ST. PETER — With her fingers already nimble from scrubbing a bushel of potatoes, Lupita Marchan made her way through rows of basil at her Living Land Farm just north of St. Peter.
The tasty leaves were fresh and fragrant as she plucked them from their stems and prepared them for shipment. They didn't have far to go Tuesday, just three miles to be exact. Two hours later Marchan's pile of basil was washed and heaped in a cafe kitchen, one of the main attractions in a television shoot for a cooking show set to air this fall.
A crew from Twin Cities Public Television was at River Rock Coffee in St. Peter Tuesday filming a segment for "Farm Fresh Road Trip," a show that will highlight Minnesota cafes that use locally grown produce and meat for the meals they serve. The show is the second one to be filmed through a partnership between the television station, the Minnesota Farmers Union and the union's Minnesota Cooks campaign.
Six restaurants, stretching from Duluth down to St. Peter, will be used to highlight an appetizer, a starter dish, a salad, a lunch, a dinner and a dessert. River Rock Coffee owner Tamika Bertram and her chef, Montana Rasmussen, were taking care of the final dish: blueberry basil coconut Bundt cake. It was served with a cold glass of basil lemonade.
Being in charge of dessert will make River Rock Coffee the last cafe shown on the show.
"So St. Peter will be the exclamation point on our tour around the state," said the show's public television host, Mary Lahammer.
The idea for "Farm Fresh Road Trip" shows started at the Minnesota State Fair. Every year Minnesota Cooks hosts a show at the fair that, like the show, gives area chefs a chance to show the ways they use locally grown goods in their recipes. Many of the chefs, and the farmers who supply them, are also featured in a Minnesota Cooks calendar that is released during the fair.