By Brainerd Dispatch on Jan 17, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.
LITTLE FALLS—Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace announces its 2019 season, which includes six market days, one Saturday per month, with the next one 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 26 at Sprout, 609 13th Ave. NE, Little Falls.
Kate Ritger, owner of the Just Food Collective, a food business in central Minnesota, will demonstrate her rhubarb barbecue with shredded chicken and goat cheese pizza at noon. Ritger grows fruits and vegetables and makes wood-fired pizza with seasonal, organic ingredients. With a wood-fired pizza oven on wheels, Ritger moves her pizza-making around to places like the St. Joseph Farmers Market, Milk & Honey Ciders and more, calling the operation a "moving pizza farm." While the winter weather poses challenges for growing and utilizing some standard pizza toppings, it also creates an opportunity to develop creative pizza recipes, a news release stated. Whether it is thinly slicing potatoes or reducing rhubarb to create a tangy barbecue sauce, the pizzas will still feature local ingredients.
The cooking demonstration is a regular feature at the monthly Sprout markets to draw customers to local vendors selling handmade, homegrown food, art and other products.
Another feature of the market is the live musical entertainment 10 a.m. to noon. Uncle Wheat & Eddie, made up of Brad Wallace on cajón and Ed Koehler on guitar, play a mix of tunes from '60s rock to "Summertime" by Ella Fitzgerald.
The two have played together for 20 years, but only as a duo in recent years. Uncle Wheat & Eddie play often at breweries and other venues open primarily in the summer. Wallace, whose stage name is "Uncle Wheat," stated Uncle Wheat was a nickname given to him by his nieces and nephews. He stated, "My sister-in-law is from Chicago and she has a pretty strong accent. She says 'Brad' and my nieces and nephews tease her asking, 'What kind of bread is he?' And so, I became Uncle Wheat." The "Eddie" of the duo is Ed Koehler, a retired teacher from Brainerd, who plays on six- and 12-string guitars.
Due to a partnership with Hunger Solutions Minnesota, families and individuals eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can also double their dollar at the Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace. Shoppers with SNAP can swipe their debit card at the market information booth to receive tokens, plus an additional dollar for every dollar spent up to $10 in "Market Bucks." Market Bucks can then be used at vendor booths during the market for any SNAP-eligible items—breads, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products and more. SNAP is a federal food assistance program. Benefits are placed on an electronic benefits transfer card similar to a debit card. To find out if a person qualifies for SNAP, call the Minnesota Food HelpLine at 1-888-711-1151 or visit www.mnfoodhelpline.org for more information.