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10th anniversary of Minnesota Cooks coming to the State Fair on August 26th
By Communications Director

ST. PAUL, MN (July 31, 2012) – Now in its tenth year, the Minnesota CooksTM program ( at the State Fair brings together those who value and support our sustainable food system: farmers, consumers, and chefs. Onstage, chefs will create amazing dishes using fresh ingredients supplied by local stewards of the land. As they prepare their creations, emcees Mary Lahammer of Twin Cities Public Television and JD Fratzke of The Strip Club Meat & Fish will engage the chefs and a taster panel of farmers and local celebrities in lively and meaningful discussions about their sustainable philosophies. At the end of each demonstration, the panel, as well as fairgoers, will sample the mouthwatering, farm-fresh fare.

The program begins at 9:00 a.m. with culinary demonstrations by Le Cordon Bleu students and live music from Noah Hoehn, live looping musician. There will be six hourly presentations by Minnesota’s premier chefs and cooks, beginning at 10:00 a.m. All shows take place on the Minnesota Cooks Stage in Carousel Park, just south of the Grandstand.   

“I'm very proud of what this program has accomplished. We've been in lockstep with consumers' increasing concern about where their food comes from and who produces it,” said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President and creator of Minnesota Cooks. “We're pleased to educate about not only where to purchase these products, including restaurants and retailers, but also the community connection that purchasing local, farm-fresh foods brings about."

2012 farm/restaurant pairings:

10am: Lori Brinkman, Elmbrink Farm with Mike Phillips, Three Sons Meat Co.; and Annette Gilbertson, Gilbertson Farms with Justin Kaderlik, Bethel University

11am: Adam Ellefson & Lupita Marchán, Living Land Farm with Montana Rasmussen, River Rock Coffee; and Todd Churchill, Thousand Hills Cattle Company with JD Fratzke, The Strip Club Meat & Fish

12pm: Gary & Sharon Thelen, Swany White Flour Mills with Alex Roberts, Brasa Premium Rotisserie; and John Hooper, Hoopers’ Yak Ranch with Arun Pokharel & Padam Sharma, Everest on Grand

1pm: Mike Fogel & Valerie Shannon, Buffalo Gal with Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market; and Greg & Mary Reynolds, Riverbend Farm with Russel Klein, Meritage

2pm: Stephen Dahl, Fisherman with Scott Graden, New Scenic Café; and Karin & Aric Koenen, Hinterland Vineyards with Nathalie Johnson & Tony Parsons, Minnesota Historic Wine Tours

3pm: Molly McNeil, Minnesota Peach with Erica Strait, Foxy Falafel; and Dayna Burtness, Laughing Loon Farm with Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer

Some of the celebrity tasters include: U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar; U.S. Senator Al Franken; Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson; Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem; State Representative Rod Hamilton, Chair of House Agriculture Committee; Don Shelby, formerly of WCCO; Lori Sturdevant, Minneapolis Star Tribune; Barb Mechura, Food Service Director for Hopkins School District; Jeannie Kenevan, Caves of Faribault; and Rodney Allebach, Minnesota Farmers Union Agency.

The beautiful 12-month Minnesota CooksTM calendar will continue its tradition of debuting at the event. This stunning publication will proudly feature gorgeous photography, enticing stories about the rich relationships these farmers and chefs share, and stellar recipes. For the duration of the fair, it will be available at Minnesota Farmers Union’s building at 1635 Dan Patch Avenue.

For a sneak peak at some of what the Minnesota CooksTM program has to offer, check out this video from one of our partners, Twin Cities Public Television, on the Farmers and Chefs of Minnesota,

Minnesota Cooks is presented by Minnesota Farmers Union. For more information about Minnesota Cooks, please visit the website at, e-mail, or “like” Minnesota Cooks on Facebook,

Minnesota Farmers Union, Standing for Agriculture, Fighting for Farmers (