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tessa Lehto

Posted 9/14/2015 12:28pm by Ann Houghton.

For delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables, Peter’s Pumpkins and Carmen’s Corn are a popular stopping place for locals. Situated on the northwest corner of Old Brickyard Road, they are at the intersection of County Roads 69 and 78 in Scott County.

They grow a large variety of fruit, herbs, flowers, berries, and vegetables. Weeding and harvesting by hand guarantees the freshness and highest quality of their produce.

From July through the middle of November they operate a roadside stand. From July through September they have “Pick Your Own” cut flowers. Then in October is “Pick Your Own” pumpkins with free hayrides, a fun corn maze, and free face painting, all weather permitting. Farm fresh eggs are available year round.

They also offer their produce at local Farmer’s Markets. Their fresh picked corn on the cob is delicious as are their other fruits and vegetables. They participate in the local community by appearing in parades and by adopting a section of road way where they pick up trash.

Tessa Lehto is a Shakopee resident and garden enthusiast. This article is funded in part by Scott County’s Statewide Health Initiative Plan to promote healthy eating in the county and Local Harvest Alliance to promote awareness of local foods. Comments or Ideas? Contact me at tessalynn.lehto@gmail.com.

Posted 9/14/2015 12:10pm by Ann Houghton.

On Sunday, September 13, 2015, the Scott County Agricultural Society held their third “Autumn Fare,” to promote locally produced food, natural fiber, local farms, and art at the Scott County Fairgrounds. With a mission to provide a venue for local food producers, artists, and producers of natural fiber to show the community their art and natural fiber and promote their farms and the products they have raised or created. This year a small but enthusiastic stream of visitors attended on the clear, crisp fall day.

An “Aisle of Farms” in one of the barns had booths and tables with a few animals to show the community what producers are doing on their farms. Photos of farms and animals were also on display in the booths. The massive Percheron Lyle, a horse standing 19 hands high, was a highlight of the event, drawing visitors of all ages to look in amazement at the beautiful horse towering above all in the barn. A Shetland pony was also enjoyed as were the sheep being sheared.

During the day, 4-H operated their food stand to provide “Fare” for the Autumn Fare. The Ferris wheel was in operation providing breathtaking views of the countryside.

In the Arts and Crafts building, the creative arts were on display with woodworkers demonstrating their skill, textile workers creating yarn, and workshops being held. The long-haired bunnies were very popular as the docile creatures snuggled with their sisters and allowed themselves to be petted.

Tessa Lehto is a Shakopee resident and garden enthusiast. This article is funded in part by Scott County’s Statewide Health Initiative Plan to promote healthy eating in the county and Local Harvest Alliance to promote awareness of local foods. Comments or Ideas? Contact me at tessalynn.lehto@gmail.com.  

Posted 9/3/2015 12:32pm by Ann Houghton.

On Sunday, September 13, 2015, the Scott County Agricultural Society will hold their third

“AUTUMN FARE,” an event to promote locally produced food, natural fiber, local farms, and art. Their mission is to provide a venue where local food producers, artists, and producers of natural fiber can show the community their art and natural fiber and promote their farms and the products they have raised or created.

According to the website, the first year was a success, and the second year they had 700 enthusiastic visitors.

An “Aisle of Farms” in one of the barns will have booths or tables with a few animals to show the community what producers are doing on their farms. Photos of farms and animals will also be on display in the booths.

Vendors will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a Farmer’s Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Red Food Stand. During the day, 4-H will have their food stand open to provide “Fare” for Autumn Fare.

Contact Norm Pint, the Scott County Fair Manager at 952-492-2436 for contract information and vendor/commercial exhibitor questions; Lori Pint at lori54@bevcomm.net or 952-758-4128 if you have questions. Check the Scott County Fair webpage frequently for updates about “Autumn Fare.”  

Tessa Lehto is a Shakopee resident and garden enthusiast. This article is funded in part by Scott County’s Statewide Health Initiative Plan to promote healthy eating in the county and Local Harvest Alliance to promote awareness of local foods. Comments or Ideas? Contact me at tessalynn.lehto@gmail.com.

Posted 9/3/2015 12:29pm by Ann Houghton.

Local residents can purchase low cost food through the Fare Share, or Fare For All, program regardless of where they live or their family income. Once a month the New Creation Church (located at 1053 Jefferson Street, Shakopee, Minnesota) opens their doors to provide this service as one of 30 locations in the greater Twin Cities metro area where their food packages are sold once a month.

Fare For All is a great way to save money on quality, nutritious food. They buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and frozen meat in bulk to save shoppers up to 40% off grocery store prices. They select the best food from their shipments, pre-packaging it to give the greatest deals.

The Food Group, formerly the Emergency Foodshelf Network, manages the program. Customers pay a low fee to purchase food packages each month. Fare For All is community supported and open to everyone with no paperwork required. A0ll locations are cash and carry – there is no need to register in advance. 

How it works

Fare For All buys fresh produce and frozen meat in bulk from wholesalers and manufacturers to find the best deals available. Volunteers at their warehouse pre-pack the produce and meat into food packages that range in price from $10 – $25. These packages are for sale at all of Fare For All locations. Because they buy food in bulk, the more people who participate the better.

Fare For All accepts cash, credit, debit, and EBT cards. Visit their FB page for more information or go to their website and sign up for email reminders. www.fareforall.org/

Fare For All began in Minnesota in 1986 as Fare Share, part of a nationwide network of Cooperative Food Purchasing programs. It was run locally by Ramsey Action Program (RAP), a non-profit in St. Paul.  RAP started Fare Share to encourage volunteerism and stretch food budgets. When it first began, there were twenty host sites; this number grew to over 200 sites in a five-year period. The program began to experience tough times in the mid-1990s due to high rental and food costs. In August of 2002 RAP asked Emergency Foodshelf Network (EFN) now The Food Group to take over Fare Share.

EFN renamed the program Fare For All and in 2007, launched a new version of the program, Fare For All Express. This enabled customers to buy their food packages without ordering and paying in advance. This initiative has resulted in new growth for the program.

Fare For All partners with community organizations (schools, community centers, faith organizations, etc.) to bring the program to various communities within 75 miles of their warehouse in New Hope.

Fare For All works hard to offer value, variety, quality, and nutrition in their food packages.  The exact contents of the packages change throughout the month. Fare For All makes sure their packages contain healthy staples – items like fresh produce and lean meats that are usually most expensive at the grocery store.  In addition to sourcing products with nutrition in mind, their on-staff dietician provides easy recipes and nutrition tips to eat healthy on a budget.

The following packages are available at all locations:

Produce Pack $10 – Often contains potatoes, onions, carrots, along with additional varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Mini Meat Pack $11 – (Formerly known as Meat Only) Includes a variety of 3-4 frozen meat items, such as: turkey, beef, chicken or fish. This pack is most often pork free.

Combo Pack $20 – (Formerly known as Regular Pack) Save an extra $1 by combining the Produce Pack and the Mini Meat Pack.

Mega Meat Pack $25 – Includes a variety of seven to eight frozen meat items, such as: beef, chicken, fish, pork or turkey.

Holiday Pack $30 – Available in November and December, holiday packs contain most of the fixings for a holiday meal, including a turkey in November and a ham in December.  

 

Tessa Lehto is a Shakopee resident and garden enthusiast. This article is funded in part by Scott County’s Statewide Health Initiative Plan to promote healthy eating in the county and Local Harvest Alliance to promote awareness of local foods. Comments or Ideas? Contact me at tessalynn.lehto@gmail.com.

Posted 8/31/2015 12:12pm by Ann Houghton.

There’s nothing like fresh baked bread with its hot, delicious, and aromatic, unforgettable flavor. One whiff is all it takes and your nose, and the rest of you are hooked. If you have the time and energy to make your own, that’s awesome and it’s the ultimate in fresh, local foods! But if you are just too busy or not inclined, think about buying it to bake at home or from a local bakery.

There are many sources of fresh baked bread, pastries, and cookies in small businesses in Scott County. Farmer’s Markets generally feature Great Harvest products, both sweet and savory. Save up your labels and you get your 12th loaf free. Of course, it’s a little pricy but it sure tastes good.

Then there are the local bakeries such as Edelweiss in Prior Lake, Orelia’s and Panera in Shakopee, Emma Krumbees in Belle Plaine, and Lau's Czech Bakery in New Prague. They are sure to offer a variety of fresh and tasty, local breads. Many grocery stores also offer fresh baked products or loaves and rolls which are frozen or room-temperature which you can put straight into the oven to heat up for that just baked experience.

Some natural food stores also have these products, often made locally in the Twin Cities. Wherever you go, try something other than packaged, soft and gooey white bread, which many Americans now claim as their favorite. Try pumpernickel or marble rye, or Oregon Herb, Tomato Basil, Three Cheese, Potato Bread, Honey Wheat, Foccacia, or dinner rolls. There’s a near endless variety just waiting to stimulate your taste buds. Try one and see what your family thinks!

Tessa Lehto is a Shakopee resident and garden enthusiast. This article is funded in part by Scott County’s Statewide Health Initiative Plan to promote healthy eating in the county and Local Harvest Alliance to promote awareness of local foods. Comments or Ideas? Contact me at tessalynn.lehto@gmail.com.  

Posted 8/20/2015 1:54pm by Tessa Lehto.

I love Farmer’s Markets for finding fresh and local foods, but it’s hard to find one for things like flour, plastic bags, semi-exotic fruits like bananas and oranges, and frozen foods. If you are looking to save money on your grocery bill, a great place to stock up on basics is one of the two Scott County Aldi stores – one in Savage and one which opened this summer in Shakopee.

I first discovered Aldi as a student abroad living in Austria in the early ‘80s. A German company, they flourished in Europe before opening up stores in North America. I liked them primarily for their assortment of yummy chocolates. When I saw a sign for Aldi on County Road 42 a few years ago, I turned in only to discover a whole new shopping experience. It was like visiting an old friend.

The first thing you notice is that it costs a quarter to “rent” a cart. This encourages people to return their carts, only the Southerner in me calls them buggies, rather than leave them in the parking lot. You can also use boxes or bags if you have a small amount of groceries. They don’t have fancy shelving units and displays and not a huge variety of brands, but the Aldi store brand (Clancy’s, Happy Harvest, Casa Mamita, Savoritz, and more) generally cost significantly less than you can find at most grocery stores. The prices on items like milk, eggs, yogurt, meat, baking goods, chips, and especially produce beat other stores’ sale prices. Who ever heard of buying two 5 ounce filet mignons, wrapped in bacon for less than $5? And they are yummy! The key is to cook them thawed rather than frozen. We also use the ground turkey which is several dollars less per pound. Yes, per pound!

A leader in the grocery retailing industry, Aldi operates more than 1,400 US stores in 32 states with additional stores in 16 countries. More than 30 million US customers each month save up to 50 percent* on their grocery bills, benefiting from the Aldi simple and streamlined approach to retailing. Aldi sells more than 1,300 of the most frequently purchased grocery and household items, primarily under its exclusive brands, which must meet or exceed the national name brands on taste and quality. Aldi is so confident in the quality of its products, the company offers a Double Guarantee: If for any reason a customer is not 100 percent satisfied with any Aldi food product, they will gladly replace the product and refund the purchase price.

Aldi was named the 2014 Retailer of the Year by Store Brands Magazine for its strong commitment to value and innovation-focused private brand product development. (*According to a survey of more than 6,000 consumers conducted in March 2014 by Market Force Information.)

Another significant difference is that you also need to bring your own bags or you can purchase them for a few cents. Then the cashier loads your groceries back into your cart and you bag them yourself in a designated space. You take them to our car, unload, and then return the cart to get your quarter back.

Formerly a brand name snob, I discovered Aldi brands are just as good if not better, and always cheaper. And if you are job hunting, Aldi is practically always hiring and is committing to hire 10,000 people in the next three years nationwide.

Tessa Lehto is a Shakopee resident and garden enthusiast. This article is funded in part by Scott County’s Statewide Health Initiative Plan to promote healthy eating in the county and Local Harvest Alliance to promote awareness of local foods. Comments or Ideas? Contact me at tessalynn.lehto@gmail.com.  

Posted 8/4/2015 12:05pm by Tessa Lehto.

Crisp, cold water straight from the artesian spring from which it flows, is available for local residents at no charge. The Frederick-Miller Spring, in continuous operation since at least the late 1800s, is located on Spring Road in rural Eden Prairie. Located on the east side of Spring Road, also known as County Road 4, the spring sits in a wooded area near Riley Creek.

A paved pull-out area, complete with signage on the origin of the spring, provides parking for those coming to nourish their thirst. Some folks use it for coffee or for their animals, but most use it to simply drink its essence, straight from the source, called by some Mother Earth.

Bring your own bottles, fill them up, and take the goodness home yourself. If you don’t know where Spring Road is, it’s accessible from Flying Cloud Road at the intersection where the Lion’s Tap restaurant is located.

The City of Eden Prairie was deeded the property in 1969 and has made improvements twice (1972 and 2003). The City’s Parks and Recreation staff tests the water quality monthly and posts signs saying the site contains potentially impure water since water quality can change quite quickly. But most folks choose to use it anyway, despite that.

Free water is also available at the nearby Richard T. Anderson Conservation Area (on Flying Cloud Road), but the day we tested it, it did not come close to measuring up to the water from the Frederick-Miller Spring in taste.

 

Tessa Lehto is a Shakopee resident and garden enthusiast. This article is funded in part by Scott County’s Statewide Health Initiative Plan to promote healthy eating in the county and Local Harvest Alliance to promote awareness of local foods. Comments or Ideas? Contact me at tessalynn.lehto@gmail.com.

Posted 7/31/2015 3:49pm by Tessa Lehto.

It’s all about the flowers or more specifically the diversity of flowers. The more different types of flowers, the better it is for bees. A diversity of nectar and pollen sources found in the different species lead to good health for bee hives. When bees are healthy and happy, they pollinate more crops and make more honey. And more honey makes longtime beekeeper Victoria Ranua and her husband Todd very happy. They opened Eagle Creek Honey Farm in 2014 in Shakopee where they build and brand their own bee boxes, harvest their own honey, and manage a small orchard which the bees pollinate.  

As a child when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Victoria had no doubt. She would answer, “I want to be a beekeeper and have an apple orchard!” As a youth in the Twin Cities suburbs, she didn’t know anyone with bees or even an apple tree, but that didn’t stop her.  She always enjoyed watching bumblebees on the flowers in the neighborhood, and she even drank a whole bottle of honey before every high school cross-country and track race for energy.  

With a childhood nickname of Vicki, other children teased her as her name rhymed with too many less popular options. The name that bothered her the most was “Sticky Vicki.”  Years later, tending 100 suburban hives, she realized she had indeed become “Sticky Vicki” when she dropped a five gallon pail of honey from a ladder, covering herself in honey!

Today, Victoria and her family live at Eagle Creek Honey Farm in Shakopee, Minn. With more than 10 years of professional suburban beekeeping experience, Sticky Vicki loves sharing her passion for bees and the uniqueness of the Minnesota-grown honey with anyone who will listen or have a taste.  

Come see Eagle Creek Honey Farm at Three River Park District’s Landing on August 1 and 2 for an 1880s style honey harvest and see that not much has changed.  

 

 

Beekeeper Victoria Ranua

 

A few facts about locally produced honey:                

- Winter is why honeybees make honey. It's their winter energy source.                

- Scott County has several other honey producers: Forest and Meadow Products (Shakopee), Wozupi (City of Prior Lake), Slinkard Honey (New Prague), and Sweetness of Being (CPL).

- Honey is the only food that will not rot! It can last thousands of years.                

- Propolis is another bee product known since ancient times for its antibiotic and antiseptic properties, according to Andrew Weil, MD, an American medical doctor, teacher, and best-selling author on holistic health. Propolis is available through Forest and Meadow Products (Shakopee).    

Tessa Lehto is a Shakopee resident and garden enthusiast. This article is funded in part by Scott County’s Statewide Health Initiative Plan to promote healthy eating in the county and Local Harvest Alliance to promote awareness of local foods. Comments or Ideas? Contact me at tessalynn.lehto@gmail.com.