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A benefit for immigrant farmers and the work of
Minnesota Food Association and Slow Food Minnesota

Sunday, October 3, 2010
Big River Farms, Marine on St. Croix

Harvest dinner :: Farm tours :: Silent auction
Interviews with Kenyan and Hmong farmers

Minnesota Food Association and Slow Food Minnesota joined together to present an afternoon of fun, learning and great food at MFA’s Big River Farms.

MFA helps immigrant farmers make the transition from the slash-and-burn farming of their native Asia or Africa to organic farming in Minnesota. The multi-year program provides each farm family with an on-site farm as well as training in the techniques and business of organic farming. The farms are known collectively as Big River Farms, and they are located in Marine on St. Croix in Minnesota.

The event began with tours of the farm, a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres and drinks.






Colleen Foster at the check-in table. (Photo: Val Landwehr)

Melanie Timpano leads a tour of the farm.
(Photo: Val Landwehr)

Mark and Tom Arneson serve their Slow Harvest cocktail made with 45th Parallel vodka, Hoch apple cider and limoncello. The glasses were rimmed with cinnamon. (Photo: Val Landwehr)

Beer was provided by Lift Bridge. (Photo: Val Landwehr)

An appetizer of cured meats made by Mike Phillips.
(Photo: Dina Berray)



Before dinner, Glen Hill conducted a conversation with four farmers in MFA’s program.

Glen talks about MFA’s multi-year training program and introduces participants. (Photo: Val Landwehr)

Phillip Momanyi and Tabitha Monari, from Kenya, talk about organic farming. (Photo: Dina Berray)

Phillip demonstrates an efficient weeding tool. No herbicides needed. (Photo: Val Landwehr)

May Lee, left, and her daughter Mhonpaj, who are Hmong, are graduates of MFA’s program. Their farm is called Mhonpaj’s Garden. May came to this country knowing no written language, and with little knowledge of numbers. Through the program she has learned to calculate yields, keep records, and much more. (Photo: Dina Berray)


Dinner was prepared by Joe Hatch-Surisook, Kristin and Jeff Klemetsrud, Alex Roberts and Mike Phillips. It was served in an open barn.



Chefs at work . . . (Photos: Val Landwehr)



Pork confit with heirloom baked beans, topped with a hen-of-the-woods mushroom and leek ragout by Mike Phillips. (Photo: Dina Berray)

Harvest apple cake with rosemary-honey caramel sauce by Jeff and Kristin Klemetsrud (Photo: Val Landwehr)

(Photo: Dina Berray)

Marilyn Grantham of the MFA board and Sara Heger,
Slow Food’s auction chair. (Photo: Val Landwehr)

Melanie Timpano, the resident farmer at Big River Farms. (Photo: Dina Berray)

Joe Hatch-Surisook talks about his dish, grilled marinated chicken with curried peanut sauce and cabbage salad. (Photo: Val Landwehr)



The silent auction had food related items such as a basket of wines and accompaniments from Alexis Bailly, mixed organic fruit from FruitShare, and a dinner cooked by Mike Phillips in the winner’s home.

(Photo: Val Landwehr)

(Photo: Val Landwehr)

(Photo: Val Landwehr)



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