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Renaissance Farms Market Dinners



On Wisconsin! Local Frozen Meals Rock!

Quick Frozen Foods International News — 11/07/08

Renaissance Farm Market DinnersLocal produce? Sure. But local frozen food? That too is in stores now, if you happen to live in Madison, Wisconsin.

When Wisconsin farmers harvest a bumper crop of bell peppers or butternut squash, a new group of frozen-food producers stuffs the peppers with Wisconsin feta and wild rice and bathes squash-filled ravioli in Wisconsin dairy products.

Mark Olson, president of the Spring Green-based Renaissance Farm, and Peter Robertson, president of RP's Pasta Co. of Madison, provided state-licensed kitchens, and Olson's collaborator, Madison chef Joel Girard, created recipes using the seasonal bounty.

Their approach benefits the farmers, their own businesses and consumers hungry for locally produced foods with locally sourced ingredients and no additives. The University of Wisconsin Extension's Agricultural Innovation Center, working with Thrive, a regional economic development group, got the ball rolling Sept. 24.

"We came together as a virtual incubator," said Anne Pfeiffer, manager of the innovation center. They shopped in the website, www.greenleafmarket.com, developed by Heather Hilleren of Madison to connect produce buyers and sellers in the same region, such as RP's Pasta and Fennimore Auction, which sells produce from Amish farmers.

With 1,500 pounds of squash, Renaissance Farms Robertson produced butternut squash ravioli, a dish Girard developed that includes a cream sauce featuring Montforte gorgonzola made in Montford. It is one of four Renaissance Farm Market Dinners now available at Metcalfe's Sentry in Madison, where shoppers also will find lemon basil pesto ravioli with roasted garlic cream sauce and Wisconsin Parmesan, sweet bell peppers stuffed with wild rice and Carr Valley Feta, and acorn squash stuffed with wild rice, cranberries and Cedar Grove butterkase. Prices are $6 to $7 for a single serving in a container that goes from the freezer to the microwave or conventional oven.

Renaissance Farm Market Dinners
Photos by
Wisconsin State Journal