Daniel Klein

Daniel Klein is a chef, activist, and the filmmaker behind Perennial Plate. Follow him on Twitter at @perennialplate.

Sustainable Farming

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, …

Sustainable Food

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:

Sustainable Farming

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:


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 …


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 …


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:


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 …

Getting sappy

What’s the season between winter and spring? Maple time! [VIDEO]

Spring doesn’t seem like it would be maple syrup time (based on the pictures on Vermont syrup bottles), but so it is. At the cusp of freezing and melting snow is when the sap is running. And while the rest of the country is praying for warmth, the maple farmers are wishing for cold. The longer it stays cold, the longer the syruping season lasts. Last year, the season here in Minnesota was short, but I made it out just in time to spend the day with Chris Ransom. His operation is based on his backyard trees as well as …

Eat your words

I’ve got a good food story to tell: yours [VIDEO]

The Perennial Plate has been creating weekly videos about real food in Minnesota for the past year. Today, we released our 52nd video: a trailer for our upcoming project. This spring, I will be travelling across the country for six months, documenting stories about good food in America. Each week we will be filming, editing, and releasing unique short films about sustainable eating … and for that we need your help. We want this cross country film project to be made up of the stories you tell us. So, do you have an opinion about what good food is? Submit a story. Know of an …

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