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Cooking “Minnesota-Style” at the State Fair

August 28, 2007

St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota State Fair is famous for its food -- and, today, fairgoers will get a second helping. Several chefs are teaming up with Minnesota farmers to promote the benefits of cooking with locally-grown produce. Chef J.D. Fratzke of the St. Paul eatery "Muffuletta in the Park" says the "Minnesota Cooks" demonstration promotes sustainable farming and good food.

"It focuses on chefs getting on stage and talking about why they use ingredients that are raised here in Minnesota; how they use those ingredients in their restaurants, and how easy it is for people in the audience to, not only learn how to cook this food, but how to get it at their local co-ops."

Fratzke adds a greater number of folks want to know where their food comes from, and they prefer local sources.

"The farmers who are producing a lot of these vegetables and raising these animals are doing it with an ethic that is kinder to the land itself. They try to raise organically or, at least, responsibly, which means there are less metric tons of phosphates and different kinds of insecticides that aren’t being dumped into the Mississippi River and other outlying rivers."

The cooking demonstration shares a booth with the Minnesota Farmers Union, where union President Doug Peterson says buying locally has plenty of advantages.

"Number one, it’s healthier for you. Number two, it saves you energy and money. Number three, it tastes better. A lot of farmers believe they’re producing the best, and a lot of consumers want to support an economy that’s within Minnesota."

Peterson says concerns about contaminated imported foods also have increased interest in locally-grown food. The day-long "Minnesota Cooks" event takes place from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Fair, in Carousel Park.

Jim Wishner/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - MN