Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Local food stories- What do they mean to you?

by Nikki Berglund | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | All About Food | April 24th, 2019

Photograph by Nikki Berglund

I am currently obsessed with Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal Vegetable Miracle” and it’s really got me thinking about some things. Although she is mainly known for her fiction, this book is a non-fiction account of her family’s decision to eat locally for an entire year. It is a thought provoking read that tempts one into pondering this challenge for themselves, which is much easier said than done, especially considering where we live!

Although my husband and I took the plunge and moved to a farm a few years back, so far, our personal journey towards this romantic vision of living off our land has consisted mainly of a small garden of mostly tomatoes and herbs, a pumpkin patch and some eggs from my chickens. With busy careers and after school activities comes too many quick trips to the grocery store where the organic produce and proteins are expensive and far from local.

My family’s local food quest may be a work in progress, but my restaurant is another story. Working with the farmers and choosing local goods whenever possible is a guiding principle and something that we have based both our menu and our entire restaurant concept on.

Do you ever wonder if your favorite restaurant is doing the same? Is this important to you and why? Since this article needs to be relatively short, here are a few basic questions along with some of my favorite Barbara Kingsolver quotes to ponder.

“Each food item in a typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles....If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

When I asked Chef Ryan Nitschke, my executive chef/restaurant partner at Luna Fargo and (soon to be open) Sol Ave. Kitchen, to give me some statistics on our local food use, he estimated that in peak season the Luna kitchen uses up to 90% local ingredients. As a scratch kitchen this includes almost everything you will see on your plate…excluding among a few other items, seafood, because well, North Dakota. During the winter months this percentage is much lower, but even during this lean season we always try and buy as much as we possibly can from our local friends and farmers.


Storage and transport take predictable tolls on the volatile plant compounds that subtly add up to taste and food value. Breeding to increase shelf life also has tended to decrease palatability. Bizarre as it seems, we've accepted a tradeoff that amounts to: 

"Give me every vegetable in every season, even if it tastes like a cardboard picture of its former self.”

― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

One of the most compelling reasons for eating dishes prepared with produce that comes from local farmers is the taste. In order to illustrate my point, take one of the most basic yet most delicious sandwiches out there, the BLT. There is a very distinct difference between a BLT with huge juicy tomatoes straight from your garden or the farmers’ market, and the store-bought versions with their grainy pale insides and lack of flavor.


“The average food item on a U.S. grocery shelf has traveled farther than most families go on their annual vacations.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Besides wanting your food to taste better, there is an even more important reason to be thinking about these things and that of course is this beautiful yet incredibly overworked earth of ours. Any time you can shop from a local purveyor you are cutting out the middleman and a whole lot of drive time and fuel consumption.


“Many of us who aren't farmers or gardeners still have some element of farm nostalgia in our family past, real or imagined: a secret longing for some connection to a life where a rooster crows in the yard.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Let’s not forget that when you buy things locally you are helping support not only the farmers themselves but also the economy of your community. When you support restaurants who support farmers, it’s a double win. Here are a few folks who understand this important relationship.

Bernbaum’s: When asked about how she supports her local purveyors Executive Chef/Owner Andrea Baumgardner mentions “Noreen/Doubting Thomas Farms for rye, golden white flour, oats, oat groats, soap and anything she brings us. Dennis and Meadowlark Gardens for micro greens and hydroponic tomatoes, Adam Ost for lamb, Nourished by Nature for beef, Dirthead for micros, Nurtured Plains for all sorts of veggies.”

Blackbird Woodfire: Owner Casey, uses Dennis Loewen of Legacy Gardens for tomatoes and Dirthead and Christi Gardens for microgreens.

Luna Fargo: Here are a few of the many local and regional purveyors who we do business with every day: Noreen Thomas of Doubting Thomas Farms for produce, flour, oat groats, mushrooms, and a wide assortment of retail products, Becky and Arlen Huber with Becky’s Plants & Flowers for produce, eggs and honey, Pat Ebnet with Wild Acres for whole chickens, ducks, and pheasant, Ross and Amber Lockhart with Heart and Soil Farm for produce and eggs, Dirk and Jessie Monson with Ten Seven Acres for duck eggs, Lucas and Alise Sjostrom with Redhead Creamery for cheese, Dirthead Farms for microgreens, Melony Thomas for grass-fed beef, Meadowlark Lanes for tomatoes, and Amanda Schlenker with Lady Bug Acres for produce.

So, the next time you go out to eat think about the stories your food is telling you. And remember that when you choose wisely, not only will you be doing a service to the earth and your body, but also to your community as a whole.

[Editor’s Note: Nikki Berglund is the owner of Luna Fargo and Sol Ave. Kitchen and the Wine Manager and third generation operator of Bernie’s Wines and Liquors. She was also a 2018 graduate of the James Beard Foundation Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program (WEL) ]

Recently in:

The vibrant life of Ashley Lake Hamilton came to a sudden end on the Sunset Highway between Airway Heights and Fairchild Air Force Base on Thursday, December 10, 2020.Ashley was born on a beautiful Monday afternoon, June 2, 1980,…

By Michael M. Miller michael.miller@ndsu.eduThe late Mary Lynn Axtman, native of Rugby, ND, who dedicated many hours for GRHC, shared this message about ornaments from Joseph S. Height’s section on Christmas in his book,…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

By John Strand jas@hpr1.com21 January 2021Like most of you, we are relieved to be past 2020. What a crazy year!…


Death of a Nation

by Ed Raymond

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com21 February 2021Have We Eliminated ‘The Giants Of Racism, Extreme Materialism, And Militarism’?In 1915 President Woodrow Wilson saw the first American motion picture ever shown in the White…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

Reviving Rural Grocery Stores in North DakotaBy Annie PrafckeFargo, ND – On October 7th, Gov. Doug Burgum awarded Milnor Market and the Forman grocery store project Main Street Awards, as part of an initiative led by the Office…

When we were growing up we often found ways to rebel against our parents, some more nonsensical than others. Not all of us decided to use those methods as inspiration for the name of a band. Bismarck-based band Spite Nap decided…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.com19 February 2021Filmmaker Sabrina Doyle’s “Lorelei” aims for hardscrabble, working-class romance. Good onscreen chemistry between Jena Malone and Pablo Schreiber lifts the filmmaker’s…

By Jill FinkelsonWe’ve been hearing the word Unrest a lot lately. Unrest in the streets. Unrest in the capital. Unrest in our own homes as we struggle to hunker down in the face of the unseen pandemic. People are restless. They…


Digital Dragathon

by HPR Staff

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…


Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Ashlee Nordquisthpr@hpr1.comI've come to the conclusion that not everyone understands why my brother and I went on ventilators for covid and what that means. As I survived and my brother SO FAR is improving, I can make jokes and…

By Faye Seidler Community Uplift Program Project Coordinator        (701) 732-0228                                                                            …