“Local food is about getting the freshest and best-tasting food. It’s also about connecting to and strengthening the community,” quote by Anna Lappé, author and advocate for food justice and sustainability.

Whether you love local food, enjoy the outdoors or seek a farm experience, there are a variety of activities in the Cannon Valley region to put on your calendar this summer.

Eat, drink, and enjoy the outdoors

Keepsake Cidery’s Tasting Room and Toastie Farm is now open every weekend on their farm in Dundas. Keepsake’s tasting room opens Friday through Sunday with special events such as live music Saturday nights and Friday Night Cookout and Games where owner Nate Watters grills locally sourced foods for dinner that can be enjoyed outside on the patio or insider the newly built tasting room. Adults can sample artisanal hard cider and kids, young and old, can play lawn games or stroll through the apple orchards.

On-farm market

Are you looking for local, certified organic vegetables beyond what’s available at the local grocery stores and farmers markets? Sogn Vally Farm has opened up a weekly On-Farm Market on Friday evenings this year. Visitors are welcome to stay and do self-guided tours, u-pick flowers and vegetables, or participate in family-friendly activities, such as building insect hotels or snake monitoring.

Visit a farm

Hanappe Ranch, located in Castle Rock, offers tours by appointment. At Hanappe Ranch, black angus beef raised on pasture are rotationally grazed to provide them the best of every pasture. Weather pending, the tour will take you through the pasture lanes to see what the cattle eat, watch them interact, and learn how owners Greg and Kerry take care of them. To schedule a tour, contact Kerry Hanifl at 651-341-5995.

Another great opportunity to visit local farms is the annual Co-op Farm Tour that is Saturday, July 13. Farms across Minnesota and western Wisconsin, that supply to food co-ops, will open to the public from 10am to 4pm for free tours, food sampling and on-farm activities. This year, there are seven farms located in the “South” region participating in this event including Graise Farm (Faribault), Little Big Sky Farm (Henderson), Ferndale Farm & Market (Cannon Falls), Shepherd’s Way Farm (Nerstrand), TC Farms (Dundas), Hope Creamery (Hope), and Twin Organics (Northfield).

For a full list of farms and tour details, visit the website www.coopfarmtour.com or pick up a guide book at Just Food Co-op in Northfield or at Graise Farm’s stand at the Faribault Farmers Market.


At Mountains and Waters Alliance, a small permaculture farm, located north of Faribault there will be a volunteer opportunity from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 20. Projects may include planting, transplanting, mulching, building homemade fences, and more. Lunch provided. For more information about volunteer opportunities at Mountains and Waters Alliance, contact Shodo Spring at


Many farms welcome volunteers to help with projects or daily activities. If you’re interested in volunteering on a farm, ask a farmer how you can help.

Get involved in the local food community. Eat, drink, shop, visit or volunteer on a farm.

Tiffany Tripp is co-owner of Graise Farm, founder of Faribault Winter Farmers Market and admirer of all things local. Reach her at tatrippmn@gmail.com.

Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-333-3134. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy

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