Photos By John Hoff
Ann Yin runs Local D'Lish, which is in North Loop. The store features organic and local food. At a recent Mill City farmers market, I saw Ann running a booth and asked her about some unique items in her store, stuff that couldn't be found anywhere else in Minneapolis. For Ann, two things came to mind quickly:
First, Local D'Lish has the "full line" of Castle Rock dairy products. This milk tastes the way God intended milk to taste, rich and full of subtle flavor, not like Half-and-Half cut with tap water. If you stand back from a jar of Castlerock for a while and let things naturally take their course, the cream slowly rises to the top. (Just like with neighborhoods moving toward something better, not something worse)
So, in one of these photos, you can see Ann holding some of the Castle Rock milk, which comes in refillable glass jars just like when milkmen delivered it door-to-door.
The second thing which Ann mentioned as completely unique to Local D'Lish would be goat's milk laundry soap. This product is apparently quite hard to find, and very much sought after. Another picture above shows cayenne pepper shortbread cookies, which remind me (in an odd sort of way) of the "Incredible Hulk" chicken wings at Butcher Block restaurant: the spice sneaks up after the second or third bite, in a very pleasant and flavorful way.
So now let me tell you about Ann's husband, Yulin. He is from China and works with software. Yulin can be very soft-spoken, and it took me a while to realize, good heavens, I only have one picture of Yulin or, rather, his FEET. This image, top, shows Yulin "standing his ground" and waiting for police after a pimp threatened another resident near Jordan Pond.
(Thank goodness the word is the Morgan Ave. N. house of prostitution will be inspected TODAY, and residents are hoping it will be condemned and torn down)
Yulin's sister, who is in China, has a rather interesting claim to fame. She recently made the jump from associate professor to professor, and her speciality--the only professor in all of China with this speciality, it seems--is "fashion performance." Click here for a link about Yulin's sister, but be warned, it's all in Chinese.
The last member of the Yin family is CC, who was featured in this previous blog post, click here. The other day CC was stung on the face by a bee or a wasp (she isn't sure) while pursuing her hobby of collecting insects. CC reports she "didn't even cry" and this incident didn't decrease CC's enthusiasm for collecting bugs.
One of CC's best friends is Allie Wagner, a neighbor who lives nearby, in her early teens. There is a cute story about CC and Allie Wagner: When CC was born, little Allie rode all around the neighborhood on her bike, announcing that "CC is born! CC is born!" This announcement was not made to individual neighbors so much as "the universe." For Allie, one could make an announcement "to the universe" by informing a portion of North Minneapolis.
This is something I find to be true for myself, as well. What we do in NoMi reverberates through the whole world. We struggle to make our neighborhood better and we know "the whole world is watching."
For the past several years, the Yin family has poured incredible energy into making their neighborhood better. The Local D'Lish store is an attempt to move beyond the neighborhood, and make the rest of the world better.
And beyond the world there is, of course, the universe.