Celebrating local and indigenous foods: Dinner on the Farm and the Sioux Chef


It’s a good time to be a foodie. There are lots of food happenings around town, you just need to know where to look. Dinner on the Farm is a good place to start.

During the summer, Dinner on the Farm hosts chef-planned and prepared dinners on farms. They are fun family-friendly events that also often include good, local beer or wine. There’s special pricing for kids so please don’t tell the organizers, but I have seen my kid eat her weight in beef then wash is down with a gallon of strawberries and cream as she chases cows in the field at these events. The dinners are summer highlights. It’s a fun way to learn about a local farm (local may mean up to two hours from the Twin Cities), an emerging chef and often local breweries or other specialty food producers are included. The only way to find out about them is sign up. (Pssst – signing up is free!)

During the winter, Dinner on the Farm hosts Underground Dinner Parties – in art galleries, breweries, Tiki rooms, haunted houses and other fun places. These are less family friendly as they often have a higher level of alcohol content; they also involve a lot less driving. It’s a fun way to meet other foodies. (Be warned it’s not a place to pick up foodies since mingling is minimal and most folks come in groups but with a little effort and sometimes wine you get to meet the most interesting people!)

This last weekend the underground dinner turned to brunch at the Dogwood Coffee Roastery. I heard the coffee was amazing. I’m not a coffee drinker but I was introduced to Spruce Soda Ginger Beer drinker. I have been looking for something to replace Diet Coke; this is on the shortlist. It’s sweet but not syrupy or sugary. And it’s all natural.

The brunch included dry salamis from Red Table. I will forego bacon with brunch any and every there’s dry meats from Red Table on the buffet. Rise provided the bagels; they feature only locally grown and organic ingredients. Soft on the inside, a bite on the outside. Holds spreads and jams well!

The highlight was tasting delicacies of Sean Sherman – the Sioux Chef. He cooks with traditional indigenous foods – foods naturally found in the Midwest. We’re not talking fry bread here. There’s a time and a place for good fry bread but Sherman uses natural organic ingredients that kept his ancestors healthy generations ago and now he is presenting them as a healthy option for foodies today. He created a smoked whitefish spread that was creamy, salty and not too fishy. That on a bagel mixed with a little raspberry job is a perfect sweet and savory bite. His squash salad was also delicious with a tart dressing and pepitas.

It was an amuse-bouche of sorts for a foodie event hosted by the Sioux Chef next weekend (February 6 and 7) at the Aster Café called Owamni and the Buffalo Sky. The menu includes many tasty items that you just might see in your backyard – rabbit, duck, squash and wild rice. The bill promises food, story, song, dance, art and love.

So as I said, a good time to be a foodie. With focused chefs like Sherman and with tireless conveners like Monica Walch who is heart of Dinner on the Farm. She manages to gather an interesting array of chefs, food producers and happy eaters and helps sell the story of better food by introducing local food, chefs and places.