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Superiority complex

Finding local, sustainable seafood in Minnesota [VIDEO]

Minnesota may be the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but enter a restaurant and you'll be hard pressed to find local fish on the menu. Fishing is a huge sport here, and there are trout farms, but there aren't a lot of sources for sustainably caught fish. Among of the exceptions are the small number of commercial fishermen left on Lake Superior. I had the pleasure of going out one morning with Harley Tofte, who's seen the lake and the industry change over the last 29 years. He operates Dockside Fish Market out of Grand Marais, Minn. and sells to the …

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Good coop, bad coop, video

Snowbound city chickens lay eggs for a decadent quiche [VIDEO]

Minnesota is certainly living up to its Siberian winter image. We got 20 inches of snow on Saturday, and the temperature right now is -8 degrees. Though the Metrodome collapsed, my chicken coop stood strong. And despite the cold, our chickens are outside braving the weather like champs -- laying eggs and eating table scraps. They apparently don't "need" a heat lamp, but my household is in the camp where we treat our chickens more like pets and so, they must be warm. This warmth has the added benefit of making them lay eggs during the winter, which they don't …

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On the lookout for bushy tail

Hunting, cooking, and eating squirrel [VIDEO]

You've heard about bugs being the next sustainable protein source, but what about squirrel? Every culture has different foods that are socially acceptable to eat. Thus, when growing up in England, squirrel was never part of my diet. [Editor's note: But it has long been a staple in the South, and was once common enough eating for the 1962 edition of The Joy of Cooking to include a diagram for how to skin one of the critters.] For John Ny Vang, who is from Laos but has lived in Minnesota for the last 30 years, squirrel is just like any …

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Greenhouse pass

Salad in snowy winter [VIDEO]

This latest episode was filmed at Dragsmith Farms. Along with the usual vegetables (organic), they produce micro-greens all year round. Although a heated greenhouse is not the most sustainable of methods, the greens taste something special when you haven't seen one in a while.   Do these greens use a lot of energy? Probably. Is it more efficient to ship them from California? Maybe -- although climate control is an issue there, too. Do the jobs and local economy contributions outweigh the negatives? Maybe. Are the micro greens delicious? Most certainly. These greens will not be a part of my …

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Beet them, join them

At Youth Farm, kids learn where food comes from and how to enjoy it [VIDEO]

Youth Farm isn't your typical summer camp, playing basketball or swimming. Instead, these Minneapolis kids learn how to garden, cook, and of course, play games. It sounds a little strange, but it's a unique program that kids love: it gets them outdoors and they learn where their food comes from and how to enjoy it. I filmed some of their activities over a couple months, and cooked with the kids as well. Kids and food are a great and entertaining combination, so I hope you enjoy watching this episode as much as I enjoyed making it. Make sure to watch …

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Going to the bogs

Cranberry farm struggles to stay organic [VIDEO]

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and you may have eaten turkey or Tofurkey, Brussel sprouts with bacon or butter (or both), but one ubiquitous item on the table is the cranberry. Whether in sauce, chutney, jam, or jelly, it's a truly American fruit and a symbol of fall. I went and visited the Jonjak Family Cranberry Farm, one of the few organic cranberry bogs in the country, in Wisconsin. With the struggling economy, the difficulty of managing weeds, and the lack of workers willing to do this kind of hard work, Jonjak's organic cranberry production is going by the wayside. …

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A moment of silence, video

Giving thanks — to turkeys, without flinching [VIDEO]

Last year, around this time, I started filming my Thanksgiving experience, which resulted in me filming pretty much every Minnesota food adventure that happened after that, and thus began The Perennial Plate. It has been an amazing year, certainly a year to be thankful for. I came to Minnesota with ideas about opening a restaurant and enlightening Midwesterners about good food. Instead I have done nothing but learn as I've made way through the state. So this Thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks to Minnesota and all of the farmers, hunters, fishermen, foragers, and just great people who've given me …

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Man v. bird

DIY turkey: From farm to family dinner table [VIDEO]

There are a number of obstacles toward holiday tryptophan: Do you find the perfect heritage bird, hunt a wild turkey, or just get one for free with a grocery-store promotion? Should you brave the overnight brining and four hours of cooking (not to mention the stuffing, glazing, carving, and plating), or should you maybe just heat it up in the microwave? As the time and options build up, you may ask yourself, is the turkey even worth it?   Last November I decided to go at Thanksgiving with all the DIY spirit I could muster. That meant turkey hunting, visiting farms, bringing a bird …

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Hoochie mama, video

Making apple cider without a press [VIDEO]

In his Perennial Plate video series, Daniel Klein gets his hands dirty (and sometimes, bloody) in pursuit of local, sustainable food. Apple and its cider are very Fall. In this episode, learn how to make cider without a press -- you'll see how much work it is, and why most people just buy it -- and how to ferment that cider into booze.

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