Experience Real Country Living at Minnesota’s 2012 Eat Local Farm Tour

Have you ever tasted wood-fired pizza made with farm-fresh ingredients? Do you have a list of questions that you’re dying to ask a cheesemaker? When’s the last time you shook hands with a bona fide cattle rancher? This Saturday, on July 21, hundreds of Minnesotans will be connecting with their homegrown roots in cowboy boots as they travel across the countryside to connect with local farmers as part of the 2012 Eat Local Farm Tour.

Ten Twin Cities food co-ops put their heads together to coordinate a farm tour of 10 Minnesota farms in four geographic regions within a 100 mile radius of the Twin Cities. But this farm tour doesn’t involve a bus, loudspeakers, or a tour guide. This one-day-only farm tour is self-guided, which means you can visit all or just one of the farms on the tour.

This year’s tour will include stops at Cedar Summit Farm, East Henderson Farm, Living Land Farm, Kohnert Organic Farms, Women’s Environmental Institute, Big River Farm, Shepherd’s Way Farms, Simple Harvest Farm Organics, Thousand Hills Cattle Company, and L & R Poultry and Produce.

“You’ll get to see cows, what they eat, where they’re milked, and more,” said Florence Minar, co-owner of Cedar Summit Farm, where tours will feature both the cow pastures and creamery.

Buy a slice of wood-fired pizza from the Women’s Environmental Institute while you take a tour of their Growing Power Training Center. Stock up on fresh produce from Big River’s on-farm market while your kids participate in an on-farm activity. Brush up your plant knowledge as you walk through Kohnert Farms’ labeled organic vegetable and herb path. Learn about how wool is spun into yarn at Simple Harvest, and then taste some sheep’s milk cheese at Shepherd’s Way.

Tour times differ from farm to farm, so be sure to review the convenient Eat Local Farm Tour Guide (PDF), which lists all the farms, their tour hours, and a printable map. They even made a 2012 Eat Local Farm Tour Google map to help you cook up plans for your food-filled trip.

The Wedge Co-op reported that more than 500 people visited some of the 11 farms that participated in the tour last year, and also offered some friendly farm tour etiquette for visitors:

• Visit farms only during their set hours
• Do not enter private homes
• Stay on established paths
• Do not pick produce without farmer permission
• Please, no pet