White Bear Lake September/October 2021

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HOME G R OW N Harvest highlights from a self-taught suburban gardener

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021 “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” ALFRED AUSTIN, ENGLISH POET AND NOVELIST





Editor’s Letter 4 Noteworthy 7 On the Town 25 Tastemakers 28 Last Glance 32

Enlighten 10


University applications in 2021.

Farm’s name highlights special intention in programming.

Perspectives 12


Important conversations about aging.

A cramped kitchen is updated to create a more welcoming gathering space.

We Need to Talk Doing Good 14

Looking Forward Turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones.



21 Roots

Back to the Future


Post-Pandemic College Admissions

White Bear Lake Area Schools Leading minds to learning, hearts to compassion, and lives to community service.

Serving the communities of Birchwood, Gem Lake, Hugo, Lino Lakes, Little Canada, Maplewood, North Oaks, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Lake, and White Bear Township.

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Join us for the 2021-22 school year! Choose from 2 options: - Traditional in-person school - Distance Learning Academy

Why Be a Bear? Our students benefit from:

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• Safe, nurturing and challenging environments. • Differentiated instruction. • Hands-on learning. • World language experiences. • Focus on academic, social and personal development of each student. • College-level courses and Career Pathways opportunities. •



• e-Newsletter The Community e-Newsletter is sent out each week, with alternating text and video editions. The text editions cover student and staff successes, school and Community Education offerings, and School Board proceedings. Those who wish to be added to the Community e-Newsletter list may contact us at communications@isd624.org. • stay social Join White Bear Lake Area Schools’ social media circles - Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for daily 624 Fact posts and video share-outs of The Week in 62.4 Seconds.



HOME Discover what makes you move

FROM THE EDITOR Angela Johnson, managing editor, whitebearlakemag@tigeroak.com

Sara Moran Realtor


n 1894, then President Grover Cleveland signed a law that would establish the first Monday in September as a national holiday we know as Labor Day. The U.S. Department of Labor’s website states “The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom and leadership – the American worker.” As we approach another Labor Day, and bookend summer with a sort of “send off” celebration, it is not lost on me the amount of labor and innovation this community pours into the local economy, to the benefit of so many. In this issue, we spotlight burgeoning organizations like 21 Roots Farm and its efforts to serve special members of the community, page 16. Others have labored to grow gardens, raise chickens and harvest honey. On page 28 we chat with a local suburban gardener about her adventures in exploring everything from growing her own food to sending her young children out to gather eggs. She also shares a yummy recipe for oven-roasted heirloom tomatoes. At White Bear Lake Magazine, our small team of editors, writers, photographers, art directors and production managers work diligently to provide you with lifestyle stories relevant to living and working here in the White Bear Lake area. We understand how hard you work to provide for your family, grow your businesses and make positive contributions to our community. We celebrate all local laborers and love to tell your stories. If only we had enough pages to tell them all. But your tireless efforts do not go unnoticed. Happy Labor Day.


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On the Cover “Home Grown” page 28, photo by Chris Emeott


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editorial advisory board Ken Galloway, Galloway Culinary Ashley Filipp Harness, White Bear Area YMCA Lauren Robbins, Wild Tree Psychotherapy Elishia Robson, Lakeside Floral

senior managing art director SARAH DOVOLOS

art director ALLISON NOLDEN

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digital production director DEIDRA ANDERSON

project coordinators ADRIANNA BLACK BULL, LISA STONE


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chief financial officer BILL NELSON

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NOTEWORTHY local tips, tidbits & insights



Gear up to host friends and family this fall with expert advice. Walk through your front door and try to visualize it as a guest; what do you notice? Do your eyes land on a pretty focal point? A common mistake in foyers is a lack of artwork or interesting features. It is also important to see the view of other rooms upon entering your home. Do you look into a messy office or playroom? If so, consider adding doors or find ways to add hidden storage and organization to those spaces. Is the entryway functional? Make sure there is enough room for guests to enter and take a few steps, and most importantly, find a place to sit down to remove their shoes. Here in the Midwest, we have to deal with winter boots and a lot of sloppy weather, so most people remove their footwear when entering a home. Make it easy and convenient for guests to sit and do so.

Another common mistake is choosing an area rug that’s too small. A doormat-size rug doesn’t allow anyone to step into the room and it can feel awkward. Select a three by five foot rug at minimum. Lastly, many people don’t think about lighting. If the foyer overhead light is too bright, install a dimmer switch to allow for softer light. Another option is to put a table lamp on an entry console table for more soft, ambient light. Take the test: walk through your front door to ensure you’re ready to welcome guests! Contributed by interior designer Amy Lefarink, owner of Interior Impressions; interiorimpressions.org





Support Our Seniors Volunteering is a rewarding way to help in the community.

If you find yourself with some free time on your hands once the kids head back to school, consider volunteering with the White Bear Area Senior Program which is committed to providing support and care for our local seniors. Program services include Meals on Wheels delivery of nutritious meals to seniors’ homes regardless of patrons’ age or ability, as well as activities like dance classes, technology help and more. These services couldn’t exist without the help of volunteers. There are a variety of ways to be a part of the Senior Program community. You could join the advisory team, work on community events or help Meals on Wheels with route delivery or as a kitchen aide. Volunteering with the Senior Program can be a one-time thing or an ongoing and rewarding relationship. To learn more about volunteer opportunities or to get involved, call 651.653.3121. —HILARY KAUFMAN

White Bear Area Senior Center, 2484 East County Road F, White Bear Lake; 651.653.3121; communityservices.isd624.org



I’ve fallen in love with Fredrik Backman’s writing the same way he states in this book he wants his son to fall in love with words. “Like whirlwinds in your head. Like a punch to the gut.” Backman connects so naturally and easily with his readers, and once again, I laughed and cried my way through this book. This is his collection of short and sweet essays to his son on topics like love, about how we protect the weakest among us, about mastering the art of the “preeating” hot dog and about the value of family. This book is the very best combination of hilarious and poignant.

Enjoy Exploring the Woods by Michael Lovett submitted in last year’s Lens on White Bear Lake photo contest in the people and families category.



Contributed by Rachael Johnson at Valley Bookseller; Look for similar titles at Lake Country Booksellers in White Bear Lake.









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D E PA R T M E N T S » E N L I G H T E N

Post-Pandemic College Admissions University applications may look a bit different in 2021.

PLANNING FOR COLLEGE can be an exciting time for families. Touring your dream school, shopping for your dorm and filling out applications are all milestones in your college preparation process. But, like many other things, the pandemic has changed the way students find their perfect university. No need to worry, certified educational planner, Kate Malczewski from College Connectors shares tips to help ensure students and parents are up to date on all things college related.



Not all change is bad change The ACT and SAT have been used as common standardized college admission tests for many years. These tests have induced tremendous anxiety, and often a lot of expense, for many prospective college students. During the pandemic, some universities dropped standardized testing as an admission requirement, and since there had already been much debate about the fairness and reliability of these tests, these changes may be here to stay. Malczewski says, “What we’re

hearing is that [standardized college admission tests like the ACT and SAT] are optional … I don’t think it’s a passing fad, I think COVID jumpstarted [this trend] which allowed schools to realize they can admit a successful class without a test score.” Standing out from the pack As admission requirements have shifted and colleges are looking more at a students’ overall body of work, a well-rounded application can help students stand



out from the crowd. But every college is different. Depending on what a university’s mission is, there are different things looked for in applicants, from interviews, essays, recommendations and all those extra components of an application that are measured to holistically evaluate a student’s abilities. Look into what each prospective school requires and focus on those things for each application. Don’t skip class just yet Though colleges are looking more holistically at students, grades still play a key part in any application. There is a renewed interest in students’ overall grades to determine the kind of college student they will become, and by and large, transcripts, coursework grades and rigor are what schools evaluate to determine whether to admit a student. But applicants need not worry about the way COVID may have affected transcripts through many schools’ use of pass/ fail grading or altered scheduling from hybrid and distance learning since virtually all students’ applications will reflect these changes and colleges are aware of these situations. Making up for lost time One of the biggest concerns for many students and parents has been the loss of activity time, volunteering and other extracurriculars many students faced due to the pandemic. But all college applicants are all in the same boat and should not worry about things that may have been missed out on. One approach might be reworking an application in light of COVID by demonstrating the ability to adapt well to change. Or, write about a hobby picked up during quarantine or a personal discovery during a unique time. Finding the perfect match Finding a school that best represents a student’s strengths will help them stand out from the rest. Malczewski’s final piece of advice is this, “Reflect on who you are as a student and what would be the best fit for you. Don’t try to fit into a specific school; instead look for a place where you know you can thrive for four years.”

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D E PA R T M E N T S » P E R S P E C T I V E S

We Need to Talk Important conversations about aging.

ADULT CHILDREN between the ages of 30 and 50 can find it daunting to navigate the conversation minefield that is end-of-life care with their parents. So, we asked Dr. Jae-Woo Kim M.D. for tips to help empower aging parents who wish to maintain a sense of autonomy while also providing some peace of mind to concerned family members. Kim notes it’s not uncommon for people to avoid discussions of death and dying; when you’re healthy, the topic seems irrelevant. But open communication is always key, and if a loved one becomes unhealthy,



it’s definitely time to ask their primary care doctor about how to have those important conversations. What to watch for: “Our function slowly declines over time,” Kim says. “Falls and fractures can take someone from 95 percent down to 75 percent with other complications down the road. Assess [your loved one’s] mobility by observing how well they get around the house. Is there clutter that could cause a potential trip and fall? Observing the overall living situation can be less con-

frontation. You’re just observing.” Depression is under-recognized in the elderly. Kim says, “Isolation and hearing loss is a huge unrecognized factor in depression.” Those with poor hearing may be embarrassed and begin to shut down, communicating less and less. Pay attention to whether Mom and Dad are still being social and help them to remain engaged. Aging in place: Some folks love their homes and don’t want to leave. “But you need a sense of if it’s manageable,” says Kim. “As much as they can stay in their



home is good” because it forces movement, to the kitchen and to the bathroom. That said, community living may not “feel” like home but can provide much needed socialization opportunities with peers. Family communication: Kim says, “Parents want some connection even if it’s brief. Try to stay engaged and be willing to be the one to reach out first; and keep other siblings in the loop.” Metaphorically speaking, Kim says, “Siblings who live farther away may know “there’s fire,” but assume Mom and Dad are still doing okay. It’s the siblings who are taking care of Mom and Dad who “feel the heat;” they understand what’s happening. So again, communication is key; preferably without judgement or guilt. How to help: Staying active, picking up new hobbies and being engaged with peers are vital to healthy aging according to Kim. For example, he says, “My 65-year-old mother picked up cello and golf! She knows she’s not going to be good at it, but wanted to try something new.” Also, “weight gain or health issues can lead to the temptation to do less,” Kim says. “But, that’s the opposite of what we should do. We should encourage our parents to stay mentally engaged with things like puzzles, reading and volunteering.” Managing healthcare: Kim acknowledges there is a power imbalance in healthcare. “It’s like going to a mechanic. I don’t know if what he says is right. Fortunately, in Minnesota, we have great systems and an abundance of access to care.” He suggests choosing a primary care physician who isn’t necessarily fresh out of school, not because they aren’t qualified, but like with many first jobs, there’s more potential for young doctors to move around. You don’t want a doctor who retires before you. Kim says it’s ideal to choose a doctor with five to 10 years experience and is likely to age with you. He notes it’s also easier to streamline care when patients remain within the same healthcare system when possible.


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For more insight into this topic, Kim recommends Being Mortal by Atul Gawnde.

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D E PA R T M E N T S » D O I N G G O O D

Looking Forward Local non-profit turns stumbling blocks into stepping stones. BY MADELINE KOPIECKI

SARA SWAN HAS OVER TWO DECADES OF EXPERIENCE in special education. Swan found schools were very system-centered, emphasizing a collegiate-focused model that might not be right for everyone. In 2001, Swan discovered an approach to challenge the formulaic strategy when she took a training course on person-centered thinking and later turned a onetime mentorship into a full-fledged organization called Looking Forward Life Coaching (LFLC), a non-profit mentorship program that works alongside people who could use some assistance in a variety of ways.




It started while working at a preschool. She had a conversation with a coworker about the coworker’s son, who had difficulty in high school and was struggling in college. The coworker, who knew about Swan’s background in special education and asked if Swan could help. Swan agreed and started meeting with Nate, and the two began setting goals, which they worked toward for about 20 months. The success of those interactions led to LFLC. Swan’s LFLC staff meets clients across the metro in their homes, at coffee shops, in restaurants, at parks or

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LOOKING FORWARD LIFE COACHING lookingforwardlc.org Looking Forward Life Coaching

virtually. A person-centered approach is the mantra of LFLC. “We are able to tailor it to whatever the client needs,” Swan says. Topics include tutoring to prepare for the SAT/ACT, learning how to travel internationally, obtaining a driver’s license, honing interpersonal skills and more. Nate has been working with Swan for 10 years. “She’s helped me get through college, find a career, prepare me to rent my first place and become independent,” Nate says. “Together, we turned what worked for me into Looking Forward Life Coaching.” Swan says the reason the organization is called Looking Forward is because mentors and clients spend their time together doing just that—looking forward. “We’re not therapists, we’re not social workers or anything like that, so we’re not focusing in on the past per se,” Swan says. “It’s more, ‘What are the tools that we can put into their tool box of life that can be beneficial to take them to the next steps in life?’” In particular, Swan recalls a young woman, who wanted to move to North Carolina to be with her boyfriend. Working on a nine-month timeline, Swan and the client broke down the move step-by-step, including searching for an apartment, applying for identification and renewing her driver’s license. Up to the week before the move, Swan and the client worked to get everything ready. Nearing moving day, Swan took the client out to lunch, bringing a box with her. “Our theme is changing stumbling blocks into stepping stones,” Swan says. “I gave her this box. In this box, I had taken rocks and on each one of the rocks I had written each one of those different goals: find an apartment, renew driver’s license, save up money, so on and so forth … I said, ‘Listen, this was you; you did this. I came alongside you and encouraged you, but this was you. You changed all these things that were once stumbling blocks into stepping stones, and, look, you get to get on the airplane tomorrow, and you’re moving to North Carolina.’”

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2 1 R O OTS Farm’s name highlights special intention in programming.

Brittany Wiitala and Amy Peterson

Local nonprofit 21 Roots Farm brings meaningful activities to people impacted by developmental disabilities. With programming for both youths and adults, activities on the farm are as fresh as each new season since the farm’s start in 2019. When the founders of 21 Roots Farm first met in college, they had different experiences working with people with disabilities. Brittany Wiitala had worked at a group home, while Amy Peterson was studying kinesiology with a minor in special education. But after volunteering with the Minnesota Autism Society and both participating in a week-long camp, Wiitala and Peterson knew they wanted to create their own organization and opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. From the get-go, Wiitala and Peterson knew they wanted to create naturefocused programming for people with



developmental disabilities. “I think especially people with disabilities are further removed from certain knowledge,” Wiitala says. Growing up on a farm in Wisconsin, Wiitala says it wasn’t until adulthood that she realized how exceptional her experience was. “I did things because my dad told me to, not because I had any interest in farming,” Wiitala says. “In adulthood, I realized what a privileged way to grow up [that was] and to know where my food came from.” The more Wiitala and Peterson discussed their dream, the more things began to take shape. Between meaningful opportunities in nature, animal therapy, and knowing where food comes from, the answer was fairly clear to the pair: their interests and passions sounded a lot like a farming. “As we were getting more serious

about it, we had the property picked out, scheduled an inspection, started our nonprofit, and literally the day before, I was like, “Amy, we need to find a farmer,” Wiitala says. “Then the next day, we came for the inspection. The inspector didn’t show, but Laura was here.” Laura Lutz was an Animal Science major at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls who had been keeping her cows on the property with the previous owners. During an initial conversation, Lutz shared her dream of starting a farm for people with disabilities. “I just thought, ‘Shut up!’” Wiitala says, laughing. “Along this journey we’ve had a lot of those moments of just, ‘Are you kidding me? Is this real?’” Another instance of serendipitous coincidence resulted in the naming of the farm itself, which is comprised of 21 acres. “We started to think about it, and

Written by Madeline Kopiecki Photos by Chris Emeott

a lot of people behind the vision have Down syndrome,” Wiitala says. “Down syndrome is three copies of the twentyfirst chromosome, so [the name] was a way of honoring them.” Fitting as it was, the name 21 Acres was already taken. “So then roots; everyone involved has their own intricate root system below the surface of different experiences,” Peterson says. “That kind of drives what we’re doing.” To support this myriad of root systems each participant possesses, 21 Roots Farm has programming as diverse as its farmers. “Being on a farm, there’s always projects and always things to do,” Peterson says. “I think our youth programming and our adult programming, it just depends on the abilities and interests of the participating farmers. We shift to what’s most interesting to them.” One story Peterson likes to tell is that

of a participating farmer in his 30s. “His mom wrote that he dreamt of being a farmer his whole life,” Peterson says. “We thought, ‘Oh great!’” But when they met the participant, it was clear certain parts of farm work simply didn’t suit him. “He was the slowest moving guy; didn’t like to be dirty, would stop and brush every piece of hay off his arm,” Peterson says. The one aspect he did love was the cows. “He’d be at the fence line, kind of yelling at everybody, like, ‘Be nice to the cows!’” Peterson says. “So, then I thought, ‘Oh, what if we could teach him showmanship?’” He and another participant trained the farm’s steers to get ready for the Washington County Fair, which was unfortunately canceled last year due to COVID19. So instead, 21 Roots Farm hosted its own small fair, so the participants’ families could see all of their hard work on display. “Their families got to see them take

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the steers out on the halter and bathe them, groom them, blow dry them. They got to see all the steps, so it was a really cool experience.” Activities are also directed by the seasons and this year is expected to bring new opportunities into the mix with the completion of a pole barn last fall. Both Peterson and Wiitala say they’re excited to expand their programming into the winter, something they haven’t been able to do for the past two years. “We’re going to be milking our goats and freeze a lot of the milk, possibly to make soap in the fall and winter,” Peterson says. “We also have alpacas, so we’re going to be sheering them and we’ll have their fibers to work with which will be a great winter project.” To find out more about 21 Roots Farm and its different programming, you can learn more at 21rootsfarm.org.









anting to bring a late 1980s time capsule of a kitchen back to the future, this White Bear Lake area homeowner was able to achieve a space that is modern, homey and welcoming. Before, it was an all-too-familiar scene, an original kitchen with honey oak cabinetry, red oak floors, deep brown walls, short cabinets, popcorn ceilings, a built-in desk, an electric ivory stove and a peninsula that divided the dining space from the kitchen. The entire space was in dire need of an update. Though the yawn-inducing appearance of the original kitchen was reason enough to begin a remodel process, it all came down to that u-shaped layout created by the peninsula. With five grandsons, this kitchen had grown too crowded and didn’t make sense for an extended family lifestyle. The kitchen felt cramped and cluttered and lacked good traffic flow. That said, there was also lot of wasted space and potential. With a goal of creating a more desirable gathering space, the homeowner wanted to address three essential objectives: Decrease clutter to improve traffic flow, update aging appliances and brighten the space with color and more natural light. J&J Remodelers, a Minnesota based full-service design and build remodeling firm, was able to transform this disconnected space into a more cohesive modern retreat. “We brightened it up, we opened it up and we modernized it,” J&J Remodelers Interior Designer and owner of SubtleRefinement LLC Judy Otting says. Otting says the homeowner came prepared to the first design meeting knowing exactly what they wanted and were very involved throughout the whole process. Researching a variety of styles, materials and layouts prior to the design process, the homeowner created a series of digital vision boards and organized digital folders of preferences as inspiration. Modern tools and internet functions make renovation research easier than ever so that most homeowners can more easily provide designers with a sense of their ideal space. “She knew exactly how she wanted her space to look so it was really easy to work with her,”




Otting says. “I really appreciated that decisiveness because it helped me create a space that fits them.” Understanding clients and what they want is a major part of the business Otting says. Despite the fact that some may not be familiar with the logistics behind certain processes, Otting says that if one thing is for sure, people typically know what colors and shapes they prefer whether they realize it or not. “Everybody really is their own decorator,” Otting says. “[For example,] if you show someone a purple carpet and follow it up with their opinion, they really do have a sense of what they want and what works for them and their aesthetic.” In this particular project, the homeowner decided to steer clear of creating a stark white space that’s become common in many modern kitchens. Instead, they opted for earthy neutrals and warm grays to add color variation and soften the space. With the only remaining element from the old kitchen being its rich oak floors, everything else was replaced in order to achieve the desired aesthetic. “For me it is creating that space and helping their dreams come to fruition and working and guiding them through that process,” Otting says.


Eliminating the peninsula, the homeowner opted for an island to enhance the flow and create a more inviting layout. Placed in front of a seated window bay, it draws attention to the outdoor scenery of a wooded landscape and provides a feeling of openness with a surplus of natural light. Featuring its own separate yet still coordinated color scheme from the surrounding cabinets, the island is painted Iron Gate gray from Benjamin Moore and is and topped with an off-white quartz countertop with natural dark gray veining. “Essentially the island becomes a piece of furniture,” Otting says. CUSTOM CABINETRY

A traditional shaker style cabinet with fully faced doors creates, “A simple, beautiful style that will never go out,” Otting says. Painted rather stained, the cabinetry’s classic light gray hue brings a subtle touch of color while maintaining a modernized look. OPTIMAL STORAGE

Extending the cabinets to the ceiling not only provides more storage, but also creates the illusion of a larger space. In addition to the cabinet extension is an appliance garage, pull-out trash and recycling bins and a built-in coffee bar equipped with a coffee maker and espresso machine. The appliance garage feature was a simple addition that aids in keeping more limited counter space linear and clear of the clutter.





CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS REMODEL J&J Remodelers sources its services through local makers and builders including the following for this White Bear kitchen remodel: Bear Creek Construction Creekside Electrical Service AJ Albert’s Plumbing MJ’s Contract Appliance Inc. Benchmark Cabinetry for the kitchen’s custom cabinets and island feature Innovative Surfaces for the countertops





Our local connection is extremely important when it comes to bringing you unique, exclusive, top-quality products, including the freshest produce in town. We work with both large local growers and small local farmers in our stores’ neighborhoods because local isn’t just good for our economy and the environment, local produce also retains more nutrients and just tastes better.


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ON THE TOWN things to see and do in and around White Bear Lake

SCREENING UNDER THE STARS Grab family and friends and join White Bear Township for “Movies in the Park.”




both White Bear Lake’s public amenities and its community, Polar Lakes Park’s final installment of this year’s “Movies in the Park” will take place on the second Saturday of September. The showing will be Raya: The Last Dragon. Prior to the screening, the White Bear Band Boosters will provide music and entertainment. Make sure to bring a picnic blanket or lawn chair to this free and family-friendly event. The event will also accept donations of canned goods for the White Bear Area Food Shelf. White Bear

Township often partners with this organization that offers food and support to those experiencing food insecurity. “They’re just a really great community organization that supports people in need in our community,” says Lisa Beecroft, event director for White Bear Township Events.

All ages. Free. Begins at 7 p.m. Polar Lakes Park, 1280 Hammond Road, White Bear Township; 651.747.2750; white-bear-township.mn.us




Compiled by John Deignan, Hilary Kaufman and Kira Schukar




Community and Concerts Lakeshore Players Theatre presents “LPT’s Summer Concert Series.” Blues musician and winner of a Minnesota Music Award, PL Mayo will close out this series on September 18. “It’s both an additional form of entertainment for the community [as well as a way] to reach those that may not have thought about coming into the facility,” says Jim Berry, director of concert programming for Lakeshore Players Theatre.

All ages. General Admission $12, VIP $17. 6 p.m. Lakeshore Players Theatre, 4941 Long Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.478.7427; lakeshoreplayers.org


5 Short Story Chats

White Bear Lake Farmers Market Peruse the offerings of over 50 vendors at the weekly Farmers Market. Jams and jellies, natural cheeses, organic dog treats and wildflowers are a few of the offerings. All ages. Free. 8 a.m.–noon. Clark Ave. between Second and Third St.; 651.429.8526; whitebearlake.org

If you love to read and attend book clubs but don’t have much time, Short Story Chats is perfect for you! Attendees read a freely accessible online short story in advance and then gather via Zoom for discussion. All ages. Free. 7–8 p.m.

White Bear Lake Library, 2150 Second St.; 651.724.6007; rclreads.org



18 White Bear Township Day The day includes live music, a vendor market and a car show, followed by a fireworks display. All ages. Free. 2–

9 p.m. Polar Lakes Park, 1280 Hammond Road; 612.250.4991; whitebeartownship.org

18 TRIAD Picnic A three-fold effort between law enforcement, community and senior citizens to reduce the criminal victimization of senior citizens. TRIAD membership is open to those ages 60 and over in White Bear Lake.

Open to TRIAD members of all ages. Free to attend. 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Podvin Park, 1700 Ninth St.; 651.429.8511; whitebearlake.org

1–6 A Beautiful Collection: Prince’s Custom Shoes Paisley Park displays more than 300 pairs of the Prince’s custom shoes, including heeled boots, roller skates and platform sneakers. All ages.

Guided tours of Paisley Park, including exhibit access, $45–$160. Paisley Park, 7810 Audubon Road, Chanhassen; 952.495.6750; paisleypark.com

To have your event considered: email whitebearlakemag@tigeroak.com by the 10th of the month three months prior to publication. Due to the fluidity being experienced in the current environment, please note that some events/dates and even some business operations may have changed since these pages went to print. Please visit affiliated websites for updates.





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TA S T E M A K E R S »


“If you had told me 10 years ago that I would become a chicken lady with a 3,000-square-foot garden, I would have told you [that] you were crazy,” Emily Bretzel says. “When we bought our house, we were simply looking for a beautiful outdoor space. But, once we realized the potential for hobbies, we went for as many things as we could.” Bees. Chickens. Cutting flowers. Fruit trees. Herbs. Maple trees (syrup). Vegetables. Bretzel and her husband, Ryan, are part of a growing crop of garden-to-table homeowners. “Gardening and backyard chickens are just hobbies for us that we jumped into and are learning as we go,” she says. If her name seems familiar, for more than six years, Bretzel served as the senior managing art director for our magazine family. Today finds her family, including children Archer, 10; Laine, 7; and Vienna, 3, living on 6.5 acres in the “suburbrural” burg of Grant, just outside Stillwater. It’s not unusual to find the children in the hen house, collecting daily eggs. “We started out with four hens and have added over the years,” Bretzel says. The current flock includes nine hens and one (surprise) rooster. “Some of my favorite breeds are buff orpingtons, speckled sussex and buff polish. We love the Easter eggers, too, for their beautiful blue/green eggs,” she says. The garden ably serves its dual roles— reliable producer and variable testing site. About half of the space is devoted to pumpkins, which are given away to friends and family in the fall. They also


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grow beans, carrots, corn, herbs, peppers and tomatoes. “You name it, we have grown it,” she says. Each year yields a slightly different garden plan. “We change what and how much we grow based on our eating preferences and what grows well in our soil/microclimate,” Bretzel says. “We also have a small children’s garden next to the playhouse, where we put plants with different textures and colors for the kids to explore.” Cutting flowers can be especially satisfying for their obvious beauty and ability to attract pollinators. “I’ve been adding more and more flowers and herbs to the garden because I love how much they attract pollinators and caterpillars, and I love looking at and cutting fresh flowers,” Bretzel says. “Zinnias and marigolds are my favorite easy-to-grow flowers for cutting. This year, I’m adding dahlias, bachelor buttons and others to the mix.” As long as we’re talking about pollinators, the Bretzels host up to three honey hives with different types of bees. “Bee colonies are complex and taking care of them requires lots of special equipment and consistent follow-up and education,” Bretzel says. “Our first year, we did not get any honey as we were growing our colonies. In other years, we’ve gotten 60 to 80 pounds of honey.” The garden (and hive!)-to-table benefits of gardening are obvious, but there are other upshots, too. “We talk with our kids about growing and what they like to eat, and they love that they can snack on any of the healthy foods that come directly from our garden,” Bretzel says. “It encourages us all to eat healthy foods, and we get satisfaction from knowing that we grew it ourselves.” For those who are ready to dig in with their own garden, Bretzel advises, “Start small. You don’t need a lot of space to grow most plants. Find the sunniest place in your outdoor space, and start your garden there. It can be in a planter or container if you don’t have yard space. Don’t be discouraged if you have failures. Part of the fun is trying and failing and then trying again.”

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TA S T E M A K E R S »

goodies, they turn to other ways to extend the usage. Bretzel’s sister Carrie Anderson is the designated family canner, which helps Bretzel preserve some of her vegetables. There are other methods, too. Come fall and winter, take a peek inside Bretzel’s freezer, and you’re likely to find a bountiful harvest of frozen garden vegetables. “Freezing is by far the easiest way to preserve produce,” she says. As for onions, well, they like a bit of privacy. Take a looky-loo in one of Bretzel’s closets, and you might find strands of braided onions. TIP: I definitely recommend blanching beans and carrots before freezing. Some veggies, like peppers and tomatoes, I just freeze without going through the blanching process. TIP: Spread your veggies out on a cookie tray and freeze for an hour or two before sealing them in a bag, so they don’t freeze together. TIP: [Place basil] into a food processor with olive oil, and freeze [it] into cubes. Then, anytime I need basil for a recipe, I just grab a cube, and toss it in. You can make and freeze pesto and tomato


TIP: Eat as a side dish, on a sandwich or as meat topping or for savory pies. Freeze


sauces, too. I also puree pumpkins and squash, and freeze those for future use.

roasted tomatoes into smallTIP: Rather than processing

er portions for later use. Thickly slice tomatoes, and

Come harvest time, a conun-

all my tiny cherry tomatoes,

lay them on paper towels

TIP: Another variation of

drum faced by most gar-

I freeze them whole on a bak-

to absorb some moisture.

roasted tomatoes: Slice toma-

deners is what to do with

ing sheet and keep them in a

Spread slices out on a foil-

toes into halves or chunks. Toss

the extras. Given the size of

large baggie.

lined pan, and brush or driz-

with roughly-chopped onions

their garden, the Bretzels are

zle with olive oil. Sprinkle

and olive oil. Add salt, garlic

bound to have “leftovers,”

TIP: If you have glass canning

generously with salt. Add

and/or herbs. Bake on a pan.

but very little goes to waste.

jars, you can freeze tomato

While some items are con-

sauce directly in jars. Just

other herbs and/or spices as desired (garlic and basil are

TIP: Green zebra tomatoes

sumed shortly after picking,

make sure to let the jars cool

good choices). Bake at 400°

are Minnesota hardy and

and friends and family receive

in the fridge first because

for about 30 minutes.

taste great roasted.

their fair shares of garden

glass could shatter.


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The Most Important Oatmeal of the Day Back to school means back to a good, healthy breakfast. BY RACHAEL PERRON

morning meal rotation. Boxed cold cereals and precooked grains are convenient and can be particularly nutritious when done right. The darling of the internet, overnight oats, makes oatmeal easier than ever because you prepare it the night before. It’s a simple, versatile and healthful recipe that’s portable too! Another make-ahead idea for oatmealon-the-go is granola. Chocolate granola combines bittersweet chocolate, flax seeds and honey and is customizable with your choice of dried fruits and nuts. On its own or with a bit of yogurt or



splash of milk, granola is a delicious and decadent way to start the day. Other grains worthy of breakfast status include amaranth, barley, quinoa, bulgur, buckwheat and sorghum. Each offer unique textures and flavors as well as special health benefits. They can be cooked ahead of time and allow for a lot of variety in breakfast bowls. A good ol’ box of cereal is not to be discounted. This fast breakfast-on-the-fly can get a health boost in a number of ways: »» Add flavor, texture and boost nutrition with a few toss-ins, like fresh or dried fruit and nuts or seeds.

»» Mix flakes with granola or biscuit-like cereals, O’s with bran buds or puffed grains with checkered grain squares. »» Make a cereal smoothie by blending 1 cup each cereal, frozen fruit and dairy or non-dairy milk or yogurt. Find Perron’s recipes for overnight oats, chocolate granola and breakfast bowls at whitebearlakemag.com Contributed by Rachael Perron, culinary and brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, where she specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications.



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