I got the opportunity to attend the first annual Eat Local Farm Tour on July 30th with some friends from General Mills. The full program can be found here. The purpose of this new program was to open the public’s eyes to the true origin of their food. Sustainable, local farming was spotlighted as the 2011 Eat Local Farm Tour featured 11 Minnesota farms within 100 miles of the Twin Cities. Organic vegetable farms, bison farms, turkey farms, and creameries were just a few examples of the variety offered. Our group of 8 drove ourselves out to 2 farms southeast of the city. Our first stop was Gardens of Eagan/The Organic Field School. Located in Farmington, MN, this 100 acre organic vegetable farm offered self guided tours, scavenger hunts, wagon tours, and a corn boil! Pay $1 for an ear of corn, ask an employee for a quick crash course on the best ears to pick, then wander out and pick the cob yourself, fresh from the field. Shuck it back on the shaded lawn and hand it over so they can boil it right in front of you. Smeared with butter and salt, it was some of the most delicious fresh sweet corn I’ve ever had. This is as fresh as it gets!
The room below, one of the many stops on the self-guided farm tour, was used to cure fresh garlic. Signs in front of the building described the process and purpose.
Moving on to the next farm we visited Ferndale Farm & Market in Cannon Falls, MN. They were giving tractor-drawn hay rides on the hour to show visitors the turkeys’ life on the free range.
The turkeys were completely free to roam inside or outside of the fence, under their shade huts or in the barn. Ferndale is a third generation farm and sells to multiple well-known restaurants in the Twin Cities- one being Lucia’s. They answered any and all questions about turkey farming- turkeys are incredibly curious creatures, they’ll come right up to you!- showed us around the farm, and then encouraged market purchases. Their air-conditioned market featured local grass-fed beef, their own turkey products, local produce, cheese, dairy and pantry items. The turkey was so cheap we had to stock up!The entire event was a great educational day- very kid friendly and interactive. I’m sure next year even more farms will be involved and double the amount of activities will be offered! Keep a lookout Twin Cities!