Living Local Spring, from Minnesota Grown

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Minnesota Grown Program

625 Robert Street North Saint Paul, MN 55155-2538

Cover Photography by Hope Blooms Flower Farm


This publication is supported by program members, advertisers, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). Listing or advertising in this guide does not constitute endorsement by the MDA, nor is the MDA responsible for any claims made within this publication. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, this information is available in alternative forms of communication upon request by calling 651201-6000. TTY users can call the Minnesota Relay Service at 711. The MDA is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

PICK of the MONTH 2
Photo by Hannah Bernhardt, Medicine Creek Farm
6 7 4 MN Maple Syrup in the National Spotlight Maple Candied Nuts Spring Bucket List ? 12 10 13 14 Asparagus Quiche 18 Beginner’s Guide to Companion Planting Explore Farm Culture with Explore MN 15 16 17 Eat Your Greens Flower Arranging Tips Spring Bloody Marys 19 20 MN Greenhouse Brings Happiness to the Winter Weary 8 CONTENTS Connect to Your Local Farm with a CSA 21 What’s in Season? Shop Spring Farmers’ Markets 3

The Ultimate ‘Live Local’ SPRING BUCKET LIST

Spring is glorious but fleeting and can be gone in the blink of an eye if you aren’t deliberate! Check off this month-by-month list to make the most of spring in Minnesota.


Late winter is the time for dreams and planning for the warmth ahead. Enjoy the last soups and hearty roasts and clear out the pantry and freezer to make room for spring! CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms are beginning to sell out for the summer and greenhouses are working hard to grow plants for your yard and garden.

Mapped out my garden and bought local seeds to start indoors.

Finalized my CSA subscription for this growing season. Never heard of a CSA? See page 8 to learn more!

Tried a new recipe using pure maple syrup to celebrate Maple Syrup Month in Minnesota.


The heavy coats are off (hopefully!), and Minnesotans are ready to live large, but it takes time for farms to awake from their winter dormancy. Ease into spring with local eggs, dairy, and greens. Get in the spirit by shopping for plants and flowers and going for puddle-stomping walks.

Visited a nursery or garden center to pick up plants for my yard, garden, or patio.

Bought local tulips, daffodils, or other spring flowers to brighten my home or give as a gift.

Tried a new type of greens in a spring brunch recipe.


At last, the season is in full swing with garlic scapes, rhubarb, green onions, asparagus, and plants showing up at early farmers’ markets and farm stands. Find a local purveyor of lamb or chicken to serve with fresh herbs and salads.

Found out when my favorite summer farmers’ market opens and made plans for a first annual visit.

Fired up the grill and filled it with local sausages, burgers, meats, and spring veggies.

Included asparagus in a simple weeknight pasta dish.

Got adventurous by trying a new sweet or savory rhubarb recipe.


Show us your success!

Post your photos celebrating spring in Minnesota to Facebook or Instagram using #MNGrown to share how you’ve marked the season.


It’s time to prepare for summer! Use the Minnesota Grown directory to make connections with the farms who will bring you fresh, local bounty throughout the growing season. Make a regular date at your farmers’ market and encourage your local shops to stock more local produce so you can buy local wherever you are!

Used the “Narrow by Route” feature on the Minnesota Grown directory to plan stops at farms or farmers’ markets on summer road trips to the cabin, campground, or other hideout.

Shared my favorite spring bucket list experience on social media with the tag #MNGrown.

Passed along a Living Local tip to a family member or friend.

Notes for next year:


TimberSweet puts Minnesota Maple Syrup in the National Spotlight

A “labor of love” is how TimberSweet owners Ralph, “Butch”, and Amy Fideldy describe their work producing maple syrup. Nestled on a 60-acre hillside three miles west of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Butch and Amy tap 3,100 sugar maple trees to produce some of the best, award-winning maple syrup in the nation.

Butch got his start in maple syrup as a youngster in the late 1950’s, helping his father tap trees and collect maple sap on their family farm. Using a large, flat-bottomed pan over an open fire, he learned early on how to boil maple sap — a thin clear liquid — into pure, delicious maple syrup. Today, Butch and Amy use state-of-the-art technology, including an elaborate tubing system for collecting sap and reverse osmosis and evaporator systems, to concentrate and cook the sap down into sweet maple syrup.

The Fideldys typically start tapping trees in February, but this year for the first time they are trying tapping in December while the snow depths are low and navigating the stands of maple trees is easier. This is all in preparation for the sap flows in March and April. Once the sap starts flowing, it’s all hands

on deck. Early mornings will find Butch checking his tanks for sap that came in overnight and by evening they are boiling that sap down into pure maple syrup.

Butch and Amy are well-known and respected in the Minnesota and North American maple syrup communities. They have won numerous awards, including a “Best of Show” and several first-place awards from the North American International Maple Syrup Competition for their maple syrup, maple cream, and maple sugar candy. To win these awards, TimberSweet products out-performed competitors from 16 states and four Canadian provinces, showing that Minnesota maple syrup truly is world-class.

Even though it’s hard work, Butch and Amy love making maple syrup. One of their greatest joys is getting to know their repeat customers at the Grand Rapids Farmers’ Marketcustomers lucky enough to find some of the world’s best pure maple syrup made right in their own backyards.

Find TimberSweet and other Minnesota maple syrup producers at minnesotagrown. com/maplesyrup

Maple Candied Nuts

The delicious flavor of pure maple syrup shines in this recipe. Once you try candied nuts made with maple syrup, you’ll never go back to sugar! They’re great on salads, ice cream, or other desserts, or on their own as a tasty, sweet snack.


2 cups of raw nuts — pecan or walnut halves work well

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon salt


1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauté pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until maple syrup is reduced by at least half, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Lower heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the liquid in the maple syrup has evaporated and it has crystallized into maple sugar, about 6-9 minutes. Reduce the heat as necessary to prevent burning the nuts or maple sugar. You’ll notice the syrup start to become grainy and coat the nuts with crystals that look like tiny grains of sugar. Keep cooking and stirring until the pan is dry and the syrup has completely crystallized, covering the nuts.

3. Immediately remove nuts to a sheet pan and spread in a single layer to cool. Once cooled, store in an airtight container. Nuts will keep at room temperature for up to a week, or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.



Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a purchasing model that connects you directly with the farmer growing your food. You pay a fixed price up-front, which helps the farmer purchase seeds, plants, and other inputs they need to plant in the spring. In return, you receive delicious locally grown products on a regular basis over a designated period of time.

CSA shares are often offered by fruit and vegetable farms, providing subscribers with a box of fresh produce every week throughout the growing season. But more and more, farmers are offering CSAs for other types of products including cut flowers, meat, cheeses, and more.


By signing up for a CSA, you join a community. Consider pickup locations, cost, timing, and product availability when selecting your CSA. You may also be able to sign up for add-ons like eggs or flowers!

By paying ahead, you share some of the farm’s risk and form a relationship with the farmer, your food, and the seasons. While one crop may have a poor year, another could have a bumper harvest! Regardless of what happens, your membership helps support the farm into the next season.

On a predetermined date (usually weekly or bi-monthly) you will pick up your CSA box from a designated pickup site. Get to know your farmer and fellow members at pickups. Some farms offer the opportunity to visit the farm at special times in the year.

Get creative with your regular flow of fresh fruits, veggies, and other local products. Try new recipes, stretch your culinary skills, eat with a friend, and enjoy being connected to your local food system.

a CSA farm and view pick-up locations at
Photo from Costa Produce Farm and Greenhouse


Whether you’re based in Minneapolis or Mankato, Duluth or Detroit Lakes, spring is the season for getting outside along the progressive makers, growers and farmers that make our state so vibrant. Here are just a few of the many ways intrepid travelers can make the most of the warm months ahead.


Forget Chardonnay and Merlot for a minute. Minnesota’s sub-zero season calls for coldhardy grapes — names you might not know, like Marquette, La Crescent and Frontenac Gris. Grape Mill has been putting them on a pedestal since 2006 and racked up enough medals to warrant a special trip to their East Grand Forks estate. It typically opens around Memorial Day, giving locals an excuse to gather around the Red Lake River and toast the warmer temps ahead.


All of the freshly ground and pressed apples that go into Keepsake’s steel tanks and oak barrels are grown right in its Dundas orchard. The juice then goes through a spontaneous fermentation process that’s free of additives and full of wild flavors, producing complex pours that have more in common with natural wine and sour beer than mass-produced sixpacks like Angry Orchard and Woodchuck.


For a closer look at Minnesota’s craft beverage scene, check out the Wineries & Breweries page at

Vintage Escapes Winery, Kilkenny, photo by Paul Vincent


Up to five people can fit in the fully salvaged and furnished timber barn Hannah Bernhardt and Jason Misik opened to the public at Medicine Creek Farm last summer. Located about 90 minutes north of the Twin Cities in the small town of Finlayson (population: 303), it offers pastoral views and a welcome sense of serenity along with all the creature comforts many of us expect from a weekend getaway.


Rather than go the petting zoo route, Carlson’s Llovable Llamas offers a hands-on experience that gives animal lovers of all ages the opportunity to brush, feed and lead their flock the way any farmhand would. Tickets for Ashley and Evan Carlson’s 90-minute tours are often sold out, so it’s best to book ahead and consider making a day of visiting the Waconia area’s many wineries, including Sovereign Estate, Schram Vineyards and Parley Lake


Christine Leonard is a sixth-generation dairy farmer that hand-selects the very best honey, cheese, jam and charcuterie from Minnesota and Midwest-based makers for her takeout company The Grater Good. Orders can be picked up outside her family’s Norwood Young America farm and accommodate the appetites of as many as 15 hungry people.


For more dynamic agritourism destinations, check out the Farms & Gardens page at

Carlsons Llovable Llamas, Waconia
Sovereign Estate, Waconia The Grater Good Advertisement 11
Keepsake Cidery, Dundas

Spring Brunch Brunch

Minnesota’s springtime stars like asparagus, rhubarb, and greens are the perfect makings of a celebratory brunch. But who wants to be scrambling on a weekend morning? Hosting brunch doesn’t have to be stressful! Follow these tips for a festive meal that keeps the focus on celebrating spring with those you love.

Don’t overthink the menu. The beauty of brunch is there are no rules! Lean into traditional breakfast foods like local eggs, bacon, pastries, and fruits; more lunchoriented items like sandwiches and salads; or a mix of the two. Variety keeps the meal interesting and ensures there will be something for everyone’s tastes and cravings.

Make ahead. Eggs? Forget omelets or cook to order. Go for a frittata, quiche, or egg bake that can be prepped the night before. Skip flipping pancakes and try a baked French toast! Prep ahead, refrigerate overnight, and pop into the oven in the morning to bake into a puffed, fluffy vehicle for delicious Minnesota maple syrup or rhubarb compote. Local bacon and breakfast sausage can also be ovencooked for an easy, hands-off method so you can relax and focus on your guests.

Add spring flowers. Flowers add color and an instant luxurious feel with minimum effort. Minnesota flower farms have tulips, daffodils, lilacs, and buttercups available to grace your spring brunch table.

Let your guests be the bartender with a beverage bar! Mimosas, bloody marys, and other brunch favorites lend themselves to customization. Add a beverage bar to your buffet with juices, spirits, non-alcoholic mixers, and a fun variety of garnishes. Let your guests build a beverage that suits their taste and personality.

Try our Minnesota Grown recipes. We’ve started the menu planning for you! Check out the next three pages for brunch-themed recipes featuring some of Minnesota’s best spring products: rhubarb compote, asparagus quiche, and bloody marys with spring garnishes.

Have fun! Spring brunch is all about connecting with friends and family after a long Minnesota winter. Focus on the joy of the first tastes of spring and your guests are sure to catch the celebratory spirit.


Rhubarb Compote

Spring is a transition time between cold and warm weather (sometimes in the same day!) and this tart-sweet compote can find a way to your table no matter the temperature. Use it to top pancakes, baked French toast, or your weekday oatmeal; add it to smoothies for brightness; or serve it warm over ice cream or pound cake to give a seasonal punch to a simple dessert.


1 pound rhubarb (about 5 stalks or 3 cups), sliced into 1-inch pieces

1 cup sugar

2-inch strip of orange peel, removed with a vegetable peeler

Pinch of salt


1. Combine rhubarb, sugar, salt, and orange peel in a medium saucepan.

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is just starting to break apart, about 5-7 minutes.

3. Remove rhubarb with a slotted spoon to a medium bowl, leaving syrup in the pan.

4. Continue cooking down syrup until it has reduced slightly, about 3 minutes.

5. Pour syrup into bowl with rhubarb and stir gently to mix.

6. Serve warm or at room temperature. Compote will keep in the refrigerator for one week.

Find your local rhubarb farmer at


Spring Asparagus Quiche


1 prepared uncooked 9” pie crust

1 ½ cups shredded mild cheese – mozzarella, Swiss, or gouda work well

3-4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)


1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

16 asparagus spears (roughly one pound)

¾ cup whole milk

1. Heat oven to 425° F. Line a 9” pie pan with the pie crust. Prick the pie crust all over with a fork to create small holes for steam to escape during baking. Bake until light golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. Toss asparagus in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in 425° oven until the tips begin to brown, 12-15 minutes.

3. Heat remaining ½ tablespoon of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Sauté until onion softens and begins to become translucent, 3-5 minutes.

6 eggs

¼ teaspoon thyme

¼ teaspoon basil

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon salt

4. Toss cheese, sautéed onions, and crumbled bacon (if using) together in a bowl. Spread the mixture in an even layer in your pre-baked pie crust.

5. Arrange asparagus spears in a wheel pattern on top of the cheese, onion, bacon mixture.

6. In medium bowl, beat together milk, eggs, thyme, basil, garlic powder, and salt. Pour into pie crust, filling evenly.

7. Bake the quiche for 15 minutes at 425° F. Reduce heat to 350° F and bake 30-45 minutes more, until center is set but soft and a knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean.

8. Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving.

Find an asparagus farmer near you at


Local Bounty BLOODY MARY

Garnish a weekend drink with the first vegetables of the season! With farmers’ markets opening and people emerging from their homes after a long winter’s hibernation, this crisp and fresh bloody mary celebrates the first green veggies and the reemergence of community and social merriment!

Ingredients and Supplies

Ice cubes

1 ½ - 2 ounces vodka (optional)

1 ½ cups bloody mary mix

Dill pickle juice to taste

Hot sauce to taste

Toothpicks or wooden skewers

Reusable straws

Spring garnishes from your local farmers’ market:

• Garlic scapes

• Green onions (scallions)

• Asparagus spears, roasted or quick pickled

• Dill pickle spears

• Local cheese cubes

• Minnesota-made meat sticks


1. Fill a pint jar or glass halfway with ice.

2. Top ice with vodka (if using), bloody mary mix, a splash of pickle juice to taste, and a splash of hot sauce to taste. Stir well and adjust flavors to your liking.

3. Skewer smaller garnishes on to toothpicks to keep them from falling into the drink. Add all garnishes to the jar or glass and arrange like a beautiful, spring-y bouquet!

Find your local farmers’ market at 15


Greens are some of the first tastes of spring in Minnesota. Farmers with greenhouses can have greens ready for harvest as early as April. Here are a few types of spring greens to look for at the farmers’ market, in your CSA share, or at the grocery store this season.


The mild flavor and tender leaves make spinach one of the most versatile greens — great for raw salads, sautéed, or cooked in stir-fries or dips (spinach artichoke, anyone?) Not big on greens, but wanting the nutritional benefits? Blending baby spinach into smoothies with fresh fruits is a great way to go. Start with a small handful and your body will enjoy the vitamins and minerals but your tastebuds may not even know it’s there!


Meet another versatile green! While perhaps not as well-known as spinach, tatsoi can be used in many of the same ways. It’s a member of the Brassica family, along with bok choy and cabbage, and has soft leaves with a mild mustard flavor. It’s the perfect addition to salads or can be added to risotto, stirfries, and curries.


This leafy green is best known for its colorful stems. It can taste bitter when eaten raw, but it becomes delightfully mild and sweet when cooked. Try it sautéed with lemon and garlic or add it to your favorite soup or quiche recipes for a pop of color.


Looking to spice things up? Arugula adds a peppery and slightly nutty flavor to dishes. Start with baby arugula for milder flavor or try mature arugula for full spice! Arugula is great in salads, on pizzas, or substituted for lettuce on sandwiches.

Tip for storing greens - Place in a sealed container lined with a paper towel and store in the fridge. Replace paper towel if it becomes saturated.

Find local greens in the Minnesota Grown directory at


Nothing brings freshness to your home like an arrangement of locally grown flowers. We talked with Minnesota Grown members Honeydew Fields, Andover Flower Farm, and Michelle’s Flowers to get their expert tips for making a beautiful spring floral arrangement.

Get to know Minnesota’s spring flowers and their place in your vase

Minnesota is blessed with stunning locally grown flowers in the spring months. Here’s what’s available this season and how to use it:

• Textural elements: berry branches, hyacinths, and honeysuckle

• Focal flowers: tulips, daffodils, buttercups, poppies, and lilacs

• Filler flowers: calendula, sweet peas, columbines, and hellebores

• Whimsical flowers: forget-me-nots, clover, and pansies

Give the stems a fresh cut

As soon as you get home, cut at least one inch off the bottom of the stems, remove any wilted leaves, and get the flowers in water. This encourages water uptake and keeps your flowers fresh.

Prepare your vase

A vase about six to eight inches tall with a wide mouth will work for most arrangements. A clean quart-sized mason jar can work on the kitchen table or make a nice-sized gift. Use chicken wire or create a tape grid to help hold flowers in place, especially if arranging in larger containers. To make a floral tape grid, simply place tape in a grid pattern covering the opening of the vase.

Build your arrangement

1. Keep vase-to-flower ratios in mind for visual appeal. You’ll generally want to keep the length of the flowers to one and a half to two times the height of your vase.

2. Start filling your vase with the greenery as your base. Remove any foliage that will be below the water line, and place in a tripod pattern to create a strong foundation.

3. Next, add in textural flowers to create dimension and movement.

4. Add the star of the arrangement — focal flowers.

5. End with clusters of filler as needed to round out the arrangement, and whimsical flowers on opposite sides of the vase for a final touch.

For maximum enjoyment, be sure to change the water daily and remember to stop whenever you can to smell the spring blooms.

Find a Minnesota flower farm near you at


A Beginner’s Guide to COMPANION PLANTING

Planning your garden is one of the most exciting times of the year, with endless combinations of fruits, veggies, and herbs. Considering how plants complement one another can help use space efficiently, benefit the plants, and ward off insects.


1 Plant early season and later maturing plants together

Plant early season veggies like lettuce and basil first. Then, as they are maturing, add later maturing plants like peppers and tomatoes. When the early season plants are ready for harvest, the canopy of the later maturing ones will just be filling out. This saves space, creates two harvests out of one bed, and can suppress weeds.

Some plants can physically support each other, reducing the need for stakes or trellises. The most famous example of this is the Indigenous model of the three sisters: corn, squash, and beans.

• Corn stalk acts as a trellis for the bean vines to climb and can deter squash- loving insect pests.

• Beans add helpful nitrogen to the soil.

3 Instead of buying trellises, grow them 2

• The squash can deter sweet corn- loving animals, like raccoons. Choose plants with the types of root structures your soil needs

• Plants with taproots or tubers, like carrots, can break up compacted soils and help with aeration.

• Plants with deep root systems, like melons and tomatoes, can pull nutrients and water from deeper soils.

• Legumes, like peas and clover, have special root nodules that allow for the fixation of nitrogen which can reduce the need for extra fertilizing.

4 Plant a variety of plants and flowers together to stymie insects

• Having a variety of plants with different heights, colors, and textures in the same bed can make it more difficult for pests to locate their plant of choice.

• Cultivating variety creates habitat and food for beneficial predator insects.

• Plants with different smells can repel or attract insects as desired.

Adapted from Companion Planting in Home Gardens, by Natalie Hoidal. Available on the UMN Extension website.
Find Minnesota Grown plants at

Brings Happiness to the Winter-Weary

says Jennifer Couillard, owner of Spring at Last Greenhouse in Duluth, Minnesota. Evidenced by their business name, Jennifer has a gift for summing up how most Minnesotans feel about greenhouse season.

Spring at Last grows a wide variety of plants including annuals, perennials, shrubs, flowers, herbs, vegetable starts, and over 1,000 hanging baskets every year. Being that most of their plants are grown on-site, the greenhouse is open to the public for just a few short and busy months each spring.

2023 will be Jennifer and her husband Paul’s seventh season operating the greenhouse, with the help of many of their nine children. Jennifer long dreamt of finding seasonal work that would allow them to do more mission trips in the off-season. They found the perfect opportunity when an established greenhouse went up for sale in 2016. The previous owners and employees were kind enough to mentor them through the first season, and now they’re off and growing strong.

One of the Couillard’s favorite things about their work is growing from seed to sale: “We love seeing the whole process from start to finish with the final result of our customers being happy with the beautiful plants,” said Jennifer. “The greenhouses are like indoor farming — we love working with our hands, watching things grow, and observing the beauty of God’s creation. The greenhouse does wonders for your soul.”

Find Spring at Last and other Minnesota nurseries and garden centers at

Everyone is happy when they’re in a greenhouse, even on rainy days”
Photo from Spring at Last Greenhouse

Fresh Local Minnesota Farmers’ Markets Shop Fresh Shop Local Shop Minnesota Farmers’ Markets

There are few better days in the year than the first spring visit to an outdoor farmers’ market. Getting out into the fresh air, reconnecting with your favorite farmers and neighbors, and savoring the first tastes of fresh spring produce make it an annual event that’s hard to beat.

Farmers’ markets are the holy grail of local food, and Minnesota is lucky to have hundreds of markets across the state. Shopping at farmers’ markets supports local farmers, makers, and entrepreneurs, keeps money in your local economy, and supports local jobs. They give you the opportunity to learn where your food comes from and know the people who grow it. Buying locally also ensures you’re getting the freshest products around. If you’ve ever tasted a local strawberry or tomato alongside one from hundreds or thousands of miles away, you know what we mean.

Part of the joy of shopping farmers’ markets is practicing eating seasonally and enjoying products at their peak. Most summer markets in Minnesota open for the season in May or early June. Due to Minnesota’s short growing season, you’re unlikely to find that tasty strawberry or tomato at a local farmers’ market so early in the year, but there is plenty of spring goodness to be found — asparagus, rhubarb, green onions, radishes, lettuce and other greens, honey, maple syrup, meats, cheeses, eggs, pickles, jellies, jams, baked goods, and more — all at peak flavor at a spring market near you.

Use this What’s in Season? chart to plan your shopping lists and enjoy fresh, local flavor from Minnesota farmers’ markets all year long. Whether you’re looking to shop near home, work, the cabin, or on the road, you can find farmers’ markets around the state in the Minnesota Grown directory at

Photo from Midtown Farmers Market
































Average Season

Average Peak Season



Produce May June July Aug Sept

The Minnesota Grown

What is Minnesota Grown all about? We connect excited customers (you!) to Minnesota farmers, farmers’ markets, and other food producers selling local.

For us, it’s all about sharing the diversity, quality, and availability of foods and other agricultural products grown and raised by the 1,300 members who are proud to be Minnesota Grown across the state.

When you spot the Minnesota Grown logo, that food or item was at least 80% grown or raised in Minnesota!

Living Local will re-ignite your love of local foods through seasonal, mouthwatering recipes and the latest info on what is in-season, starting with this spring-themed issue.

Our online directory at will help you find farms and markets near you to get your hands on quality Minnesota Grown products and support local producers.

Share your love for local by using #MNGrown on Facebook or Instagram. Find your farmer

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