y home garden is… pitiable. Each time I walk past our little raised bed full of brown, wilted leaves, drooping shoots, and herbs gone to flower, I want to avert my eyes out of shame and shout, “I’m sorry, okay!”
But one August evening, I saw our sad little garden through new eyes. While playing in the yard, my 2-year-old son toddled over to the garden, plucked the single red cherry tomato from a cluster hanging feebly over the side of the wire fence, and popped it into his mouth. A spurt of tomato juice shot out of his mouth when he bit down and a gleeful glint came into his eyes.
This simple image of my son enjoying a tomato straight from the vine was a poignant reminder of a powerful truth that is easily forgotten or ignored: that all the food we buy and consume each day comes from the earth, sun, and water, and from the careful, season-long attention of farmers.
This September, we are celebrating the harvest with stories that bring us closer to the source of our food and drinks. Writer Youa Vang and artist Xee Reiter bring us to the farm run by the Hmong American Farmers Association and show us where the farm’s produce ends up. The chestnut trees along the Camino de Santiago fed the curiosity of writer Kassie Brown, who tells the story of the demise of the American chestnut tree and how science is reviving the species in the U.S. Food editor James Norton heads to New London, Minnesota, to taste the exceptional farm-to-table dishes being prepared by Mateo Mackabee and Erin Lucas at Model Citizen.
On the drinks side, writer Anna Nguyen rides along with a Minneapolis winemaker whose creative vision allows him to see the Twin Cities metro as an urban farm filled with fruits ripe for picking. From his time judging the International Cold Climate Wine Competition, deputy editor John Garland presents a list of this year’s top local wines to seek out. And bartender Zachary Sapato explains some novel ways to use vegetables to freshen up your cocktail game.
Thankfully for hapless gardeners like myself, our state is blessed with a number of local growers to supply us with a bounty of fresh vegetables. Get out to a farmers market this month and relish the taste of the harvest season.
Harvesting with Urban Forage Winery’s Jeff Zeitler
By Anna Nguyen
Wine and Cider Guide
By The Growler Staff
◆What do Minnesota Grapes Taste Like?
◆Bubbles That Won’t Break the Bank: A Buyer’s Guide
◆Cooking With Cider
◆Pour It On: The porron offers a splashy, exuberant way to share wine and cocktails with friends
◆Polishing the Apple: Elevating the cider cocktail beyond a simple bar drink
◆A Quick Guide to Cider Styles
The aromatic additions that define our local gins
By The Growler Staff
Spirits Close-Up: Farmers Market Cocktails
By Zachary Sapato
5 Exceptional Minnesota Wines for the Harvest Season
By John Garland
Bold New Farmer
A renewed Bachelor Farmer is positively vibrant
By James Norton
The HAFA Farm gives Hmong Minnesotans a long-term stake in agriculture
By Youa Vang
The Funkiest Man In The Room
Topos Ferments’ Jim Bovino on how to stay ahead of a mountain of produce overwhelming your kitchen
By Julie Kendrick
Your Friendly Neighborhood Mushroom Dealer
One year in, Forest to Fork plans new growth
By Andrew Butterbrodt
New London’s Model Citizen is poised to shape the future of Minnesota Food
By James Norton
The Great American Chestnut Revival
How Science is bringing chestnuts back to American Soil
By Kassie Brown
It’s the Great Pumpkin Chris Qualley
By David Scheller
The Minneapolis rapper blending geek culture, activism, and pro wrestling to keep MN hip-hop weird
By Marla Khan-Schwartz
The Natural and Vivid Watercolors of Xee Reiter
By Eli Radtke
Heirloom Tractors at Rosewood Restoration
By Monique Kleinhuizen
This month: “Vegetable Medly”
By Andrew J. Ries and Victor Barocas
Looking for past issues? Browse The Growler Archive.