Our Thanksgiving leftovers are long gone. Where bountiful piles of mashed potatoes once huddled in the cool refrigerator, there now sits an empty white shelf smeared with gravy. A few bits of fancy cheese, some half empty containers of chicken stock, and a bottle or two of sparking water are all that remain of our fall harvest festivities. One by one, the flurries of winter are settling in. I miss the Minneapolis Farmers Market.
Of course, winter is not all bad. Christina took it upon herself to buy a 40-cup coffee percolator, and we have been warming our living room by keeping the chairs full of people. One such character who stopped over bearing fresh honey comb is Mike Sedlacek, aka the Worker B.
Mike and his partner-in-crime Liesa Helfen launched the Worker B company in August of 2010. I have heard these two referred to by the other growers at the Minneapolis Farmers Market as “incredibly talented and hard working”. To be labelled as “industrious” by a farmer is a pretty impressive feat, yet industrious doesn’t quite cover it. Mike and Liesa are whole-heartedly dedicated to local foods, healthy beekeeping, and organic growing practices. Not only do they produce and sell their own brand of Worker B skin care products, but they double as vendors for Swede Lake farms (who grow several varieties of garlic and other high quality organic vegetables). These two seem to have a great deal of fun in everything they do.
I have learned a tremendous amount from the worker B’s, probably enough to fill up an entire book, but I won’t subject you to a laundry list of facts (although it pains me not to do so)…okay, maybe just a few:
When you are buying kohlrabi, choose ones with the leaves still attached. The leaves provide water and keep the vegetable crisp and fresh as opposed to dry and woody.)
Garlic scapes are the tender shoot of the garlic bulb. To help the bulbs grow big, farmers cut the shoots off early in the season (June-July). These shoots have a delicious flavor, and a delightful snap! Coat them in oil and roast them on the grill, oven roast, or pan fry.
Carrots taste wonderful just after the first frost. The cold intensifies their sweetness.
There are over 300 varieties of garlic. Swede Lake is dedicated to growing a variety of rare, distinct types, like Armenian (which is spicy hot), Krasnodar (buttery and mild), Siberian (high in allicin, a blood thinning nutraceutical in garlic), and Chesnok (good for roasting, with smaller cloves).
~tips from Mike and Liesa
Mike mentioned something the other day, which brought me much comfort:
The fields are not empty.
Right now in fields all across Minnesota, the garlic bulbs are already planted. They are sleeping in the ground, blanketed by Winter, holding vigil. I am not sure why I find this so comforting, but for some reason, I do. It feels like a promise that Spring will come again.
Tune in this Saturday am to hear Mike and Liesa and I chatting on the Fresh and Local radio show with Susan Berkson and Bonnie Dehn!!