A Food Frenzy – Part II ( MN State Fair)

Greetings from Minnesota. It was 48* when I went running this morning, but it climbed to the 70’s this afternoon.

Happy back to school, if you or your kids are back to the books. I know many schools start in August, but around here the kids don’t go back until the day after Labor Day.

As promised, I’m going to blog about the rest of our “food frenzy” and our visit to the state fair.

One of the things I love about the fair is it really brings Minnesota together. City and rural, young and old. You see a true cross section of our state at the fair, especially because over 1 million people attend over the 12 days.

Plus, it’s a unique and wonderful opportunity for farmers to interact with and teach others about what we do.

I remember when I was in high school and would bring dairy cattle to the fair for 4-H. I would always get so many questions.

From the suburban parents who wondered how I took care of my animal to the 6-year-olds who would ask if chocolate milk came from the brown cows, I always loved answering the queries.

I felt special to be the deliverer of all my farm knowledge because so many people wanted to know about it. πŸ™‚

I’m still involved at the fair, and one of the things I work with is a program called Farmers Feed Us.

It’s based around a website where people can take mini-tours of MN farms, and after they take a tour, then they can register for free groceries for a year. Pretty good prize, no?

We had a large booth at the fair to promote it, and so I again got to answer farm questions from a curious public.

(MN residents only are eligible, but several other states have their own programs going on right now too. Find them at farmersfeedus.org)

So in the midst of an endless array of fried foods and delicacies on a stick, Minnesotans can both taste and learn about these foods if they’re so inclined.

My first food stop was corn fritters, which I tend to indulge in most years. They are basically little fried balls of corn bread with corn kernels in the batter. Served warm with a side of honey butter they were perfect.

JR wasn’t very hungry first thing, but eventually he started talking about mozzarella sticks (which he has been known to eat for breakfast).

We found a cheese curd / mozzarella stick combo that was so huge we didn’t actually finish it.

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I needed something more “normal” in my stomach by then, so I got one of my all-time favorite sandwiches. It’s from Turkey To Go, and it’s called the giant, juicy turkey sandwich.

It’s hard to accurately describe just how good it is, but I’ll try. πŸ™‚

The turkey is marinated and then pulled or shredded (think pulled pork). It’s super tender with enough seasoning to give it some zip. The flavors aren’t really thanksgiving-ey at all either. Hard to describe, but you can probably tell I love this sandwich.

Then, a visit to the fair wouldn’t be complete without ice cream from the dairy goodness bar. I’ve been eating this treat since I was a little kid and the memories are sweet.

The dairy bar is run by the dairy promotion board in Minnesota so as a dairy farmer’s daughter (and now farmer) I nearly always eat free ice cream!

I wish I would have taken some pictures because the dairy building itself is very impressive. They have awesome displays featuring dairy farm videos, handouts, photos and more. Plus, you can see the state dairy princess finalists (one each day) getting their likeness carved into a 90-pound block of butter. Google this if you want to see some photos.

The ice cream set-up is fabulous too, and I think the sheer volume of people that go through is amazing. I checked the stats, and last fair they served over 200,000 items.

On this day I enjoyed an apple- caramel sundae, which features apples from a MN orchard less than 30 minutes from the fair.

On my earlier trip to the fair on the first day, I had a strawberry-rhubarb malt. I love this flavor of pie, and the malt version proves delicious.

I feel like I may develop a food comma if I write too much more about fair food. I will say I didn’t partake in eating the deep fried butter (yes, really) or… the salad on a stick.

I’ll end tonight with another photo of a very cool state fair attraction. This is the stage outside the milking parlor where fair goers can watch milking demonstrations, complete with an announcer describing the process.

They can also try their luck at hand milking, which is what this brown milking shorthorn cow is waiting for.

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Do you visit the state fair in your state?

About Lisa

Hi, I'm Lisa. Dairy farmer's wife and Minnesotan to the core, I write about rural farm life, running down country roads, and the food, faith, and family that bind everything together. Follow along on my journey.
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8 Responses to A Food Frenzy – Part II ( MN State Fair)

  1. OMG, everything sounds delish. I’d have to run from Atlanta to MN and back to make up for all that!

    Totally random memory here….we lived in Eden Prarie for a year when I was in kindergarten. I remember going to the MN state fair with my parents. I didn’t like hotdogs much as kid so I ate all the breading off my corndog, and then begged my parents into letting me eat all the breading off theirs too. And I had a bunch of funnel cake. That’s about the only memory I have of of the fair. Isn’t it crazy the things we remember? Of course it was the food too!

  2. Dana says:

    All of that food sounds SO GOOD! “Fair Food” in NJ is nothing but sausage and pepper sandwiches and endless funnel cakes and fried oreos 😦

  3. omg. i love state fairs. at least i think i do. i’ve never been. but i cannot wait to go this year bc i’m in a state that actually has one!

  4. Brit says:

    What a great food odyssey! That turkey sandwich does sound good! Your post makes me bummed out that I missed our state fair this year.

  5. Jena says:

    We never went to the State fair, which is in Tampa – but I think we went to the Central Florida fair once or twice. With 5 sisters, things like that didn’t happen. We did have a fair type thing in the town I grew up in and we did go to that a few times, but I don’t remember ever eating the food.

    Now that I’m grown, we’ve (chris & I) have gone to the Strawberry Festival twice, and while I like it it’s just not my cup of tea. I really hate big crowds of people. They freak me out – people are rude, kids are obnoxious. My patience are usually shot before we even walk through the gate.. i’m such a party pooper. 😦

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