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Minnesota Grown directory seeks new members

December 28, 2018

When it comes to producing food, southeastern Minnesota does its part to help feed the state.

The Minnesota Grown directory, which is approaching the deadline for applicants for the 2019 print booklet, shows almost 150 farms that grow fresh vegetables and fruit, produce honey, raise poultry and grow more within 50 miles of Rochester.

The directory has been around since the 1980s, when the state Department of Agriculture would print 60,000 copies a year. Next year, Minnesota Grown expects to print 155,000 copies of the directory.

“Southeast Minnesota is just a lovely area as far as having Minnesota Grown members and such a variety of members,” said Karen Lanthier, member services coordinator for Minnesota Grown.

Overall, Minnesota Grown lists more than 1,000 local farms and food producers — who sell everything from bison meat to wine to tomatoes to apples.

Sekapp Orchard, a fruit, vegetable and honey farm just east of Rochester, has been on the annual list for decades.

“I think a lot people go to that as a resource to check out different farms. It gives them an opportunity to see what’s out there in the state,” said Sekapp Orchard owner Fred Kappauf. “It’s a valuable resource.”

While Sekapp’s season is done, Kappauf says they still have some apples for sale as well as a large batch being prepared to go to the Channel One Food Bank.

“This year was a big crop,” he added.

Among the many local farms on the current list are:

• Johnston Honey in Bryon.

• L&R Poultry in Kenyon.

• Rivers Edge Market Garden in Oronoco.

• Goldenrust Farm in Eyota.

Despite the rise of online information, Lanthier says the print version of the list is still very popular.

“Even with the boom of technology in the digital age, people still love that physical version of the directory to sit on their coffee table and to live in their glove compartment so that whenever they’re traveling they can reference it and find local farms and foods,” she said.

However, producers have only a few days left to make sure their name makes the print version of the list.

Lanthier said new members who want to appear in the printed version of the directory should apply by Dec. 31, though the online version is being updated constantly.

That online version now has a feature with road-trippers in mind. It lets people map their drives, with stops along the way — within 10 miles of their route — for local food.

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