I moved to Minnesota two years ago to open a restaurant, to spend more time with my aunts, brother, cousins and grandma, and just to try out my home state. I started off working with a talented young chef (and very good friend) Adam Vickerman, getting introduced to the Minnesota food scene — one that is really remarkable. Minnesota is a state forgotten by many and remembered only as a winter wasteland by the rest. But for those of you who have spent more than a moment in this land of 10 million mosquitoes, you may know that it is a place to live: where good community and real food thrive. I have been witness to this idea time and time again as I’ve driven North and South in this fine state, but it really rang true Saturday night at our fundraiser/send off/spring celebration party. The temperature had dropped, snow had fallen (in mid April!) and yet 150 of my closest friends, family and strangers came out to enjoy pizza and beer in the cold. It was remarkable.
The event was at the home and farm of my friend Lisa Ringer. A woman who I didn’t know two years ago, but who inspires me with her excitment for life every time I visit her lovely tomato and dahlia farm. She hosted the event, even suggested we have 100+ folks to help make our cross country filming happen. And to her house came some extraordinary individuals. Steve was there — CEO of Pastureland whose daughter Kiah is helping plan our trip. Kestral was there — a friend who sang and played her guitar despite the fact that her band members didn’t show. Jesse was there — who I knew in New York and met again at a cafe down the street only to become friends again and have him and his company Lyra designs create our new website. Peder was there — a random dude who wrote me an e-mail one day a year ago about the show, proceeded to give me a bag of morels, become a great friend and then cooked pizzas all night at the party. My uncle was there — with his family including the three little stars of the ice cream video. Alexandra was there — a new friend who called us out of the blue and asked how she could help (and in turn was instrumental in the prep for this party). And the Petersons were there — a family from one of our first episodes who have continued to shower us with generosity in the form of lamb, tomatoes, last night’s beer and of course their wonderful friendship….
That’s just a few folks who represent the incredible community that has come from creating this series and living in Minnesota. Thank you to those mentioned, all that attended the party, donated to our Kickstarter campaign and contributed in one way or another to the party on Saturday and this show. Thank you.