Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Making a connection

Marcus White and Melissa Roach
Posted 8/1/18

COOK-A near perfect summer evening was served up for an outdoor farm picnic at Cook’s Country Connection. The goal of the evening was to increase awareness of the connection between farms, food, …

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Making a connection

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COOK-A near perfect summer evening was served up for an outdoor farm picnic at Cook’s Country Connection. The goal of the evening was to increase awareness of the connection between farms, food, and farmers markets. “We think food is kind of a big deal,” said Lois Pajari of the farm supper event.

Pajari is a farmer and owner of Cook’s Country Connection. Last year the Arrowhead Regional Farm Bureau chapter hosted a meal and farm event in Hibbing, and was looking to plan another event in the area.

Pajari (and the farm animals) signed on to bring the event to her farm to help showcase farms and the local food producers in the far north, which people don’t always think of as a farming region.

“As times have changed over the years, there has been a disconnect from farms and the production of food,” Arrowhead Regional Area Farm Bureau Secretary Ed Nelson said. “They get their food from the supermarket – you need to trace it back, you need to trace it back where it comes from. Somewhere along the line it is connected to the land, it’s connected to the soil.”

Nelson owns Nelson’s Farm near Hibbing, which is the other site for the event in the region.

Kris Musto, who volunteers at Cook’s Country Connection, said there are some misconceptions about the animals themselves that people need to be aware of in order to respect the land much more.

“Animals raised for food deserve respect,” Musto said. “It’s a misconception that animals don’t have personalities.”

Teaming with area bakers and growers of the Cook Area Farmers Market, Semmler Farm, Skunk Creek Farm, Rice River Lamb Company, and Homestead Mills the event served up a free meal that included locally sourced ingredients for sloppy joes, salad, and apple crisp.

Over 350 people came out to the farm to enjoy the meal as well as live music, tie-dye activities, spinning wool demonstrations, games and horse-drawn wagon rides.

“The farmers are stewards of the soil, and they work with nature to produce good healthy nutritious food,” Nelson said. “When you taste a vegetable or some fruit or some meat, if you can remember where it came from and you can meet the real human people that grow that food, there is a connection, and that connection is more than just one night, it lasts a lifetime.”

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