I'm in the process of moving from Minneapolis to Saint Cloud and started thinking about two Minnesota institutions that greatly benefit vgetarians - food cooperatives and Asian grocery stores. Neither is unique to our state, but Minnesota is a national leader in both categories. During the 70s Minneapolis was more or less the center of the food coop movement in the US. In 2008 we had the most coops per capita of any state. Minnesota is a popular state for Southeast Asian immigrants to settle, which has greatly enriched the greater community. We actually have the largest population of Hmong people in the world - even greater than in Laos (the Hmong "homeland")!
This stuff was on my mind as I made grocery shopping plans for up here. Dang Minnesotans are lucky to have these resources.
Dave in MPLS / DISCLAIMER: I am not an actual rooster.
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When I travel to Minneapolis I am overwhelmed by the awesome foreign foods available, and it is like heaven on earth shopping at the Wedge Coop! lol. I can not BELIEVE the awesome selection there. I can also use my Whole Foods Coop membership here in Duluth down there at any of their coops. People in the Twin Cities have it good. Up here in Duluth it is much harder to find vegan specialty items but it's slowly getting better. The Whole Foods Coop up here is decent but still lacking in a lot of choices. Mostly the items I can't find though are foods I don't really need, such as kelp noodles or pure buckwheat soba noodles or vegan non hydrogenated shortening (spectrum or Earth Balance) for the pie crust I like to make twice a year. They are just nice luxuries. Thankfully they do have nutritional yeast up here at the WFC because otherwise no other store carries it in Duluth. I am only able to find D2 (ergocalciferol) at Betty's Health Food store as the Coop here doesn't have that either, though they do now have Vegan D3. Vegan friendly calcium supplements without all the other junk added is hard to find up here too. The only foreign food market I know of up here is a section at Cub Foods that sells Asian foods, Jewish specialities and Mexican food. There are a few restaurants that are foreign but not really that authentic but there is a growing interest. Pacs Green Corner opened not too long ago and they have a lot of vegan friendly options. We have Taste of Saigon, India Palace, and a few others too. Foreign food markets have struggled up here and don't seem to stay around long and it is frustrating. We just don't have the diversity that the Twin Cities has. But I am more than happy that we have places like Duluth Grill and Sara's Table that are very open as far as Vegan recipes, and they even utilize nutritional yeast! We also have Positively Third Street Bakery that does have vegan friendly breads and cookies, though as of late they started adding honey to a lot of their products.
Every time I plan to go to the Twin Cities (usually two or three times a year) I make a huge list of foods to buy there and restaurants to try. I have yet to shop at a foreign food market as I never seem to have enough time to get to one but I am going to make it a goal. If you have any suggestions on which ones to try I would be grateful!
In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel
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