Midtown the latest farmers market in an area full of them


farmers market locations

Midtown Farmers Market
East Lake Street and 22nd Avenue South, Minneapolis
Saturdays: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 5 to Oct. 27
Tuesdays: 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., July 10 to Oct. 23

Minneapolis Farmers Market
312 East Lyndale Ave. N., Minneapolis
Saturdays and Sundays: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 21 to October

Downtown St. Paul Farmers Market
290 E. 5th St., St Paul
Saturdays: 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 26 to Nov. 15
Sundays: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 26 to Nov. 15

Midtown Exchange Farmers Market
920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis
Thursdays: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 28 to Oct. 25

Minneapolis Farmers Market Downtown
Fifth through 12th streets, Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
Thursdays: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., April 26 to October

University of Minnesota Farmers Market
Church Street Mall, East Bank Campus, Minneapolis
Wednesdays: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., July 11 to August

West Bank Farmers Market
420 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Fridays: 1 to 4 p.m., 2008 dates to be determined

as his voice rose to compete with the strong wind, a farmer in a plaid shirt demonstrated sheep shearing to a throng of onlookers in a parking lot in south Minneapolis. In a few weeks, the same space will be occupied by a double-dutch jump rope contest.

That’s the eclectic nature of the Midtown Farmers Market, which had its seasonal opening Saturday near the intersection of Lake Street and 22nd Avenue.

Although it’s early in the season, vendors sold locally produced dairy, meat, hot foods and crafts while camped under white tarps flapping in the wind.

By the time seasonal produce peaks in July, the parking lot space, donated by the Minneapolis public school district, will host about 50 vendors.

Organizers predict the coming weeks will bring starter plants and fresh greens, before the deluge of seasonal produce like tomatoes and Minnesota specialties rhubarb and kohlrabi arrive.

The market is a project of the Corcoran Neighborhood Association and started in 2003, market manager Laura Wolff said.

University doctoral candidate and market volunteer Suzanne Fischer said the market, which is located across the street from Aldi, the grocery famous for its selection of canned and boxed goods, taps into a growing movement for healthy food.

“It attracts people of diverse backgrounds,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for people who don’t usually have access to fresh produce.”

Joanna Stone, who was the market’s manager for the past five years, said the larger farmer’s markets in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul have existed for at least 100 years, but the last decade has brought an explosion of smaller markets with more focus on local and organic products.

“Everything in this market is made or grown by the person selling it, from Minnesota or Wisconsin,” she said. “There’s just a benefit in knowing where your food comes from.”

The market also builds social connections and a sense of community, Lisa Piper, co-owner of Fireroast Mountain Café and market vendor, said.

“We know a lot of the people that live in the neighborhood because of this market,” she said. “It’s not just between us and the customers, or us and other vendors; you see customers start talking to other customers too, which is a really positive thing.”

Shopper and Minneapolis resident Kelly Krantz said she rode her bike to the market in part to support local farmers and the environment.

“There’s a lot of pessimism going on about the state of the world,” she said. “Even if you can’t fix everything, by supporting this you can do something. You feel good about it.”