By Phyllis Louise Harris
Farmers’ markets are open all across the state and soon will be filled with tender June peas, young green beans, red ripe strawberries and a variety of greens and vegetables. But the markets are just a few of the 945 places in Minnesota to buy locally produced items. A free guide to every one of them is available online at www.minnesotagrown.com or by calling 651-201-6050. The annual directory published by the Minnesota Department of Agricultural continues to grow each year with more and more resources from vineyards with wine tasting to pick-your-own vegetables and fruit to farm visits for the whole family.
Start with the more than 150 farmers’ markets across the state where every visit is like a trip to the fair with an endless array of food to buy and taste. One of my favorites, Mill City farmers’ market on the banks of the Mississippi River and next to the Guthrie Theater, is open Saturdays 8 am to 12 pm until October 27. This busy market has an exceptional variety of products from local natural and organic farms and producers. Many are owned and operated by farm families from the Asia Pacific Rim. With weekly chef demonstrations in the Mill City Museum train shed kitchen it is easy to learn about a variety of cuisines. And with the number of restaurant booths snacking becomes an international treat. Check the market’s website for weekly schedules and get there early. It does get crowded! www.millcityfarmersmarket.com
Another favorite market is the Northeast Minneapolis farmers’ market on University and Seventh avenues open Saturdays 9 am to 1 pm. It is especially easy for handicapped access. Open just a few years this market has grown considerably offering locally grown produce and freshly baked goods from local bakers. Among my favorites are the blueberry muffins from the Turtle Bread Company. Flowers, jewelry, preserves and art are a few more choices along with a number of food stands and this year a food truck. www.northeastmarket.org
The whole family will have lots to do at the Mustard Seed farmers’ market in Chaska featuring locally produced maple syrup, honey, soaps, crafts, farm produce in season plus bread, meat, poultry and spices. There is a playground for the children as well as a petting zoo with chickens, goats and miniature donkeys. Open Fridays 3 pm – 6 pm. www.themustardseedinc.com/mustardseedfarmersmarket.htm
Head to scenic Cannon Falls and visit the Cannon River Winery and their interesting tasting room. www.cannonriverwinery.com Then plan to stop at the Ferndale Market for a variety of locally produced items. It is open seven days a week and features free-range turkey along with a wide variety of other products. The market also holds special events throughout the summer. www.ferndalemarketonline.com
The Hutchinson farmers’ market is in a new building modeled after historic farmers’ markets and open Wednesday 3 – 6 pm and Saturday 8 am – 12 noon through October. Plan to go on August 11 and take part in the Minnesota Garlic Festival at the McLeod County Fairgrounds. www.mngarlicfest.com
If you are heading north the Cook Area farmers’ market is on the way to Lake Vermilion with a variety of locally grown produce plus quilts, rugs, furniture, slippers and hand knit items. Find more information on Facebook. The market is open Saturdays 8 am – 1 pm through September.
For a whole summer of outdoor adventures get the complete list of farmers’ markets, farm visits, and a wide variety of Minnesota Grown opportunities.