Falcon Heights, Minn. — The Great Minnesota Get-Together may be all about food – but it doesn’t have to come deep-fried on a stick. With AURI’s support, hundreds of State Fair visitors this year were treated to gourmet fare grown by Minnesota farmers and prepared by some of the state’s top chefs.

For six years, the Minnesota Cooks program has promoted locally-grown food through State Fair demonstrations by chefs and panels featuring farmers, sponsors and celebrities. This year’s August 26 event started with a breakfast show and continued with new presentations every hour.

While chefs prepared specialties, farmers who produced the ingredients talked about their operations and how they connect with local restaurants. The interest in Minnesota Cooks reflects a heightened awareness among consumers about the source of their food, says Dennis Timmerman, AURI project director. Fairgoers identify with farmers and how their food is produced.

On the top right: J. P.Samuelson of jP American Bistro in Minneapolis, carmelizes sugar on a roasted butternut squash creme brulee.

Below : Peter Ravinski and Jillian Forte from Chester Creek Cafe in Duluth prepare a roasted chicken and grilled plum salad. Students from Southwest Minnesota State University’s culinary program in Marshall helped with food preparation and giving out samples.

Minnesota Cooks was presented by the Minnesota Farmers Union in cooperation with Food Alliance Midwest and Renewing the Countryside, with major sponsorship by AURI. For information, visit www.minnesotacooks.org