Author: Scott Pampuch

“…Expanding the horizons…Expanding the parameters…” – Beastie Boys

Minneapolis chef and sustainable food advocate Scott Pampuch joins The Iron Horse Hotel

June 19, 2011 (Milwaukee, WI) – Minneapolis chef and sustainable food advocate Scott Pampuch will take the reins in Food & Beverage at The Iron Horse Hotel ( on July 1. Owner Tim Dixon announced today that he has hired Pampuch to consult on all F&B operations for the award-winning 100-room experiential hotel, including the hotel’s restaurant Smyth, Branded bar, the 450-seat outdoor venue known as The Yard and all hotel banquets and special events. Pampuch will work with The Iron Horse Hotel’s culinary team and front-of-the-house F&B staff.

Founder of the acclaimed Corner Table restaurant in the Twin Cities, Pampuch (pronounced “pam-poo”) plans to bring his passion for fresh seasonal ingredients and simple Midwest cuisine to the thousands of guests that frequent The Iron Horse Hotel annually. He was voted one of Minnesota’s 25 top chefs by his peers and is the creator of Tour de Farm MN, a dinner series that celebrates local farmers and food artisans who cultivate their harvest.

The Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director for Minnesota Valley Country Club, Pampuch ( has been sharing his musings on food and farms as the new host of Ovation’s “In Search of Food.” Episodes have included preparing a raw, vegan and gluten-free meal for musician and avocado farmer Jason Mraz and lunch for 300 hungry middle-school students, using healthful ingredients, within a strict time limit and a school-board-approved budget of $1.15 per child.

The transition from local restaurateur, to chef and F&B director at a regional country club, now to a top-rated hotel in the Midwest represents a progression for Pampuch, who will oversee a $5M multi-outlet venue at the award-winning Iron Horse Hotel.

“We’re thrilled to have Scott come on board,” said Dixon, who will turn to Pampuch to oversee his other culinary ventures, including Stack’d Burger Bar ( and Dixon Development’s new hotel and F&B concepts.

Pampuch describes his cooking as simple, straightforward and seasonal, and a reflection of local agriculture. “I love the James Beard quote, ‘I don’t like gourmet cooking or ‘this’ cooking or ‘that’ cooking. I like good cooking.’” The chef teaches techniques through cooking classes that range from pig butchery to seasonal vegetarian dishes.

“Milwaukee is exploding on the sustainability scene, with inventive and flourishing operations like Sweet Water Organics and Growing Power’s Will Allen as a national leader on agriculture and food policy,” added Pampuch. “I’m excited to tap into these resources and continue to push the envelope on creative cuisine already happening at The Iron Horse Hotel.”

Pampuch’s food advocacy includes engagements on Minnesota Public Radio and other local TV and radio appearances, as well as national culinary events, syndicated television and a documentary. He was featured in “Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers.” Awards have included Best Restaurants 2010: Farm to Table, Locavore of the Year, Best of Food + Dining 2009, Best Neighborhood Café 2009, all from Mpls. St. Paul Magazine; and Best Restaurants: Farm Fresh, Locally Raised, March 2006, Critics Choice: Chef-Driven Zagat Survey. He was a James Beard Awards Semi-Finalists in February 2008 and named Foodservice News Top 25 Chefs that same year.

The Iron Horse Hotel ranked #10 in the U.S. on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2011 Gold List and on the magazines “Hot List” of new hotels in 2009. The hotel was name Boutique Hotel of the Year in 2010 and 2011 by BLLA, on National Geographic Traveler Magazine “Stay List” 2009 and featured in the top 10 in all of the Americas by Tablet Hotels. The AAA Four Diamond Award winner ranked #11 of all U.S. hotels on in 2010 and ranks #1 in Wisconsin on the influential guest review website.

Brigette Breitenbach,, 414.750.7298 office 414.750.3098 mobile

Heidi Nelson,, 612.246.4815 office

Tour de Farm 2012

As you all know Spring is upon us and that makes a lot of people look forward to what has become over the last three years known as “Farm Dinner Season.” People have been emailing and asking “When are the dates for Tour de Farm this year?” Well, here is your answer:

We are not scheduling any dates for Tour de Farm this year…

…this year, Tour de Farm is up to you. You choose a date, a location, the menu. Collaborate with some friends. Go and take every beautiful moment with friends and family and create memories that will last a lifetime.

We truly hope that you have been inspired to eat locally, visit farms, share time with friends as well as complete strangers over the dinner table and we encourage you to make that happen.

I will be posting some photos from past events and hopefully some of you will share your photos from those years as well. You can share them at the website or at the Facebook page:

I look forward to seeing your events, pictures, and ways that you make a Tour de Farm a personal and memorable experience.

Your Chef,

Scott Pampuch
Chef/cook/eater/dirt lover

Hey, Tour de Farm with Stewart Woodman at Axdahl’s farm… is soon

This is the behind the scenes that very few people get to see at the farm, the amount of land that is being managed and the planning that goes into what most people think of as “farming”.  Well, there is more work that most could imagine to get you those great tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweetcorn that Axdahls are known for.

If you are wondering what Stewart and Heidi have up their sleeve.  Start here… then… here

Better get tickets here.….you do NOT want to miss this.

If you have ever been up to stillwater you may recognize this location.  But what most people don’t know is all the work that goes into the behind the scenes of this farm that has been providing food for the Twin Cities for over 30 years.  Learn a bit more about the history of the farm.

This is something that you see at the farm and around farmers markets, this sign.  Take a look here and see what goes into getting a making great Minnesota grown food.


And now for something a bit different…..Tour 2011

Stewart Woodman @ Axdahl’s Family Farm
June 27 : 3:30pm

In times past, Shefzilla himself, Chef Stewart Woodman ofHeidi’s Restaurant in Minneapolis has been rather outspoken in his questioning of the local food movement (a bi-product of which is seen in this video), so we invited him to head up our first dinner of the season at Axdahl’s Farm in Stillwater to try going local for himself. We are thrilled that he took us up on the invitation and can’t wait to taste the results!

Axdahl’s Farm overlooking the St. Croix River in Stillwater is the perfect backdrop for this dinner as they’re not your average family farm. They grew their business from roadside stand into one of the (if not the) largest sustainable farms in the Minnesota with their produce found in grocery stores, restaurants, and distributed around the region.

If you are reading this, you can buy tickets before anyone else right here.   


Tour de farm 2011

We understand that everyone is waiting to hear the farms, dates and chef’s for this years tour.  We are just as excited as you.  So, we will start hinting at the farms and chef’s here and on twitter in the next couple of days and get all of the information released starting next week.

The main reason that the details are being worked out is that this year we are going to change up the tour as you know it.  We have over the past two years worked with the chef’s and farms that you know and love for getting you the true “local” food that you have come to support and love here in the twin cities area.  We are thankful to everyone of the chef’s that have given of their time on Sundays to come and share in what is truly a labor of love for one and all.   The farms are simply amazing and have been so gracious to open up their homesteads to us and give us that look into what really goes into what makes local food so special.

So, with all that said, here is how this year is going to be different.  We are going to be having chef’s that you may or may not associate with the “local” food movement.  We are going to take chef’s that have dabbled in the farm to chef connection and give them an opportunity to really experience what it is like to work with a farmer leading up to the dinner and creating a meal based on what the land and mother nature provide for us. This will be an entirely new experience for the chefs.  There are some very exciting names on this list.

We are also focusing on a couple of farms that truly have given us a sense of home on their farm. We are also trying a couple of new ones, that have over the years just quietly been feeding everyone and you may or may not have heard of them.

We are also branching out and working with the James Beard Foundation this year on a dinner that will bring a national chef to the twin cities and it will be a fundraiser for the JBF.

We look forward to seeing you on the farm

Make sure you follow us on twitter @tourdefarm

They said it could not be done. Welcome to Tour De Farm New Years Eve

New Years Eve Tour de Farm Update – Please Read!

Few tickets remain and the bus is filling up quickly. If you haven’t done so already, please respond via email a “yes we’re taking the bus!” or “no thanks, we’ll be driving!” (directions below) and any dietary restrictions or vegetarian requests. Email:

NOTE: Pick up location has changed!

A block south of Corner Table is the Cremation Society of Minnesota who is donating their parking lot to us! Yay no street parking! Address is: 4343 Nicollet Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55409


5:00pm Bus will load at Cremation Society of Minnesota parking lot; Bus will depart at 5:30pm sharp (aka we are not holding the bus for late-comers!)
7:00pm Reception at Star Thrower Farm
8:00pm 5-course Dinner, Music + New Years Eve Toast
12:30am Bus departs Star Thrower Farm; Arriving at Cremation Society of Minnesota at 1:30am

What to Wear:

Although the barn will have heaters, please dress warm. Layers and Minnesota winter wear– hats, scarves, and mittens – a base layer, warming layer, wind protection & warm boots are suggested over sequin dresses and stilettos. Blankets may be helpful for warmth as well!

Directions to the farm:

Take State Hwy 7 West from the Twin Cities. Time: about 45-60 minutes.

As you enter Silver Lake, turn Left at Grove Ave/County Hwy 2. Follow through town until you come to Gehlen Drive (which is also County Hwys 25 & 2). Follow Hwy 2 until you arrive at 16545 County Road 2, Glencoe, MN 55336. Note: 170th Street is the last cross street and the farm will be on your right. Time: about 10-15 minutes.


We have checked with all the weather sources and feel that there is not enough of a threat to cancel this dinner. It is December in Minnesota and we love this weather. The bus will be leaving at 5:30 sharp and we will be in contact with the bus the entire way to monitor the schedule of arrival. We have allotted some extra travel time to a lot for the weather. We are going to celebrate the seasons like we have done all season long with Tour de Farm and this one will be especially amazing.

See you soon!

The Tour de Farm Team

Oliver Kelly Picnic “Prequeal”

On Sunday, September 19 you will be joining Tour de Farm for a picnic at Oliver Kelley Farm prepared by Mike Phillips of Green Ox.

But first… we need more farmhands to make it happen!

Over the next two weekends, you and your kids can step onto the working 19-century Oliver Kelley Farm, a National Historic Landmark managed by the Minnesota Historical Society, and help the famers prepare for the Sunday supper.

Here’s what’s happening:

Threshing & Harvesting, Labor Day Weekend on Sept. 3-5

Threshing the grain harvest was the culmination on an entire growing season’s toil. Bring grain bundles in from the field with the oxen, Toby and Colter. Help haul bundles and bag up grain at the 1856 horse-powered Cox and Roberts threshing machine, help stack the straw, and pick heirloom vegetables from the garden. Then enjoy a ride on the nature trails on the horse-drawn trolley.

Time: Friday & Saturday 10a.m. – 5p.m. & Sunday noon – 5p.m.

Harvesting, Weekend of Sept. 11-12

Help the famers pick heirloom vegetables from the garden, visit the animals at the barn, or churn butter and see what’s cooking in the farmhouse. Then enjoy a ride on the nature trails on the horse-drawn trolley.

Time: Saturday 10a.m. – 5p.m. & Sunday noon – 5p.m.

To keep the farm preserved and managed, the Minnesota Historical Society has a small fee for participants: $8 adults, $6 seniors and college students, $5 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MHS members.

Kid’s Picnic Tickets
Does your kid have a buddy that would enjoy a picnic? We are opening up more kids tickets to encourage hands-on learning experiences at the farm. Kids tickets, 6-12 years old, are $15 (plus tax), free for children 5 and younger.

Oliver Kelley Farm Location:
2.5 miles southeast of downtown Elk River on U.S. Hwy. 10 (see map below).

15788 Kelley Farm Rd.
Elk River MN 55330

Can’t join us until the dinner? Oliver Kelley Farm has other Fall events.

September already? WT”d”F?

Let me tell you that Tour de Farm this year has been a blast.  You have no idea what it is like to spend the day with people that make the food that we eat at Corner Table  eat every day.  Can’t say enough about how great our farms have been about hosting.  Always very gracious and accomadating.  Thanks to Tangletown Gardens, Riverbend Farms + Cedar Summit.


We are gearing up for the last couple of events. the September 19th Event at Oliver Kelly Farm, is going to be sold out by the time you read this, so this year, the picnics have been a hit.  We have fed our largest groups of over 200ppl event.  The pictures and the updates for those picnics will be coming soon.

Maple man Dave

Then Duluth is going to be amazing this year on 10-10-10.  We are visiting the Rogotzke’s family farm.  Not only do they make some amazing Maple syrup, but the family spends summers on family owned fishing boats in Alaska.


Steve Dahl " the fish guy"

This dinner is being cooked by returning chef Scott Graden and his great staff at The New Scenic Cafe.  Scott will also be working very closely with Steve Dahl of the north shore as well to highlight what that “farm” called Lake Superior has to offer this late in the year.  

This dinner is going to be like nothing that we have done so far.

If you have not bought tickets, well, you are just going to have to hear us talk all about it when we get back.

…and now a word from our farmer.

Greg Reynolds at Riverbend Farm is well, not just a farmer.  He is so much more.  For us in the industry we are lucky to get his words sent to us in an email on a regular basis that gives us a glimpse into what his life is like.

Riverbend Farm Newsletter August 10, 2010

I don’t suppose that I have to tell you that it has been hot and humid for the past two weeks. Working outside when the heat index is over 100F is hot. We have been getting quite a bit of rain. Saturday we had 0.6″ and today we got another 1.5″. The moisture is nice to have.

If the humidity was backed off a notch or two, that would make my life a little easier. High humidity creates disease problems. We have been seeing some mildew problems in the field. Once we recognized what was happening we avoid those areas. The beans are getting white mold on them, which kill the beans.

The downside of all the rain is that weed control is out of control. When it is too wet to drive in the field, we can not cultivate. When it is wet and hot, weeds grow like crazy. They will also reroot if they don’t dry out. Too bad our ancestors did not evolve eating weeds. Mowing is about the only option left. Where the crew has been hand hoeing and weeding, we are still in good shape.

Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are ready. Zukes and cukes are running wild. The greens and radishes are still booming.

You may recall that I took a bike trip out west a couple weeks ago. It was a great trip. The bike ran fine except for a few minor issues. The roads were spectacular. The scenery was great. I met a bunch of interesting (in a good way) people.

On the way back I ran solo and would stop in small town cafes for breakfast. In western Washington I sat with dryland wheat farmers. They only grow wheat. One year they get a crop and the next they fallow their land to conserve moisture. They get about 10″ of precipitation a year, mostly in the winter as snow. They try to collect two winter’s worth of moisture to grow one crop. Yikes.

The next day in Montana I sat with a guy from Ontario with a Kawasaki ZX1400 (a 1.4 liter motorcycle) and next to two guys from New Hampshire who were biking across the country. The guys on the bicycles thought that panniers were the way to go versus at trailer. They were surprised at how much food they needed. Once the Canadian left, they finished his breakfast. The cafe was run by one woman who cooked and waited on tables, she was the owner.

The last day out I stopped in North Dakota and sat with some farmers and a minister in a town of 300. The town had gotten together to buy the local grocery store to keep it from closing. Recently they added a cafe in the back. It is easy to tell where there is a cafe in a small town, just look for a collection of pickups. By the time I finished breakfast, people on the street knew that I was from Delano and had been to British Columbia on my bike. Small towns…

It has been a whirlwind since I got back. Back on Wednesday. Harvest on Thursday, Deliver on Friday, Crop Mob on Saturday… It has been nuts. The crop mob was great. They weeded beets and chard, peppers and eggplant and got us a little closer to being caught up. Now it would be nice to have a few dry days to get some field work and planting done.

This Saturday is the 5th annual Minnesota Garlic Festival. The festival is at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. The event is a fund raiser for our Sustainable Farming Chapter. The money gets used to bring speakers like Joel Salatin to Minnesota, to reach out to young people who are interested in farming, and to publicize sustainable farming as a viable alternative in the industrial food system. See for more details.

That’s it for tonight. Tomorrow I have to be in Rochester at 8 am for a panel discussion on Farm to School. This is a bigger deal than I thought. There are something like 700 people at this conference. Wish me luck.


Remembering our friend Jon Radle

In planning Tour de Farm this year, it was my goal that we would bring in some new chef’s who already had made the choice in their restaurants to source local food.  Jon Radle and the Grand Cafe came to mind right away.  When I approached Jon about this idea, he was a bit hesitant, but at the same time, very excited about the possibility of doing something that he had not done before.    He will be greatly missed.  

In Remembrance 

Date: Monday, April 26, 2010 Time: 7:00pm – 11:00pm

Location: Grand Café Street: 3804 Grand Ave S , Minneapolis, MN 

The Grand Café is deeply saddened to share the news of the unexpected death of our executive chef, Jon Radle. Jon’s unpretentious style and enthusiastic love of food and cooking infused the café with a warm and welcoming air. An award-winning chef, Jon was modest and hardworking. He had no taste for the role of celebrity. His graceful leadership set the tone at the café making it an intimate community working together. Jon was an integral part of this community and family. He will be deeply missed. Grand Café will be closed until Friday, April 23. It will reopen for business with associate chef Ben Pichler at the helm. We are very grateful for the unwavering support of Ben and all of the staff at the Café during this difficult time.

Sincerely, Mary and Dan Hunter

For funeral arrangements see

In addition : In remembrance of Jon there will be a gathering at Grand Cafe, Monday Evening April 26th @ 7:00. InfoContact: Mary Hunter 612-822-8260 (Café) or 612-616-4168 (Cell) GRAND CAFE 3804 Grand Ave. SMinneapolis, MN 55409 612.822.8260