Reporting Jason DeRusha
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota State Fair has lots of vendors and foods from outside of Minnesota, but when it comes to some of the iconic food from the fair, how many of those are from Minnesota?
Pork Chop on a Stick
It’s an icon of the state fair, with the smoke billowing out of the food truck run by Peterson Concessions. When WCCO-TV asked where the pork loins come from, the concession manager said, “Sysco.”
The pork is processed by J & B Meats in St. Michael, Minnesota. A spokesman said, “Those pork loins are purchased through Farm Line in Dubuque. They receive hogs from a number of different farmers in the country. Most are in the Upper Midwest, but probably not from Minnesota.”
If you see someone walking around the fair with a turkey leg, it’s hard to know where that turkey is from. One vendor said, he sources his turkey from Texas and Arkansas. Another said Iowa.
If you go to Turkey To Go, home of the famous turkey sandwiches, their drumsticks are all from Minnesota farms. No surprise, as the booth is operated by the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.
“There’s 250 families in Minnesota that raise over 40 million turkeys a year,” said Drew Levin, of the Turkey Growers.
The Pronto Pup is one of the most popular fair foods, sold from eight different locations across the fairgrounds. But it’s not even from anywhere close to Minnesota.
Pronto Pup is based in Portland, Oregon. That’s where the product all comes from.
Surprising news about the potatoes for the two Fresh French Fries stands and the World’s Greatest French Fries stand: All of the potatoes are from Hayes Farm in Big Lake, Minnesota.
“Minnesota grows a lot of potatoes and they’re very good,” said Dan Wozniak, owner of Fresh French Fries.
He said he buys around 250,000 pounds of taters for every State Fair.
“These are only out of the ground a couple days, so they’re really fresh,” he said.
Only one small sign promotes the fact that the Sweet Corn is “Minnesota Grown.”
“Wouldn’t it be disappointing if the corn were from Iowa?” laughed Libby Huettl, the daughter of one of the owners of the sweet corn booth.
“It’s from Waverly, Minnesota, delivered every night fresh from the farm,” she said.
Untiedt’s Vegetable Farm sets aside 20 acres on it’s property in Waverly, according to Huettl.
The corn is delivered early every morning.
“About 24 hours from field to counter,” she said.
All of the cheese curds for the Minnesota State Fair are from Ellsworth Creamery, in Ellsworth, Wis. While that’s not Minnesota, clearly, Ellsworth is pretty close. And many Minnesota dairy farmers sell their milk to the Ellsworth cooperative that produces the curds.
Sweet Martha’s Cookies
The only part of Sweet Martha’s Cookies that are truly Minnesotan is the love that goes into them, according to Gary Olson, Martha’s husband, and co-owner of the company.
“The chocolate chips come from Ambrosia, which is a Milwaukee company,” he said. The shortening comes from Missouri.
Olson wasn’t sure where the flour and sugar and other ingredients come from, as they are premixed by their supplier, Gregory’s Foods.
The Minnesota State Fair provided a list of other Minnesota connections in food vendors:
• Thomasina’s Cashew Brittle in the Creative Activities Annex off of Cosgrove Street are made and sold by local women.
• Famous Dave’s on West Dan Patch Avenue at Chambers Street uses local bacon in its chocolate-covered bacon.
• Minnesota Wine Country in the Agriculture Horticulture Building features tastings of Minnesota wines and wine ice cream made with Minnesota wines.
• Minnesota Apples in the Agriculture Horticulture Building are featuring varieties of Minnesota-grown apples that fair guests can purchase and eat, along with cider and cider freezes made from Minnesota apples.
• The Minnesota Honey Producers are also in the Agriculture Horticulture Building and serve honey ice cream and cider from Minnesota honey.
• Blue Moon Dine-In Theater serves Kramarczuk’s sausages.
• Giggles Campfire Grill in The North Woods area serves local game fare, including walleye.