This is what happens when Minnesota is treated to a gloriously early spring: It feels as if we should be shopping at farmers markets. Unfortunately, the vast majority of markets are operating on a different calendar. Most aren't open. Not yet, anyway.

The ones that are open are operating on their "winter" market schedule, a phrase that feels odd when lilacs are blooming. Still, check out the following "winter" farmers market opportunities, and the markets' corresponding regular-season opening dates:

The Mill City Farmers Market is offering up an indoor version of itself on Saturday (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at the Mill City Museum. Find details here. The market's 2012 outdoor season opens May 12.

The Minneapolis Farmers Market operates a small Saturday morning outdoor market (meats, poultry, eggs) from 9 a.m. to noon; the last one of the season is scheduled for Saturday. The market's 2012 season officially kicks off on April 21, and the market will remain open, daily, through the fall. The market's popular Nicollet Mall outpost opens April 26.

At the St. Paul Farmers Market, shoppers can browse the market's winter terrific selection of meats, poultry, eggs, baked goods, cheeses, chocolates, mushrooms, pickles, jams and jellies, honey, chocolates and more, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market's 2012 season officially kicks off on April 28, and will run Saturday and Sunday through the fall.

The Eastside Food Co-op hosted by Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market holds an indoor market this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Next Saturday, April 21, Local D'Lish hosts an indoor winter market. 

 A number of St. Paul Farmers Market satellite locations open in early May, including:

Andover and Roseville on May 1

Burnsville (Mary, Mother of the Church) on May 3

St. Paul (St. Thomas More Church) on May 4

Maplewood (Aldrich Arena) on May 9

Other openings to watch for:

Richfield Farmers Market on May 5

Midtown Farmers Market on May 5

Excelsior Farmers Market on May 3

Oh, and if you're looking for a reason to visit Rochester, here are two: The Rochester Downtown Farmers Market, one of the state's best, is operating its last winter market on April 21 (at the Olmstead County Fairgrounds), and the market opens in its usual spot -- on the banks of the Zumbro River -- on May 5.




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