June/July 2018 issue of Live it! Magazine

Page 1

Live it! Berry pilgrimage

nearly upon us

Fresh fruits

offer flavor, versatility

Natural cosmetics

What’s in your kitchen?

June/July 2018 | FREE ISSUE

Summer Goodies …

Summertime is nearly here – officially. After the late spring, it seems we went right from winter/spring to summer. All the signs of spring we tend to watch for and enjoy were much abbreviated this year. One of the things I enjoy most about spring switching over to summer is watching all the flowers come into bloom. Spending time in my flowerbeds is relaxing to me. Even the hard work that goes into transplanting – I moved my peony beds again this year – fertilizing/feeding, planting, watering and pruning is all worth it once the flowers are in bloom. I love sitting on our patio looking out over the yard and all my flowerbeds, just taking it all in, with everything in full bloom. Vegetable and fruit gardening used to be more my thing, but that was “work.” I find the flowers much more calming. My husband has taken over the vegetable gardening, for the most part, and we are down to the apple trees and rhubarb for fruits. That’s not to mean we don’t enjoy fresh berries. I love fresh raspberries, and have come to enjoy fresh strawberries as well. I have a fresh strawberry pie recipe that is scrumptious. A few years back I took my young grandson, my mother and a friend out to visit Brouwer Berries near Raymond – my old stomping grounds. We picked raspberries and purchased some strawberries. My grandson enjoyed playing on the swing and with the animals, as well as walking the trail and helping pick raspberries – and dandelions, blowing them to the wind. He was only 3 at the time. Thinking about it brings back many fond memories. What a treasure it is to have a place like Brouwer Berries, among other local gems, in the area to enjoy. Carolyn takes us on a trip to Brouwer Berries – along with photos by Dennis Benson from last season’s fun – and shares with us suggestions of a few other locally grown products in the area. All that and more in this issue of Live it! Magazine. If you have a topic you’d like to see in Live it!, send your story ideas to liveit@ wctrib.com. We love to hear from our readers. You can also “like” us on Facebook or send us a tweet @Liveitmag. Life in west central Minnesota … it really is a beautiful thing …

! t i Live

Sharon Bomstad Live it! Editor

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you. from g r a e o h veitma ant t li m We w eet us @ wctrib.co k Tw veit@ oo , l li aceb emai it us on f ! Box 839 t i . e vis 1 v i 5620 s, rite L or w llmar MN tory idea s i . e W re elcom nd mo We w ments a com

Watch for our next issue out Aug. 10, 2018. May we publish your letter?

On April/May cover story:

I just loved the articles on the local food bloggers. I had never heard of any of them, and now I’ve gone to all three of their sites. I’m so impressed with how local people are influencing the nation. Amazing. Also, I’ve had about five people call and ask to get on our mailing list, mentioning the ad in Live it!, which is encouraging.

- Sarah Brouwer, Raymond

On February/March cover story:

Great article in the new issue of Live it! Magazine about the women of the Willmar Fire Department setting an example for the next generation by going above & beyond.

- City of Willmar, via facebook

On December/January cover story (Finding her voice):

Helen’s story is amazing but timely. I had never heard the story until the wonderful magazine article came out. Thank you for printing it. Powerful story of what Toastmasters can do, but a powerful story of what one woman could do to save herself and her family. I think that she should be a college president and share the power of what an attitude can do for youth and adults.

- George B. Thompson

Editor’s note: Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/liveitmag Follow us on Pinterest: pinterest.com/liveitmag Tweet with

Live it! on Twitter: @Liveitmag

We love to hear from our readers. “Like” us on Facebook, send us a tweet with your comments or even a new story idea, or email us at liveit@ wctrib.com. Watch for our next issue due out Aug. 10, 2018.

Live it! Magazine 3





MAGAZINE EDITOR To contact Live it! call 320-235-1150 or email liveit@wctrib.com

Writing & Photography Carolyn Lange Erica Dischino Anne Polta Dennis Benson

Marketing Consultants

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To advertise, call 320-235-1150 fax 320-235-6769 or email a listed consultant.


Steven Ammermann, Publisher Kelly Boldan, Editor

2208 W. Trott Ave., Willmar MN 56201 Volume 7, Issue 3

Copyright © 2018 West Central Tribune Live it! magazine All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that prior permission be obtained.

Cover Story

Thousands flock to pick fresh berries


June 2018, Volume 7, Issue 3



6 Pick-your-own berries a hit 12 Gardening is a way of life 15 Potatoes as a finishing powder 18 Mouth-watering fruity treats



3 READER’S MAILBAG What we hear 14 LIFE HAPPENS It’s a choice 15 STYLE IT! It’s all natural 16 READ IT! Books take you there


17 HEALTH & FITNESS Keep it simple 18 FRESHEN IT! Fruit recipes star 20 SPIRITS What do you talk about? 21 MONEY MATTERS It’s a lot of work 22 WHAT’S HAPPENING? Mark your calendars



Berries BY CAROLYN LANGE clange@wctrib.com


Lessons of ‘faith, farm and family’


– along with luscious berries

fter a long slog through winter, there’s a sense of anticipation felt by many Minnesotans this time of year. It’s the anticipation of making a pilgrimage to a land where acres of lush strawberry fields grow and taste buds are rewarded with a sundrenched, flavor-packed, mouthwatering gift of summer. Every year thousands of people make that trek to Brouwer Berries farm near Raymond during the three short weeks of strawberry season. “Imagine having 10,000 show up in your yard,” said Sarah Brouwer, with a grin, when asked what it’s like after they send the word that the strawberries are ripe and ready for picking. Those three busy weeks culminate a year’s worth of preparation for members of the Brouwer family, who work side-by-side to grow acres of strawberries for their U-pick and pre-picked strawberry business. As the season approaches this year, the Brouwers are just as eager to see the guests as the customers are to see the strawberries. STARTING ‘SMALL’ Since starting about 20 years ago with 1,500 strawberry plants on a quarter-acre of land, Sarah and Dan Brouwer and their five children – who range in age from 6 to 22 – have steadily increased the size of their field

and the number of plants they grow. It was initially started as a homeschool project for the kids, who helped raise, pick and sell the strawberries, along with taking care of the family’s menagerie of farm animals. The purpose wasn’t to make money but to enrich the children’s Christian faith through the process of taking care of the land,

raising good food and farming with their family, Sarah said. Their berries proved to be popular from the get-go. In 2013 when they were growing a full acre of strawberries, Sarah said the daily berry crop would sell out in 10 minutes. She felt bad that people would drive all the way to the farm, located about 11 miles west of Willmar, and leave empty-handed.

About five years ago, they decided to make the leap from school project to a full-fledged business and the strawberry farm has grown ever since. Last year they planted 36,000 new strawberry plants and had six acres of land in full production, in a rotation system that has some land resting for a year and another portion planted with new strawberries that aren’t harvested until the following year. This year, the farm is bigger than ever. For the first time, the Brouwers will have nine acres of strawberries ready to pick when the season begins in mid-June. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with nine acres of strawberries if nobody shows up,” Sarah said. Based on the reviews the family farm has received over the years – and being voted WCCO TV’s viewers’ top choice for the best berry picking farm in Minnesota in 2016 – people will indeed show up. Equipped with plastic buckets, bowls or boxes to carry their berries, customers take a ride through the woods on the Berry Express wagon and are delivered to a green field dotted with red berries. The field is like an island floating in an ocean of sweet strawberry aroma. After being directed to a specific row of strawberries, groups of friends or

Live it! Magazine 7

family members out for a tasty adventure begin filling their containers. The guests don’t just come for the sun-ripened, locally grown strawberries, but also for the experience of being on a farm, said Sarah, who shared some testimonials from customers. “We love our annual trip to Brouwer Berries. Everyone is so kind and helpful that they make the experience so much fun. The strawberries are delicious and I absolutely love their Strawberry Rhubarb Jam,” wrote Jessica Peele -Sarah Brouwer on the farm’s social media page. “Great Experience for the entire family. Great strawberries, honey, animals to pet for kids, and just very kind people. Looking forward to a return visit,” wrote Angela Trudel in her review. It’s that kind of testimony that keeps the Brouwers on track. “We started listening to the stories of our customers, and realized that they were coming for more than fruit,” Sarah said. “They hungered for a connection to the land and the story of our faith that powers everything we do here.” She said one woman brought her husband, who was in hospice care, to the farm so she could pick strawberries for him. A man drove two hours with his wife, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, to give her a farm experience. Sarah watched a military veteran, who had no legs, “pull himself down the strawberry path, determined to pick his own.” The Brouwer family poses for a photo on their family berry farm. They include, from It’s common for children to left, James, 6, Timothy, 12, Dan, Sarah, Alinda, 17, and Heidi, 16.

We started listening to the stories of our customers, and realized that they were coming for more than fruit. They hungered for a connection to the land and the story of our faith that powers everything we do here


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be accompanied by their parents and grandparents when they come berry-picking, Sarah said. There’s a lot of laughter, photo taking and sampling. “We encourage the children to taste the strawberries in the field,” she said. Besides the act of picking and eating strawberries, guests can hear roosters crow and pet the pygmy goats as barn kitties weave a path through the crowd in hopes of getting a scratch behind the ear. Being on the farm evokes strong memories for older people and can build new memories for children, Sarah said. She wants the lessons of “faith, farm and family” that are important to her own children to be shared with others. “Now that my kids are older, I see a need for a local venue to teach those same values to other children in this community,” she said, adding that the family is now “thinking about our farm as a place to heal and serve people through the visceral reality of farming.”

Locally grown! Find locally grown produce, meats and flowers in the region

If you’re looking for more locally grown products and on-the-farm experiences in west central Minnesota, here are a few options to consider. ► Pastures A Plenty County & Farm, rural Kerkhoven, is a hog farrow-to-finish operation with free range chickens and a seasonal cattle grazing business. www. pasturesaplenty.com ► Rustic Design, rural Belgrade, features two acres of specialty flowers and ornamentals grown during the Minnesota growing season. www. rusticdesignsflowerfarm.com ► Green Leaf Sweet Corn, rural Bird Island, sweet corn picked everyday from mid-July to Labor Day and sold at stands around the region. Also fills orders for community events and private orders. www.greenleafsweetcorn.com ► Lettuce Abound, rural New London, uses aeroponics technology to grow multiple varieties of lettuce year-round. www.lettuceabound.com ► Prairie Drifter Farm, a Community Supported Agriculture operation in rural Litchfield, is a diversified, organic vegetable farm. www.prairiedrifterfarm. com ► Jonesey Berry Farm, in rural Grove city, has U-pick strawberries and raspberries. www.joneseyberryfarm.com ► Edgewood Acres Yak, rural Renville, raises grass-fed yak. www.edgewoodacresyaks.com For a comprehensive list, check out the Minnesota Grown website www. minnesotagrown.com

Live it! Magazine 9

HARD WORK Dan, Sarah and the kids – minus the eldest who is married and lives elsewhere – all play vital roles on the farm. Customers need to be taken to the fields and have their strawberries weighed at the checkout table, there’s strawberry jam to be made that is also sold at the stand and animals need to be fed. But the biggest jobs involve the numerous steps to raise the fragile strawberry. The Brouwers raise several different varieties. Because some are more tolerant of drought and others handle wet conditions better, the diversity helps the Brouwers be prepared for whatever Mother Nature tosses their way. They incorporate farming techniques to conserve natural resources, including creating irrigation ponds that collect rain and excess runoff from the strawberry fields. The water is pumped back on the strawberry plants during dry periods through drip lines placed alongside the plants. To feed the soil, a 3- to 4-acre section of the field is taken out of strawberry production every year and planted with cover crops such as sorghum, sudangrass and rye. In the fall the grass is tilled back into the soil to add organic matter, and planted with new strawberry plants the following spring. By using natural farming practices that enhance the soil, and by limiting the use of chemicals, the true flavor of the strawberry is preserved, said Sarah, who cringes when people say the only strawberries they have ever eaten are from grocery stores. Work starts early in the spring for the Brouwers with removal of a thick layer of straw they applied the previous fall to protect the rows of strawberries from harsh winter weather. Every spring they plant thousands of new strawberries in the field that had been resting the year before. Like most jobs on the farm, the planting process involves the entire

10 Live it! Magazine

family who ride on a tractor-pulled contraption that lays new plants and a drip irrigation line in the soil and then gives the plants a dose of fertilizer. This year they planted 28,000 new strawberry plants. Because fruit isn’t picked from new plants, they snip off every single blossom of every single plant for weeks on end. This helps the plants grow strong for producing berries next year. Weeding the long rows of strawberries is an endless task, as is constantly watching the fields for disease and insects that could hamper the yield. They’ve lost an entire crop two times so far because of insects. Another danger is late frost that could kill tender plants. In 2016 the family was up for two nights straight watering the plants with overhead sprinklers to keep the plants alive during a sharp cold snap that hit in the middle of May. The hard work has its rewards. Sarah said the family is “always on the hunt to find the first red strawberry,” which launches the start of the picking season. But before they send out messages via Facebook and email to their followers that the season has started and pilgrimages can begin, the family gives thanks for the crop by giving the first harvest away. Boxes and boxes of the first fruits are typically given to the Kandiyohi County Food Shelf or the Meals on Wheels program, Sarah said. At the end of the season, groups are invited to glean the fields and take what they want for free. Being thankful and giving back is another lesson of family, family and farm she wants her kids to learn. Brouwer Berries farm is located at 12951 105th St. S.W., Raymond, MN 56282. For more information go to www. brouwerberries.com, call 320-967-4718 or email Sarah@brouwerberries.com.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer for Live it! Magazine, and a reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar.

Live it! Magazine 11

Farm Girl Fresh Tips to get you growing vegetables BY CAROLYN LANGE clange@wctrib.com


olleen Anderson and Joyce Kaping are friends and business partners who love to garden. It comes naturally to the women, who raised their families on farms near Litchfield. “I learned gardening and cooking from my mother and grandmothers without even realizing it. It was something that was just part of life on the farm,” said Colleen. “I have always found the garden to be my ‘refuge’ where I can dig in the dirt and experience nature firsthand,” said Joyce. Their love of gardening and shared passion for living a healthy lifestyle led to a business partnership called Farm Girl Fresh. They’ve written a 3-in-1 educational, garden-to-table resource book called “Eating Pure in a Processed Foods World” that has how-to information about growing vegetables and preserving food as well as a collection of 300 recipes. Through their website FarmGirlFresh.com and blog, the women provide information about living a healthier lifestyle by eating “pure food.” Their blogs on gardening, preserving and preparing fresh produce are shared weekly,

12 Live it! Magazine

along with teaching videos, and they also sell products that complement their book. The women said they believe health “starts from the ground up,” which means “eating fruits and vegetables that have not been tampered with and have not been exposed to all the additives and preservatives that we find in our food today.” We asked them to share their tips to help beginning gardeners – and experienced ones – have a successful garden. Live it!: What do you love about growing your own vegetables? Farm Girl: Knowing the nutritional value of food we eat, the challenge of growing our own food and the experience. The average produce travels 1,200-1,500 miles – losing its nutritional value each day – from the time it was picked until the time it is on your table. We like knowing how our food is grown. Gardening can be challenging and yet rewarding. Weather conditions, pest infestations and weed control can all wreak havoc on our gardens. However, to think that you can take a few tomato plants, nurture them and watch them develop and produce a delicious, juicy tomato that can be eaten

straight from the garden or preserved to enjoy in the winter months – there’s nothing better. Live it!: Not everyone has space or time for a large garden. What are options for small-scale urban or backyard gardening? Farm Girl: It is amazing what you can grow in small spaces. A small 4x4 garden box can produce a great salsa crop, a small container filled with herbs sitting on your patio can supply you with fresh herbs for the summer months, or add some blueberry bushes to your landscaping and enjoy your fresh-picked berries on your yogurt. With container gardening consider the size of the container, what it’s made of, drainage and soil. Larger containers allow for more root space and soil will not dry out as quickly. Fill with high-quality soil and enjoy watching your plants grow. Live it!: What are the steps for a first-time gardener to get started? Farm Girl: Most garden plants require full sun so you will need to consider the location of your garden plot before you get started. We recommend starting small with easy-to-grow vegetables. Good-quality soil is an important factor. Is the soil free of commercial pesticides and insecticides? If your lawn has been sprayed with weed killers, you might want to consider creating a raised bed garden. It is hard to grow healthy plants in soil that contains too much sand or clay. Adding compost to your soil is an important step in having a healthy, productive garden plot. One option for soil in a raised bed is 1/3 part compost, 1/3 part vermiculite and 1/3 part peat moss. Live it!: What types of vegetables do you recommend for new gardeners? Farm Girl: Bush beans, peas, tomatoes, spinach and leaf lettuce are some of the easiest vegetables to grow. They require little maintenance and produce well. We have grown all of these individually in container gardens as well. Live it!: What time of day is best to water vegetables and how much is enough? Farm Girl: We prefer morning to water. It is said that if a plant is showing signs of wilt, the plant has already been stressed due to lack of water and will produce a smaller,

less juicy fruit. In most cases, your plants need to receive at least an inch of water a week from rainfall, or watering, to ensure they are receiving the proper nutrients to produce fruit. When watering, make sure the water is reaching the plant’s roots. Live it!: How do you keep pests, like slugs and Colorado potato beetles, away? Farm Girl: There are several methods: Use row covers, hand pick and place pests in soapy water, purchase organic insect spray at your local nursery, or use our natural insect spray recipe. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the base of your plants works well to control slugs. We also like to plant marigolds to control pests as well as give our vegetable garden some pretty color! Live it!: What are the tricks for growing a bumper crop of tasty tomatoes? Farm Girl: First of all, don’t plant tomatoes too close to each other, as that may contribute to disease. Side dressing tomatoes with Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) can be beneficial. Use one to two tablespoons per foot of plant height. It can be added around the base of each plant every six weeks to help increase the yield and keep the plants green and bushy. Watering tomatoes with a soaker hose helps cut down on disease problems that can occur late in the season. Mulch- Joyce Kaping, left ing with clean grass clippings or straw helps with weed control and helps retain good soil moisture. Live it!: What are the benefits of teaching a child to grow vegetables? Farm Girl: We have both witnessed our grandchildren eating more vegetables – and a wider variety – due to their involvement in growing and preparing the food they eat. They love to go to the garden and pick raw green beans, peas, cherry tomatoes, raspberries and strawberries and eat them on the spot. We at Farm Girl Fresh love to invest in the next generation. This year we custom designed a Kids’ Garden-to-Table Kit to educate young children and help them develop a lifelong skill of growing their own food. This will provide health benefits that last their lifetime. For more information about Farm Girl Fresh, go to www. FarmGirlFresh.com or follow them at farmgirlfreshco on Instagram and Facebook.

I have always found the garden to be my ‘refuge’ where I can dig in the dirt and experience nature firsthand.

Live it! Magazine 13

- LIFE HAPPENS Self-talk can be empowering



s I write this, today is the day I will be venturing, rake in hand, to clean out my flowerbeds after the long winter. The cold is finally subsiding, and gray skies are being replaced by sunshine! It was a rough winter. I found myself engaging in quite a bit of negative self-talk about how gloomy the weather was behaving. I should know better. I know that what I say to myself about what’s happening around me is the number one determination of setting my mood and how I behave and yet I fell victim to triggering my own low mood. So, when the inevitable grayness of winter stared at me most mornings, I heard myself bemoaning it and did nothing. Sadly, I ended up feeling as drab as the sky looked. Yet that gray sky and frigid temperature was not responsible for my inner blech. I was. I had a choice. Every morning as I walked out into the day, I could either see the downside of a gray day or find a reason to be thankful for something despite it. Maybe my car was already warm thanks to my automatic car starter. Perhaps the snow on the trees gave the yard a beautiful white finish. Won’t my hands feel wonderful warmed around that first hot cup of coffee in my office this morning? Yes, one cannot change their automatic thoughts though they may be pessimistic, but when we recognize the negative feelings that those automatic thoughts bring up within us, we can take a breath before we react and ask ourselves, “What was the thought that brought about such a feeling?” and challenge that thought. “Is it entirely true? Is it rational? Is it bringing me peace or bringing me pain?”

We engage in this thought/feeling/reaction process constantly throughout our day. The truth is, there are some things we cannot change, and the weather is right at the top of the list along with other people’s feelings, behaviors and actions. What we can change is how much attention and strength we give what we cannot change. We have much more power than we believe and accept. By changing what we say to ourselves about virtually anything in any given day, we can transform our feelings as well as our behaviors and reactions and you would be surprised what that can do to your relationships. It’s not easy, do not mistake me. Our self-talk is quick and often goes by unrecognized until you tap into that never-ending inner commentary. For now, just start out with taking a good long breath when you find yourself with strong, negative feelings that have you about to react in a strong way. Then instead of going over and over why you feel validated in feeling so angry or irate, tap into what you are telling yourself about what happened. Chances are, if the words, “worst, never and always” are in your inner vocabulary, you might just be a tad bit over-reacting. Remember that challenging that emotional reaction with some straight-up logical perspective can help you bounce out of the tough feelings but also some potential tough times. Take care.

Claudette Larson, LICSW, RPT is owner of Willow Creek Counseling in New London and has enjoyed working with children, teens and adults for the past 16 years.

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Style it! Cosmetics in your kitchen BY ERICA DISCHINO



atural beauty products are all the rage – and for good reason. There is comfort in knowing that your cosmetics are made with wholesome, safe ingredients. It’s better for your skin and the planet. But, buying natural cosmetics can quickly become expensive. More often than not, hair and skin care products with labels claiming “natural” and “organic” are also not actually certified. Luckily, there are many natural cosmetics right it your kitchen!

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR Clarifying shampoos can often strip away your hair’s natural oils. Use apple cider vinegar to get rid of the residue your shampoo might’ve missed without damaging your hair. Take 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and dilute it with a cup of water. Pour it over your scalp and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Your hair will be shiny and refreshed.

AVOCADOS Dry skin doesn’t stand a chance against avocados. Mash up COCONUT OIL one that’s starting to turn brown and use it as a face mask The use for coconut oil goes beyond baking and sautéing. and rub over any other places that need moisture. If you Massage it on your skin as a post-shower moisturizer. Rub it have sunburn, avocado is also great for soothing burned on the ends of your hair and leave it in for as long as you like skin. to get rid of dry ends. You can even apply it on a cotton pad POTATOES and use it as a makeup remover. Have dark under eye circles? Cut up some raw potatoes LEMON JUICE into wedges and wrap them in a cool washcloth. Rest it over Lemon juice is great to use as a skin brightener and exfo- your eyes for about 20 minutes. You can also use the raw liator. Take fresh lemon juice and dab some on a cotton pad. potato wedges as a finishing powder for your makeup. Press Rub it on your face for a refreshing treat! You can also use them over your face after you’re done putting on makeup for lemon juice as a natural deodorizer. After using it on your a matte finish. face, put some on your armpits too. COCOA POWDER SALT Out of dry shampoo? Massage cocoa powder into your Salt is a versatile natural beauty product. Add one tea- scalp to refresh second- or third-day hair. The cocoa powder spoon salt to 4 ounces of warm water and put it in a spray will absorb the oils right away. bottle. Mist your face with it to use as a facial toner. You can Erica Dischino is the photographer for Live It! Magazine and the West Central Tribune. She enjoys also mist it in your hair to create beachy waves. making homemade natural remedies and cooking plant-based meals in her free time.

Live it! Magazine 15

-Read it!Tips to avoid the summer slide


By Syrena Maranell

ummer is almost here and that can only mean one thing: It’s time for summer reading at the Willmar Public Library. This year’s theme is “Reading Takes You Everywhere!” The library encourages readers of all ages to participate in this fun program from June 4 through Aug. 31. Does your child have overdue fines on their library card? This summer, kids age 0-18, can read down their fines at the library. To participate, sign up at the children’s or information desk, find a comfy spot to read, and then let us know when you are done. We will keep track of your minutes and subtract $1 off your account for every 15 minutes of reading, up to $20. So why is summer reading so important? Kids who don’t read over the summer experience learning loss – they actually forget some of what has been learned during the school year. This is called summer slide, and one way to prevent this is by making the library part of your summer plans. Reading just four to six books over the summer has the potential to prevent a decline in reading achievement scores, so even small steps are very beneficial. SUMMER READING FACTS The benefits of summer reading are clear. National research from Dominican University finds that students who participate in public library summer reading programs scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those who did not participate. To succeed in school and life, children and young adults need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. Summer reading reminds kids that reading is for fun — as well as for learning. There’s so much to see, so much to do at your library. There’s no better place to take your kids. The library is a

place to learn, read and have fun … a place the whole family can enjoy. In fact, more than 82 million children attend library programs every year. Studies show that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school and are more likely to continue to use the library as a source of lifetime learning. The amount of time children spend reading outside of school is linked to gains in reading achievement. Numerous studies show that access to books and magazines is directly related to higher reading achievement. Kids and teens tend to read more when they see the adults in their life reading. The Willmar Public Library is encouraging adults to read this summer with a bingo challenge. Readers, ages 18 and up, may pick up their bingo card at the library or print one from the library website. Participants complete a horizontal or vertical line by writing the title of the book read in the corresponding box, and then bring the card to the Information Desk for a chance to win a prize. All non-prize winners and blackouts will be entered in to the grand prize drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. Not only are you rewarded for reading, there are also lots of awesome activities taking place at the library this summer. Shows by ScienceTellers, Ralph’s World, Annette Fragale & Friends, and many more exciting programs will be held. Check our website at www.willmarpubliclibrary.org for more information.

Syrena Maranell is the Adult Services Librarian at the Willmar Public Library. For more information on these audiobooks, swing by the Willmar Public Library. The librarians are there to help you find your new favorite author. Check out the library’s blog at turningpages.areavoices.

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145 Lake Ave. N, Spicer • 320.796.1000 | 1425 1st Street S, Willmar • 320.262.5474

Health & Fitness Simple and sustainable BY AMY ERICKSON


what to eat for any particular meal – try and include as many of these as possible. Fat A small amount, the healthy kind, yes – it’s good for you, no – it won’t make you fat. Grass-fed butter, avocado, coconut, nuts, avocado oil, olive oil, etc. Protein Grass-fed organic meats, veggies high in protein, pasture eggs, etc. Greens/Veggies Organic and non-genetically modified if possible. Probiotics These are great to add to meals when you can. Fermented foods will have probiotics: sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles, yogurt, etc. Fruit is great! Add to your meal – or snack on fruit between meals. Whole grains are awesome when prepared properly and not over-consumed. Search for sprouted grains if you can (this STRESS FREE – DID YOU KNOW? Cutting stress from your life can help you shed a few pounds. means they will be able to be more readily absorbed by your body due to having less phytic acid). You can It’s true. When our body is stressed out – we always sprout your grains and seeds yourself, actually hang onto our fat because our body too. Super simple. thinks we may need it due to how stressed One thing to subtract from your diet when we are. possible should be processed foods, and added The average person today (adult and child sugars. These are seemingly everywhere and alike) experiences far more stress than a persuper convenient. Cutting them out is difficult son 50 years ago. This is an area you can try – but worth it. to simplify in your life. When making diet changes – focus on what A simple suggestion would be to cut down you can add in (i.e. yummy new fruits and on electronic use. While cell phones are great veggies) instead of what you are cutting out. – they also stress us out. The same goes for t’s almost summer, which may leave you feeling you should clean up your diet or add a new fitness regimen. After all, “swimsuit season” is almost upon us. While my first and foremost tip would be to not worry about how you look in a swimsuit – and love your body anyway – I would love to offer you a few tips on how to easily clean up your diet and add in some exercise with simple and sustainable practices. Many diets and fitness routines are not sustainable … meaning they may work for a while, and you may see results, but might find them harming you long term – or you will notice you are not able to turn it into a lifestyle. Here are a few tips on how to easily add in some new healthy habits, release stress and even lose a few pounds – if that’s your goal!

television. Try and set time limits. Maybe keep your phone in the kitchen any time after 7 p.m. in order to allow your body time to wind down before bed. Also avoid watching the news right before bed – which can send your body into a state of stress and fear and alter your sleep potential for the night. Which leads me to my next point.

GET PLENTY OF SLEEP. Many of us think we can somehow beat the system with copious amounts of coffee and energy drinks. It’s not true. Our bodies need sleep. Shoot for at least 8 hours of sleep per night, in a dark, uninterrupted room, if possible. (I have a toddler and a newborn on the way – so, I know. But do your best.) Sleep is another vital component when it comes to losing weight. When our body doesn’t fully recharge and get the rest it needs, our systems aren’t able to function as they should. Digestion, detoxing, brain function, etc., are all thrown off a bit and aren’t able to work together as they should. SIMPLIFY YOUR PLATE. There are many many diets out there, but I’m going to hit the basics to try and not confuse you. When you are choosing

EXERCISES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD. If going to the gym or working out with your trainer makes you feel awesome – by all means – do it. If you are looking for a simple exercise routine that is sustainable through summer, think about some of your favorite hobbies. Walking, running and biking are great choices; breathing in the fresh air, having a friend join you to chat. Pick a time and try to be consistent with it. Gardening and yard work surprisingly burn many calories as well. Shoot for at least 30 minutes, five days a week, of active time. This means your heart rate is a bit more elevated than normal and you feel you are working a bit harder. I challenge you to make it fun. Moving more doesn’t have to be boring, expensive or painful. Hopefully you’ve been encouraged to add in some simple and sustainable lifestyle changes to help reduce stress, get your body moving and help your body function at its best. Enjoy your summer, and enjoy your life! Amy Erickson is owner/trainer at Amy Erickson Fitness; amynerickson@gmail.com

Live it! Magazine 17

Freshen it! Summer fruits bring versatility to the table BY ANNE POLTA



othing says “summer is here” like the arrival of the season’s first bounty of fresh fruits and berries. The harvest of early summer needs little adornment: just wash, eat and enjoy. But strawberries,

apricots and friends also lend themselves well to enhancement, starring readily in jams, cakes and other desserts. The key is keeping it simple to bring out the best in fruit’s flavor and versatility.

Balsamic berries

Who says ice cream toppings have to be sweet? The balsamic vinegar brings a note of tartness to fresh strawberries, while the pine nuts add crunch. Half of a 1-pint basket of strawberries, sliced 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons pine nuts Pinch of ground cloves Vanilla ice cream Combine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a small bowl. Add the sliced strawberries and toss to combine. In a small skillet, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar, the pine nuts and cloves. Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves and the pine nuts are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Scoop ice cream into bowls. Spoon strawberries over ice cream, then sprinkle on the pine nuts. Serves 2. Recipe can be doubled.



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Your County Does it for You “You don’t really think about it because you don’t have to. After a snowstorm, the roads are cleared so you can get to work on time and your kids to school safely. If there is an accident, you call 911 to summon help quickly. You don’t think about it because it’s your county, Kandiyohi County, doing it for you. Every day in our community, county government is hard at work providing the quality of life services that make our community an outstanding place to live and raise a family. When it comes to recycling, convenient locations are near your home and workplace. At times of relaxation, trails, parks and campgrounds are there to explore. Whether operating programs that keep communities safe or providing emergency services during a disaster or protecting children at risk of abuse, counties are at the foundation of what makes our state great. Take a closer look at your county and you’ll find that 24/7 we are working for you.”

www.co.kandiyohi.mn.us or call (320) 231-6215

Cornmeal coffee cake with berries

Here’s a delicious, not-too-sweet addition to a summer weekend brunch. The cornmeal provides a bit of crunch and the buttermilk adds a slight tang. For variety, try a combination of raspberries and blackberries. 1⅓ cups flour 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup buttermilk Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 eggs 1/3 cup butter, melted 1 to 2 cups fresh raspberries, rinsed and patted dry Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch springform cake pan or 8-inch square pan. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla and eggs. Add melted butter and whisk again to blend. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and quickly stir together until just combined.

Dessert doesn’t get much simpler. To toast the coconut, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. 2 pints ripe fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and cut in half 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 cup loosely packed toasted coconut Toss strawberries with lemon juice and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Serves 6.


Cheater’s strawberry preserves

A fast, no-fuss route to old-fashioned strawberry jam for spreading on toast, muffins and more. It keeps well in the refrigerator for about a week (if it lasts that long). 3 1-pint baskets fresh strawberries, washed and hulled 2 cups sugar Place strawberries in heavy large saucepan and mash coarsely. Cook over medium heat until beginning to thicken, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add sugar and cook until dissolved. Increase heat to medium and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and mounds on spoon, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Makes about 3 cups.

Broiled apricots

Enjoy these as is, or top with whipped cream or with a spoonful of plain yogurt mixed with honey. 8 fresh apricots, halved and pitted 4 teaspoons brown sugar 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon Pre-heat broiler. Place apricots, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Place a dab of butter on each apricot half. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and brown sugar; sprinkle evenly over apricots. On oven rack set 4 inches from heat, broil until apricots start to slightly char, 2 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 8. Anne Polta may be reached at apolta@wctrib.com or follow her on Twitter @AnnePolta

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Strawberries with toasted coconut

Spoon batter into baking pan, using a spatula to smooth the surface evenly in the pan. Scatter berries over the top. Bake in the center of the oven until the cake is browned and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 minutes. Remove the rim if you’ve used a springform pan and transfer to serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm. Serves about 8.


Let’s talk wines... BY RON SKJONG


et's talk! What do you like to talk about? Of course, the answer to that question is as numerous as the number of people to whom you ask the question. Maybe you like to talk about the weather (we Minnesotans like that topic), the sports scene (Go Twins!), fishing (it'll happen one of these days), food (now there's a subject on which we all can agree) or … what the heck, you name the subject. Even for those among us who believe they don't like to talk, they'll talk when presented with their favorite subject. I've found chatting to be the perfect ice breaker. Now, please understand that my chatting with you doesn't mean I want to be your BFF! Usually, I'm acknowledging you and one never knows what riches they'll find in a new conversation, nor the person you find in that conversation. For example … Over the years, I've realized there are two types of personalities within the same person – the person at work and the person sitting in the coffee shop. Guess where I enjoy doing my talking? When sitting in one's work environment, of course, one should be a professional. To me, the issue is that, periodically, the professional gets in the way of the person's personality – I like to talk to the person and that’s why I prefer the coffee shop. Additionally, I think the preference goes both ways – at least for some of us. People relax a bit over coffee or tea. It's while chatting over a cup of coffee or tea that we find commonalities that can build our relationships and build our professional dreams. Imagine what sharing a glass of wine brings forth. However, before we start to talk about conversing and wine, allow me to interject a fact. It's known that about 60 percent of wine drinkers are women. Either that means women are wiser than men or we men aren't paying attention to where the wine is flowing. Now, let's talk about wine for a bit … As I've journeyed along this path of wine interest I possess, it's been fun to taste many wines, but even more than the tasting is the talking that goes with the wine experience. One of the first Chenin Blanc's I tasted was Barton & Guestier's Vouvray. It's a semi-sweet wine with marvelous floral aromas and

20 Live it! Magazine

peachy flavors. I never get tired of talking about this wine's outstanding refreshing finish. For a soft wine, it's a topic for discussion. No matter how good a white wine may taste, it's the reds that keep chatting to me. It's as if there's a voice in my head that very simply yells: “It's Red Time!” Since I'm such an obedient soul, I look for a red to drink and Carnivor's Cabernet Sauvignon (CA) never fails me. This beautiful dry red is full-bodied with tastes of blackberry and coffee with a hint of oak that leads to a luscious finish. It never stops talking to me. Staying with California wines, I enjoy Smoking Loon's Pinot Grigio. It's a medium tasting Pinot Grigio that still presents wonderful lime/ lemon flavors and then ends with a crisp finish. It's an easy drinking wine that is perfect for pairing with fish or a nice chicken dish. It will generate a bunch of appreciative talking. Now the day is done and you're by yourself. There's been enough chatting for one day and, if you're anything like me, you want quiet and something that will soothe your soul. And, here it is … Dow's Fine Tawny Porto will bring your day to the perfect ending. Rather than launch you into another conversation, this port will just settle you for the night. This Portuguese wine has been around for a couple of hundred years and it has a soothing nutty flavor with a bit of spice to keep you relaxed. It's as if the wine is saying “Time to stop talking, just taste me and then go to bed.” Yeah, I'm probably known for meeting people in the various coffee shops around town and I'll be the first to admit it. But, I've discovered so many interesting people over a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a cup of tea that it's one habit I'll not change. The experience is just too darn fun, interesting, informative and always filled with laughs. Next week, let's see what the weekend brings. As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon! Cheers! Ron Skjong writes primarily about the wonderful world of wine but likes to explore various spirits and beers, too. He is married and has four grown children. While stationed in Germany, he was introduced to German wines and from that introduction, a lifelong pursuit developed to find that perfect bottle of wine.


Second-level thinking in finances BY CRAIG POPP

everyone else is selling in panic. Buy!” The classic example of first-level thinking is buying what you know. That is, I shop at this store or I buy that product, therefore I will buy the stock of said company. This ignores deeper consideration that should be applied. The company could have a good product but bad business model, or be poorly managed. Second-level thinking takes a lot of work. However, doing so is a way to separate yourself from the masses. I believe the concept can be applied beyond the world of stocks. Any decision (personal or business) can be improved by challenging yourself to think beyond the conventional. How do you utilize second-level thinking? Below are ideas you can generally apply: Always examine both sides. You must be willing to seek out opinions that are different than yours.

Craig Popp, CFA, is a financial adviser at the locally owned, independent office of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC at 115 Litchfield Ave. S.E. in Willmar. Popp also authors “The Cognitive Bias,” a blog covering the topics of personal finance, wealth management and investing. He can be contacted at 320-235-1416. Any opinions are those of Craig Popp and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Inc.

Play devil’s advocate with yourself (or assign someone this role) and make a case for how the contradictory information could be right. Think in terms of probabilities. What are the odds I’m right? What are the odds I’m wrong? Process over outcome. Nobody bats 100 percent. If you experience an unfavorable outcome, don’t blame others — or some outside factor. First, examine the process you took to make your decision. What is my edge? What do I know? What don’t I know? Do I know what I don’t know? Who is my competition? What do they know? What do I know about them? What do they know about me? The path to success in the competitive arena is often not what it seems. Many people try to outwork the next person without realizing the ‘next persons’ are doing the same thing. The goal of second-level thinking is not a purposeful divergence from the crowd — but rather a way of thinking that sets you apart from others. A way of thinking that gives you an advantage.

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e need to think outside the box. How many times have you heard that slogan? The concept sounds appealing; unfortunately, theory and practice often don’t align. In most instances “thinking outside the box” is easier said than done. In the investment industry, the select group who can apply this concept are called secondlevel thinkers. Famed investor Howard Marks developed the theory of secondlevel thinking in his book “The Most Important Thing.” The easiest way to explain it is to quote Marks. “First-level thinking is simplistic and superficial, and just about everyone can do it. All the first-level thinker needs is an opinion about the future. Second-level thinking is deep, complex, and convoluted.” Marks continues with specific examples: First-level thinking says, “It’s a good company; let’s buy the stock.” Second-level thinking says, “It’s a good company, but everyone thinks it’s a great company, and it’s not. So the stock’s overrated and overpriced; let’s sell.” First-level thinking says, “The outlook calls for low growth and rising inflation. Let’s dump our stocks.” Second-level thinking says, “The outlook stinks, but

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Check it! Out

What’s happenin’ ?





Granite Falls, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., downtown plazas along the Minnesota River; music, crafts, art, vintage and more.

Appleton, 7 p.m., Riverview Park Bandstand; free music concerts; bring a lawn chair or blanket; sponsored by the Appleton ’52 Wing Restoration Committee.

Litchfield, 5 to 8:30 p.m., Meeker County Master Gardeners tour in the Dassel area.

June 9, July 14, Aug. 11

Every Wednesday Willmar, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Kandi Mall southeast parking lot; high-quality produce grown within 100 miles of Willmar.



Every Thursday Willmar, 2 to 6 p.m., 414 Becker Avenue, downtown; a multicultural market of farmers, growers, producers, artisans and entertainment.

WHITNEY MUSIC CENTER Every Thursday Willmar, 6 to 7 p.m., Whitney Music Center, 913 Business 71 N.; free music concerts by different individuals and groups, followed by singalong with house band.


Every Thursday Spicer, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Glacial Ridge Winery, state Highway 23 between Spicer and New London; free music concerts by different individuals and groups.


Every Friday Clara City, 7 to 9 p.m., Hinterland Vineyards, 3060 120th Ave. S.E.; free music concerts by different individuals and groups.


June through August New London, 7:30 p.m., Neer Park, June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, July 5, 6, 13, 19, 20, 21; at 7 pm. Aug. 3, 17, 24, 31.

June 10

Glenwood, 4 to 8 p.m, Lakeside Ballroom; summer dances open to all, music by Myron Sommerfeld; no jeans or shorts.


June 12, 26, July 12, 24, Aug. 7 Danube, 7 p.m., Mueller Park Bandstand under the water tower; free concerts, bring a lawn chair or blanket; freewill donation; sponsored by Danube Historical Society.


Benson, 6:30 p.m.; 31st annual Flag Day parade with 12 high school marching bands.

MOVIES IN THE PARK June 15, July 20

Willmar, 9 p.m., Robbins Island, free children’s movie; pre-activities for one hour before the movie, free admission, popcorn and pop, bring a chair or blanket and bug spray; inclement weather it will be in the City Auditorium.

STUDIO HOP June 15-16

June 6, 13, 20, 27, July 4 Willmar, 7:30 p.m., Robbins Island Park; free concert by Prairie Winds Concert Band.

Local artists will have their studios open 4 to 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the Atwater, New London, Spicer, Svea and Willmar areas; www. studiohop.wordpress.com.




June 7-10, June 14-17, 21-24 Willmar, 7:30 p.m. weekdays and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sundays, The Barn Theatre, 321 Fourth St. S.W.; performances of the musical “Bye Bye Birdie”; for tickets call 320-235-9500 or online at thebarntheatre.com.

June through July 2018

June 16

Granite Falls airport, Greatest Generation Celebration, Roy Fagen Memorial Air Show and Jamey Johnson concert, gates open 11 a.m., airshow 3 p.m., concert 7 p.m.

June 19, 26, July 10, 17, 24, 31


June 21-23, June 28-July 1 New London, 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; performance of “Boeing Boeing”; tickets available at The Giving Tree Children’s Boutique in New London, Whitney Music in Willmar and at the door, if available.


Every Saturday starting June 23 New London, 8 a.m. to noon, Holm Park on the northwest corner of the Mill Pond; local produce, honey, cut flowers, baked goods and handcrafted items.


Dawson, 7 p.m., Memorial Auditorium; Dawson-Boyds Arts Association presents “A Musical Tribute to Patsy Cline”; www. dawsonboydarts.com.

POLKA FEST June 29-July 1

Bird Island, Island Ballroom; 27 hours of dancing on large wooden dance floor.


Litchfield, 2 p.m., Litchfield Opera House; Bob and Sheila Everhart Smithsonian Museum of Traveling Music with music of the settlers and homesteaders of the Great Plains and prairie; 320535-0829.

MUSIC IN THE PARK July 8, 15, 22, 29, Aug. 5, 12

Spicer, 4 to 6 p.m., Pirrotta Park observation deck; free concerts by various groups.

July 10


Every Saturday starting July 14 Willmar, 6:30 a.m. to noon, YMCA parking lot; locally grown produce, vegetables, fruits, jellies and jams, baked goods and crafts.


Glenwood, 4 to 8 p.m., Lakeside Ballroom; summer dances open to all, music by Velvet Brass; no jeans or shorts.

ROCKIN’ ROBBINS July 17, 24, 31, Aug. 7

Willmar, 5 p.m., Robbins Island; free concerts with headliner band; music starts at 6 p.m., food booths, vendors and more; bring your own lawn chair.


Spicer, Green Lake Bible Camp; 34th annual auction with preview Friday evening; on Saturday display and auction at 11 a.m. of homemade quilts; 320-796-2181.

LITTLE THEATRE Aug. 2-3, 9-12

New London, 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; performance of “Florence Foster Jenkins”; tickets available at The Giving Tree Children’s Boutique in New London, Whitney Music in Willmar and at the door if available.

WACIPI Aug. 3-5

Granite Falls, Upper Sioux Community Pezihutazizi Oyate Traditional Wacipi, warmup dances 7 p.m. Friday; grand entries at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

To list your event, email liveit@wctrib.com

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