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Eating with the Seasons in the Northland

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One way we can celebrate, embrace our collective mother, honor our history, and experience good nutrition is by choosing to include local foods in our diet.

Slow down, take a deep breath and look outside your back door. Become curious of the story unfolding as the days get warmer.

What might you find growing wild in your own yard?  


During the early spring days of March, maple and birch trees offer spring's first bounty with the gift of sap to be boiled down. The syrup produced by long hours of labor pulls people together in the enjoyment of its rich sweetness.

Dandelion and fiddlehead fern can accompany cherished meals spent together as we wait for longer days of sun to ready the garden for planting.


Warm soil brings precious small wild strawberries as the first bright gem of our local berries. Full hot summer days offer the beauty of juneberries, chokecherries and wild blueberries.

Beans, summer squash and corn complement each other as they grow, filling the garden with bounty through the end of summer.

Fall and winter

Early and late fall harvests of butternut squash, wild rice, pumpkin, sunflower seeds and cranberry are more examples of true local foods that naturally exist here. They tell the story of what helped feed indigenous people.

A recipe to try 

Try including some of the original local foods in your weekly routine to remind yourself of the abundance we have available to us here. Remember that people eat food, not nutrition. If the food is truly good it will tell a beautiful story of how you nourish your body, your soul and your community.

Here's a recipe to try that incorporates local foods. 

Spring Greens and Wild Rice Salad

The salad:

  • 2 cups wild rice, cooked in vegetable broth and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 2 cups mixed spring greens, chopped (dandelion, arugula, spinach, watercress)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint, minced
  • ½ cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

The dressing:

  • ¼ cup dried blueberries
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup sunflower, hazelnut or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Place one cup of wild rice in a strainer and rinse thoroughly. Place rice and 4 cups of vegetable broth in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover loosely and cook 45 minutes until rice has puffed and is tender. It will not absorb all the moisture. Drain rice and let cool. Chop the remaining ingredients and mix in a large salad bowl.

Mix the dressing in a small bowl, whisking together until combined. Taste and adjust flavors to your liking. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss well.

Clinical nutrition in Duluth, MN

If want guidance with your diet, the team of registered dietitians at St. Luke's Clinical Nutrition is ready to help you be the healthiest version of yourself. A referral is required for this service. Learn more at or call 218.249.5231.