Lisa and I wanted to follow up yesterday’s post by paying respect to our hosts, volunteers and supporters of the Slow Food MN event “Where the Wild Things Are.”
In case you missed Sunday’s post, the “Slow Food” organization focuses on the disappearance of local food traditions, our culture’s declining interest in the food we eat and where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.
The event took place at the Ralph Lentz Farm outside of Lake City, MN. Mr. Lentz has been working with state conservationists to actively manage his grass fed beef farm. His beef products are sold and distributed locally. If you’ve shopped one of the co-ops and purchased beef, you’ve probably benefited from the Lentz farm.
We wish we could name everyone of the host of volunteers that provided several learning opportunities for both adults and kids. In the photo to the right, you’ll see a list of businesses and folks that contributed.
Several events led the day. There was an ecology tour that featured the identification of wild edibles used in the creation of our supper led by Larry Gates. There was a world of insects tour that many of the kids and their parents enjoyed together. Mr. Lentz took everyone on a farm and cattle tour. Anna Gerenday provided a solid introduction and discussion to wild mushrooms. And an origami artist taught a workshop on creating mushroom origami table decorations. The eco-tour was particularly interesting. As the wild edibles were pointed out, Larry explained the transformation of grazing ideology over the last 2 to 3 decades and the effects of the changes in land management on a host of things that included: the land itself – soil quality, plant diversity, insect variety, the trout stream that flows through the property, the animals that graze there and the people that live on and around the farm. The take-away was that two and a half decades ago, the land was managed with a more static structure approach. Historically, the land was in an active management cycle, going back thousands of years. The gradual transformation back to this active management approach has restored value to the local economy in ways that a static approach cannot achieve.
A snack tray with with a variety of fresh breads, cheeses and hazelnuts from Hazelnut Valley Farm (contact firstname.lastname@example.org and write to Norm Erickson) and wines from Crofut Family Winery and beers from Flat Earth Brewing Co. We really liked the Frontenac variety wine and the Cygnus X-1 Porter beer! We hope you find a chance to try them out.
Finally, the meal itself was prepared using a giant mobile brick oven. Our chefs were led by Molly and Thomas Broder and their expert staff from Broder’s Pasta Bar and Cucina Italiana. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves: