Locally Grown, Year-round

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Enterprising chef Lenny Russo, back at his Heartland Midwestern Restaurant after a stint at Cue, is working with the Saint Paul Growers Association to create a new retail store and distribution center next door to the Lowertown Farmers Market. The retail store will feature locally grown foods — fresh, canned, or frozen — year-round, while the wholesale distribution center will help small farmers cut out the middleman in selling to restaurants and co-ops, whose purchasing volume is greater than individual farmers can handle. The goal, says Russo, is to have farmers keep more of the profits and also spend less time and fuel making deliveries to the metro area. Russo hopes to break ground this summer and open for the 2008 growing season.