Many of the north metro farmers markets plan to offer a variety of locally grown foods this year, along with handmade goods and live entertainment.
Although their products vary, many farmers markets that are ramping up across the north metro in the coming weeks, including those that are established or are just starting up, emphasize all things "local."
Jack Gerten, who manages the St. Paul Farmers Market, says he's seen an increasing demand for local foods, something that he attributes to the idea that "People are more determined to have that relationship with people growing food." It's about fresh food and with it, a sense of community, he said.
Farmers markets give people the opportunity to talk directly to a vendor about "where in the world a product is from," or to get gardening and preserving tips "so there's an educational side, too," he said.
Further, at a farmers market, shoppers can pick and choose from a wide variety of products. "You don't have to accept just one thing," he said. "Not everyone raises the best of everything. You can find the best for each [product]."
Mondays July 9 through October, 2-5:30 p.m. Crestview Senior Care, 4444 Reservoir Blvd. N.E., Columbia Heights.
Wednesdays July 11 through October, 3-6 p.m. Mary T's, 1555 118th Ln. N.W., Coon Rapids.
Thursdays July 12 through October, 2-5 p.m. Lyric Arts Main Street Stage (parking lot), 420 East Main St., Anoka.
Thursdays July 12 through October, 3-7 p.m. Rhinestone Commons, 14455 Rhinestone St. (near the Center of Ramsey amphitheater), Ramsey.
Saturdays July 14-Oct. 27, 7 a.m.-noon; Tuesdays, July 10 through October, 2-5:30 p.m. St. Timothy's Catholic Church, 707 89th Ave. N.E., Blaine.
For more information, call 763-792-4025. A limited number of vendors accept WIC.
The markets from the Anoka County Growers Association will offer fresh fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, rhubarb and lettuce along with bread, jams and jellies, eggs, honey, cookbooks, homemade dog treats, flowers and more, according to Sandi Golyer, a volunteer with the association.
A food truck will be on-site at some of the markets, she said.
Wednesdays June 20-Oct. 17, 3-7 p.m., Zane Sports Park, 8717 Zane Ave. N., Brooklyn Park. For more information, call 763-493-8013 or email email@example.com or visit www.brooklynpark.org/farmersmarket. Many vendors accept FMNP (Farmers Market Nutrition Program) checks and WIC FVV (Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers).
Although most of the vendors are consistent from year to year, the city is always looking for "vendors that sell unique items and crafts" that reflect the needs and wants of a diverse community, said Kara Trygestad, who is a special events assistant for the city.
This year, the market will feature locally grown vegetables, bedding plants, hanging baskets, cut flowers, jams, pickles, meat, popcorn and crafts from 25 vendors, she said.
Wednesdays July 11-Oct 17, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Champlin Ice Forum, 12165 Ensign Ave. Champlin. For more information, call 763-923-7163 or visit www.ci.champlin.mn.us. FMNP (Farmers Market Nutrition Program) checks are accepted.
The eight-year-old market offers various fresh vegetables and fruits, breads, meats, cookies, crafts and flowers, said Dan Masloski, who is the city's park facilities manager.
It's been successful as a daytime market, which he attributes to the fact that so many others are scheduled in the evenings.
The 23-vendor market also hosts numerous special events, such as "free plant day."
Thursdays July 12-Aug. 30, 3-7 p.m. concerts, 7-8 p.m. Eidem Homestead Brooklyn Park Historical Farm, 4345 101st Ave. N., Brooklyn Park. For more information, visit www.brooklynpark.org (click on "Eidem Homestead" under "Recreation").
This old-fashioned art and flea market, which is in its second year, features some produce along with natural soaps, organic products, honey and more, according to Pat Busch, a program supervisor for the Brooklyn Park Recreation and Parks Department, which coordinates the market.
Busch looks for vendors whose products are in keeping with the Victorian-era farm's history, she said. The family-friendly market also will have costumed guides giving tours of the grounds or offering history lessons, live music and other interactive activities.
Thursdays June 28-Oct. 4 (no market July 5), 2-6 p.m. 716 Main St. Elk River. For more information, call 763-635-1150 or visit www.ci.elk-river.mn.us/parksandrec.
The Elk River Farmers Market has moved to the historic downtown area this year, near the Mississippi riverfront, to accommodate more vendors and traffic, according to RaeAnn Gardner, who is the marketing coordinator for the city's parks and recreation department, which organizes the market.
Through the years, the market has grown from seven to 21 vendors, she said.
This year's selection includes fresh produce, jams, handmade gifts, Alpaca wool items, baked goods, soaps, honey, wood creations, flowers and more.
Staffers from the city's parks and recreation department will be on hand to tell people about local "geocaching" activities, which uses GPS technology to discover buried treasures, she said.
Saturdays through Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 6760 213th Ave. N.W., Nowthen. For more information, call 612-209-1721 or check out www.gooselakefarm.com.
In its third year, the market, which is set at a farm and winery, has more than 30 vendors offering produce, eggs, honey, wine, plants, canned and baked goods, handmade items and more, according to Koli Fyten-Swap.
Visitors can go on wine and farm tours, farm tours, and a massage therapist will be on hand, she said.
Interest in the market has increased this year because, "It's not just a regular farmers market."
Tuesdays through Oct. 30, 2:30-6:30 p.m. Grace Lutheran Church, 13655 Round Lake Blvd., Andover.
Tuesdays through Oct. 30, 8 a.m.-noon, Roseville Farmers Market Church of Corpus Christi, 2131 Fairview Ave. N., Roseville.
The St. Paul Farmers Market, which has 23 locations across the metro area, has been in Roseville for more than 20 years, according to Jack Gerten, who manages the St. Paul Farmers Market. It's had an Andover venue for a handful of years, he said.
Between the two markets, Roseville has 50 growers and Andover has 30; shoppers can find jams, jellies, sauces, salsas, flowers and bedding plants, vegetables, fruits, honey, mushrooms, cheese, cookbooks and gift certificates.
Thursdays July 12-Sept. 27, 3-7 p.m. Village Green Park near Lino Lakes YMCA, 7690 Village Dr. Lino Lakes. For more information, call Steve Novak at 651-259-2119 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ymcatwincities.org/locations/lino_lakes_ymca/.
Sharna Braucks, who heads the Lino Lakes YMCA, which is organizing the market, said the focus was on local vendors with products that "correlate with the food and healthy living and social responsibility," in keeping with the YMCA's principles, she said.
The market will feature various fruits and vegetables, Tupperware, meats, cheese, jams and jellies, flowers and more from at least 19 vendors, including the nearby Waldoch Farm.
YMCA staffers will be on hand for fitness-related demonstrations and to answer questions.
Braucks hopes that the market becomes an annual event. "We're trying to meet a community need," she said. "I'm excited to see the response."