As I stepped out of my car this past Sunday, a familiar aroma swirled around me and wrapped around me, comforting me. Even from across the street in the parking lot under the highway, I could smell coffee brewing, frosted cinnamon rolls, brats, corn on the cob and all the fresh produce. It was 10:30am and unlike other weekends, the crowd was somewhat manageable probably because so many others were still cozied up at home.
Not me. A cold, dreary morning was perfect farmers market weather and the Minneapolis Farmers Market is about 10 minutes from my house. I had gone grocery shopping the day before but there's something special about being at the farmers market. It isn't just about produce and local products but a morning of adventure, learning and being surrounded by ideas.
I love going to the Minneapolis Farmers Market because I end up walking around just wanting to be there with the hustle and bustle. I typically avoid crowds but there is something about the atmosphere at the farmers market that makes it different. Maybe it is the freshness-saturated air, maybe it is so many people who are so passionate about produce and local foods.
We walked up and down the isles, getting lost in the possibilities. Picking items up and observing. Pointing out things we'd never seen before. Admiring the varieties.
We got lost discussing what we could buy, trying to refrain from buying everything. The freshness taunted us - there were more smells coming from foods I'd often seen but rarely smelled at the grocery store.
Every once in awhile, there'd be a fresh flowers vendor in between all the produce with amazing flowers that would catch my eye and draw my attention away.
Aside from the large selection of produce & flowers available at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, you can also get a lot of other staple foods such as:
What's more, beyond just the amazing food there is plenty of other things to do! The day I was there, there was a Seafood Throw down between two local chefs.
There is also a lot of gifts, clothes, garden items and other non-food vendors who share their passion with guests. Unique items you won't find in any big box chain stores.
I know what your thinking, a trip to the Minneapolis Farmers Market could turn into a few hours worth of entertainment. Not to worry, there are a lot of samples and even a few food vendors to tide you over until you get get home to cook your fresh produce.
The man of my dreams eating the brat of my dreams.
(Oh yes, I made him share that brat!)
Our loot - $15 worth of deliciousness.
Tomatoes, red onions, watermelon, acorn squash,
middle eastern zucchini, red beets & local-made hummus.
Often times we think being healthy is so expensive and while it is true, sometimes it is, it doesn't always have to be. In fact, if we look outside the grocery store and buy what is in season from local farmers, being healthy can be financially manageable. (Click here to see a list of what is in season, when.) The Minneapolis Farmers Market is open May-December, 7 days a week (see website for location, hours and additional details).
While I spent my morning at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, don't feel like you have to go there to take advantage of local grown produce. The St. Paul Farmers Market is open thru November (see website for specifics) as well as many smaller farmers markets throughout the Twin Cities.
So what are you waiting for? Time to hit up your local farmers market and get creative in the kitchen!