Food and Mineral Point..... a lesson in community development.

As I said in my previous post, it was the Cornish Fest in Mineral Point this past weekend.

Southwest Wisconsin was quite the mining area 170 years ago. Unlike the area where I grew up that was full of soft coal mines...... Mineral Point and surrounding areas had lead mines. This mining boom led to the immigration of miners from Cornwall, England.

A traditional Cornish food was the pasty. Basically, a hand-held meat pie that would be tossed into a metal bucket and taken to work. So ... when in Mineral Point .... do what the Cornish do. I had to enjoy a pasty. Besides meat, this was filled with turnips, potatoes and rutabagas. It was delicious.

Actually, I got a taste from two different restaurants. The one pictured above was from the Red Rooster Cafe. But I also had to bring a pasty home for Honey......... and that one came from one of our favorite brewpubs.

(This leads me to nice!)

This town is filled with the nicest people around. Laura and I were purchasing a little yarn (!) and asked when the Brewery Creek brewpub closed. The owners of Set in Stone picked up the phone and discovered it closed at 3:00.

It was now 3:06. But they said -- Come on down! So Honey got his growler full of Brewery Creek Porter. And they wouldn't serve us but they told us, they had pasties to go. Two growlers ... two pasties and we were off to find a pasties for lunch.

That led us to The Red Rooster. The pasty was good. But the figgyhobbin!!!!

Raisins, walnuts, cinnamon and brown sugar...... wrapped in pastry dough and smothered in caramel sauce. A little whipped cream or ice cream and yummmmm, just comes through!

(Note to Weight Watchers --- I was in Mineral Point, I had to do what the Mineral Pointers do!!!)

OK -- this brings me to the soap box moment.

Mineral Point is what a community should be. Why is this community vibrant and lively and fun, when so many other communities have faltered and failed? Why, with only 3100 people, was it picked to be one of the Top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America?

This is my theory ........

1) They have embraced their history. As early as 1936, they were restoring and saving old homes and buildings. In 1971, the entire town received National Registry of Historic Places status. For a gal that loves old houses......... this town is heaven!

2)They embraced their ethnic past. When, have we in the Midwest, known anything about Cornish food? Seriously, would you order a pasty at a restaurant? In Mineral Point .... it is the thing to do.

3) They have embraced local food. Restaurant after restaurant are members of Buy Fresh-Buy Local. They serve locally-made cheese, fresh greens, local meats. Even my pasty was served with sliced garden fresh tomatoes. And yes, they were real tomatoes with real flavor. And they do it without thinking ..... it is real food and it is what people should be served.

4) They have embraced the arts. Without a strong artistic community, they might have failed. But they gathered potters and spinners and glass-makers to fill their store fronts and have promoted classes and festivals all summer.

I see so many communities passing up the opportunity to flourish. Why, here in Davenport, historic building after building has been torn down or allowed to decay to the point of no return. History, arts and local foods go hand-in-hand for economic development. When artists and farmers thrive ... so does the community. We see it in Fairfield, IA. We see it in Galena, IL and we see it in Mineral Point.

And its time to see it locally.


Anonymous said…
Cathy - your description of Mineral Point seriously makes me want to pack up and take a road trip next summer - thanks for sharing!

Teri Kane
clink said…
Terri -- If you go ... pick me up and I'll ride with you!! I think we would retire there in a heartbeat! Great community..... You would love it!

Popular Posts