Local eating carries on at winter markets

localEatingBy Kristin Holtz

The fresh tomatoes and succulent ears of corn may only be a distant memory in this landscape of white, but several Twin Cities markets continue going strong – no matter the winter weather.

Four markets in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul continue to offer customers fresh, locally produced options despite the cool temperatures.

The Mill City Farmers Market runs the second Saturday of the month inside the Mill City Museum from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Vendors hawk their fresh-ground flour, pickles, breads, granola, meats, cheese, goat yogurt, artisan chocolates and more in the warmth of the downtown museum. The market is open Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 9 and April 13.

Mill City Farmers Market founder Brenda Langton says customers will find unique products this winter, as vendors look for creative ways to preserve the harvest.

“We really are working and encouraging our farmers [to do more] because it’s so much better for them to be more sustainable and sell year round,” Langton says.

The Mill City Farmers Market will also be setting up shop at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska on March 16.

Also open is the Minneapolis Farmers Market on selected Saturdays throughout the winter months. The market, located at 312 East Lyndale Ave. N., will be open from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 22 and 29; Jan. 12 and 26; Feb. 9 and 23; March 9, 23, 30; and April 6, 13, 20 and 27.

What will you find at Minneapolis Farmers Market’s winter markets?

“The hardiest farmers in town,” says Susan Berkson of the Minneapolis Farmers Market. “Our farmers show up and stand outside with their wares. We have farmers in parkas with ruddy cheeks who can see their breath and are happy to see their customers.”

The Minneapolis winter market offers a variety of unique meats and cheeses from Tollefson Family Pork, Bar Five Meat and Poultry, Wild Run Salmon, Blue Gentian Farm and Sleeping Cat Organic. Customers can drive right up to growers’ sheds and can find the products out on the table, not tucked away in refrigerated cases, Berkson said.

There’s also the occasional surprise vendor, like on a recent Saturday when New French Bakery showed up unannounced.

Locals can swing by the Kingfield and Fulton neighborhood markets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Jan. 26 and Feb. 23, at Bachman’s, 6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis.
The Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market will be setting up shop at the Eastside Food Co-op, 2551 Central Ave. N.E., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 9 and April 13.

Across the river in St. Paul, the much-loved St. Paul Farmers Market never slows down. The outdoor Lowertown market is open every Saturday (with the exception of March 16) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You’ll find a variety of meat, bakery items, honey and cheese.

Inside, find a wider selection of maple syrup, salsa, strudels, hot sauces, barbeque sauces, chocolates, pickles, mushrooms and more.

While winter farmers markets might not draw the same numbers as in high summer, they have a flavor all their own and it’s one of good cheer, Berkson says. “We’re beating the season at its own game.”

(Photo courtesy of Mill City Farmers Market)

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