Farm-to-table cooking class
Summers in Minnesota are short. And, our growing season is even shorter. As soon as the snow melts, it seems like the countdown to fall begins.
So, what better way to take advantage of summer than by planning your next meal at the farmers market?
That’s exactly what the One Global Snacks Wellness Committee at General Mills did.
Armed with our appetites and a love of local agriculture, we decided to hold a “farm-to-table” cooking class in May. Hosted at our James Ford Bell Technical Center, for employees within the Snacks Platform, it featured a menu based on foods we were able to purchase from the Minneapolis Farmers Market.
After visiting with local vendors (and sampling every freebie we could get our hands on), we left with an armload of bison steaks, artisan cheese, honey, wild rice, and herbs.
Because it was early in the growing season, vegetables had to be purchased from a grocery store. With local produce being a product of local (and unseasonably cold) weather at the time we shopped, the market had little to offer yet.
Ingredients in hand, it was time to plan the menu for our event.
Colby Darling, a research and development technician who joined General Mills with Food Should Taste Good in 2012 – and with experience in the culinary industry – used his expertise to plan a simple, yet delicious, menu of Pan-seared Bison Sirloin with Spiced Walnut Honey, Oven Roasted Spring Vegetables, and Warm Wild Rice Garden Salad. Crackers and local artisan cheeses were served as an appetizer and suggested wine pairings were available for sampling.
The small, intimate setting of the class allowed attendees to ask questions while Colby demonstrated how to prepare each dish.
It was a great way to share ideas about favorite recipes and cooking techniques!
During the class, we were able to highlight several advantages of Minnesota farm-to-table cooking:
1. Buying produce according to season and availability encourages you to try new types of foods and recipes you may not be familiar with. It’s a great way to put your culinary creativity to the test.
2. Purchasing from Minnesota producers allows you to interact with the local food community and support small businesses.
3. Purchasing locally is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating the need for long-distance transportation. Food grown locally is often fresher if it did not need days or weeks to allow for post-harvest transport.
With August now here, our local food landscape has changed again, providing us with many new menu options before the fall arrives!