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Daniel Klein's Posts

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Hungry for catfish? Stick out your hand [VIDEO]

You gotta love Mississippi: It's a land of traditions, where tamales are popular and sticking your hand in a giant catfish's mouth is a reasonable way to catch it. We experienced both on our way through the piney woods and rivers of the Magnolia State. Mississippi lived up to its other nickname -- the Hospitality State -- when we showed up at another stranger's house and were welcomed by a bounty of southern hospitality and catfish. The actual act of noodling (or hand grabbin', hand fishin', etc.) for catfish is illegal elsewhere -- until recently, you'd earn a misdemeanor in …

Read more: Food, Locavore

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Mushroom hunting and banjo pickin’ in the Ozarks [VIDEO]

I find a lot of the stories for The Perennial Plate by searching the internet -- but when I stumbled upon banjo-playing mushroom farmers Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose, I immediately fell in love. Then I learned that their operation is all organic, which gave me all the reason I needed to make the drive over bumpy dirt roads and across several streams to their farm way out in the Ozarks, where GPS and cell phone signals fade to nothing. Even though we only spoke on the phone briefly, Curly and Carole Anne treated me like an old friend and …

Read more: Food, Locavore

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Frog hunting at night in Arkansas, with some guys I met on YouTube [VIDEO]

Looking at that pair of legs, you just want to eat them.Photo: Barclay NixIn this week's video, I joined some guys from Arkansas who I met on YouTube for a night of catching frogs. It was precarious. We showed up around 10 p.m. in a small town near Jonesboro, Ark. Better judgement may have suggested an initial meet and greet preceding the late night boat ride into the flooded backwaters of Arkansas. But alas, we were on the road and had not the time for such formalities. Normal bullfrog hunting conditions are hot days and low waters. We had floods …

Read more: Food, Locavore

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Splendor in the grass at an Iowa activist’s dairy farm [VIDEO]

Last year, we created 52 episodes about sustainable and adventurous food in Minnesota. For the final episode of this past season, we announced our plans to take this web series on the road. And with this episode (No. 53!) we start a whole new round of weekly videos about real food across America. Traveling with my camerawoman (and girlfriend) Mirra Fine for the next six months, we will be meeting farmers, fisherman, hunters, and foragers -- telling their stories, creating recipes with their ingredients, and showing our own road trip adventures. This first episode follows our departure from Minneapolis, travels across Iowa, …

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Forget the compost bucket — toss those carrot tops into the blender for pesto! [VIDEO]

In spring and summertime, we see local vegetables everywhere: at the grocery store, in the back garden, farmers market, or in a community-supported agriculture share. Sometimes there are so many vegetables, we just don't know what to do with them. I have the issue of having no air-conditioning and thus cooking can be a very hot experience. This video shows a few recipes for seldom-used veggies and veggie parts, prepared using less heat, including carrot top pesto:

Read more: Food, Sustainable Food

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Bounty hunting: an inside look at a successful farmers market operation [VIDEO]

Last spring, I had the pleasure of following the farm-to-market process with one of the "successful" upstart organic farms in Minnesota. Laura and Adam from Loon Organics let me film and work through their Friday-Saturday operation. I had been idealizing the idea of starting a farm: seeing the beautiful produce stacked up at the market made me want to take out a loan, buy 50 acres, and start my own little operation. But after a day with the folks at Loon Organics, the frantic reality of running a diversified farm comes into focus:

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Alternative agriculture sprouts up in industrial-corn country [VIDEO]

This episode tells the story of several different farmers in and around Lucan, Minn. Located 150 miles southwest of the Twin Cities, you would never think this town with a population of 226 would have so much going on. Going against the agricultural grain, this blip in a sea of corn boasts CSAs, organic cattle and pigs, as well as beer made from homegrown hops. The episode is a bit longer than others, but I think it gives you time to understand why people are returning to small scale farming. With the young farmers of Kicking Mule as our guide …

Read more: Food, Locavore

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Hope Butter churns out the good stuff in rural Minnesota [VIDEO]

One of the only independent creameries in Minnesota, Hope Butter, is a century-old business that continues to make butter the old-fashioned way. There have been strong years and slow years, but the last 10 have been increasingly successful. Featured at many of the top restaurants, at the Co-ops as well as in regular grocery stores, Hope is often the go-to butter in Minnesota. I took the drive down to Hope last spring. It’s a tiny town with not much more than a post office and a bar (or two). Owner Victor Mrotz walked me through the churning process. As the …

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Faces of death (and flavor) [VIDEO]

WARNING: Video contains images that some may consider disturbing. Close to 10 billion animals are killed every year in the U.S. (100+ million are pigs). With that statistic in mind, only six pigs died during the making of this video ... but it was tough. Killing animals is heavy business. After the deeds were done, the folks at Duskwind Farm gave me the heads. With these faces full of flavor, I made a number of dishes, including tete de cochon. Watch this video to see the process from living pig to decadent dish:

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Morel of the story: it’s spring! [VIDEO]

It's that time of the year. We've eaten too many root vegetables, spent many hours pent-up indoors, and too much time outside bundled up like the Michelin man. The first green things that come out of the ground are like a mirage at the end of the long winter. Initially, there are ramps, daylilies, and fiddlehead ferns and then hidden among the leaves comes the delicious and elusive morel. They are Minnesota's state mushroom, but can be found all over the United States. Hard to mistake for anything poisonous, they are a fool-proof treasure hunt ... as long as you …