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My visit to the Valley of the Green Giant #GreenGiantVV

So you probably all know by now that I was chosen to visit Green Giant in Minnesota. Green Giant is owned by General Mills and twenty three bloggers were picked to visit the valley and learn more about what it is they do. Being the healthy kind of girl I am, veggies play a big part of what I eat. Since I live in the country, I was already familiar with how corn was grown. I can wander across the street and pick some from a small cornfield but seeing farming on a huge scale was something I was really psyched to do.

I flew into Minneapolis on Tuesday and took a shuttle to the Marriott where we all met and got to know each other.  Wow what a beautiful hotel.  I had an amazing room to relax in at the end of the day.  I even got to meet Sprout! There were a lot of different types of bloggers including deal/coupon bloggers, mom bloggers, lifestyle bloggers and food/recipe bloggers. I knew a few of the bloggers by their blogs already but it was fun getting to know them in person.

That evening we had an amazing dinner cruise on Lake Minnetonka which is the 9th largest inland lake. There are 123 miles of shoreline and even though we took the cruise in the middle of a thunder and lightning storm, it was absolutely gorgeous. We got to meet quite a few of the General Mills/Green Giant employees and had a great time chatting about what types of things we wanted to see from Green Giant in the future.

The next day, we headed over to Green Giant’s headquarters and learned all about the history of Green Giant and what they offer. Did you know Green Giant offers more than 30 varieties of canned vegetables and more than 90 varieties of frozen? I was thrilled that our hosts shared some of the green initiatives they’re undertaking and I’ll have more on that in a separate post.

After our learning session, we headed over to their pilot plant where they do on a smaller scale what is done in their larger plants. We watched how the corn went from fresh picked to canned and ready for consumers. I had no idea how many steps were involved and watching the machines remove the kernels from the corn cobs was really neat.  We weren’t allowed to take photos of the pilot plant or of the seed vault we got to see. WOW I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many seeds in one place in my whole life and I am certainly glad it’s not me that has to plant them.

After that, we headed out into the fields on a hay wagon to see where the corn is grown. We got to get up close and personal with the corn fields and learned all about things like how the corn is pollinated, what detasseling is and how they make sure the corn they’re growing is the best it can be. Check out my cool boots! We even got to eat corn fresh off the cob which was a new experience for many of the bloggers. It was absolutely delicious!

 

After our visit to the field, we enjoyed an amazing picnic lunch provided by A Few Shortcuts, a local catering service. Not only was the food delicious, the location and ambiance made our meal all the much more enjoyable.

After that amazing lunch, we really wanted a nap but we headed over to the corn tasting facility to sample different varieties of canned and frozen sweet corn. I learned that I really love the Extra Sweet Niblets (canned) the best.  It was crisp and sweet and yummy!  I haven’t seen that one in my area stores but I’m definitely going to look for it.

We loaded back onto the bus and headed toward the Green Giant museum to take a look at the history of some of the Green Giant’s marketing materials.  Did you know he hasn’t always been green? Nope! I didn’t.

After that we went back to the hotel for a much needed rest before heading off to an amazing dinner at Bar la Grassa.  Wow. The food was absolutely amazing. There were five courses… yes 5! I don’t believe I have ever eaten five courses in my entire life. Needless to say I took small spoonfuls so I could sample everything. The photos of this aren’t the best. The lighting in the restaurant was fairly dim and I was using my iPad2 but you get the idea. This is just a small sampling of what we had to eat that night.

After that, we all headed back to the hotel and crashed.  We were all exhausted from such a busy, fun filled day.  I met a bunch of really nice people including Robyn from Robyn’s Online World, Lindsay from Laughing Lindsay and Candace from Serendipity Mommy.

The next morning, we all flew home after an amazing visit.  I will have another post up in the next few days to tell you all about what I learned while I was there but I wanted to share some photos and information about what we did.  Keep your eyes open & thank you again to Green Giant for inviting me!

As required by the FTC: Green Giant paid for my trip and expenses but all opinions are mine and mine alone.

 

About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media.

Comments

  1. All I want to do right now is say "HO HO HO" lol….that looks amazing!

  2. Turning the Clock Back says:

    wow, looks like you had a lot of fun! I can't wait to hear all about their green innitiatives!

  3. hippie_mom says:

    What an amazing opportunity! I love companies that give the behind the scene tour with a friendly atmosphere.

  4. Wow! That's fabulous. Sounds like they treated you to a great time. Green Giant is the only canned corn my girls will eat.

    Can't wait to read more about your trip.

  5. I cannot believe that they have over 90 varieties of frozen veggies?!?! WOW! That is a pretty huge amount. From one blogger to another…I am sincerely jealous right now. Yeah…I didn't get to go. LOL! Probably would not have been able to anyways. :) Glad you had a great time! Looks like a blast and the food looks amazing! You were treated pretty good!! :)

  6. That sounds like SOOO much fun! Especially the food eating parts! :) I also love the Extra Sweet Niblets above the other kinds! :) Very crispy!

  7. Aww! I love the post. Great pictures, too. Oh, and thanks for the link love. It was wonderful meeting you! :D

  8. Jessica Ozanne says:

    I would love to take my kids on a trip to this place!!

  9. Wow that purple sunset is gorgeous. It looks like you had a lot of fun :) Also that Green Giant is so cute!

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