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Minnesota Farmers' Market Association 


2023 

DECEMBER

  • Fox 9 Good Day - The North Loop Winter Market - Vendor Village | Monday, December 11th 

NOVEMBER

  • Fox9 Good Day - Native American Heritage Month Side Dish - St. Paul Farmers Market open on Wednesday before Thanksgiving - Fried Wild Rice Recipe Demo | Monday, Nov. 20th
  • Fox9 Good Day - Roots For The Home Team - Give To The Max Day | Thursday, November 16th 

OCTOBER

Fox 9 Good Day - Award Winning Chicken Tortilla Soup  (Click here for recipe)


Minnesota Live - Beef Noodle Soup "Kuy Teav" (Click here for recipe)


Twin Cities Live - Cambodian Chicken Curry (Squash Party!) (Click here for recipe)


SEPTEMBER

Fox 9 Good Day - Apple Galette with Farmers' Market Apples  (Click here for recipe)


AUGUST

JULY

Beef Stix at the Market (recipe)

JUNE

Past Blog & Articles

2022

2021

2020





Fried Wild Rice - Thanksgiving Side

Blog - November 2023 - By: Sina W.P.

This Thanksgiving, let's embrace the spirit of gratitude by supporting local farmers and incorporating their produce into our festive meals. Choosing locally sourced ingredients not only enhances the flavor and freshness of your dishes but also contributes to the sustainability of your community. By purchasing directly from local farmers, you promote a healthier environment, as the produce travels shorter distances, reducing carbon emissions associated with transportation. Additionally, supporting local agriculture helps small farmers thrive, fostering a robust and diverse food ecosystem. Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the rich tapestry of flavors that local farmers cultivate with passion and care. So, as you gather around the table with loved ones, consider making a conscious choice to include locally grown ingredients, not just as a delicious addition to your feast but as a meaningful way to express gratitude for the hardworking individuals who nourish our communities.


Farmer's Market Fried Wild Rice with Winter Vegetables


Ingredients:

- 1 cup wild rice

- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

- 1 small delicate squash, diced

- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned

- 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped

- 1 onion, finely chopped

- 2 shallots, minced

- 3 cloves garlic, minced

- 3 farm-fresh eggs, beaten

- Salt and pepper to taste

- Optional: soy sauce or tamari for added flavor

- Green onions, chopped, for garnish


Instructions:

1. Cook the wild rice: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the wild rice and cook it like spaghetti noodles according to the package instructions until it's al dente. This typically takes around 40-45 minutes. Once cooked, drain the wild rice in a fine-mesh strainer and set it aside.

2. While the wild rice is cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced delicate squash and julienned carrots. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender but still have a bit of crunch. Remove the vegetables from the skillet and set them aside.

3. In the same skillet, add another tablespoon of oil. Add the chopped onion, shallots, and minced garlic. Sauté until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

4. Add the chopped kale to the skillet and sauté until it wilts and becomes tender.

5. Push the vegetables to the side of the skillet, creating a well in the center. Pour the beaten eggs into the well, stirring gently until scrambled. Once the eggs are cooked, mix them with the sautéed vegetables.

6. Add the cooked wild rice to the skillet, combining it with the vegetable and egg mixture. Stir well to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Optional: For extra flavor, drizzle a bit of soy sauce or tamari over the fried wild rice and toss to combine.

8. Serve the Fried Wild Rice warm, garnished with chopped green onions. This delightful dish celebrates the flavors of the winter farmers' market and makes for a unique and satisfying addition to your Thanksgiving or winter gathering.


Sina’s Award Winning Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:


- 1 oven-roasted chicken quarters, shredded (you can use leftovers from a previous meal)

- 1 medium onion, diced

- 1 bell pepper (red or green), diced

- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (cut from 2-3 ears of corn)

- 1 can (15 ounces) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed

- 1 can (15 ounces) Diced Tomatoes

- 1 can (10 ounces) red enchilada sauce

- 8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed

- 1/4 cup masa flour (corn flour)

- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

- 1 teaspoon ground cumin

- 1 teaspoon chili powder

- Salt and pepper, to taste


For Garnish:


- Fresh cilantro, chopped

- Shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend)

- Sour cream

- Tortilla strips or chips


Instructions:


1. Start by shredding the oven-roasted chicken quarters, discarding the bones. Set the shredded chicken aside.

2. In the crockpot, add the diced onion, bell pepper, and fresh corn kernels.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the red enchilada sauce, masa flour, cumin, chili powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper until well combined.

4. Pour this sauce mixture over the vegetables in the crockpot.

5. Add the cubed Velveeta cheese to the crockpot.

6. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and stir to combine all the ingredients.

7. Add the drained and rinsed Great Northern beans and diced tomatoes to the crockpot.

8. Cover and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours or on high heat for 1-2 hours, or until the soup is heated through and the flavors meld together.

9. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or spices if needed.

10. Add the shredded oven-roasted chicken to the crockpot or individual bowl. Serve the chicken tortilla soup hot, garnishing each bowl with fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and some tortilla strips or chips for added texture and flavor.


Sina's Award winning Chicken Tortilla Soup

Blog - October 2023 - By: Sina W.P.

As the autumn hues begin to paint the landscape, the availability of fresh, locally grown produce is dwindling, and here we stand in mid-October, savoring our final chances to gather the treasures of the market. It's your final chance to grab corn by the dozen or peppers by the bushels, as the approaching chill in the Minnesota air serves as a stark reminder that winter is just around the corner. In these moments, I find solace in strolling through the market, letting the fresh produce inspire visions of future crockpot recipes. Among my favorites is my cherished chicken tortilla soup, a dish I affectionately call "award-winning." It earned this title during my time working in an office, where we held a crockpot party competition, and to my absolute delight, my soup secured the grand prize, forever etching it into my culinary repertoire.


Freezing corn, onions, and peppers can be a great way to preserve their freshness for later use. Here are some tips for freezing each of these vegetables:


Freezing Corn:

1. Blanching: Husk the corn and blanch the ears in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Quickly cool them in an ice bath.

2. Cutting Kernels: Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cob. You can use a corn stripper for efficiency.

3. Portioning: Divide the corn kernels into meal-sized portions and place them in freezer-safe bags or airtight containers.

4. Labeling: Label the bags or containers with the date before placing them in the freezer. This helps you keep track of freshness.


Freezing Onions:

1. Peeling and Chopping: Peel the onions and chop them according to your preference (sliced, diced, or minced).

2. Flash Freezing: Spread the chopped onions on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for a couple of hours. This prevents them from clumping together.

3. Packaging: Transfer the frozen onions into freezer-safe bags or containers.

4. Labeling: Label the packages with the date and type of onion (if using different varieties) before freezing.


Freezing Peppers:

1. Cleaning and Deseeding: Wash the peppers, cut them in half, and remove the seeds and membranes.

2. Slicing: Slice the peppers into strips, rings, or dice them, depending on your preference.

3. Blanching (Optional): While not necessary, blanching for 2-3 minutes can help preserve color and texture.

4. Packaging: Similar to onions, spread the pepper slices on a baking sheet for flash freezing before transferring them to freezer-safe bags or containers.

5. Labeling: Label the packages with the date and type of pepper (bell, chili, etc.) before freezing.


Remember, properly stored frozen vegetables can retain their quality for about 8-12 months. Always try to remove as much air as possible from the freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.


Sina’s Award Winning Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:


- 1 oven-roasted chicken quarters, shredded (you can use leftovers from a previous meal)

- 1 medium onion, diced

- 1 bell pepper (red or green), diced

- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (cut from 2-3 ears of corn)

- 1 can (15 ounces) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed

- 1 can (15 ounces) Diced Tomatoes

- 1 can (10 ounces) red enchilada sauce

- 8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed

- 1/4 cup masa flour (corn flour)

- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

- 1 teaspoon ground cumin

- 1 teaspoon chili powder

- Salt and pepper, to taste


For Garnish:


- Fresh cilantro, chopped

- Shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend)

- Sour cream

- Tortilla strips or chips


Instructions:


1. Start by shredding the oven-roasted chicken quarters, discarding the bones. Set the shredded chicken aside.

2. In the crockpot, add the diced onion, bell pepper, and fresh corn kernels.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the red enchilada sauce, masa flour, cumin, chili powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper until well combined.

4. Pour this sauce mixture over the vegetables in the crockpot.

5. Add the cubed Velveeta cheese to the crockpot.

6. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and stir to combine all the ingredients.

7. Add the drained and rinsed Great Northern beans and diced tomatoes to the crockpot.

8. Cover and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours or on high heat for 1-2 hours, or until the soup is heated through and the flavors meld together.

9. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or spices if needed.

10. Add the shredded oven-roasted chicken to the crockpot or individual bowl. Serve the chicken tortilla soup hot, garnishing each bowl with fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and some tortilla strips or chips for added texture and flavor.


Beef Noodle Soup, Also Known as "Kuy Teav"

Blog - October 2023 - By: Sina W.P.


Embracing local farmers' markets in the fall and winter is a delightful opportunity to savor the bounty of the season. These colder months bring forth a unique charm, with eggs, meat, and cheese vendors shining as the heartwarming heroes of Minnesota's markets. You can relish the joy of discovering in-season produce and then embark on a journey of preservation and canning, allowing the taste of local goodness to brighten your winter days. By supporting these markets, you not only uplift the local economy but also contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly food culture. Moreover, engaging with your community and cherishing the traditions that make Minnesota's food scene special is a delightful and heartwarming experience. So, let's come together and celebrate the wonders of our local farmers' markets this fall and winter, savoring the rich flavors of the season and fostering a deeper connection with our food and community.

Beef Noodle Soup, also known as "Kuy Teav," is a delicious and comforting dish. It's typically made with rice noodles and a flavorful beef broth. Here's a recipe that incorporates Sir Tip Sirloin beef, onion, carrots, green onions, and cilantro from the farmers' market:

**Ingredients:**

For the Broth:

- 1 pound beef sirloin (Sir Tip), thinly sliced

- 8 cups beef broth (homemade or store-bought)

- 1 onion, thickly sliced

- 2-3 carrots,thickly sliced

- 1 spice bag of pho seasoning

- 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce (adjust to taste)

- Salt and pepper to taste


For the Noodles and Garnish:

- Rice noodles ( flat rice noodles)

- Green onions, chopped

- Fresh cilantro, chopped

- Lime wedges

- Bean sprouts


**Instructions:**


1. **Prepare the Broth:**

- In a large pot, Add the beef and sear them until they start to brown. .

- Pour in the beef broth and bring it to a simmer.

- Add the sliced onions & carrots.

- Add the toasted spice herbs in a tightly wrapped bag to the broth.

- Let the broth simmer for 50-60 minutes to allow the meat to tenderize.


2. **Prepare the Noodles:**

- While the broth simmers, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.


3. **Assemble the Soup:**

- To serve, place a portion of cooked rice noodles in a bowl.

- Season the broth with fish sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.

- Adjust the fish sauce according to your preference for saltiness.


4. **Ladle the Hot Broth:**

- Ladle the hot broth over the noodles.


5. **Add Garnishes:**

- Top the soup with, green onions, lime, fried garlic, fermented soy beans, and slices of fresh cilantro.


6. **Serve:**

- Serve the Boat Noodle Soup hot with lime wedges on the side. You can also offer bean sprouts and Thai chili peppers for those who like extra crunch and heat.


Enjoy your homemade Beef Noodle Soup with Sir Tip Sirloin beef and fresh farmers' market ingredients! It's a flavorful and comforting dish that's perfect for any occasion.



Cambodian Farmers' Market Curry with Bahn Mi Baguette

Blog - October 2023 - By: Sina W.P.


Fall at farmers' markets offers a delightful array of fresh ingredients, and this recipe takes full advantage of the seasonal bounty. It presents a delicious Cambodian curry that features Kabocha squash, carrots, onion, red bell pepper, potatoes, and farm-fresh chicken, creating a hearty and flavorful dish. The curry is rich and aromatic, with a hint of Cambodian spice, complemented by the sweet and nutty notes of Kabocha squash. Optional: To elevate the experience, the dish is garnished with vibrant microgreens, adding a fresh touch. To complete the meal, serve it alongside a Bahn Mi French baguette, perfect for dipping into the savory curry. This recipe not only celebrates the fall harvest at farmers' markets but also offers a delightful and comforting meal to enjoy during the season.

Cambodian Farmers' Market Curry with Bahn Mi Baguette. Bahn Mi Baguettes can be purchased at your local asian grocery store or Bahn Mi sandwich shoppes or french bakeries. 

Ingredients:

For the Curry:

- 1 medium-sized Kabocha squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed

- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced

- 1 onion, finely chopped

- 1 red bell pepper, sliced

- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed

- 1 pound farm-fresh chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced

- 3 tablespoons Cambodian red curry paste (adjust to taste)

- 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk

- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (adjust to taste)

- 1 tablespoon sugar (adjust to taste)

- Salt and black pepper, to taste

- Microgreens for garnish (Optional)


For Serving:

- 1 Bahn Mi French baguette, sliced for dipping

**Instructions:**

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until fragrant and translucent.

2. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they're browned on all sides.

3. Stir in the Cambodian red curry paste and cook for a few minutes to release its flavors.

4. Add the Kabocha squash, carrots, red bell pepper, and potatoes to the pot. Stir to coat the vegetables and chicken with the curry paste.

5. Pour in the coconut milk and enough chicken or vegetable broth to cover the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a simmer.

6. Season the curry with fish sauce, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Adjust the seasonings according to your taste, adding more sugar for sweetness or fish sauce for saltiness.

7. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the curry simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through. Stir occasionally.

8. Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning if needed.

9. Serve the Cambodian curry hot, garnished with fresh microgreens. Place slices of Bahn Mi French baguette on the side for dipping into the flavorful curry.


Enjoy this hearty and aromatic Cambodian curry made with farmers' market ingredients, and savor the flavors with the Bahn Mi baguette for a delightful meal.

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Homemade Apple Galette with Farmers' Market Apples

Blog - September 2023 - By: Sina Pleggenkuhle

Link to instagram video


Fall is a crucial season for apple farmers as it marks the peak of their harvest. Varieties like the Honeycrisp, developed in Minnesota, are celebrated for their juicy, sweet-tart taste and iconic crunch. The state's apple growers have honed their expertise over generations, producing apples that not only withstand the cold but also offer a taste of the region's resilience and commitment to quality. These Minnesota-grown apples truly embody the spirit of their hardworking farmers and the northern climate they call home. 

Buying apple seconds in bulk at the farmers' market is a savvy choice for those looking to make the most of fall's apple bounty. These slightly imperfect apples are often just as delicious but come at a more budget-friendly price, making it perfect for creating homemade apple pie canning filling. With this versatile filling on hand, you're ready to whip up a variety of delightful recipes throughout the year. Beyond classic apple pies, you can craft apple turnovers, apple crumbles, apple tarts, and of course, the rustic charm of an apple galette. The options are endless, allowing you to enjoy the warmth and comfort of apple desserts no matter the season, all while supporting local farmers and reducing food waste. It's a win-win for both your taste buds and your community.

Farmers often diversify their offerings with value-added products known as cottage foods, which can range from jams and jellies to baked goods and preserves, showcasing their culinary talents and creativity. If you're interested in becoming a cottage food producer and transforming your farm-fresh ingredients into delectable goods, you can explore this exciting opportunity further by registering for the MFMA (Minnesota Farmers' Market Association) Cottage Food Academy. This resource provides valuable insights, training, and guidance on cottage food production, helping you navigate regulations, safety requirements, and marketing strategies, ultimately empowering you to share your farm's delicious creations with a wider audience while supporting local agriculture.

Link to Cottage Food Academy: https://mfma.org/Cottage_Foods_Academy

Link to MN Cottage Food Producers Association, Tested Recipe Resources: https://www.mncfpa.org/gallery/

Link to Ball's Apple Pie Filling Canning Recipe: https://www.ballmasonjars.com/blog?cid=apple-pie-filling-recipe

For the Galette Dough:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces

3-4 tablespoons ice water

For Assembly:

1 egg (for egg wash)

1 tablespoon milk or cream

1 tablespoon granulated sugar (for sprinkling)


Instructions:


1. Make the Galette Dough:

a. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar.

b. Add the cold, diced butter to the dry mixture. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to work the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.

c. Slowly add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix until the dough comes together. You may not need all the water; stop when the dough holds together without being too wet.

d. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


2. Preheat the Oven:

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

4. Roll Out the Dough:

a. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.

b. Transfer the rolled-out dough to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.


3. Assemble the Galette:

a. Arrange the prepared apple pie filling in the center of the dough, leaving about a 2-inch border around the edges.

b. Fold the edges of the dough over the apples, pleating as you go to create a rustic border.

c. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the milk or cream to make an egg wash. Brush the edges of the galette with the egg wash.

d. Sprinkle the edges with granulated sugar for a beautiful, caramelized finish.


4. Bake the Galette:

Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown, and the apple filling is bubbling.


5. Cool and Serve:

Allow the galette to cool slightly before serving. It's delicious on its own or served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.


Enjoy your homemade apple galette made with fresh farmers' market apples!


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Fox 9 Good Day Celebrating NFMW

with Cambodian Eggrolls



Farmers' Market Eggroll Recipe

Blog - August, 2023 - By: Sina Pleggenkuhle

Link to instagram video

Now is the perfect time to indulge in the vibrant flavors of summer by creating delicious eggrolls using fresh ingredients sourced from the farmers market. With crisp cabbage, juicy carrots, aromatic onions, and farm-fresh eggs, these Cambodian eggrolls are a delightful fusion of local produce and Asian culinary delights. By visiting the farmers market, you not only treat yourself to the finest seasonal vegetables but also support local farmers, fostering a sense of community and sustainability. Embrace the spirit of adventure in your kitchen and try this new recipe, savoring the medley of tastes and textures that will transport you to the heart of Southeast Asia. So grab your shopping bag, head to the farmers market, and embark on a culinary journey that celebrates the bounty of summer while uplifting the hardworking farmers in your neighborhood.Farmers' Market Eggrolls:

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of eggroll wrappers (available at the Asian grocery store)
  • 1 cup vermicelli noodles
  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 1 cup cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 farm-fresh eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Egg yolk for sealing the eggrolls

Instructions:

  1. Soak the vermicelli noodles in warm water according to package instructions until they soften. Drain, cut into smaller pieces and set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped cabbage, grated carrots, chopped onion, minced garlic, ground pork and softened vermicelli noodles.

  3. In a separate bowl, beat the farm-fresh eggs. Add ground black pepper and salt to the beaten eggs, mixing well.

  4. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and noodles in the large mixing bowl. Mix everything together until all the ingredients are evenly coated.

  5. Take one eggroll wrapper at a time and place it on a clean, dry surface with one corner facing you. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of the vegetable and egg mixture onto the center of the wrapper, leaving some space around the edges.

  6. Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper over the filling, then fold in the sides and roll it up tightly, using a bit of egg yolk to seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

  7. Heat vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or a deep fryer to 350°F (175°C).

  8. Carefully add the eggrolls to the hot oil, a few at a time, and fry until they are golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes per side.

  9. Remove the cooked eggrolls from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.

  10. Serve the Cambodian eggrolls hot with a dipping sauce of your choice, such as sweet chili sauce or a combination of soy sauce and lime juice.

Enjoy your delicious eggrolls made with fresh farmer's market finds and Asian grocery store ingredients! 

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MFMA & LSP Host Putnam, Gustafson To Talk Local Foods

MFMA and Land Stewardship Project were happy to host Senators Aric Putnam and Heather Gustafson, and other members of the MN Senate Ag Committee at Simple Harvest Farm Organics, Nerstrand, on July 20.  MDA Assistant Commissioner Patrice Bailey attended, as did several market managers, food farmers, and folks involved with food policy in MN.

Chair Putnam gave MFMA’s and LSP’s bill asking for $10,000 grants to every farmers’ market in MN and the Tribal Nations a hearing in committee during the 2023 session. Although that bill, authored by Senator Mary Kunesh, failed to get funded, the Legislature did fund $200,000 over  two years to help farmers’ markets with the costs of SNAP EBT.

A tour of Zeman’s Simple Harvest Farm, a MN Ag Water Quality certified farm that has all certified organic inputs and is 100% grass-based with trees in all paddocks for shade for the livestock, included discussions on:

  • farming the land the way it needs to be farmed. SHFO is all HE (highly erodible) land; in order to prevent soil erosion the land is in perennial pasture. Berms put in to stop severe soil erosion on 24% slope when the land was row cropped previously, have been repurposed to grow grass and trees, to provide shade.

  • the need to compensate farmers, particularly produce farmers, when their food crops receive illegal pesticide drift. The current process, with abnormally long test times, creates financial losses for produce farmers on par with the losses experienced by grain farmers at elevators.

  • the key to profitable small scale farms is to get to scale quickly, and sound financial records.


MN’s Local Foodshed is Booming - Where Can Funding Come From For the Needed Infrastructure?   

Bucking state and national trends of aging and decreasing number of commodity farmers, MN’s small scale and emerging farmers population continues to show marked growth, especially in growing food crops and livestock. The Statewide Cooperative Partnership 2022 data shows that farmers in this category average over 60% more in market value sales per acre than 'all farmers,' in the 2017 U.S. Ag Census.

Data confirms the growth and potential of MN’s local foodshed; what’s needed next is funding to support the ‘local foodshed infrastructure,’ also called the ‘community food web.’ Once this investment happens in community commercial kitchens, community food hubs (including farmers’ market food hubs), community food storage warehouses, community food grade transportation, then growth in MN’s ability to grow food increases exponentially, and in doing so builds resilience across greater MN as well as the burgeoning urban ag farms.

Senator Gustafson’s bill to provide free meals to school children was passed in 2023. Once the local foodshed infrastructure is built out, it will make it easier for those meals to come directly from MN food farmers, revolving that money in MN. As COVID illuminated, having multiple sales channels for food farmers is critical: farmers’ markets, farm-to-school, farm-to-institution, etc.

Senator Putnam said it was his intent for the Senate Ag Committee to visit farms this summer and listen to the stories; the group has 40 farm tours scheduled already. He encouraged our group to research and build relationships with other Legislative committees and state agencies, because our work includes food access, food security, economic development, workforce development, education, etc.

Lunch was local! Food came from Rotational Roots, Sevens Songs Organic Farm, Simple Harvest Farm Organics - all three either current or former farmers’ market vendors.

Attendees

  • Patrice Bailey, MDA Assistant Commissioner

  • Aric Putnam, Chair of the Senate Ag Committee

  • Heather Gustafson, Senate Ag Committee member

  • Jacqueline Borromeo, Legislative Assistant 

  • Nick Roth, Legislative Assistant 

  • Laura Paynter, Senate Ag Committee Legislative Analyst

  • Hunter Pederson, Senate Ag Committee Administrator

  • Amanda Pedersen, Senate Ag Committee Researcher

  • Chaz Sandifer, Lakeview Terrace Farmers’ Market Manager 

  • Betsy Wentz, Rotational Roots Farm, and Riverwalk Market Fair Manager

  • Jane Jewett, Willow Sedge Farm, and Associate Director MISA

  • Melissa Driscoll, Seven Songs Organic Farm

  • Gail Donkers, Big Woods Babydoll Sheep, and MFU Outreach

  • Natalie Hoidal, UMN Extension vegetable specialist 

  • Sadie Gannett, MDH SHIP

  • Amanda Koehler, LSP Policy Manager

  • Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly, MFMA Database Manager

  • Sina Pleggenkuhle, MFMA Engagement & Inclusion Director

  • Kathy Zeman, Simple Harvest Farm Organics, and MFMA Executive Director

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Cambodian Beef Sticks w/ farmers' market vegetable pickle

Blog - July, 2023 - By: Sina Pleggenkuhle


Cambodian Beef Sticks w/ farmers' market vegetable pickle


Cambodian Beef Sticks

Ingredients:

1 pound beef, thinly sliced into strips

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons chicken soup base

2 tablespoons oil (preferably vegetable or peanut oil)

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Skewers, soaked in water

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, chicken soup base, oil, black pepper, minced garlic, chopped onion, honey, and maple syrup. Mix well to create a marinade.

Add the thinly sliced beef to the marinade, ensuring that each piece is coated. Allow the beef to marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator, but overnight marination is recommended for more flavorful results.

Preheat your grill or broiler to medium-high heat.

Thread the marinated beef slices onto the soaked skewers, making sure to remove excess marinade.

Place the beef skewers on the preheated grill or under the broiler. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until the beef is cooked to your desired level of doneness. Baste the beef with the leftover marinade during the cooking process.

Once cooked, remove the beef sticks from the grill or broiler and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.


Cambodian Pickled Vegetables

Ingredients:

2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced

1 cup carrots, julienned

1 cup cucumber, julienned

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small chili pepper, thinly sliced (optional, for heat)

Instructions:

In a large bowl, combine the sliced cabbage, julienned carrots, and julienned cucumber. (Sub cauliflower, ginger, or other vegetables found seasonally available at the farmers’ market.)

Sprinkle salt over the vegetables and toss well to distribute the salt evenly. Let the vegetables sit for about 15-20 minutes to draw out excess moisture.

While the vegetables are resting, prepare the pickling liquid. In a saucepan, combine the white vinegar, water, sugar, minced garlic, and sliced chili pepper (if using). Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let the pickling liquid cool to room temperature.

After the resting time, rinse the cabbage, carrots, and cucumber under cold water to remove the excess salt. Drain well and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.

Transfer the rinsed and drained vegetables to a clean, sterilized jar or container.

Pour the cooled pickling liquid over the vegetables, making sure they are completely submerged. If needed, use a weight or a small plate to keep the vegetables submerged in the pickling liquid.

Cover the jar or container tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop. For best results, let it pickle for 2 to 3 days.

Once pickled to your liking, the Cambodian Pickled Vegetables are ready to be enjoyed. Serve them as a side dish or condiment with your favorite Cambodian or Asian dishes.

Note: The pickled vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The flavors will continue to develop over time.

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Spring/Rice Paper rolls using seasonal farmers' market ingredients

Blog - June, 2023 - By: Sina Pleggenkuhle


Spring Rolls, with their delicate and translucent rice paper wrappers, provide the perfect canvas for showcasing the vibrant flavors and textures of seasonal farmers market ingredients. 


Seasonal produce adds a burst of flavor and freshness to the rolls, creating a harmonious blend of tastes and textures. Whether you choose to incorporate smoked trout, roast pork, tofu, or a medley of both, spring rolls can be customized to suit any preference or dietary requirement. 


The beauty lies in the ability to experiment and adapt the fillings based on what the farmers’ market offers, allowing each bite to be a celebration of the current season's bountiful harvest.


For the Spring Rolls Ingredients:


Rice paper wrappers

1 cup cooked rice noodles

1 cup mixed fresh herbs (such as cilantro, basil, and mint)

1 cup thinly sliced seasonal vegetables (such as microgreens, cucumber, radishes and bell peppers)

1 cup cooked smoked trout, pork belly/roast or tofu, sliced into thin strips

Bean sprouts (optional)

Fresh lime wedges (for serving)


Instructions:


Prepare all the ingredients and arrange them on a clean working surface. Have a shallow dish or bowl filled with warm water ready for dipping the rice paper wrappers.


Dip one rice paper wrapper into the warm water for a few seconds until it becomes pliable. Place the wet wrapper on the working surface.


Layer a small handful of cooked rice noodles on the lower third of the rice paper wrapper.


Add a few slices of cooked shrimp or tofu on top of the noodles, followed by a handful of mixed fresh herbs, thinly sliced seasonal vegetables, and bean sprouts if using.


Roll the bottom of the wrapper over the filling tightly. Fold the sides inward, and continue rolling until you have a tightly sealed spring roll. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.


Serve the spring rolls with the dipping sauce and fresh lime wedges on the side. Enjoy your delicious Cambodian-style spring rolls made with fresh seasonal farmers market ingredients!


For the Peanut Butter Hoisin Sauce Ingredients:


1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons creamy or chunky peanut butter

3/4 cup hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice (Optional)

2-4 tablespoons warm water (as needed for desired consistency)


Instructions:


In a small sauce pot on low heat, combine the creamy peanut butter, hoisin sauce and butter. Stir well to combine the ingredients.


Gradually add warm water, one tablespoon at a time, while stirring continuously. The water helps to thin the sauce and achieve the desired dipping consistency. Add more water if you prefer a thinner sauce or less if you prefer a thicker sauce.


Continue stirring until the ingredients are well incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more soy sauce for saltiness, lime juice for tanginess, honey or maple syrup for sweetness, or red pepper flakes for spiciness according to your preference.


Transfer the dipping sauce to a serving bowl and garnish with some chopped peanuts, green onion or sesame seeds if desired.


Serve the peanut butter and hoisin dipping sauce alongside your spring rolls.


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Unfortunately, many Minnesota farmers are facing their third straight year of drought conditions. Click here to read MFMA's drought story on Morning Ag Clips.

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Farmers' Market Inspired

Cambodian Stir-Fry

Blog - June, 2023 - By: Sina Pleggenkuhle


Exploring the farmers' market is like embarking on a culinary treasure hunt, filled with seasonal vegetables and unique finds that awaken the senses and inspire creativity in the kitchen. Every visit is a chance to discover the hidden gems cultivated by dedicated farmers like You Pao Xiong, who introduces us to the world of bitter leaves. These vibrant and intriguing leaves, with their distinct flavor profile, invite us to broaden our culinary horizons and embrace new tastes and textures. And then there are the pioppino mushrooms, a revelation from Tiny Tinks Farms, which captivate with their delicate yet robust nature. Their earthy aroma and tender flesh elevate any dish they grace. Elevate your dishes with a touch of freshness and a hint of spice by garnishing it with Spicy Mix microgreens, sourced from the innovative urban farmer Good Day Farmstead. By incorporating these seasonal vegetables and unique finds into our cooking, we not only indulge in the freshest and most flavorful ingredients, but we also honor the dedication and passion of the farmers who nurture and cultivate these treasures. Let the farmers' market be our playground of inspiration, where we can celebrate the beauty and diversity of nature's bounty and unleash our culinary imagination with every unique find.


Step into your kitchen, armed with the finest ingredients from your farmers' market, and prepare to delight in a stir fry that not only tantalizes your taste buds but also celebrates the abundant offerings of your local food scene.

Pictured Left to Right: Various local vegetables & pork found at the farmers' market, Bitter Leaves from Farmer You Pao Xiong & Cambodian stir-fry sauce ingredients


Farmers' Market Inspired Cambodian Stir Fry by MFMA Communications Director Sina W. P.


Ingredients:

1 pound pork rib meat, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 oyster mushrooms, sliced

6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced

6 pioppino mushrooms, sliced

2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced

2 cups bitter leaves (such as mustard greens or dandelion greens), chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1 cup spicy mix microgreens

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons palm sugar (or brown sugar)

Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions:

In a small bowl, mix together the oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, and palm sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat.

Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the pork rib meat to the pan and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until it starts to brown.

Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and continue stir-frying for another 3-4 minutes until they are tender.

Add the sliced cabbage and bitter leaves to the pan and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until they begin to wilt.

Pour the prepared sauce over the stir fry and stir well to coat all the ingredients evenly.

Continue stir-frying for another 2-3 minutes until everything is cooked through and well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the stir fry to a serving dish.

Garnish with chopped green onions and a generous handful of spicy mixed microgreens.

Serve the stir fry hot with steamed rice or noodles.


Enjoy your flavorful Cambodian-style stir fry with pork rib meat, mushrooms, cabbage, bitter leaves, and garnished with green onions and spicy mixed microgreens!


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MFMA’s June Farmers' Market Drink of the Month: Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade Sweetened with Honey

Blog - June 15th, 2023 - By: Sina Pleggenkuhle

The combination of strawberry and rhubarb is perfect for celebrating the summer season. It's important to support local farmers during challenging times like our drought. By visiting the farmers' markets early, we can ensure we get the fresh strawberries before they sell out and show our support for the farmers who have been affected by the reduced production. Enjoy the delicious Strawberry Rhubarb drink and appreciate the hard work of the farmers in bringing these ingredients to our tables! Here is a fun way to enjoy the magical combination of strawberry & Rhubarb. Be sure to visit our Find A Market Map to explore the over 350 farmers' markets in our state!

Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade


Ingredients:

1 cup rhubarb, chopped

1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup Honey (adjust according to taste)

4 cups cold water

Ice cubes

Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Preparation Instructions:

In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruits become soft and release their juices, about 10-12 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from heat and let the mixture cool slightly. Once cooled, transfer it to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Strain the blended mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher, pressing down with a spoon to extract all the liquid. Discard the solids.

Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice to the pitcher and stir well to combine.

Add cold water to the pitcher and stir again. Taste and adjust the sweetness by adding more honey if desired.

Chill the lemonade in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.

When ready to serve, fill glasses with ice cubes and pour the strawberry rhubarb lemonade over the ice.

Garnish with fresh local mint leaves if desired. Stir gently and enjoy!


Note: You can adjust the sweetness and tartness of the lemonade by adding more sugar or lemon juice according to your preference. Additionally, you can also experiment with adding sparkling water for a fizzy variation of this refreshing drink.

Pictured is Communications Director Sina Pleggenkuhle shopping for strawberries & rhubarb on opening day of the Nokomis Farmers Market located in Minneapolis.

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MFMA’s Gus Schumacher Award

August Cocktail of the Month: Bloody Mary

Blog August 1, 2022, By: Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly



Here is the next installment of our MFMA Gus Schumacher Farmers' Market Drink of the Month. The history of our "drink of the month," includes MFMA Executive Director, Kathy Zeman, winning the national 2021 Farmers Market Coalition Gus Schumacher Award for leadership during COVID, and with it, a super cool hand-blown gigantic cocktail glass. See full article on award. And so began our drink-of-the-month (to fill that gigantic hand-blown glass)! Our recent MFMA event at Lakes and Legends Brewery didn’t only give us the Pseudo Blue, a speciality beer brewed just for us and infused with farmers' market blueberries...

                       




but inspired our August, 2022 cocktail as well - THE FARMERS' MARKET BLOODY MARY!!  Grandpa Roy’s Pickles was one of the vendors at our fundraising event at Lake and Legends Brewery and sold pickled asparagus. I hadn’t tried pickled asparagus before but I was not disappointed!  Later in my apartment, while I was snacking on my pickled asparagus straight from the container, I wondered how else I could eat it? And then it hit me. A bloody mary! I instantly started daydreaming about what other farmers’ market goodies I could find to add to it.



During a few farmers’ market visits in the weeks after, I realized there is no limit to the bloody mary fixings you can find this time of year. I found celery, cherry tomatoes, and jalapenos at the Rochester Farmers’ Market. At the Dennison Farmers’ Market I was lucky enough to even stumble on a vendor selling homemade bloody mary mix! Ruth sells an assortment of pickled, jams, and baked goods. Her bloody mary mix includes tomatoes, jalapenos, sugar, vinegar, and worcester. It is great if you like a little extra kick!




This time of year, you can also find cured meats, cheeses, and all of the different kinds of pickles you could want! Ok, but after you find all of your perferred garnishes, how do you put it all together?


Everyone has their own bloody mary recipe, but we used 12oz of Ruth’s bloody mary mix, with

  • 1 ½ oz of pickle juice 
  • 1 dash of onion powder
  • 2 dashes of garlic powder. 
  • You can pour it over ice or shake it with ice and strain into your glass. 
  • Add 2 ¼ oz of vodka. (We used Northland Vodka because they source organic corn from Minnesota farmers living only 30 miles from their distillery in Benson, MN. After it is filtered, bottled, and shipped from St. Louis Park it can be purchased anywhere across the state. If you are interested in trying Northland Vodka for your bloody mary you can see all of the locations where it is sold here.
  • Then garnish with all of your favorite farmers’ market treats on a skewer and enjoy! 


If you like bloody marys there is no way to mess this one up!





Now is the time to contact our Legislature! There are $1,250,000 farmers' market reasons to do so!

Here's the situation:

  • There is $1.25M in the House Ag Committee for farmers' markets and direct marketing farmers.
  • There is $0 in the Senate Ag Committee for farmers' markets and direct marketing farmers.
  • Minnesota has a $9.25 BILLION surplus budget.

The Legislature goes on break from April 9-18, and when they come back, they will begin to meet in conference to bridge the difference between the two budgets. At this point, since budgets are set for the ag committees, if they increase money in one line item, they have to decrease the same amount in another line item; OR find money in some other committee's budget that has capacity. (That's what happened last year with the Market Bucks funding when the Ag Conference Committee wouldn't fund it; the money was found in the State Government Conference Committee budget.)

Here's What We Need from You:

  1. Jot down what your farmers' market could do with a $1,000-$5,000 grant; explaining how the House Ag Budget funding would benefit your market, your vendors, your community. You don't need details - just basic ideas. Some things we've heard from you so far: stipend for your market manager, a small shed to store supplies onsite, signs, market info tent, money for food access programs like Power of Produce, advertising, metrics surveys, etc.
  2. Then, contact Your Legislators with the info above and ask them to support the House Ag Budget.
  3. Next, contact the House Ag Committee members with the same message - and thank them for their support. Be sure to contact both the Representatives and their Legislative Assistants. Find the House Ag list here: HouseAgCommittee2022.xlsx
  4. Finally, contact the Senate Ag Committee members with the same message - and ask them to seriously consider making this investment in all of Minnesota.  Be sure to contact both the Senators and their Legislative Assistants. Find the Senate Ag list here: SenateAgCommittee2022.xls

Intimidated by the legislative process? We UNDERSTAND! Here are a few tips:

    Have questions? 

    Give us a holler. MFMA Staff and Board Directors will be working with our ally organizations to try to secure this 1-time funding for Minnesota farmers' markets.



    MFMA's Gus Schumacher Award Farmers' Market Drink of the Month - Watermelon Basil Bliss

    By: Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly and Kim Guenther

    Here is the next installment of our Gus Schumacher Award Farmers' Market Drink of the Month. The history of our "drink of the month," includes MFMA Executive Director, Kathy Zeman, winning the national 2021 Farmers Market Coalition Gus Schumacher Award for leadership during COVID, and with it, a super cool glass. See full article on award. And so began our drink-of-the-month. Here we go!

    Ode to a Summer Gone By- Watermelon Basil Bliss


    With summer coming to a close, soon we will be in the thralls of changing leaves, pumpkins, and savory snacks. But before we transition into our fall sweaters, we have one more beautifully refreshing summerish drink for you. Our Watermelon Basil Bliss Cocktail!

    This drink has a few easy ingredients and instructions, making it perfect as school gets back into full swing and our free time becomes even more precious. But before we get into the making of this month’s cocktail, let's highlight the wonderful farmers and their products! 

    The young couple from Five Acre Farm have been selling at the Rochester Farmers’ Market for three years. Although their farm business is still budding, they have an abundance of produce and sell absolutely delicious watermelon! They are not certified organic but do grow all of their produce organically. They also have a greenhouse they are working in as the weather gets cooler so make sure you stop by their booth during a Saturday morning market and get yourself some delicious fresh produce while it's still here!

    The basil came from Plainsong Farm who also sells at the Rochester market. They sell an assortment of beautiful, unique herbs, making it impossible to buy just one thing. We had to buy a bunch of chocolate mint along with the basil. We made chocolate mint infused butter to put in a batch of brownies and it was absolutely delicious!

    But enough about brownies. You came here for cocktails!

     

    Watermelon Basil Bliss is made with 2 cups of fresh basil (leaves and stems), ½ cup of sugar, ½ cup of lime juice, 8 cups of cubed watermelon, and 12 ounces of Loon Liquor Vodka. Make sure you save some watermelon slices and basil for a garnish at the end. First, make your “instant” simple syrup by muddling your basil and sugar together in a bowl.


    Then pour the lime juice over the mixture and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Then puree all 8 cups of the watermelon in a blender or food processor and strain it through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher. Throw out the watermelon pulp and use the same strainer to pour in your “instant” basil simple syrup. Add your Loon Liquor Vodka to the pitcher, stir, fill a glass with ice, pour yourself some Watermelon Basil Bliss, and dream of summer days that have (almost) passed.


    ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 


    MFMA's Gus Schumacher Award Farmers' Market Drink of the Month - August's Midtown Cucumber Basil Iced Tea

    By: Kim Guenther and Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly (August 2021)

    Here is the next installment of our Gus Schumacher Award Farmers' Market Drink of the Month. In case you don't know the history of our "drink of the month," let us explain...  Back in March, MFMA Executive Director, Kathy Zeman, was one of two nationwide recipients of the 2021 Farmers Market Coalition Gus Schumacher Award for leadership during COVID. See full article on award. In honor of this distinguished award, Kathy received this specialty veggie glassware made by Rocket Glass Works.


    We had planned to host a demonstration of our own totally unique Cucumber Basil Iced Tea at the Minneapolis Midtown Farmers' Market earlier this month during National Farmers' Market Week.  Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen was set to the be the mixologist extraordinaire. Oh, the pictures we would have had! Unfortunately, a storm and flooding of the Midtown Market forced a cancellation of that event-- ironic in this summer drought. Never-the-less, we celebrated the rain! (We would happily cancel all our events for rain currently).  But even without the pomp and circumstance we planned to bring you with this drink, it's still a very unique iced tea, worth making at home. So, keep reading!


    Ingredients:    2 Tea Bags, 1 Cup Sugar,  3 Cups Water,  1 Cucumber,

    1 & 1/4 Cups Basil,  and  3 Ounces Gin (optional)


    Cucumber and basil are readily available at Farmers' markets this time of year. We bought ours from Boa Xion Farm, based in Hastings, MN. They sell a myriad of produce, flowers, and fun merch and have been operating as a family farm for over twenty years. They’ve had a booth at the Midtown Farmers’ Market for the past two years. If you shop at Midtown, stop by and tell them hi.

    We also scored our tea from the Midtown Market. While we listed tea bags in the recipe as they are readily available, we actually used Tranquility Vegan Chai Tea mix from Winter Goddess Foods. We liked this option as it is sold at the Midtown Market, and adds an extra layer of flavor as it includes black tea, organic can sugar, organic spices, sea salt, and organic vanilla. (YUM!) Winter Goddess Foods sells at the Midtown Farmers’ Market every week and has many other goodies to choose from, offering nuts, granola, caramel candies, and wild rice bread loafs! They also sell products in numerous grocery stores around the twin cities. 

         


    Keep scrolling for the recipe. But we're not done yet. For an adult-only twist, we included an alcoholic optional add-in. GIN! For the alcoholic version, we used Du Nord’s Fitzgerald Gin! It's AWESOME! Du Nord is a local, family-owned distillery based in Minneapolis, operating since 2013. Their award-winning spirits (which are all of them) include: L’etoile Vodka, Fitzgerald Gin, Mixed Blood Whiskey, Cafe Frieda Coffee Liqueur, and Apple Du Nord Liqueur. Their mission is to create a truly welcoming place for everyone, especially for BIPOC and LGBT+ communities. Their CEO, Chris Montana, also won the Artisan Spirit of the Year Award earlier this year for the quality of their production, mentorship, community building efforts, and innovative thinking. Supporting a good business always makes a drink that much more delicious! And the Cucumber Basil Gin Ice Tea is also the perfect cocktail to drink while following them on social media!  www.facebook.com/DuNordSpirits       www.instagram.com/dunordcs

                        

                                                     ___________________________________________________________

    And finally, introducing the MFMA August Drink of the Month: The Midtown Cucumber and Basil Iced Tea! Make the tea, keep the extra syrup (you'll have some left over), sip, enjoy, and make it again! To Save the Recipe, Click HERE.



    MFMA's Gus Schumacher Award Farmers' Market Drink of the Month - June's Mr. Summer Boozy

    By: Kim Guenther and Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly (June 2021)


    Back in March, MFMA Executive Director, Kathy Zeman, was one of two nationwide recipients of the 2021 Farmers Market Coalition Gus Schumacher Award for leadership during COVID. See full article on award. In honor of this distinguished award, Kathy received this specialty glassware with a radish on the stem. At least we think it's a radish. It could be a beet or a carrot...? Definitely a root vegetable. We love this hand-made glass blown piece of art made by Rocket Glass Works.


    To keep the fun going, we have decided that each month during market season we will feature an MFMA Gus Schumacher Award Farmers' Market Drink of the Month. We will be choosing drinks where a majority of the ingredients can be purchased locally at Minnesota Farmers' Markets or through businesses who source local products. We will have a combination of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. We are excited to be featuring both this amazing drink, which is DANGEROUSLY DELICIOUS, and the vendors and businesses we used to make it. Since June is National Dairy Month, and July is National Ice Cream Month, our June/July drink of the month is a Mr. Summer Boozy.


    Our fabulous MFMA/SMIF VISTAS, Maeve Mallozi-Kelly and James Harren, were the tag-team duo who attended the market, met the vendors, purchased the products, and spent an afternoon mixing, concocting, and testing. Tough job, but someone had to do it. Nice job team!  


    Step one: Choose the Market. We knew the Downtown St. Paul Farmers Market had an ice cream vendor, so check! The St. Paul Market is operated by the St. Paul Growers Association and managed by Director of Operations David Kotsonas. This market has a long tradition in St. Paul dating back over 165 years. It was also site of our first MFMA National Farmers' Market Week Celebration in 2019 with Governor Tim Walz and Commissioner of Agriculture Thom Petersen. The St. Paul Farmers Market is fantastic and definitely worth a stop if you are downtown St. Paul on either a Saturday or Sunday morning. 


    Step two: Purchase Ingredients. This particular recipe only has two ingredients: vanilla ice cream, and coffee liqueur. We purchased vanilla ice cream from St. Paul Farmers Market Vendor Kappers Big Red Barn. They are a family-owned micro dairy and have been in operation since 2004. They have 100 cows and process all of their products on their farm using a low-temperature pasteurization technique which eliminates all of the potential bacteria as high temperature pasteurization but preserves all the essential enzymes in the milk making it more nutritional. They also bottle all of their milk in reusable glass bottles which they sterilize and reuse making it a sustainable business from grazing to distribution. They sell whole milk, 2%, 1%, skim milk and chocolate milk as well as cheese curds, heavy cream half & half, and ice cream! You can find their products online, the Saint Paul Downtown Farmers Market, the Rochester Farmers Market, and through their CSA. If you’ve shopped at Five Watt, Yellowbird, or True Stone Coffee, you’ve also had their products!


    We couldn't buy the liquor at an actual farmers' market, so we did the next best thing. We researched locally sourced products in our state and made a trip to Loon Liquor in Northfield, Minnesota. They are a craft distillery that makes 100% of their spirits from scratch using locally-sourced organic ingredients. We purchased the Loon Liquor Coffee Liqueur, made with certified organic barley from Faribault farmers Bryan and Tammy Lips.  


    Recipe: Take one big scoop of your Kappers Big Red Barn or other Vanilla Ice Cream and place it in your favorite glassware. Pour 4 oz of Loon Liquor or other Coffee Liquer over the ice cream. Enjoy with a spoon or sip slowly as ice cream melts. Additional garnishings could include graham crackers, edible flowers, or chocoalte straws. 


    Support your local farmers and enjoy an adult Mr. Summer Boozy this month!  





    Supporting Farmers’ Markets Through Collaboration 

    From the desk of Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly, Farmers’ Market Economic Opportunity VISTA 

    Article posted June 6, 2021

    Farmers’ markets are unique businesses. They have a variety of operational structures, existing as volunteer organizations, large-scale commercial businesses, and even city sponsored events. Regardless of their size or operational structure, farmers’ markets promote healthy, local communities by providing essential goods and services. Their direct to consumer model also supports local economies and the overall wellness of the communities they serve.

    One of the goals of the Local Food Sustainability Project is to quantify and amplify what makes farmers’ markets so successful. The LFSP survey, which will be sent out in July, will help us gather the information needed to develop more resources, training, and general support for market managers, vendors, and even customers. To do this, we have enlisted the expertise of five agricultural leaders in the SMIF 20 county region to form the Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee (the sister committee to the Local Food Producers Advisory Committee, led by James Harren) to increase our impact through collaboration. 

    The Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee members have diverse backgrounds and expertise, but they all have a passion for supporting the health of our local food system.

    We are pleased to announce the members of the Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee.

    • Claire LaCanne: Local Agriculture Extension Educator with UMN Extension (Rice and Steele)

    • Kyle Huneke: Farm Business Management Instructor with the Riverland Community College Farm Business Management Program (Austin, Owatonna, Albert Lea) 

    • Nathon Hulinsky: Agriculture Business Management Extension Educator with UMN Extension

    • Lori Cox: Owner/operator of Roots Return Heritage Farm LLC, Advisory board member of the County Water Management Org, Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification program, and Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom

    • Leah Mahoney: SHIP Grant Coordinator (Brown, Nicollet, Waseca, La Sueur)


    The committee met for the first time in April and reviewed the goals and survey material for the LFSP. We were able to Identify resources and funding for the project and look forward to meeting again to discuss uptates and next steps this month.

    See the full bios of our incredible advisory committee team below!

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    Claire LaCanne works with UMN Extension in Rice and Steele counties. She is a local Agriculture Extension Educator connecting farmers with university resources to address community needs. She works with produce and livestock farmers both big and small. While her technical specializations are in regenerative agriculture, soil health, and integrated pest management (IPM), she also helps farmers develop business plans, expand their production or sales, and navigate land rental agreements and pricing. Right now she is primarily helping goat and sheep producers navigate grass fed meat certifications. She is passionate about the positive impacts applied science can have in helping farmers address their needs and obstacles to success. Her technical knowledge and support through community outreach is a priceless asset to the LFSP. 

    Kyle Huneke works for the Riverland Community College Farm Business Management Program primarily in Austin, Owatana, and Albert Lea. He works with a total of 60 farmers, 25 who are beginning farmers, 20 dairy farmers, and 10 who classify as niche growers and sell at farmers’ markets. He received his degree in business from Oxford University and has years of experience as a livestock farmer selling meat at the Rochester Farmers’ Market. Now he uses his expertise to help farmers with their record keeping, business management, marketing, and expansion. His favorite part about his job is building deep relationships with farmers, especially those who work in direct marketing, helping them problem solve to support their vision.

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    Nathan Hulinsky is an Agriculture Business Management Extension Educator with the UMN Extension team. His main priority is to reduce farmers’ economic risks while helping them become more financially stable and profitable. As part of this work, he conducts financial benefits comparisons between farmers’ markets, wholesale, and other direct to consumer markets to tailor his trainings to the economic needs of each individual farmer. He primarily works with traditional crop farmers and dairy farmers, leading trainings on land rentals, how to write a lease, farm bills, and labor management. He is passionate about his work and the continuation of family farms as he helps them sustain their livelihoods. He and his wife just bought a house and are planning on starting their first garden this spring!


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    Lori Cox is the founder and owner of Roots Return Heritage Farm LLC in Carver county. This year she is renting her land to four new, emerging farmers while she serves on four advisory boards including the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, the Carver County Water Management Organization, Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program, and Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom. She is also an active advocate for native pollinators, working with both the Minnesota University Bee Lab and Protecting Pollinators Partnership. Her passion for agriculture comes from her concern for the future of small-scale agriculture in the state. She believes through collaboration and pooling resources, our vision for a more sustainable and thriving agriculture system in Minnesota will come to fruition faster.


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    LeahMahoney is a SHIP Grant Coordinator for Brown, Nicolete, Waseca, and La Sueur counties. SHIP’s four areas of focus are on healthy eating, physical activity, reducing tobacco use, and wellness. Leah is passionate about supporting community policy that can eliminate barriers to access to healthy food. Her passion started when she was a Community Capacity Building Peace Corps Volunteer in Batswana. After returning from the Peace Corps she received her masters in Public Health from the University of Minnesota, however, her love for healthy eating stems back to her childhood. Both of her grandfathers were commercial farmers and growing up in a rural area, she remembers having a home garden, canning, foraging, and hunting every year. She loves the feeling of joy and wellness growing your own food can bring and she is passionate about creating the same opportunities for others through policy.



    Local Foods Sustainability Projects 


    Article posted March 16, 2021

    A collaborative project has recently started in Southern Minnesota between Renewing the Countryside (RTC), Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association (MFMA), Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), and Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) called the Local Foods Sustainability Project

    This project aims to fortify the viability of these key stakeholders -- food producers and farmers’ markets -- to strengthen the sustainability of our local food system. We aim to understand how these folks can be better supported and to foster greater collaboration within SMIF’s 20-county region. Central to this mission are taking on the concerns of traditionally underserved populations (women, beginning farmers, BIPOC, new Americans, and more). We recognize that barriers to viability look different to different people, and aim to ensure that we understand deeply the breadth of concerns in the region.

    Leveraging the resources of the AmeriCorps VISTA program, or Volunteers in Service to America, to expand the community reach, two AmeriCorps volunteers will complete assessments in the Southeast region of Minnesota, build relationships with key stakeholders, and develop novel methods of collaboration and coalition building around our shared goal of a just, sustainable, and vibrant local food system. Let’s dive into how we’re approaching sustainability with farmers’ markets and food producers.

    Farmers’ Markets - Meet Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly


    Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly is the Farmers’ Market Economic Opportunity VISTA at SMIF working with the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association. She will be working on developing a survey to capture data from farmers’ markets and the local food economy while supporting Diversity Equity and Inclusion efforts. 

    Every five years the Minnesota Department of Agriculture conducts a survey, collecting agriculture statistics in the state. These surveys usually target large commodity farmers, unintentionally excluding small-scale and BIPOC producers and markets. By conducting a separate survey, we hope to support markets that are under-represented, demonstrating the positive financial and social impacts local food systems provide. Gathering this information will also put us in a better position to create programming to support more sustainable, inclusive, and financially sound local food economies. 

    Maeve is ecstatic about the chance to work on such a collaborative and human focused project. Originally from Indiana, she spent the last two years in Paraguay as a Agriculture Peace Corps Volunteer while completing her masters degree in Sustainable Development. She is passionate about the impact sustainable agriculture has on climate justice, rural economic growth, and public health and is excited to learn about and support the local food system in southern Minnesota.

     

    Food Producers - Meet James Harren


    James is the Local Producer Economic Opportunity VISTA at SMIF working with Renewing the Countryside and Sustainable Farming Association. He will be working on developing a stronger network of support for food producing businesses in the Southeast region of Minnesota. Food producers come in many shapes and sizes, from the CSA-style vegetable farmer and seasonal pickler and canner to the specialty cheesemaker and coffee roaster. These folks bring life to our rural communities but they face many challenges to their businesses’ sustainability.  

    Food producing businesses must follow food safety regulations, wrestle with tight profit margins, and garner a supportive customer base. These tasks can be difficult to navigate as a small business person working to produce their delicious and meaningful products. James aims to understand how our local food economy can address the difficult aspects of small food business management, and strengthen collaborative support systems in the region. This way, we can have more viable food businesses in the region that bring so much joy and life to our rural communities. 

    James is thrilled to be working on this project. He hails from a suburb of Chicago, but fell in love with food and farming right here in Southern Minnesota. He learned about agricultural systems through his studies at Carleton College in Environmental Studies. His senior thesis explored how the local breweries in Northfield developed sustainability for the community and environment. He looks forward to learning from business owners and aspiring producers in the region, and building collaboration to strengthen our food system. 

    If you have any comments on the project, or would like to be involved, do not hesitate to reach out to either Maeve or James. 

    Maeve: maevem@smifoundation.org | 507.214.7025

    James: jamesh@smifoundation.org | 507.214.2014




    Meet Chris and Ashley & their California Street Farm - a 1/8 Acre Urban Farm 


    • Posted: August 8, 2020 - updated Aug. 13  
    • Check out our video of the California Street Farm

    California Street Farm sits at the intersection of California Street and 22nd Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis. The urban farm spans one eighth of an acre, and it is recognizable by the twenty-foot bunny sculpture sitting in the front yard. Chris and Ashley currently tend the land, but the farm has been feeding Minneapolis residents since before they took over at the start of 2019.  

    “That was part of why we kept the name California Street Farm,” Ashley explained. “It was the original name of the farm. And so—much like a lot of farmers don't view themselves as permanent tenants; they are more stewards of the land—we see ourselves as the current caretakers of this plot.” Though they have not been certified as organic—it doesn’t make sense for their scale of farm—they use organic and regenerative farming practices. Ashley sees regenerative agriculture as “trying to leave the leave the land better than you found it.”

    Because they farm in an urban space, Ashley and Chris are constantly reevaluating their relationship with the Northeast community and remarking on the peculiarities of urban agriculture. Neighbors walk, bike, skateboard, and rollerblade by every day. More importantly, the passersby see the work that Ashley and Chris do: “if you're not from a farming background or you haven't lived in a rural space, you don't necessarily see or know how much work goes into growing food.” Ashley’s eyes crinkled above her mask as she spoke about one train conductor that she and her son, Rhys, wave to every morning. Recently, the conductor stopped during his usual route on the nearby tracks to ask where they sell their amazing-looking tomatoes.

    With only 5,000 square feet, the farm operates at the scale of a 25 person CSA (supplying twenty-five people with a week’s worth of vegetables, give or take). This year, they organized the rows so that they’d have a better grasp on what was where in the garden. And learning? They’re dedicated to it. Ashley’s background in farming extends to her college degree in Environmental Studies and a year at Prairie Drifter Farm. But, not having grown up in the Minnesota farming community, they’ve spent the past two years taking classes, attending seminars, and joining groups like the Central Minnesota Young Farmers Coalition to create a network around their practice. “At this point,” Ashley explained, “we're drinking from the fire hose in terms of learning. You could farm for a lifetime and still be learning, which is what we love about it.” Ashley said that they hope to move to a place in which they can farm on a larger scale, with more room to live and work. So, they are using this time to try out crops that might not be scaled for their acreage. Ashley pointed to the ground and said, “We're growing things like watermelons that don't make sense here, but we want to learn how to grow watermelons.”

    Covid-19 has also impacted the trajectory of their farming path, as it’s encouraged both Ashley and Chris to dedicate more time to farming and growing more produce to feed more people. “I think [Covid-19] has escalated everything in terms of how much we want to grow food for other people and how important it is to be safe in that process.” Though the pandemic has detrimentally affected farmers and markets across Minnesota, Ashley and Chris responded to the sudden need for affordable produce by installing a Pay What You Can Farm Stand. Ashley recounted conversations in which they asked themselves, “how do we open things up and be accessible to everyone in the neighborhood, regardless of whether they can afford the produce or not?” By August 7th, they’d held seven farm stands and are happy to say that “the pay what you can model is gaining even more traction, with people paying a wide range for produce.”  

    Northeast is home to a large farmers’ market that takes place Saturday mornings in the parking lot of St. Boniface Church. Ashley and Chris had been on the board for a year before taking over at California Street Farm and selling their own produce. Ashley explained that “it was a no-brainer to sell at that market … it's 15 blocks away. So that felt like a really nice story to us.” Living in between the market and the farm, Chris and Ashley live, farm, and sell within a 2-mile radius, which is highly unusual for any farmer. It allows customers who see them at the NE Farmers’ Market to “connect the dots” if they live in the neighborhood and walk or bike past California Street each day.

    Because of this close connection with their community—working, selling, and living all in the same neighborhood—Ashley and Chris have used the disruption of Covid-19 and the recent protests against police brutality spurred by the murder of George Floyd to think about accessibility, produce, and what specific actions they can take in order to put their philosophy about food access into action. Chris answered that “healthy and well grown food should not be a luxury. It should be something that everybody can have. That's what we're trying to do. We're, I think, at the beginning of that journey.”

    Ultimately, Ashley and Chris think of their place in this neighborhood as temporary. However, through their process of learning, they are also developing this land so that the farm can continue on long after they move on from it. “What we're trying to do with this land,” Ashley expressed, “is set it up so that someone else, hopefully, if they're interested, could come in and take it over to keep it going.” On one eighth of an acre, Ashley and Chris are working to build a farm with a spirit that will live on long after they move forward.

    “We never thought that we would be urban farmers,” Chris said, standing behind their farm stand, “and I don't know that we will forever. But there have been some really beautiful things about us ending up here, and I think that one of them is just a reminder that you can get a lot of veggies out of a small plot of land.”




    Up North by Sarah and Madison Hilligoss

    • Posted: June 24, 2020


    Hi all, it’s Sarah. Today I’m writing about Madison’s and my first official Farmers’ Market visit as MFMA interns.

    My sister Madison and I drive Up North every summer to stay in the Boundary Waters. Our family rents a remote cabin on Triangle Lake that is only accessible by canoe. I love the stillness of the lakes and the loons that pop up next to our canoes as we glide through the water. I love how the lack of light pollution seems to unlock the night sky, showing us stars that I couldn’t have imagined seeing at my home in Eden Prairie, let alone in New York City where I go to school. I also love that we drive through Ely, stopping year after year at Organic Roots, at Zups, and at Piragis. 

    This year, my sister and I also stopped at Ely’s Farmers' Market. Driving up to the park where it was held, Madison and I were a little skeptical and very nervous. This was our first farmers’ market stop as MFMA interns, and our previous exposure to farmers’ markets were city markets in Minneapolis. A portion of the park was taped off, enveloping twelve tents spaced far away from each other like little islands that the market goers moved through. From our car, we saw vendors selling very homemade-looking jams, cookies, and popcorn balls in sweltering heat. We didn’t see a single produce tent among the art, the wooden cooking utensils, and the jewelry. I hadn’t known what to expect, but this wasn’t it. So we put on brave smiles, even though they were hidden behind our masks, and we entered the taped off rectangle. 

    We stopped first at a woman’s art table. She looked a few years older than me and she smiled when we approached. She sold small intricate drawings of birds and fish; each is hand painted, she later told me. She introduced herself as Abbey, and this is her hobby. She’s otherwise an art teacher at Vermillion Community College. When we told her our roles at MFMA, she smiled again and congratulated us for taking initiative. She seemed impressed with our mission, though we have hardly done anything impressive yet. I was glad we talked to her first. She affirmed what had been a vague concept of an internship into a moment in which we both shared a bit about ourselves, and in doing so, made a connection, which felt really special at that point. In my many months of self-isolation, I have begun to crave human interaction. So, a job going to farmers’ markets might fill a bit of that emptiness I’ve been feeling. When I asked Abbey why she liked to sell at markets, she said it was the people. Talking to people about what you do and what you love has become a luxury in the time of coronavirus. 


    We soon discovered that Abbey’s enthusiastic spirit permeated the hot early-summer air. As I introduced myself to Linnea, a wooden utensil and homemade reusable bag vendor, she immediately reached for a wooden wand looking thing and handed it to me. “This is an Ely Twiddle,” she told me. She thrust a piece of paper into my hands saying, “and this is it’s story. It took me nearly four months to write it.” The utensil in my hand was smooth and two toned wood, about as thin as my pinky finger and as long as my forearm, with a flattened rectangle at the end. As I examined it, she explained that “as each cook twiddles in the kitchen in their own way, so to each Twiddle is different.” She leaned over and told me that the NOTE at the bottom of the page was added by her daughter, a young girl sitting next to Leonna on a blanket, selling pastel, shell-shaped soaps that I could smell even through my mask. The NOTE read : “This Story is NOT True.” Linnea’s eyes crinkled into a smile, and as I thanked her and turned away to leave, she called out, “now write a story about the Twiddle!”


    We meandered over to a tent covering a couple selling syrups and jams. The man wore a baseball cap and a shirt that said “I’D TAP THAT” in big yellow letters above a maple leaf. He introduced himself as Bill and asked, “have you ever tried birch syrup?” Madison and I next experienced a taste test of six different types of syrup, each with their own mouth watering, salivation inducing notes. This was accompanied by a detailed explanation of the tapping and heating process, the ratios, and the pitfalls of working with birch. When we asked Bill how he felt that Covid-19 had impacted the market, Mary, his wife, popped in and said, “we disagree on this, but I can tell you what I think afterwards.” He rested his hands in the front pockets of his jeans and explained that because of the lack of international travel to the Boundary Waters, they don’t see some of their most interesting and faithful customers. People come from Australia, Austria, and the UK to visit the Boundary Waters, but they stay in contact with Bill to see if there’s any way he can send his syrup halfway across the world when they leave. The new restrictions also “turn off” some customers from coming to the markets. When we asked Mary what she thought, she answered that “people are ready to get out and support local businesses.” She feels as though, in retaliation to Covid-19, people in Ely have gone out of their ways to support the local businesses around them, and the people who own these businesses. 


    Covid-19 and global pandemics are scary and world altering for many reasons, but I was struck by how this virus has affected even the most remote corners of my world. Ely, a town that I think of as unchanging, has changed dramatically, and its residents have as well. Perhaps this is due to my privilege of being a tourist and my expectation for the places I visit to remain the same just for me. But because of this change, I, and many others at this market, are cherishing the conversations we have and connections we make. These human interactions make up the very purpose of a farmers’ market, from what I’ve seen. Perhaps I’ve gotten too deep here, but I am so happy to have visited Ely’s market. 

    Saying goodbye for now,   ~Sarah

    Hi there,

    It’s Madison, Sarah’s younger sister--the other intern who runs the Instagram (give us a follow @mfmaorg!). If you’ve read Sarah’s post this far, you’ll have heard all about our family trip to the BWCA and the Ely Market by now… you’ll probably also have heard her deep thinking and beautiful writing. 

    I’ll admit, as a somewhat regular shopper of the Minneapolis city markets and NYC markets, I’m used to seeing what feels like 75 tents lined up on busy streets with vendors selling anything from pizza, soaps, art, and kombucha to huge bundles of leafy greens and some vegetables I can’t name. So, when we drove up to the Ely market, I realized my expectation was very much formed out of my limited city experience... I was kind of nervous upon entry. But, like most new things in life, I ended up really enjoying the experience even though it looked and felt different than I thought it would. Speaking with a veteran about the wild rice he picks out of his canoe, the man who sells countless flavors of infused syrups (including a northern birch), and a woman who makes wood crafts with her sister and daughter, truly felt like “Ely” to me, as cliché as it sounds; it was small, natural, personal, and the “up north” vibe I didn’t know I was missing. I’m quickly learning that MN farmers’ markets are deeply based in community, so no two markets are alike, and each market offers something unique to that community. 

    At the end of our trip on Thursday, June 18th, on the way back to the twin cities, Sarah and I (and our little brother, Anthony, and dog, Jules) headed to the Virginia Market Square. Lucky for us, it was opening day at the Virginia Market! And a successful opening day it was. Driving up to the market, we saw cars lined up for a few blocks and many signs pointing us to the market on the way in. The market was situated in a park near Silver Lake that looked out onto the water where a huge loon statue floated, marking the city with its familiar shape. It was beautiful. For the amount of people flocking to the market, I was surprised to see only a handful of tents. I’m assuming this has to do with COVID-19, the new location of the market, and the fact that part of their market is inside.

    As we walked across the grass to where the vendors were selling, we were greeted by some kind volunteers who were encouraging us to use a warm hand washing station they had set up, pointing us in the direction of a few popular vendors, and offering handmade masks to those who had not come prepared. We were also greeted with informational signs that detailed their use of the SNAP-EBT program, their pandemic policies, and where shoppers could put used masks. 

    The first vendor I spoke with was selling some beautiful produce from Bear River Farm. Missy spoke about her produce, her proud membership of the MN Farmers Union, and about how COVID-19 has challenged her farming and her life in ways that have felt inspiring. She told my sister and I about how the pandemic has unexpectedly forced her to reconsider old practices and to constantly be working to keep herself and her customers safe. This interaction reminded me of how these vendors simply are humans with lives, goals, and interests; unlike your grocery store or co-op visit, when you go to a market and hear people like Missy speak about the work that went into the food they’re selling, their process, and their mindset, it makes you shop, consume, and eat much more mindfully. Their food doesn’t magically appear on your plate, and it shows. Your local vendors, like Missy, have stories, passions, and hearts that you can’t find shopping at a large food corporation.

    After visiting a few more vendors and browsing the indoor space at Virginia Market Square, we spoke with Calli from Hometown Homestead. She is a first-time vendor at this market, and greeted us with the biggest smile and wave (under her mask of course). Her stand was full of the cutest, colorful, crocheted items: little hats, bags, scarves, infant toys, as well as a few jams and some herbs. She exuded happiness and light and seemed so eager and grateful to be selling at this market (which apparently had one of the greatest customer turnouts it’s had!). Hearing her story made me think a lot about how during the pandemic, many people at home have come face-to-face with the hobbies that truly make them the happiest--the things they turn to and become obsessed with when they’re at a low. For my sister, Sarah, it’s making sourdough bread. For others, it’s making art, making music, or gardening. For Calli, it’s crocheting. She’s turned her passion into a business and is supplying the people of Virginia with the sweetest goods. Seeing vendors so passionate about what they do is part of the magic of a local market. It was special to be there on the opening day. As a theater performer myself, I felt like I could identify the butterflies and excitement of the “opening day” energy. 


    Walking away from Virginia was much like walking away from Ely; I felt like I had a little glimpse (and a taste!) into a northern Minnesotan city that I otherwise would not have known much about. Although both Virginia and Ely didn’t look or feel like the city markets I frequent, they were tasty, interesting, friendly, beautiful, and very representative of their communities.

    For a glimpse into the Virginia opening day, check out the video I made on our Instagram!

    Until next time,  ~Madison 




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    MFMA provides services, programs, and leadership that support and promote farmers' markets

    across Minnesota and our Tribal Nations.

    We envision a community of vibrant, profitable, and professionally managed Minnesota farmers’ markets that:

    Cultivates, nourishes, and inspires a vibrant local foods community;

    provides accessibility to all to local farm fresh foods;

    allows local food producers to thrive and grow.


    Engagement & Inclusion Director: Sina War /// sina@mfma.org /// (612) 695-6587 

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    Executive Director: Kathy Zeman /// kzeman@mfma.org /// (507) 664-9446 

    Minnesota Farmers' Market Association /// 9800 155th Street East, Nerstrand MN 55053 /// info@mfma.org 

           

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