another contest. We hope you're enjoying the 3-day weekend and unofficial kickoff to summer!

—FEAST! Local Foods Network newsletter team 


Got Local?

Discover what's NearestYou

Finding local businesses online may be easy if you know who you’re looking for, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to search local businesses by product type? Welcome to NearestYou, a tech company that’s ahead of the game.

For five years now, they’ve offered a continually updated store finder tool that individual food businesses could have on their own websites. Now, they’re expanding that.
Founder Ryan Furness explained to us some of the ideas he and his team are dreaming up for further expansion.

First, they’re launching a new website today: GetLocalBrands.com is a brand discovery platform with a searchable directory of local and regional food businesses, with product info and links out to their individual sites for the purchase step. Regional food businesses can get a basic listing there at no cost.

Second, businesses can add a managed custom store locator for a fee, that will exist on the GetLocalBrands site as well as their own site. Third, they’re adding website development with e-commerce capabilities.

Entrepreneurs can be reimbursed for these optional costs through the new cost-share program launched this month by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The effort was designed specifically to help businesses be better positioned to an online marketplace.
Eager to see what local products you’ve been missing? Visit GetLocalBrands.com

Questions? Check out the NearestYou FAQ page on services for artisan food businesses.



278 food businesses have attended the FEAST! event since 2014 to learn from each other + get people to love their products.

It’s a tough job in normal times, and then came the pandemic. Many sell online, either on their own sites or Amazon, but we suspected that they'd suffer from lack of face-to-face interaction with customers, so we asked.

So far, 90% report being negatively impacted. For example:

"All of my customers were restaurants. Most of them closed. No customers no money. Had to give away a lot of perishable product."

"Losing our staff hires, losing momentum and energy, canceling our events and the uncertainty."

"Besides wholesale, most of my income was generated through farmers markets and sampling my products at shows throughout the year...they have all been canceled. It has been impossible to sign up for self-employed unemployment as well."


Victoria's Ristorante & Wine Bar

We're seeing now, more than ever, how important a restaurant can be to a community, and Victoria's is a great example. This downtown Rochester restaurant has been cooking for kids over the past 10 weeks, in addition to offering curbside pickup and delivery options. Last week they served almost 1,000 in their "Free Lunch for Frontline Workers." 

Their Facebook page has detailed a series of Rochester businesses that are standing up and making donations to help them provide meals, and they recently teased something big coming this week—actually they referred to it as "GIANT"—so we'll all have to stay tuned for that! 

We love how Victoria's calls out special attention to their staff. In normal times, they cycle through the roster, introducing and highlighting unique things about each of them; in tough times, they are like many restaurants, missing the togetherness and eager to see them back at work. 

For a unique review of Victoria's, check out this article from the Post-Bulletin about 12-year-old Tim Schroeder. He started a blog called Tim's Tidbits to provide his perspective on Rochester restaurant fare. 


Know Your Farmer

Keewaydin Farms


Keewaydin Farms is nestled in the rocky, rolling hills of the Driftless between Richland Center and La Farge, Wisconsin. There, Rufus Haucke and Joy Miller are building on this second-generation farm with their own layers of toil, trials and triumph. 

Rufus grew up on this land, and has operated the farm on varying scales and models over the last 15 years, whereas Joy joined him in 2017, and yes—she appears to have brought much joy with her! 

You’ll see that by following their Facebook page. Joy unleashes a range of experiences from their farm life in her creative project, “Dear Farm Journal.” She writes daily posts, always accompanied by multiple pictures and videos that truly look joyful. 

This year, those glimpses of farm activity include exciting developments like a truckload of Purple Cow compost, a new-to-them delivery van, and —most recently— news that they’ve brought on two additional farm workers. 

Joy said some of those investments were possible because of their incredibly popular CSA shares so far this year. “Our CSA has been going crazy,” she exclaimed.

Due to social distancing and concern about shopping in public markets...





Who's Fueling FEAST!?



GreenSeam is a strategic collaboration of businesses and professionals rooted in agriculture. They work to promote investment in ag business and contribute to a shared vision of strong ag businesses across southern Minnesota and northern Iowa that are diverse, balanced and sustainable. GreenSeam is driving economic growth through agriculture by branding the ag industry cluster of southern Minnesota to make it the “Silicon Valley of Ag.”

Their focus areas are business retention and development, attracting new businesses to the region as an agricultural destination, fostering education and partnerships, and improving awareness and enthusiasm throughout the region. To that end, they collect, monitor and assess statistics relating to industry GDP, capital investment, ag-related education opportunities, and employment. They also present the annual Rural Forum

FEAST! is glad to be connected with this results-focused organization and we look forward to sharing more of their works with our community. 

Pictured: GreenSeam Director Sam Ziegler (far right), with MN Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan, Dist. 19 Senator Frentz, and industry partners and staff at Farmfest, August 2019. 

Are you growing a garden this year for the first time, or increasing your typical amount of garden?

We want to hear about it!

Reply with your answer— 
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).

Congratulations to Kristin Troska! 
Kristin won last month's drawing and received a gift card for the Blue Heron Coffehouse in Winona, MN that she can use when they re-open...soon, we hope.

Below is how Kristin answered our question about the
best silver linings of the social distancing measures.

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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