Think small, harvest big: Make the most of wee spaces for your gardening efforts






For five long summers, I gazed at my postage stamp-sized backyard in South Minneapolis and imagined what I could do with a grander, sweeping space. If I only had a farm, I mused, I could grow my own food and become that person who leaves zucchini and tomatoes on doorsteps around the community. But with […]

Seed swap: Promoting variety and restoring tradition one harvest at a time






I have this friend who has a half-baked dream of quitting her job to live on a farm and make her living working with her hands instead of shooting off e-mails from a standing desk. She’d keep chickens, plant squash and a blueberry bush, make jams and pies and other handmade things. I never joined […]

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Climate Generation gets the Birchwood Boost






As our month of conservation-themed stories draws to a close, we at The Growler have been thinking about how to be more involved in these pressing global issues in the course of our everyday lives. One thing we’ll do is eat at the Birchwood Cafe (I mean, we do that anyway, because we dream about those savory waffles), […]

Conservation in action: Restoring North America’s bison population






Take a Sunday drive along the rolling county roads of outstate Minnesota, watching out your window as lakes and clustered cabins give way to sprawling farmland and the odd barn or cowshed, and you might spot among the dairy farms and cornfields the occasional ranch dedicated to raising bison. From the safe side of a […]

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12 green myths put to the test






Green. Eco-friendly. Sustainable.  Every day we’re told what’s OK and what’s not when considering how to best treat the Earth. But how much of that advice is factually sound and how much of it is just another old wives’ tale? We dig into some of the most assumed-to-be-true green practices to see which ones check […]

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Minnesota’s state species: Their past, present, and uncertain future






Minnesota’s official state symbols represent the natural treasures found within the state and remind us of our cultural heritage. But will Minnesota’s most iconic species still be here in 50 years? We check in to see how five of the most beloved state symbols are faring in the face of a changing climate and loss […]

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Seeing green: Looking past the label to separate sustainable from superficial






green•wash (grēn’wŏsh’, -wôsh’) — The act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service. When a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. You’re standing in […]

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How to cross ‘Dogsled the Boundary Waters’ off your winter bucket list






Minnesota’s million-plus-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), obviously, is best known for wilderness canoeing—many would say the best in the world. But winter transforms this magnificent landscape into a forested cathedral of ice, snow and silence, offering a wilderness experience like no other. Bring a beautiful, hard-working team of Canadian Inuit dogs into the […]

The Legend of Joe Rolette: The Most Interesting Man in Minnesota History






There’s a thing called ghosting, in which a person breaks off all communication with the world, ignoring all texts, calls, e-mails, semaphore flags, ASL, telegrams, etc. (Parents: Ask your kids if this is still unclear.) The New York Times discovered it when Charlize Theron went AWOL on Sean Penn. You may remember that Wisconsin legislators also […]

The Last Great Race: A Minnesotan’s Incredible Rise in Sled Dog Racing & Why He Left it All Behind






The Greyhound bus pulled away, leaving Jake Berkowitz stranded on a dirt road in the middle of northern Michigan. A few days earlier, the 18-year-old was celebrating Thanksgiving with his family in St. Paul, Minnesota. Now he was alone, waiting for a stranger to pick him up and introduce him to a way of life […]

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2015 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Winners






What do we mean by Kind-Of-A-Big-Deal? We mean the innovators. The tastemakers. The chefs and restaurants driving a food revolution in Minnesota. The beers we’ll camp out overnight to get our hands on. The paths we wake up early to bike and the parks we take off work to explore. The albums that make us […]

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For the Birds: Battling declines in Minnesota’s pheasant population






This Saturday across central and southern Minnesota, hunters will step out into the early autumnal dawn in search of Minnesota’s premier upland game bird: the ring-necked pheasant. The pheasant season, which begins October 10 and runs until January 3, 2016, has historically been one of the more important hunting seasons for many Minnesotans. In recent […]

The Saintly Season: St. Paul Saints manager George Tsamis reflects on a record-setting year at CHS Field






George Tsamis spent part of one glorious season in the major leagues, pitching for the 1993 Minnesota Twins. That was nearly a generation before Target Field opened, with the Twins still toiling in the dingy but uniquely lovable Metrodome. Tsamis bounced around the minor leagues for a few years after that stint with the Twins […]

Craft Culture: MaxBat






Wooden baseball bats for the major leagues & amateurs alike Brooten, Minnesota—population 742—sits 120 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Pass the Brooten city sign and there’s a gas station, some galvanized sheds with a few windows, a couple brick garages, a tiny lumberyard, and then an endless stretch of flat, green fields. As they […]

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On Point: Willow Creek Kennels trains German Shorthair Pointers to be Master Hunters






Fall is a busy time in the North. There are Oktoberfests to be enjoyed, autumn hikes to traverse, changing leaves to be admired, and—as hunting seasons open—blaze orange to be donned. Many of us are not alone when we answer the call of the great outdoors, stepping out into the woods and prairies. There by […]