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Not just for carving: tap into the many uses of pumpkins this season

As days shorten and air cools, thoughts gradually turn from the rush and heat of summer to autumn’s crisp coming. Pumpkins have long been a symbol for fall, but jack-o-lanterns aren’t the fruit’s only purpose. Pumpkins can serve in a variety of culinary roles, from sweet to savory, and can make festive fall decorations on their own without needing to carve them. These garden fruits can be especially gratifying because they’re one of the handful of plants growers have to wait all summer long to offer up to others and enjoy themselves.  ...More »
Eco-friendly Halloween: suggestions for keeping Halloween safe for kids and the earth
 
Halloween is the one day of the year it’s okay to pretend to be somebody or something else. As your child gears up to go trick-or-treating, there are many ways you can fit this holiday into an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Costume basics
For starters, have a quick look through your child’s old costumes. Whether you keep them in a box or in a closet, chances are you’ve saved costumes from past years. Gather inspiration from what you find: turn the old ghost sheet costume into a toga or cut it up to make a pirate shirt. Old dance recital outfits can make a wonderful costume, especially if you add more tulle for a fuller princess-style skirt. If you don’t have a trunk of old costumes, maybe this year is the time to start one. ...More »
A communal effort: Just Food Co-op celebrates 10 years of business
 
Walk into Northfield’s Just Food Co-Op and you’ll find a store packed with shelves full of organic foods and aisles full of customers. You can find just about anything you need, from organic cat food to fresh-grown vegetables harvested from farms only miles outside of town. And shoppers have the opportunity to do more than just fill their carts, since Just Food is a co-op that’s responsible to its members—all 2,800 of them.1 As Just Food Co-Op celebrates its 10th year in Northfield, it is finding more and more ways to support the community that supports it. ...More »
Rush to crush: volunteers help wineries get the most from their harvest

Just as the leaves begin their annual dance, turning from green into blazing orange, red and yellow, there’s romance in the air, pens wax poetic and grape growers rush to crush. Before the first frost sets on the pumpkins, wineries in southeastern Minnesota pluck their delicate fruit from the vine, relying on help from volunteers for their harvest each year.
Within a few short miles from the heart of Rochester, there are many wineries to visit and, if so inclined, pick up sheers, don gloves and experience the gratification that comes from helping with a winery harvest and grape stomp.
Four Daughters ...More »
Trading Up: Time Trading offers a chance to exchange services
 
Do you remember when you were growing up when someone said that if you couldn’t pay the bill at a restaurant you’d have to wash dishes? Now there is a way to obtain and exchange services without spending any money for the tab, and it’s right here in the Med City. Plus, there are more options than washing the dishes for a meal. ...More »
Let's get canning: A look at canning from a long-time canner and a novice

Produce is ripening up in gardens everywhere, in some cases with more bounty than gardeners may know what to do with. There can only be so many salads, veggie-loaded sandwiches and other fresh goodies in a week. Canning can be an excellent way to enjoy extra produce on chillier, more snow-covered days.
A long-held tradition for many farm families, canning saw a resurgence during the recession. Time will tell if interest in the preservation method stays or wanes, but one factor on canning’s side is growing consumer curiosity about what goes into processed foods and where food comes from.
Avoiding added salt is one of the reasons Ruth Grandbois cans. Grandbois has been canning for more than 50 years. The 73-year-old rural St. Charles resident started canning on her own when she was 20, but picked up her knowledge over years of watching her mother can at home on the farm. ...More »
Mystery of yoga: A teacher and a student on the power of yoga
 
Defining yoga — an instructor’s perspective
Trying to define the practice of yoga isn’t an easy thing to do.
“It’s very much based in the experience,” says Sara Atkinson, owner of Breathe Yoga Studios in Rochester. “It’s kind of like trying to explain what love feels like. It’s difficult to find the words.”
In the broadest sense, yoga is the ancient practice of training your mind, body and breathing in the quest for inner peace, good health and greater relaxation.
But, like the ancient practice of love, its many nuanced definitions are only accurate to a point, Atkinson says. The true essence has to be experienced to be known.
So, what is yoga exactly?
“That’s the magic question,” she says. “It’s about an experience of movement we take the body through.” ...More »
Scrub-a-dub-dub: Easy, DIY alternatives to microbead scrubs

Sugar. We love it and crave it but have no doubt that eating too much of it comes at a cost. And yet here’s a bit of delicious news: there are ways to use the sweet temptress that actually can enhance your overall health and well-being rather than sabotage it. Guilt be gone, homemade sugar scrubs for your skin and body will make you feel good about your sugar consumption in ways you never have before.
Used as a natural beauty aid to exfoliate your skin, sugar scrubs are mild and help revive your skin, the body’s largest organ, by deeply cleaning its pores. Plus, making your own sugar scrubs is simple. Combine a bit of sugar with a few other ingredients and your skin will delight in the sweet reward. ...More »
Growing old school: Using native planting in your home landscape design
As we expand in population and the borders of our cities edge out, we are losing our native prairie lands and plants. But some locals are choosing to plant more native plants in their home landscape designs.
“The whole idea of using natives is appealing to the majority of newer people coming into Rochester,” says Peter Carr, a landscape designer at Sargent’s Gardens. Carr says that natives are great for their variances in heights, colors and textures throughout the growing season. But not everyone is so easily convinced that natives are the way to go.
“Most people want what they know, they are afraid to try something new,” says Carr. “Even though this is as old school as it comes, to a lot of people this is a new idea and we’re just trying to go back to go back to the roots of the way we did things before we were even around.” ...More »
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