Slideshow

Mankato Gourmet

If Ma, Pa, and the Ingalls kids were to hop into the wagon and head to Mankato for supplies today, they’d find it transformed as one of the state’s hotbeds of high-quality food entrepreneurship.

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  • Photo by: Katherine Harris
    Angie’s Kettle Corn
  • Photo by: Katherine Harris
    Alemar Cheese Co.
  • Photo by: Katherine Harris
    Mankato Brewery

Angie’s Kettle Corn

In 2001, Angie and Dan Bastian, a married nurse and teacher, decided to sell their homemade kettle corn to start a college fund for their kids. Today, their various Mankato-made bags of perfectly light and crunchy gilded popcorn are available in all 50 states. They chose Mankato for one simple reason: the people. “We have a lot of smart, ambitious people that live here and support each other,” says Angie.

1918 Lookout Dr., North Mankato, 888-982-4984, angiespopcorn.com

Alemar Cheese Co.

One of the best cheeses in Minnesota comes straight out of Mankato. Alemar Cheese Co., a one-man project by Keith Adams, produces a soft and creamy cheese made from the milk of grass-fed cows. Why Mankato? “Production space is affordable, and we’re close enough to the metro to tap the big market,” explains Adams, who is planning on introducing a Surly-beer-washed cheese called Good Thunder this spring. “There may be something entrepreneurial in the water, too.”

622 Riverfront Dr. N., Mankato, 507-385-1004, alemarcheese.com

Mankato Brewery

Co-owner Tim Tupy is part of a long Minnesota brewing tradition: His great-great-great-grandfather opened New Prague’s first brewery in 1884. When Tupy and his business partners started working on the Mankato Brewery in 2010, the city hadn’t had a production brewery since 1967. Now there’s a taproom and a vibrant fan base in the Cities—be sure to try the Organ Grinder, an amber ale with an inviting toasty scent.

1119 Center St., North Mankato, 507-386-2337, mankatobrewery.com

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