The (Hot) Dog Days of Summer

As we all well know, Minnesotans live for summer. Lazy lakeside days,  backyard BBQs, and precious but fleeting warm nights--there is something magical about this time of year. Much of that has to do with the rituals of growing, eating and enjoying that we all know so well.

Whether it be weekend morning trips to the farmers markets, CSA classes, block parties or even pitch slams, there is no shortage of opportunities to eat, enjoy and celebrate the vibrant food, ag and beverage community that makes our state so special. 

In honor of this time of year, Grow North made a list of of 10 different ways to grow your food, agriculture and beverage business, and enjoy all that our state has to offer. This list is by no means exhaustive so make sure to check out our Events section for more amazing things happening here.

Fill up your market tote or sign up to pitch, summer isn't long here but it is pretty darn amazing.

1. Minnesota Cup Food/Ag/Beverage Division Pitch Slam: Join MN Cup and 301 Inc. of General Mills for a special event featuring the 2016 MN Cup Food/Ag/Beverage Division semifinalists and other entrepreneurs from the community including last year's MN Cup Food/Ag/Beverage companies

The event will include sampling from several MN entrepreneurs and presentations from this year's Food/Ag/Beverage Division semifinalists. The Pitch Slam provides each semifinalist with an opportunity to share 1) the inspiration for their idea, 2) where they are today and 3) plans for the future. After all 10 presentations, the audience will vote for their favorite and they will receive $500!

This is a great event to meet other entrepreneurs, hear some of MN's finest pitch and witness some of the amazing ideas coming out of MN right now. 

2. Linden Hills Farmers Market: Founded in 2012, The Linden Hills Farmers' Market’s mission is to support and strengthen the connection between the local community, local growers, local artisans + musicians by creating opportunities for education about the environment, nutritional values and the importance of buying and consuming locally produced goods.

Purchase from your favorite local entrepreneurs or sign up to sell your own product at this awesome Sunday market.

3. Garlic Fest: Minnesota Garlic Festival is THE event for lovers of garlic, great local foods and good times! Family friendly, fun filled and fragrant, this festival features fantastic foods, celebrity chefs, marvelous music, area artisans, goofy games…and lots of GARLIC – all in support of a healthy environment, sustainable farms and vital rural communities in Minnesota.

4. Good Acre Classes: Whether you are a food entrepreneur or just a fan of local eating, the Good Acre offers classes for everyone. From making the perfect bowl for dinner to meeting your local farmer and supporting their business, swing by the Good Acre to learn some culinary and growing skills. Because after all, being a food/ag/bev entrepreneur may be busy but you still have to eat. 

5. Midwest Pantry MeetUps: Midwest Pantry MeetUps are lively networking events infused with a discussion topic. MeetsUps are held every other month at the Urban Growler in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul, and are designed to be fun & informative. Heavy on networking, these events will give you something to talk about. Learn more about a topic relevant to your business and meet some other entrepreneurs...and do it all with a drink in your hand. 

6. Eat for Equity's Wild Springs Festival: It's important to balance all that hard work with some quality time spent eating and drinking in a beautiful location. There is no better place nor price for a weekend retreat. Help support a local nonprofit in its cause of building community through shared feasts...and enjoying amazing local meals, live music, drinks, camping and lakeside play while you're at it. 

7. 1 Million Cups: If you are itching to practice your pitch, 1 Million Cups is a the perfect place to do so. 1 Million Cups is a weekly event for local entrepreneurs to meet and present their startups to the thriving peer network of founders in St. Paul. The coffee is highly encouraged.

8. Food Trucks: Duluth? Minneapolis? Saint Paul? Bemidji? Nisswa? They all have some really bomb food trucks. Try them all and support your fellow entrepreneurs earning a living by filling our bellies. 

9. Minnesota State Fair: Because what can't you get on a stick? Prepare to be inspired, horrified, and stuffed full by the time you leave the State Fair. Be sure to check out the Eco Experience and Ag Exhibits for the full seed to plate experience.   And in case you need more enticement, here are the new food arrivals for 2016

10. Startup Week: Okay, okay...we admit it...MN Startup Week is TECHNICALLY in the fall. But it's never too soon to start planning your startup week experience. Keep your eyes peeled as events are announced.