First of all, I swore that I would never move back home. I was city-bound and the suburbs could eat my dust, for all I cared. And I had a cute little house in Tangletown and lived a happy life with a 5-10 minute trip to an endless amount of food choices.
Funny how life gets in the way of life.
For many reasons that don’t need laundering in public, I ended up moving my family out to the area in which I grew up, within a mile and a half of my mother’s house. My first concern was that the frogs were louder than the busses of Nicollet. My second concern was the lack of good fried rice within a 20 minute drive. How on earth would I connect with this world of hockey-moms, mini-vans and Lunchables?
As I am now accustomed to the sounds and workings of my suburban existence, I see benefits that I hadn’t seen before. Like the real proximity to fresh, local food. Way out here where 394 becomes a two-lane road, people have the land to grow stuff. Good stuff. If I head a little west I run into the Peterson’s pumpkin patch and road stand where they’ll chat you up about what you’re going to make with their produce, offer up recipe ideas and remember to ask you how it turned out the next time they see you.
I have a friend who moved out here and was puzzled by the vegetable stand on the corner of her road. It seemed to be fully-stocked, but there was never anyone manning it. After passing it by for over a month, she finally stopped to see if someone would show up. Upon further examination of the stand, she realized that it worked on the honor system: take some veg, leave your money in the box. I’m thinking that’s not going to happen in the city.
So with all these producers and land lovers, you’d think we have an awesome market. Well, we don’t … yet. What we do have is a focused and driven bunch of people who are working toward the creation of the Harvest Moon co-op. Their goal is to build an outlet for all the growers and producers in our area and points westward while creating a hub for the local community.
They’ve found a man in Medina who is growing organic apples on his property and selling them to Whole Foods. Apparently, his apples are shipped to the Whole Foods HQ in Texas before they can come back to the Minnesota stores. Harvest Moon is hoping to give his apples a little closer home. Smartly, they’re working with the Crow River chapter of the Sustainable Farmers Association, the ones who put on the kick-ass Minnesota Garlic Festival. Many of these farms are the ones supplying the downtown chefs.
It sounds like a dream to me and of course I’ve already signed up. They’re still in the planning phases and are trying to build membership, which can be hard without a sexy building to prove their intentions. But if you’re interested, there’s a pot-luck at a local church on March 30th, because that’s the way we roll. Leave your urban desires behind and bring a dish to pass, maybe you’ll find a surprising and soul-satisfying connection.