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Twin Cities farmers markets land on list of nation's best

Food and restaurant site The Daily Meal highlighted the importance of farmers markets in a recent feature designed to showcase them--101 Best Farmers Markets in America.
Six local markets landed on the list, with St. Paul Farmers Market coming in at the no. 5 spot. Others included Midtown Farmers Market, Kingfield Farmers Market, Northeast Farmers Market, and Fulton Farmers Market.
To get the results, the site ranked markets based on the quality, number, and variety of products sold, the availability of each vendor's background information, what people are saying online about the market, and any awards or other recognition received.
"Farmers' markets are a place where the community comes together to support each other and the sustainable practices farmers use to produce," the article notes. "Farmers are the backbone of our food supply, and we love meeting and getting to know the people who grow what we eat at our local farmers' market."

Food site highlights Minneapolis Indian cuisine choices

Indian and other South Asian cuisine can sometimes get overlooked in the Twin Cities food landscape, notes food-centric site Eater, but "Minneapolis has lots to offer, from the more familiar chicken tikka masala and naan to dosas, momos, and brand-new creations like the Indurrito."
From food trucks to downtown dining to suburban strip malls, superb Indian and South Asian restaurants are popping up all over the metro. The site offers a handy guide to help diners, along with suggestions for what to order at each restaurant or food truck.
Chosen as the top three on the list are Darbar India Grill, Namaste Cafe, and Gandhi Mahal. Others getting a nod include food truck Hot Indian Foods and Brooklyn Park favorite Great India. Another suburban pick, Dosa King in Spring Lake Park, got a mention for its 13 different varieties of dosas. 

Bicycling magazine gives props to Midtown Greenway

The October print issue of Bicycling magazine pays tribute to Minneapolis’ Midtown Greenway, a 5.5-mile bike and pedestrian path, in photos and words. Alongside a photo of a solo rider journeying down the Greenway in the wee morning hours, the piece reads, “Well-loved and heavily trafficked, the Greenway is an expressway of sorts for pedestrians and cyclists.”  

The Greenway, a former railroad corridor, has a scenic trail that “bypasses streets and highways and leads to the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes to the west and the Mississippi River to the east,” it adds.   

Handmade candle company inspired by geek culture meets Kickstarter goal

A local project called Nerdy Candles: For Nerds reached its fundraising goal of $5,000 on Kickstarter last month. 

The project, led by Tom Lubanovic of Frostbeard Studio, centers on handmade candles inspired by video games, movies, and comics. It’s a “fun mash-up of traditional craftsmanship with geek culture,” the Kickstarter page reads.  

This is the group’s second foray onto Kickstarter. In the past, the group created book-themed candles for the literary set. “It's become apparent that people really like our candles, both for smelling nice and for being... different,” the Kickstarter page continues.  

The new line of candles will take inspiration from Zelda, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Doctor Who, among other pop culture icons.  

Pioneer Press photographer's smartphone-made stop-animation film goes viral

Pioneer Press photographer Ben Garvin recently produced a stop motion video that went viral, hitting over 1.2 million views on YouTube within only a couple of days. Garvin’s short film, titled “Magic Beard,” which was recorded with a smartphone app, has since been featured on numerous morning shows, evening news broadcasts, and websites all over the globe, including the Huffington Post. The film goes to lengths, literally, to reveal the wonders of Garvin's  "magic beard." Besides the amount of time Garvin spent growing the beard, the film, which runs just a couple of minutes, took 15 hours to put together.   

The Huffington Post shout-out about the film reads, “Ben Garvin's glorious stop-motion film documenting the antics of his clearly out-of-control beard validates all of our fears about facial hair.” 

"Glee" actor coming to St. Paul to record radio show and podcast

Former “Glee” actor Stephen Tobolowsky is coming to St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater to tape his syndicated radio show and podcast,  "The Tobolowsky Files," live on Oct. 10, the Pioneer Press reports.   

In the hit TV series, Tobolowsky was the glee club teacher early on. He's also appeared in many other roles on-screen, but he might be most known for his part as “the memory-challenged character who provides a key to the mystery in "Memento,”” the Pioneer Press story states. 

As a part of "The Tobolowsky Files,” the actor recounts personal tales about Hollywood, life, and love, the story adds. 

Twin Cities named one of the country's healthiest, happiest hometowns

Health and wellness site Prevention.com identified the "25 Healthiest, Happiest Cities in America" and Minneapolis-St. Paul came in third on the list, just after San Jose and Salt Lake City.
To come up with the results, the site evaluated 100 of the nation's largest 48 cities, using measures that included farmers markets, access to green space, disease incidence, and unemployment rates.
The Twin Cities earned top scores for heart health, and abundant parks and lakes. A cardiologist at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing noted that "people have spent decades boosting heart health by making the area more bikeable, for example, and offering cholesterol and blood pressure screenings to everyone."
The article also added that of the top 25 cities, the Twin Cities have the highest per capital number of farmers markets and among the highest access to fresh produce.

Minneapolis-St. Paul on list of "most aspirational" cities in the U.S.

Online news and culture site The Daily Beast compiled a ranking of the "Top 15 Aspirational Cities" in the United States, and Minneapolis-St. Paul comes in at no. 10 on the list.
To determine America's aspirational hotspots, the report's authors focused on economic indicators, such as employment growth, per capita income, and unemployment. The authors also looked at demographic factors such as the movement of college-educated people into the area.
Finally, they considered quality-of-life factors like housing affordability, traffic congestion, and cultural highlights. The top three cities considered aspirational were Austin, New Orleans, and Houston.
"[G]iven current conditions and the most likely accrual of current trends, we can expect that most of the cities at the top of the aspirational rankings will remain there for some time to come," the authors note.

Major food mag names two local picks in its "best new restaurants" list

Food magazine Bon Appétit recently released its "Top 50 New Restaurants" list, and two Minneapolis eateries made the cut: World Street Kitchen and Borough.
Singled out for its cheese-grater light fixtures and mismatched flatware, Borough in the North Loop neighborhood got a nod for bringing together chefs from Travail for an eclectic menu. The magazine advised readers to opt for the cauliflower with pickled chilies and tempura-style oysters.
World Street Kitchen, near Uptown, was highlighted for its industrial look and casual style, matched with "straight-up fantastic international street food." Diners should go for the knockout rice bowls, burritos, and affordable prices.
Although neither restaurant made the magazine's subsequent Top 10 list, there were still plenty of raves for each eatery's signature dishes.

Forbes highlights Twin Cities in business feature

Business magazine Forbes notes that the U.S. economy is showing anemic wage growth and slow recovery from the recession, but the good news is that there are places with strong business climates that are fueled by low costs and educated labor forces.
With that in mind, Forbes singled out top locations in its annual list of the Best Places for Business and Careers.
Coming in at no. 23 is the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, including Bloomington. The article noted that the Twin Cities are rich with quaint neighborhoods, arts and culture, and natural resources. The median household income, the magazine notes, is about $63,000.
Duluth also got a nod, at no. 115 on the list, with a median household income of about $43,000.
Topping the list was Des Moines, Iowa, which was highlighted thanks to expansion there by major companies like Wells Fargo, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Twin Cities food trucks list grows to 103

As a testimony to local food trends, a database from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal has grown to include 103 food trucks and trailers. 

The database, which can be sorted by various attributes, including “most popular menu item,” also has information about food trucks’ presence on the street and on social media, a story from the Journal states. 

Food truck reporter Urmila Ramakrishnan put it together. “Besides profiling dozens of food trucks, Urmila broke food truck news and found innovators, interesting people and companies that support the industry as the mobile eateries fight turf wars with established brick-and-mortar restaurants and struggle with their own popularity,” the story states.

CNN series features local schools and educators

Recently, a CNN news crew spent quite a bit of time visiting local schools and talking with area educators and advocates about the racial achievement gap, according to Minnpost

It was for a CNN special, “Great Expectations,” which is part of the ongoing documentary series, “Black in America.” The program airs on Aug. 30. 

The project, led by Soledad O'Brien, looks specifically at the education of black boys, Minnpost reports.

O’Brien raises tough questions about whether charter schools re-segregate children.   

Chris Stewart, executive director of the African American Leadership Forum and a former MPS board member, who was interviewed for the show, sees the show as a way to connect people. “It’s like [O'Brien is] building this network of African-Americans nationwide who are seeing each other do good work,” he says in the piece. 

Fodor's highlights reasons to visit Minneapolis

Travel website and guidebook company Fodor's recently showcased the Twin Cities in its feature, "5 Reasons to Go to Minneapolis Now."
The author, Deb Hopewell, noted that the city is an ideal vacation spot thanks to its many parks, bicycling options, restaurant scene, proximity to St. Paul, and arts options.
She added that this is probably the best time of year to visit, when the summer heat starts to soften and fall is not far off (she wisely avoids mentioning winter at all).
Restaurants highlighted include The Bachelor Farmer, Piccolo, and Aster, and Hopewell points to the revitalized North Loop as a central hub for the robust local food scene. 

Twin Cities suburb named a top place to live

In its annual Best Places to Live feature, Money Magazine focused on 50 small U.S. towns that are thriving economically and benefit from strong communities, ample green space, and good schools.
Coming in at fourth on the list is Chanhassen, with a population of just over 23,000 and located about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.
"Chanhassen was affected by Minnesota's woes during the downturn, but the town is bouncing back and taking fresh steps to improve," the article noted, pointing out that the area school district recently rolled out Wi-Fi on school buses and increased classroom tech projects. The town also beefed up commuter options, the article added.
One perk of living so close to the Twin Cities, Money stated, is that residents of Chanhassen have access to 34 parks, 90 miles of trails, and proximity to the popular Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Even in the winter, residents know how to make the most of the area, Money added: "When below-zero wind chills set in, there's February Festival with ice-fishing contests, sledding, and cookouts."

Local Community Supported Art program gets a nod in the New York Times

Community-supported art, a takeoff on community-supported agriculture, provides locally made art to its members. 

Since its start with the St. Paul-based nonprofit organization Springboard for the Arts, in collaboration with the local artists behind mnartists.org, four years ago, the concept has caught on in a number of cities across the country, the New York Times reports.

It has also taken on new forms as it has sprung up in different places, the story reads.  

“The goal, borrowed from the world of small farms, is a deeper-than-commerce connection between people who make things and people who buy them,” the story reads. 

It helps that many people were already familiar with the CSA model, the story points out.  

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