It Was a Cold Day in April …

Bundled-Up People at the St. Paul Farmers' MarketThe girl behind the meat display wore a crocheted cap, a winter coat, and gloves. “When I have to stand over here by the table, the wind blows right up my coat. My butt is cold!”

Such is the life of a meat vendor at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market on opening day. It was 40 degrees, windy, and raining. Welcome to Minnesota!

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Guide to the Twin Cities Farmers’ Markets

Peer down the aisles at tables loaded with red heirloom tomatoes, white onions, green chives, yellow marigolds. Breathe deeply, and inhale the aroma of fresh-cut basil and rosemary and cilantro. Listen to the jazz band playing, to the road of cars passing by, and to a hundred voices, vendors answering questions about their products, children translating for their non-English-speaking parents, husbands looking for their wives, who are looking for their favorite stalls.

Admit it: Going to the supermarket is a chore; but visiting the farmers’ market is an adventure in an agrarian wonderland.

But what metropolis has more farmers’ market choices than the Twin Cities? Minneapolis, St. Paul, and countless suburban sites. With all these options, how should you know where to go? Want directions to the closest market? Want only local vegetables? Want a variety of local and imported? Or looking for the place with the most granola, or ice cream, or bison meat?


The most important takeaway from Fringe

And so the Minnesota Fringe Festival has completed its run. We have tucked it under the covers and turned out the lights. Goodnight, Fringies, it’s time for bed.

Thank you to everyone who came to “The Magnificent Story of St. Marlene’s Marvelous Moonshine (Made by Monks),” the show with the longest title in all of Fringe. I had set goals for my first year at the Fringe based on what other seasoned performers told me to expect, and we exceeded every one of those goals. Thank you for making it happen!

We had excellent reviews, all four- or five-kitty reviews, nothing less: “This lady is one of the best storytellers I have seen at Fringe,” “funny, smart, conversational, unaffected,” “a must-see show,” and “her homespun charm and dry wit is thought-provoking, hilarious, and emotionally resonant all at once, creating a show that both honors and pokes fun at the South, religion, and family.” The most wonderful compliment of all was a comparison to the great Nancy Donoval.

If you enjoyed the show, there are two options: Patrick and I would love to perform this at other places that appreciate our approach to “unconventional reverence.” (Unitarian-Universalist churches, maybe?) Or you can wait for the novel which I will be working on this fall with the characters of Father Robertson, Brother John, Sister Candace, Beverly, and Candy Cornbread.

But one particular takeaway from the show is more valuable than all the ticket sales or all the reviews in all the world: I made new friends. Thank you for connecting with me, for approaching me after the show, for bonding with me over a few stories about unconventional reverence.

Cultivating Connections with Our Local Global Marketplaces

Flowers for sale at the St. Paul Farmers' MarketPublished at Twin Cities Runoff

On a sunny Saturday morning in downtown St. Paul, hooves clacked against the pavement and metal-rimmed wheels rattled as the horse-drawn wagon transported us from our parking space underneath nearby Highway 52, with the roar of trucks overhead and the greasy smell of diesel engines, to an agricultural bonanza in the heart of the city. Beneath the St. Paul Farmers’ Market’s awnings at the corner of Fifth and Wall Streets were tables laden with the bright colors of a Minnesota spring …

Read the full article at Twin Cities Runoff magazine.

This Is Extreme Hot, and That Is “Minnesota Hot” (#6 of 100 Interesting People)

“This sauce is extreme hot,” she said, rolling her “r”s in her beautiful East African accent, “and this over here is only some hot. We call it ‘Minnesota hot.'” Every farmers market has vendors selling hot sauce. There’s nothing interesting in that. But when the vendor comes from East Africa, is wearing an orange-and-yellow dress and a turquoise headwrap, and has seen war, drought, famine, and prosperity on her way to Minnesota … well, that’s interesting.

“What makes your hot sauce unique?” I asked “Ayan.”

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Twin Cities Storytelling: “When Life Hands You Lemons …,” June 7, SlamMN!

Hey, y’all need to go to this! The first Tuesday in June, at Kieran’s Irish Pub in downtown Minneapolis, is the next installment in the SlamMN! story slam series. Come listen to my story, “How Candy Cornbread Survived the Rapture,” and help me decide whether to include this story in my upcoming Minnesota Fringe Festival show, “The Magnificent Story of St. Marlene’s Marvelous Moonshine (Made by Monks).”

Email me at for more information, or look at my upcoming performance schedule.

Twin Cities Storytelling: “Fraud,” April 16, Cheap Theatre

Hey, y’all need to go to this! The day after tax day, a storytelling event on the theme of “Fraud.” Hear Delta Giordano, Charlie Fowler, Noel LaBine, Joan Calof, and me. I’m giving a preview up my upcoming Minnesota Fringe Festival show, “The Magnificent Story of St. Marlene’s Marvelous Moonshine.”

Email me at for tickets.