Green Getaways Rich in Local Flavor

By Explore Minnesota

tokheimPlan a trip to enjoy the local flavor of Minnesota destinations and support environmentally friendly sites and businesses.

One guide to a green getaway is Green Routes, a Minnesota directory that identifies eateries that serve locally grown food, places to meet local artists and see and purchase their work, and sites that focus on local heritage or that preserve the area’s natural environment.

Along the Minnesota River Valley route between Redwood Falls and Ortonville, for instance, you can taste local wine at the Fieldstone Vineyard, enjoy Fair Trade coffee and homemade pie at the Java River Café in Montevideo, visit a potter in his studio at Tokheim Stoneware, learn about the area’s Dakota Indian heritage at the Lower Sioux Historical Site, watch migrating waterfowl at the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, and spend the night at a cottage on a farm or at a small B&B.

Another green getaway tool is the Minnesota Grown Directory, available in print or online, with listings of farmers’ markets, orchards, pumpkin patches, and much more, organized by county.

Chisago County, on the northeast perimeter of the Twin Cities area, offers a rural experience close to the city. Start at a farmers’ market in North Branch or Lindstrom on a Saturday morning. Then, head to Eichten’s Hidden Acres east of Center City, where 13 types of all-natural cheeses are handmade here in small batches, the old-fashioned way. Try their specialty—Dutch Gouda. They also sell lean bison meat, from the large herd that grazes on the farm’s pastures.

Further east, toward Taylors Falls, Pleasant Valley Orchard features strawberries and Minnesota apple varieties along with hayrides. And near Lindstrom, kids can explore two corn mazes and pick out their jack-o-lantern at Tom’s Pumpkin Farm. At WineHaven Winery, northwest of Chisago City, the tasting room offers samples of their reds, whites and honey wines. Shop here for four types of honey, including one from Minnesota wildflowers.

Sunrise River Farm, east of Wyoming, also offers honey, plus jam and preserves and 27 varieties of apples fresh from the orchard. Kids enjoy the farm’s animals, including pot-bellied pigs, miniature ponies, chickens and llamas.

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Order the Minnesota Grown Directory from Explore Minnesota Tourism: 888-868-7476.