FEAST! Local Foods SCOOP: October 2019


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

OCTOBER 2019  |  VOL. 2, NO. 4

COMFORT FOOD edition...

The cold weather is settling in—do you find yourself turning to comfort foods? Indulge in reading about Shokolate Haven and Fifth Season Food Cooperative, plus a preview of the artists bringing life-sized interactives to this year's festival! Also, a recap of this year's FEAST! Restaurant Week: do we need to re-define "comfort" when it comes to food? 

Check out the contest for a chance to win some delectable chocolate from Shokolate Haven!

—FEAST! Local Foods Network team members 


Got Local?

Shokolate Haven adds local to cocoa

Shokolate Haven is a small, family-owned confectionery business located in Lindstrom, MN, with roots in Russia. 

Chef and chocolatier Ana Gawtry emigrated from Russia 20 years ago, taking in French culinary school 15 years ago. Experimenting with combining the Russian and European sensibilities, she created Shokolate Haven—using the phonetic spelling that keeps that Russian heritage alive in the name.     She and husband David Hansen have high standards for ingredients and craftsmanship. "We are small, so we have good quality control," she explains. "Each piece of chocolate is made by hand."

Pictured: Chef and chocolatier Ana Gawtry, at FEAST! 2017 with her husband and business co-owner, David Hansen.

They use fresh, local cream and butter from Organic Valley farms, and are working on a new line that will incorporate locally-grown berries and nuts thanks to some of the connections they've made at FEAST!. Ana says, "So many great local growers and makers getting together [at FEAST!] to introduce their fresh and delicious products. We have made many new friends."

They're proud to leave out the processing aids that larger-scale chocolate makers use (such as paraffin wax, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, preservatives). Their Chocolate Truffles have earned recognition from The International Chocolate Salon Awards competition for the past three years.

This will be Shokolate Haven's third year at FEAST! Come prepared—you can have gifts for chocolate lovers handled and done in one day!

Find Shokolate Haven products at FEAST! on Dec. 7, or on their website, Amazon, Etsy, chocolate.org, and select coffee shops around Minnesota.


Shokolate Haven website

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FEAST! Restaurant Week is a wrap...


Creative specials featuring local products from area farms and artisan food makers—it's the kind of collaboration we hope to see more of. FEAST is all about increasing markets for farmers and food makers, and that means more buyers of all kinds.

When you think about supporting local, consider authentic farm-to-table restaurants as one of those ways to vote with your dollars. 


But don't just visit these eateries during Restaurant Week—practice food activism as much as you can. When you visit a restaurant, ask if they are purchasing from local farms. Show them you're paying attention, and that you care.

Because the more we learn about our complex food system, the more comforting it is to know where our food comes from, who's growing it, and that our food purchases are creating jobs in our region.

This chalkboard created by passionate local-sourcing visionary Nicci Sylvester, founder of TONIC Local Kitchen & Juice Bar, says it all. We hope to see more buyers of all kinds giving credit to growers & producers of locally-grown food. 


Participating restaurants & specials!








Fresh & Tasty

Fifth Season Cooperative

The Fifth Season Cooperative food hub was incorporated in August 2010 as a multi-stakeholder cooperative to aggregate product from small producers and processors. They exist to provide the quantities necessary to bring local food to institutions like hospitals, schools, and corporate foodservice through broadline distributors such as Reinhart, US Foods, Sysco, and other smaller distributors to markets in Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and all points in between.

Fifth Season provides the infrastructure and coordination needed to bridge the gap between producers, processors, distributors and buyers in the 7 Rivers Region—as shown in the map image below. It's a much needed service, because it allows small and mid-size businesses to expand by accessing markets they couldn't access on their own.


Did you know?

Fifth Season aggregates (combines) products from more than 60 producer members, 6 producer groups, and also has 25 processor members with packaged product such as Country View Dairy, Fizzeology, Ruth's Gourmet, WI Grassfed Beef Co-op and SnoPac Foods.


Fifth Season Cooperative website

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How many wineries, cideries, breweries or distilleries have you visited?  —or— which is your favorite to visit?

The Prize: Win some delectable peppermint bark from Shokolate Haven, featured in this months' profile!


CONGRATULATIONS to our contest winner from August:

Erica Marie!

Her definition of the word 'foodie' was broad: "I think anyone who loves food and making new recipes is a foodie..." She'll get to try some new flavors with the sauces she's receiving from West Indies Soul Food, profiled in the September SCOOP.

Who's Fueling FEAST!?

Local artists!


Are you craving creativity along with culinary delights? FEAST! can help: This year's fest to nourish body and soul with interactive art!

First, a weaving experience at the intersect of art, design and storytelling with Background Stories Founder Arlene Birt, shown at right with a past string survey installation.

This “String Survey” asks attendees to weave their own yarn as they respond to big-picture questions about food, for a collective display that represents attendees’ feelings about local food.

I look forward to the interactions and seeing everyone's thoughts made visual!” Arlene says.



Second, Artist Susan Waughtal will lead the creation of a vegetable “alfombra,” ("carpet"), constructed on the floor out of local veggies from area farmers, similar to a giant mandala.


Pictured with Susan here are some examples from around the world. 

Susan says, "I grow veggies, cook with them, and even paint them sometimes, but haven't ever used vegetables as the actual art medium before. I love everything about this vegetable alfombra project: that it will feature beautiful produce grown by local farmers, that it was inspired by Guatemalan culture, that it will be created by community members attending FEAST!, and afterward, the vegetables will be gathered up and donated to the Channel One food shelf. That is truly nourishing art!"

The interactive art will take place in the Mayo Civic Center North Lobby on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10am - 4pm.


Come PLAY with your FOOD!

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. 

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

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