Plymouth Magazine December 2021

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D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 1 /J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2 “What I’m trying to capture is how these families have a clear understanding—because of everything they’re going through—of what is most precious in life. It’s the little things.” —Ann Marie Grocholski

DEPARTMENTS 10 — A Season for Thanks How handwritten thank you cards have made a comeback.

12 — Mysteries of the North Shore Resident rekindles his love of creative writing.

14 — Strength and Hope A local photographer inspires others through her art.

FEATURES 16 — Sprinkle Squad Local nonprofit spreads love, joy and frosting.

20 — Wine of the Times Uncork sommelier winebuying strategies and coldclimate wine education.

TASTEMAKERS 30 — Grain Elevators Add a touch of history, new flavor profiles and textures to your menu.


IN EVERY ISSUE 4 — Editor’s Letter 7 — Noteworthy 26 — On the Town 32 — Last Glance

Photos: AMG Photography; Chris Emeott


LOVE Happy Holidays from


FROM THE EDITOR Renée Stewart-Hester,


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nderstandably, we tend to find ourselves buttoned up come wintertime— ensconced in our homes, snuggled up near a fire, cozied up in a favorite chair or, if ambition strikes, engaged in indoorsy endeavors. Admittedly, we are good at getting out on the ski and sled hills, off to outdoor community events and the like, but how much contact do we have with our neighbors? In fact, how well do you know your neighbors or fellow residents? One of the themes of this issue is giving back, and I’d like to introduce you to two residents who have found wonderful ways to celebrate others in need of some affirmation and kindness. McKenna Stremke, owner of Kenna’s Cakes, volunteers with For Goodness Cakes, which unites nationwide chapters of volunteer bakers to bake birthday cakes to foster children and at-risk youth. “It’s inspiring how many people are spending their time making special creations for others,” the Plymouth resident says. Read more about Stremke on page 16. Ann Marie Grocholski is the owner of AMG Photography and a member of Plymouth Magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board. In addition to her work as a photographer, the Plymouth resident developed Images of Strength and Hope. Through it, she serves families with children with special needs or who are facing a serious illness by taking photographs and creating special memories for the families. Grocholski also works with a shelter for girls, who are victims of sex trafficking or exploitation. Her story is found on page 14. Speaking of making introductions, I’m pleased to announce that Madeline Kopiecki is the new editor of Plymouth Magazine. I’ve been offered a new position within Tiger Oak Media, and while I’ll miss being a part of your community, I am confident that Madeline will be an amazing asset to this publication. She’s looking forward to getting started, so please welcome her to Plymouth Magazine!



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On the Cover For Goodness Cakes, photo by Chris Emeott


December 2021/January 2022

Photo: Tate Carlson

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VOL. 18 NO. 5

publisher SUSAN ISAY


managing creative director RENÉE STEWART-HESTER

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editorial advisory board Elizabeth Cohen, Studio M Ann Marie Grocholsk, AMG Photography Deb Sakry Lande, Interfaith Outreach Emilie Kastner, City of Plymouth Amy Parnell, Wayzata Public Schools Luann Svendsen, Plymouth Reads member and community volunteer

senior managing art director SARAH DOVOLOS

art director ALLISON NOLDEN

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print production director BRITTNI DYE

digital production director DEIDRA ANDERSON

project coordinators ADRIANNA BLACK BULL, LISA STONE


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chief operating officer SUSAN ISAY

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NOTEWORTHY local tips, tidbits & insights


T H E SHORT DAYS A N D LON G NIGHTS provide ample time to recon-

Photo: Chris Emeott

nect with your passion for reading. To help you get back into reading this winter, we offer this book list, which can help you feel energized to pursue your goals, excited to connect with others and eager to reflect on your daily activities and choices. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by Minnesota born J. Ryan Stradal is uniquely told; each chapter focuses on a different character and all the chapter titles are ingredients. The story follows Eva on a journey of discovery told through the lens of food and the community it creates. Each ingredient is a step along her path. And no, this is not a cookbook. The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda

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Gates is focused on empowering women in work, marriage, school and health decisions. She narrates this book with stories from women around the world and the life decisions they made based on their circumstances. The Authenticity Project by Claire Poole is focused on our connection with each other. The book follows a notebook as it passes through the hands of seven individuals, each documenting their own deep hidden truths. This book is heartwarming and shows what can ensue when you dare to share your authentic self. It All Comes Back to You by Beth Duke is a beautiful story that juxtaposes the joys of love with the sadness of heartbreak and the process of moving forward. The protagonist is a young nurse,

Ronni, who has the dream of becoming a writer. She is forced to follow that dream when an octogenarian, Violet, in Ronni’s care, tasks her with writing Violet’s biography. Have you ever looked back on life and thought, if I changed one decision, what would my life be like? In Midnight Library by Matt Haig, Nora experiences her various lives if she made different choices. After which she can choose to stay in that new life or go back to her current life. If given this opportunity, what would you do? —KATIE TIMCHO AND AMY SUNDET





Consider sparkling wine alternatives.

Kevin Castellano, an area wine and liquor expert.



Wrap up seasonal décor. Adorning your home with seasonal colors, trimming the tree and wrapping gifts is certainly enjoyable, but putting it all away is another story. Décor seems to accumulate year after year, so I recommend pairing it down while you are putting it up. Label a box “donate,” and fill it with items you rarely use or no longer enjoy. Repeat the process when you take the holiday items down after the season because a second pass is always helpful. Wrapping paper-specific storage bins are recommended. They can either rest flat or upright. If space is limited, the flat bins can be stored under beds. Another option includes storing paper between ceiling joists in an unfinished basement or garage by securing two dowels to support the paper above. Plastic wreath storage bins are preferred over zippered wreath bags as they offer

better protection. Alternatively, cover the wreaths with a heavy-duty garbage bag and hang in a closet or on a garage wall. Tame holiday lights by using storage reels, which can keep them tangle—and damage—free. Protect delicate ornaments in a bin with dividers that are made specifically for ornaments. Use bins with clear windows, so you can easily see the contents. Make your own ornament storage holder by hot gluing plastic cups or egg cartons to cardboard sheets and placing them inside a large bin. These simple organizing hacks can make putting up and taking down holiday décor a bit easier. Happy Holidays from Zestful Design.

Kira Vanderlan operates a decluttering, organizing, staging and design company.

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Bubbles are a must for the holidays, and there are so many great variations out there that I’d like to highlight an entire category, not just one producer. Champagne is the benchmark, but there are also appellations all over France that make great sparklers. If they aren’t produced in the Champagne region specifically, these sparkling wines are referred to as “crémant” by the French. These wines are typically still brut in style but they are made from grapes native to other regions in France. Loire Valley, for example, makes wonderful crémant from sauvignon blanc or chenin blanc varietals, among others. I highly recommend Saint-Hilaire, a great brut crémant for under $20.

Y O U R N E I G H B O R H O O D R E A LT O R Plymouth Paul’s Promise Honesty, Open Communication and Results STR E TCH

Gift yourself health for the holidays.

Pamela Hasselbring, co-owner of Pilates MN—which moved to Plymouth from Wayzata—stresses the importance of staying healthy all year. “It’s very important to stay healthy with your mind, body and spirit every day,” she says. The pandemic also brought health concerns to the fore. “COVID-19 showed us that those with underlying issues did not do well if they contracted COVID,” Hasselbring says. “Now, more than ever, it’s important to work on all parts of our health. The holidays are tempting, and it’s best to continue healthy programs. Indulging a bit is OK, but when we do too much of it, we pay the price physically and mentally.” To help people stay on the right path, Pilates MN offers a free MOVE Zoom meeting at 7:30 p.m. December 7, highlighting Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays. Another free MOVE Zoom meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. January 4 and will address Keeping Healthy Resolutions with the MOVE Zoom Tracker. (The Zoom meeting code is 412 678 9348, and the passcode is 797295.) During COVID, Hasselbring says Pilates MN developed the MOVE Method for Well Being, which is free for anyone. “This 13-page program [found on the website] will help you eat right, sleep better, discuss mental health and will get people moving,” she says. “You can keep track daily with the MOVE Tracker that helps you get on the path to better health.” Along with Pilates classes, Pilates MN offers strength classes, physical therapy, rehabilitative massage and dietician services. —RENÉE STEWART-HESTER

Pilates MN, 2355 Polaris Lane N. 952.476.0304; Pilates MN pilates_mn

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many people are looking for ways to connect this holiday season that don’t involve a screen. For some, this means picking up a phone, but for others, it involves picking up a pen. “We can tell this year by our business that greeting card sending, in general, is up,” says Gina Gottschalk, founder and president of Gina B. Designs Inc. in


Plymouth. “People [need] that connection, and they’re getting tired of emails and texts,” she says. “They [want] that tactile experience of sending a card.” Gina B. Designs specializes in greeting cards, stationery and gifts, and what started in 1984 as a small business has grown into a brand that can be found across the nation. In Minnesota, Gina B. Designs products can be found in garden

centers like Bachman’s and Gertens, as well as grocery stores like Kowalski’s Market and Plymouth’s Cub Foods, and the General Store in Minnetonka. “I’ve always loved stationery,” Gottschalk says. “I actually started hand-painting cards and selling them to local gift shops, knowing that I would, hopefully, start being able to reproduce them ...” After starting with a few

December 2021/January 2022

Photo: Gina B. Designs

How handwritten thank you cards have made a comeback.




Are you daunted by the blank white space inside a thank you card? With the help of

Spotlight On Results, we pulled together some helpful tips to write the perfect thank you note.

Plymouth’s #1 Homeseller

The equation for a good thank you note is pretty straightforward: salutation +

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appreciation + detail + use + goodbye. A Salutation can be anything from formal to casual, depending on your recipient. (Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith or Hello Grandma, for example.) Just like a letter, the salutation is placed in the upper left-hand corner of the note. Get to the point, and express your appreciation. (Thank you for coming to my Thanksgiving party, Thanks for the new ___ or Your Christmas gift was perfect. Thank you, for example.) Add a detail or two to personalize the note. (It was wonderful to see you, and everyone loved the green bean casserole you brought! ___ is so cool and I’ve wanted one for a long time, for example.) If you’re thanking someone for a present, let them know how you plan to use the item in the future. If you’re thanking someone for attending an event, express your interest in connecting again. (We look forward to having you over again sometime soon or I can’t wait to wear this to work on Monday, for example.) Repeat your thanks, and say goodbye by signing your name. (Thanks again, I hope you have a good rest of your holidays, or Thank you, for example.)

designs of her own, Gottschalk says she began working with sales reps, and the business took off from there. Although Gina B. Designs licenses work by around 50 different artists at any given time, Gottschalk says the brand still has a distinctive style. “Generally, it’s pretty—a lot of florals,” she says. “We don’t like anything heavy; our art is mostly pretty light-handed, fluid. Most of our work is watercolor.” Along with Gina B.’s seasonal holiday cards, Gottschalk notes that paper invitations and thank you cards are also trending this season as people look to make time with friends and family and reflect upon gratitude. Gina B. Designs

First Avenue team opens up the first show

After 476 days, First Avenue reopened with suds, smiles, and The Suburbs.

When the pandemic forced First Avenue to shut down on March 13, 2020, CFO Mike Killeen immediately reached out to Ashley Dolphin, Crown Bank’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending, to troubleshoot how to get through the impending crisis. Fast forward to today and the live music is back. To watch the whole story, search news at

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Story by Kira Schukar — Photo by Chris Emeott


Mysteries of the North Shore Resident rekindles his love of creative writing.

WHEN PLYMOUTH RESIDENT BOB LUND graduated from college

with a degree in English, he had two choices—enroll in either journalism school or law school. At first, journalism felt like the right choice—Lund had spent his college


career at Hamilton College in New York working for the school’s newspaper and writing short stories and poetry. But, he says, “My advisor and school basically said, ‘Look, there aren’t any jobs there.’” Financially, law school made the most sense. “I think some people would say

it was a cop out,” Lund says. “But going to law school and taking the career path that I did … from an economic standpoint, [it] was clearly the right choice.” After he finished law school at what is now known as Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Lund worked as a cor-

December 2021/January 2022

porate lawyer for Twin Cities financial institutions for more than three decades and served as the CEO of a mid-sized company for 12 years, which left him with little time to write creatively. In 2018, Lund stepped away from his CEO position to open his own law practice. With more time on his hands, he decided to return to writing. “I always in the back of my mind thought, ‘You should have done more in terms of the artistic side [of writing].’ And I always kind of regretted that,” Lund says. “So, when I knew I was going to have more time, I thought … ‘[I’ll] just give it a try.’” Inspired by author Stephen King’s mysteries and Wallace Stegner’s westerns, Lund wrote his first novel, Treachery, in just two months under the name R.T. Lund. Having grown up in Duluth, Lund used his novel to combine the two spaces he’s most familiar with: the courtroom and the North Shore. Treachery kicks off in Gooseberry Falls with the murder of a young lawyer, whose recent lawsuit against the Catholic Church threatened to take down the Twin Cities’ archdiocese. As local sheriff Sam MacDonald investigates the case, he unravels a knot of corruption in the church. “What I really want to do is to try to tell a good story that incorporates a lot of the fallibility … [and] all the ironies that are involved in the world,” Lund says. “There have been a couple lawyers who’ve made a lot of money out of representing the victims in America, so the book also points out those issues.” For his second novel, A Climate for Death, Lund set his critical lens on climate change. Readers rejoin Sheriff MacDonald as he investigates a mysterious plane crash that implicates an heiress and a congressional candidate, all while surviving one of the North Shore’s coldest winters on record. In 2021, the novel won first place in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards’ Thriller category. Even with his recent success and a third book set to be released in early 2022, Lund views his writing as a hobby rather than a career. “I don’t need to make any money from my writing at this point,” he says. “I’m doing it because I like to do it … I have fun doing it.”

A special thank you to our customers and staff for their patience and understanding as we have dealt with unprecedented circumstances and restrictions the past year and a half. We appreciate you!

Treachery and A Climate for Death are available from Amazon and


Story by Madeline Kopiecki — Photos by AMG Photography


Strength and Hope A local photographer inspires others through her art.

ALTHOUGH ANN MARIE GROCHOLSKI left the nonprofit world

to start her photo studio in 2015, her passion for helping others hasn't ebbed. “I wanted to retain that connection,” Grocholski says. “That’s why I decided to start Images of Strength and Hope; it allows me to connect my love for photography to serving families who have amazing stories to tell.” Her program serves families who have a child with special needs or a child facing chronic or terminal illness. Grocholski works with families to compile photographs and written histories. After these sometimes lengthy interviews, Grocholski and the family schedule their shoot. These documentary-like photo shoots can take anywhere from an hour to multiple hourlong sessions. Grocholski documents the child and the family, pulling everything together at the end with a professional photo book for the family. “What I’m trying to capture is how these families have a clear understanding—because of everything they’re going through—of what is most precious in life. It’s the little things,” she says. “Ann Marie was wonderful to work with,” mom Wendy Beard says. “She takes awesome photos, asks awesome questions and is happy and encouraging.” Grocholski met the Beard family in person in December 2020. After an initial interview, she went to the Beard's Minnetonka home for family photo shoot including the Beard’s daughter Ashley, who has Huntington’s disease (a progressive brain disorder). But Grocholski's initial introduction to the Beard family goes back even further than that first interview. When Beard


December 2021/January 2022

Gentle & effective you can enjoy life…and live well!

stopped receiving help caring for Ashley on the weekends, she turned to Crescent Cove, one of only three youth hospice homes in the United States. “We provide respite and end-of-life care,” says Katie Lindenfelser, founder and executive director of the hospice. “Families who have a child with a lifethreatening condition or shortened life expectancy due to a diagnosis come for a short break, maybe a weekend or a week.” It’s through youth service nonprofits like Crescent Cove and HopeKids that Grocholski connects with families for the Images of Strength and Hope program. “Crescent Cove told us that every year, [Grocholski] does a free photo shoot and book for one Crescent Cove family to highlight their journey,” Beard explains. Lindenfelser says the opportunity Grocholski provides is incredibly meaningful for the families she connects with. “Those memories are captured, and they can be shared when people ask about their child and the things that they love and special moments that they remember,” she says. “It’s a really special opportunity that she provides for our families at Crescent Cove.” Through her Images of Strength and Hope program, Grocholski also works with 180 Degrees’ Brittany’s Place in St. Paul, a shelter for girls who are victims of sex trafficking or exploitation. Grocholski says her mission is to put strength and hope back into these girls’ hands through photography. “The focus of that program is to help these girls see themselves in a new light,” she says. After building trust with the girls, Grocholski photographs them to help them see positive aspects of themselves. Each girl receives their own photo book at the end of the program. “Teenaged girls will often portray themselves a certain way on social media, and they don’t have to do that,” Grocholski says. “There’s beauty in simply who they are.” Recently, Grocholski started giving the girls their own cameras so they, too, can start documenting the world around them.

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cKenna Stremke knows her way around mixing bowls and cake stands. As owner of Kenna’s Cakes, she’s wellversed in all things mix, bake and frost, but her baking took a sweet turn when she began volunteering with For Goodness Cakes, which originated in California and unites nationwide chapters of volunteer bakers to bake birthday cakes to foster children and at-risk youth. “The first cake I made was a Spider-Man-themed cake for a 5-year-old boy named Oliver,” Plymouth local Stremke says. “After I dropped it off, I heard that Oliver’s mom will be so happy, since usually she wouldn’t be able to provide a cake for her son. The feeling of being able to provide this for him was unlike anything else.” Allison Sundquist of Edina discovered For Goodness Cakes in late 2019 while researching ways to combine her passions for baking and volunteering. Its mission so excited Sundquist that she couldn’t help but share what she’d learned with Edina’s Kim


Sabow, who had recently sent her youngest child off to college. Sabow considered the timing perfect to partner with Sundquist and start a Twin Cities chapter of For Goodness Cakes. Within four weeks, the duo was on an airplane bound for a For Goodness Cakes chapter summit. They’d been undeterred by an early rebuff from the organization. “We were told they’d already brought in enough agencies,” Sabow says. “But I called the person in charge and said, ‘You want us on your team. You have no idea how good we’ll be.’” She was not wrong. An initial and immediate requirement was for the women to raise $4,000 in startup costs (licensing fees and funding for volunteer management software). “It’s amazing how people came through to help us raise the money in only eight weeks,” she says. The organization partners with about 20 local agencies that work with underserved and underprivileged youth. Partner agencies often work with children in foster care, young adults aging out of foster care, homeless shelters or agencies that aid young victims of sex trafficking. The partner agencies request cakes, and Sundquist and Sabow

Story by Angela Johnson and Renée StewartHester Photos by Chris Emeott

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SPRINKLE SQUAD Local nonprofit spreads love, joy and frosting.

“The feeling of being able to provide this for him was unlike anything else.” - McKenna Stremke -

December 2021/January 2022


Allison Sundquist & Kim Sabow

match those requests with volunteer bakers, using the software system funded by their startup and ongoing donations. Volunteer bakers, dubbed the Sprinkle Squad, come from all over the Metro, with a few even hailing from Wisconsin, and have varied baking backgrounds—from professional to home cooks. All are hungry to deliver joy to a child. Volunteer bakers don’t typically get to meet the children they bake for; to ensure child safety, volunteers take the cakes to For Goodness Cakes’ partner agencies, which deliver the requested cakes to the children. For Goodness Cakes made its first cake delivery in October 2020. Volunteers, numbering about 150, have since delivered over 120 birthday or graduation cakes with many more deliveries planned as the word gets out and partner agencies resume more services. For Goodness Cakes is adamant about food safety.


Volunteer bakers must be at least 18 years old (unless partnered with a parent), participate in orientation training and pass a food safety course. The organization cannot honor allergen-free cake requests as there is no method of ensuring allergen-free kitchens. Also, throughout the pandemic, volunteer bakers have been required to remain masked throughout any cake baking or delivery. “We’ve had nothing but positive feedback from agencies that are grateful for the collaboration,” Sundquist says. “One agency we work with is called Common Bond Communities. It was through them [For Goodness Cakes] delivered its first graduation cake for a girl who got her GED. She cried because the cake was so beautiful and because her name was spelled correctly. It has a unique spelling, and many don’t get it right. It’s just so cool for kids, some who have never received a personalized cake, to celebrate

December 2021/January 2022

For Goodness Cakes



“They’re not just delivering a cake. They’re delivering a message to a child that someone cares about them in their community.” - Allison Sundquist -

them. I tell our volunteers to never underestimate the value of what they’re doing. They’re not just delivering a cake. They’re delivering a message to a child that someone cares about them in their community.” Sundquist and Sabow aim for the continued growth of their Twin Cities chapter by welcoming more partner agencies and volunteers. The duo is especially hoping for a corporate sponsorship or collaboration. “Many of our volunteers use products from local companies like General Mills, Nordic Ware and Land O’Lakes,” Sundquist says. “Any help in partnering with companies like these on a local or national level would be wonderful. We are definitely open to those conversations.” While the program, hopefully, continues to grow in this area, Stremke continues to savor her experience with the program. “Knowing that my cake [that] I put so much love into making got into

Oliver’s hands and created a magical birthday for him is an incredible feeling,” she says. “In addition, the For Goodness Cakes community has been so unexpected; Allison does a great job leading the Twin Cities chapter through email newsletters and our Facebook page, where we can see all of the amazing cakes other volunteers are making. It’s inspiring how many people are spending their time making special creations for others.”

Ongoing financial donations are needed to fund For Goodness Cakes’ Twin Cities operations. “We often tell people, ‘If you can’t bake, donate,’” Sundquist says. Any interested volunteers or donors can learn more by visit ing


Story by Hailey Almsted and Angela Johnson Photos by Chris Emeott



Wine can be appreciated all year, but it’s especially apropos during the holiday season. Dinner parties, restaurant gatherings and holiday gift giving tend to make wine top of mind for many revelers. So, with stemware in one hand, we connected with local experts for information to help would-be wine drinkers get more comfortable buying, ordering and gifting wine during the holidays, or for that matter, any time of year. Because, anytime can be wine time. Sarina Garibović is a certified sommelier and owner of Ženska Glava, a woman owned and operated wine and spirits events business. Garibović became interested in wine and wine education while working in the hospitality industry and used her education to help create restaurant wine lists and teach servers how to make wine more approachable without over-simplifying. She also founded a nonprofit with fellow sommeliers call Twin Cities Somms. We asked Garibović what to look for in a wine best suited to your occasions. She says, “As a somm, what we’re thinking about is what do you usually like to drink? What flavor profiles do you already appreciate? If you love a California pinot noir, you probably like fruity wine with some acidity. Also, price is a factor for everyone, so we might ask which producers you enjoy in order to see what you’re used to paying; because you might not love a fantastic wine if you feel like you’ve overpaid!” For the adventurous types who prefer to try new things and for whom it doesn’t matter if those things align with what you already like, then Garibović tends to suggest wines from underrepresented regions like Slovenia because, “It can be good and also be a better value.” Most importantly, Garibović encourages people to ask the staff at any restaurant or wine seller. They should know about the wines they offer. She says, “Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions, because a little bit of knowledge can go a long way, for example knowing things like more fruit character typically comes from a warmer climate where there

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is riper fruit and more sugar and higher alcohol. Knowing a little bit about how grapes are grown can go a long way.” We dove deeper into our wine glass and asked Garibović’s opinion about some common wine varieties. R EDS :

Cabernet Sauvignon — In a restaurant setting, if guests say they frequently enjoy cabernet sauvignon from the Napa Valley, that gives a lot of information about the character of the fruit they may expect, whether they expect the wine to undergo barrel aging as well as the price they are accustomed to spending on a bottle. The land in Napa Valley is quite expensive and new oak barrels are used to produce many cabernet sauvignons in the area, all leading to a higher cost for the finished wine. Merlot — Merlot used to be quite popular but has since fallen out of favor with many drinkers, arguably due to the popular movie Sideways, which created a preference for pinot noir. This makes merlot, a delicious wine worthy of frequent enjoyment, on par with a passion project for many producers. Much like cabernet sauvignon, merlot is a wine with grippier tannins, lots of ripe black fruit character and pairs well with weightier dishes like steak. Pinot Noir — Pinot noir is a hugely popular grape variety that can express itself in wildly variable ways due to factors such as climate, soil type, aspect and aging methods. Typically, pinot noir coming from a cool place like Burgundy, the Loire Valley and Oregon will have a lighter body, show high toned red fruit and herbs with more acidity while examples from California will express themselves with richer fruit, a fuller body and more subdued acid. If you love pinot noir from Burgundy or Oregon but find the offerings restrictive due to budget, try gamay from the same places, which can offer similar qualities with a typically more affordable price tag. Malbec — Originating in France where it is known as cot, it has really exploded in popularity and low cost examples are practically ubiquitous. The issue with malbec occurs when the cheap examples available in grocery stores cannot be found on wine lists and are instead replaced by higher quality examples at surprisingly high prices. This is because though malbec originated in France, it is now produced primarily in Mendoza, Argentina, where it can vary greatly in quality depending on where it is grown and the methods used to produce it. Stick to affordable examples when buying retail for everyday wines, but talk with your server in a restaurant for help finding a great example or another wine that matches your preferences. Zinfandel — It can be misunderstood because of the way the grape bunches ripen on the vine. Unlike other red grapes, which ripen at relatively the same speed, becoming darker and concentrating sugars over time, zinfandel can have a bunch of grapes with green grapes, ripe grapes and raisins all at the same time.


In the finished wine, this can mean a range of fruit character and perception of body and texture. More and more, producers are aiming for a more balanced zinfandel rather than pushing the limits of harvest time to get the most ripe fruit, which has in the past contributed to the perception of zinfandel as a big, jammy wine. The rich and ripe style can be great for pairing with weightier and more intense dishes, just talk to your wine pro to find out which example might be right for you and the occasion. W H I TE S :

Sauvignon Blanc — Garibović says, “Sauvignon blanc is so popular, and in so many people’s comfort zone, that at times it can be hard to guide guests to any other wine on the menu.” It’s refreshing and crisp but also has a uniquely green character, like bell pepper or a gooseberry quality. It pairs well with vegetable dishes or foods with an herb component. Most folks like the crispness and fruity quality of many New Zealand sauvignon blancs, but there are other options like Sancerre from the Loire Valley in France or Styria in southern Austria that are worth trying. Riesling — Known as the darling of somms; “We all adore it,” says Garibović. Due to the popularity of Liebfraumilch in the ‘80s (Blue Nun), there is a common idea that all riesling is sweet, creating a wellknown and oft examined difficulty of selling the wine in many settings. If you like a high acid, high tone, crisp, electric white wine, you cannot find a better option with lime, lemon, apricot flavors. Though even riesling with sweetness shouldn’t be discounted, due to its high acidity, the sugar is easily balanced and sometimes practically imperceptible. Riesling is also versatile in food pairing; turn to a dry example for salads with a vinaigrette, weightier and more concentrated bottles for spicy dishes and the classically sweet styles for fruit tarts and many other desserts. Pinot Gris — Same as pinot grigio, both are wonderful, crisp and neutral with a fresh style. Gris is from France and expresses itself differently, a little richer and with a golden hue. A bottle of gris is a wine for a table of four because it pairs with most everything. Chardonnay — Known as a love it or leave it variety, climate and winemaking have a great impact on chardonnay as a finished wine. A fairly neutral grape, tending towards a high toned, chalky, minerally wine from cool climates like Chablis, and riper apple, and even tropical fruits when grown in a warm place like Napa, chardonnay can be many things. Chardonnay can be a wine of process like lees stirring (to create creaminess), malo lactic conversion (the source of that buttered popcorn aroma) and oak usage (vanilla aromas and flavor) are employed. So, it’s important to ask, “Where does it come from and how is it made?” Cost can be a window into style as well, since extending time before bottling and the use of new oak barrels create a lot of expense for winemakers.

December 2021/January 2022




crossbreed the grapes to bring out the traits they are interested in. “This year, we are planning to make 50 crosses, [and] from that we will target 5,000 seeds to grow next year,” Clark says. Genetic testing for specific traits and disease resistance follow; and after the vineyard produces fruit, three to five years later, the enologists taste it to determine if it is worth evaluating for a second time. “In many cases, the answer is no. Things that perform well [are] one-in-a-thousand vines,” Clark says. “Over the year, we make 75–100 wines and taste those to help us make decisions about a new variety.” To produce a new variety, the station relies on university collaborators, such as nurseries, to test the vines. Once there is a new variety released, the station works with growers to produce the vines, nurseries to propagate the vines and licensees to sell the vines. “We certainly grow different varieties,” Clark says. La crescent is one variety, which has a high aromatic and is compared to moscato. “We often hear people say that wines in the Midwest are sweet … One reason we might see more sweet wines in the Midwest is because the grapes have a higher acidity.” Currently, over 100 selections are being tested for cold hardiness and disease resistance, as well as viticultural traits, such as productivity and ripening times. However, it may just be another 20 years before we see another variety released.

Above: Frontenac grapes Matthew Clark

Photos: David L Hansen; Dylan VanBoxtel

In cold-climate Minnesota, which boasts just 80 wineries, sweet la crescent take the lead. Unlike warmer-climates, Minnesota produces cold-hardy and disease-resistant wine grapes. At the University of Minnesota’s (UMN) Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, one of the top grape research programs in the country, more than 12,000 experimental vines are cultivated on 12 acres of land. Matthew Clark, assistant professor of grape breeding and enology and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s director of research, says, “At the University of Minnesota, our grape breeding project has focused on developing new varieties of grapes … [It’s] focused on bringing in genetics through breeding methods of high-quality wine grapes that people are familiar with and bringing in the cold to learn what varieties can grow here.” Although cold climates were once deemed “too cold” for fine wines, regions such as Minnesota are now capable of producing such wines if the grape varieties possess the properties needed to sustain the climate. Clark says Minnesota’s short growing season and severe winters contribute to how long grapes are on the vine, which plays a major role in flavor and aroma development. “The grapes in Minnesota do quite well with our short season because they’ve been selected and adapted for those environments,” he says. At the UMN’s experiment station, cultivating a new wine variety takes an average of 20 years. The enologists use traditional breeding methods to

Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station

December 2021/January 2022

Sign your child up for private or semi-private lessons and rock bands at Back to Rock Plymouth! All instruments available and all skill levels welcome.

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Looking for a great burger, a place for happy hour or a food truck to cater your event—Rock Elm has you covered

We are here to meet all your flooring needs! Quality service you can trust. Check out our 5-star Google reviews.

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ON THE TOWN things to see and do in and around Plymouth

HOP INTO THE HOLIDAYS the City of Plymouth is putting on Holiday at the Hilde. This year’s December 4 celebration features the traditions of an old-fashioned Christmas in an expanded venue with added activities for all ages, including marveling at the lighting display in the park and taking photos with Santa and his reindeer. Parking is available at the City Hall lot and along Plymouth Boulevard. Entry is free for all ages. For more information, visit, or call the Parks and Recreation Department at 763.509.5200. In other holiday-related news: Do you know some-



one who wants to write a letter to Santa? Drop off the letter (include a self-addressed, stamped envelope) at Plymouth City Hall, the Plymouth Ice Center or the Plymouth Community Center between November 22 and December 3. The City of Plymouth guarantees that all letters will reach the North Pole in time for the holidays. Look for Santa’s response in your mailbox! —KIRA SCHUKAR Holiday at the Hilde. All ages. Free. 4–7 p.m. Hilde Performance Center, 3500 Plymouth Blvd. 763.509.5200;

December 2021/January 2022

Plymouth hosts Holiday at the Hilde.

Compiled by Grace Masuda and Bryce Helmbrecht-Lommel


Kickin’ Country Christmas 12/4

Pain relief without addictive drugs!

Mason Dixon Line’s Kickin’ Country Christmas is coming to town! Join the country music band for a fun start to the holiday season with a night of familyfriendly Christmas classics. All ages. $30.

7:30 p.m. Plymouth Playhouse Productions, 2705 Annapolis Lane N.; 313.729.2590;


Rock Elm’s Christmas Dinner 12/23


Let Rock Elm Tavern take care of Christmas dinner this year. There are

online through the Resy app. Choose



1421 East Wayzata Blvd. Wayzata, MN 55391

two different delicious take-home dinner options that are available to pre-order



Shawn Sailer D.C., Caroline Brost-Sailer D.C., Ryan Elton D.C., Barbro Brost D.C., Aaron Schulte D.C., Aarti Goyal D.C. Tyler Knutson D.C.

952.473.9637 •

from glazed ham or prime rib roast meals that come with sides and dessert. Serves 4–5. $125–$150. Pickup at 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Rock Elm Tavern, 16605 County Road 24; 763.208.4451;

Christmas at the Fischer’s Place Through 12/31 The annual holiday light display of local Plymouth residents Tim and Cathy Fischer is back! Enjoy lights synchronized to classic Christmas music

We turn your house into the home of your dreams!

from the warmth of your car. The Fischer family has been putting this light show on since 2003 and hope to spread the spirit of Christmas once again this year. All ages. Free. 16700 33rd Ave. N.;

24-Hour Play Festival 1/8/22 The Wayzata High School Theatre presents their annual 24-hour play festival fundraiser. The performance is put on entirely by Wayzata Theatre students, Playpen and Drama Club. The one-nightonly production is written and directed in under 24 hours. All ages. The price of admission is whatever you are willing to donate to the Drama Club. 7 p.m. Wayzata High School Auditorium 2, 4955 Peony Lane N.;

J Brothers Design l Build l Remodel 763.732.8731 • • MN LIC #BC326186



’21 27


Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend 1/15–17 Have you always wanted to try a new winter activity? Now’s your chance! For one weekend, anyone is able to fish for free at lakes all across Minnesota if they are accompanied by a child under the age of 15. No fishing license is required for this weekend of family fun. All ages.

Free. Anytime from Jan. 15–17 at any lake in Minn.; 751.781.0651;


Shop with us!

In-Store or Online

14401 Highway 7 in Minnetonka (952) 935-7131

Old-Fashioned Holiday Bazaar 12/2–4 Enjoy holiday shopping, joyous music and tasty treats at the Landmark Center’s 43rd annual holiday bazaar. This event includes 75 booths with one-of-a-kind, handcrafted gifts such as paintings, woodwork, décor and more. $5. 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2 and Friday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m.– 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4. Landmark Center, 75 Fifth St. W., St. Paul; 651.292.3225;

Northern Express 12/3–5, 10–12, 17–19 This event is brimming with holiday spirit and even better, is investing in the community through various beneficiaries including the Masonic Children’s Hospital and Homeward Animal Shelter. The event includes a Christmas market with local makers, scavenger hunts, holiday stories, tasty treats and visits with Santa. All ages. $15–$22. 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Tanadoona, 3300 Tanadoona Drive, Excelsior; 952.474.8085;

Holiday Open Haus 12/4–5 The Germanic American Institute is kicking off the holiday season off early with its annual two-day celebration. The event features authentic German food, local vendors and a variety of festive activities. All ages. Free. 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Germanic American Institute, 301 Summit Ave., St. Paul; 651.222.7027; | 612.743.6801 28

December 2021/January 2022

Virtual Star Party 12/10 The Bell Museum planetarium team is excited to teach participants of all ages about the night sky through a virtual star party. Participants can marvel at the December Geminid meteor shower and learn all about meteors and meteorites. Register online through Eventbrite to receive a Zoom link for this event. All ages. Free. 7–8:30 p.m. 612.229.2749;

Reindeer Run 12/11 Looking for an active way to celebrate the upcoming holiday season? Spend your Saturday at the 34th annual Reindeer Run around Lake Harriet. This festive event includes a 5k, a 10k, a 15k race and a 0.4-mile kid race. The event follows all MN

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Department of Health guidelines, and

763.560.5700 |

a virtual option will also be available.

6900 Wedgwood Road, Suite 200, Maple Grove

All ages. Ticket prices vary. First race at 9:30 a.m. Lake Harriet Bandshell, 4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway, Mpls.;;

Family Funday 12/12 Have you ever wondered where all the animals go during our cold Minnesota winters? Mississippi Regional Park is hosting an event to teach kids about hibernation and other ways animals

See all that your community has to offer.

are able to survive the wintertime. There will even be live animals to meet at the park. Register online. Free. 1–3 p.m. Carl W. Kroening Interpretive Center, 4900 Mississippi Court, Mpls.; 612.230.6400;

To have your event considered: email 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

Check out our Community Directory! All of the best resources at your fingertips.

affiliated websites for updates.



Grain Elevators Add a touch of history, new flavor profiles and textures to your menu. BY RENÉE STEWART-HESTER PHOTO BY CHRIS EMEOTT


W HY D O E S PASTA G E T S O M U C H O F TH E C U L I N A RY G LORY? Granted, it transforms

dishes, comes in shapes galore and has “comfort food” written all over it. But since we’re in the midst of high cooking season (for entertaining purposes, a dose of hygge or otherwise), let’s take a closer look at grains—including some emerging trend makers and recipes to keep you ahead of the grain game. *Reader tip: Stick with the article until the end. We’ve got a kernel of info for you that might just put everything you know about a certain homegrown grain right on its head! Who better than Caroline Sluyter, The

Whole Grains Council program director, to clear up some grainy questions? What constitutes a whole grain?

A grain that is whole contains all three edible components (bran, germ and endosperm) in their original proportions. What are refined grains? Grains that are missing some portion of their original kernel are considered refined grains. Typically, when grains are refined, some or all of their bran and germ are removed. Since most of a grain’s nutrients and flavor are found in the bran and germ, refined grains are both less nutritious and less flavorful than whole grains.

December 2021/January 2022

Is there such a thing as “faux grains,” meaning not from the Gramineae family? Quinoa, amaranth

and buckwheat are pseudocereals. While they are not in the Poaceae (or Gramineae) botanical family, they are generally considered grains alongside true cereal grains because their nutritional profile, preparation and use are so similar.

Is there an emerging grain trend we should know about? … Of the

products registered for Whole Grain Stamp (containing at least half a serving or eight grams or more of whole grain) over the past 10 years, there are five clear frontrunners when it comes to growing popularity. Perhaps the most illustrious of all is quinoa … [It] is now included in more than 10 percent of all Stamped products. Sorghum has also made impressive gains with its prevalence increasing more than threefold in 10 years. The other top contenders are millet, amaranth and teff.

What are the top five grains that offer the most nutritional benefits?

There is no “healthiest” grain, just as there is no healthiest vegetable. You’ll never hear a doctor tell you to stick to carrots and spinach, even though they both have great nutritional attributes. Just as variety is key when eating fruits and vegetables, the best way to take advantage of the health benefits of whole grains is to eat a wide variety. Every grain has a little something different to offer.

Photos: Rachel Sherwood

Which grains serve as protein and fiber powerhouses?… Most whole

grains qualify as a good source of protein (providing at least 10 percent of the Daily Value for protein per serving). The pseudo-cereals (quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth) are all “complete” protein sources, which means they contain significant amounts of all nine essential amino acids. Whole grains are somewhat famous for their fiber content. Again, you’ll find that almost every grain variety qualifies as either a good source of fiber (providing at least 10 percent of the Daily Value for fiber per serving) or excellent source of fiber (providing at least 20 percent of the Daily Value for fiber per serving).

How can we incorporate more grains into our diets? Making easy

swaps by substituting in whole grain versions of foods you already eat is certainly one of the easiest ways to

increase your whole grain intake without having to think too hard about it. Use whole grain bread instead of white bread, brown rice (or farro and quinoa) instead of white rice and whole grain pasta instead of white pasta. When baking, try substituting half of the all-purpose flour in your recipe with whole grain flour. Many consumers new to whole grains are quite pleasantly surprised at the wonderful depth of flavor you get by using whole wheat or whole spelt in place of white flour.

well with chocolate, dark fruit, nuts, pumpkin and seeds. Gluten-free. *Wild Rice: You’ve had it in a hotdish, you’ve eaten it in a salad or as a pilaf, but have you ever in your wildest rice dreams ever considered popping it? Yes, you can pop wild rice, like popcorn. Just heat it in a little oil, and shake it until it pops. Salt to taste. Movie time? (

Plymouth’s Rachel Sherwood, food stylist and culinary coach, offers recipes to


help expand your grain repertoire. See

Information is provided by The Whole

more of her recipes, kitchen adventures

Grains Council. Recipes can be found at

and tips at Impressions Foodstyling rimpressions @RachelSherwood4 Amaranth: Technically a pseudo-grain, it’s a staple of the Aztecs with a long

Visit for Sherwood’s

history in Mexican and Peruvian cuisine

recipe for Puffed Amaranth Granola,

(later becoming popular in Nepal, India

Millet Salad and Teff Chocolate Cake

and other countries). It’s typically served

with Fudge Frosting.

as breakfast porridge throughout Latin America and Southeast Asia. In Mexico, it’s also served popped with honey as a sweet snack called alegría. Flavor Profile:

Peppery with a sweet, grassy aroma; pairs well with squash, corn, sesame, cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate. Gluten-free.

Millet: This is one of the leading staple grains of India and was also used in ancient Chinese noodles before wheat was domesticated. Nutritious millet is also important to the cuisines of South America, Russia, the Himalayas and Africa. Flavor Profile: Buttery; pairs well with mushrooms, herbs, warm spices, scallions and squash. Gluten-free. Sorghum: (also called milo), Sorghum is believed to have originated in Africa, where it remains an important cereal grain. It is naturally drought tolerant, making it a smart choice for diners eating with their environmental footprint in mind. Flavor

Profile: Sweet with hints of corn or wheat flavor; pairs well with Southern ingredients (bananas, berries, bourbon, dates, figs, ham, peanuts, pecans and warm spices). Gluten-free.

Teff: A tiny (less than 1mm) grain native to the Horn of Africa, where nomads could carry enough teff seed in their pockets to sow an entire field. Its name may come from the Amharic word for “lost” because the seed is so tiny.

Flavor Profile: Slightly sweet taste with undertones of cocoa and hazelnut; pairs



Story by Renée Stewart-Hester — Photo by Amy Wilcox

S E C O N D P L A C E : P E O P L E & FA M I L I E S

Pair Skating Fresh air, ice skating and laughter make for a perfect afternoon.

AFT E RNOON SKATE , which placed second in the People and Families category of our

annual Picture Plymouth photo contest, was taken by Amy Wilcox. Her husband Joseph and daughter Maisie, 4-and-a-half years old when the photo was taken, were enjoying some skating time on the frozen pond behind their Plymouth home. Wilcox, who was pregnant at the time and unable to skate with her family, took the photo with a Canon camera and, “enjoyed hearing giggles from both of them,” she says.


December 2021/January 2022


We serve, seven days a week.

Your body’s still working on the weekend. We are too. Because bone and joint injuries happen all the time—and rarely at a time that works for you. We’re always here to help at any of our OrthoQUICK clinics, in Woodbury, Eagan, Plymouth, and Vadnais Heights. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily in Plymouth. No appointment needed.

(651) 968-5201