Slow Business ModelsSlow Business Models in Minnesota

by Conrad Magalis, Lakeville Minnesota

What do you think when you hear the word Minnesota: Freezing cold weather, the Vikings, Bob Dylan and lutefisk, not to mention freezing cold weather! Believe it or not The North Star State is a hotbed for Slow Food culture and locally produced organic crops.

With half of the year spent indoors, Minnesotans have to supplement their health and habitat inadequacies with every outlet possible. So, eating healthy isn’t just a choice, it’s a necessity. To meet this need, many organic producers have sprung up across the state. Two of these local producers are Sandra Jean’s out of Newhaven, MN, and Tomato King from Albany, MN.

Sandra Jean’s is a local, independently owned and operated, seasonal organic producer that prizes quality over quantity. Sandra Jean’s isn’t just a cliche namesake to hint at a small scale, high-quality outfit. Sandra Jean is actually a real person who gets her hands dirty in the process of growing her specialty organic produce. Sandra Jean’s embraces what slow food culture is all about: loving food, caring about quality and local production.   

Her produce can be found in co-ops (community owned grocery stores) across the state and local dining establishments like Luci Ancora, Cafe Brenda and Spoon River. Some of the produce grown by Sandra Jean’s available at my local co-op in St. Cloud, MN has included mizuna, komatsuna, arugula and baby romaine greens.

Tomato King is another small-scale, high-quality outfit based out of Albany, MN. Tomato King is an independently owned and operated business that uses organic hydroponic processes to grow their produce.

All of the water is fresh from Jeff Skalicky’s well and the minerals used to sustain the plants come from naturally occurring sources. Skalicky also uses a wind turbine to generate electricity for the growing operation. He is also in the process of implementing solar power into the operation to cut down reliance on the grid.

Tomato King’s produce is available at several co-ops and farmers’ markets throughout Minnesota. Skalicky grows heirloom variety tomatoes and cucumbers, which are delivered weekly to insure the best quality. At my local co-op, Tomato King’s offerings include beefsteak, yellow grape and red cherry tomatoes as well as English cucumbers.

Sources:
www.wedge.coop
www.minnesotacooks.net
www.sctimes.com

Slow Business Models in Minnesota