'Tis the (market) season

Welcome, May! It's the month when farmers markets start opening statewide. The Taste section's Farmers Market map is online, with hours, locations and weblinks to 50-plus markets, with more added as information becomes available. Check it out at startribune.com/farmersmarkets.

More market news

Patrons of the Maple Grove Farmers Market get an early taste this month with a special indoor market preview from 3 to 7 p.m. May 17 at the Maple Grove Community Center, 12951 Weaver Lake Road. Twenty vendors will offer samples of produce, breads, meats, jams and jellies, hanging baskets, seedlings and bedding plants, baked goods, cheese, honey, pickles, grains and more. Hourly prize drawings, too. The Maple Grove Market opens for the outdoor season on June 14, and then from 3-7 p.m. each Thursday. For more info, visit www.maplegrovefarmersmarket.com.

Why farmers markets?

That's the question posed, and answered, in a new exhibit at the Mill City Museum. "Growing Strong: How Farmers Markets Nourish People, Communities and the Planet" is in place through July 22 at the museum, 704 S. 2nd St., Mpls. The exhibit tracks the resurgence in the number of farmers markets nationwide -- from only 1,755 in 1994 to more than 7,000 today. The exhibit is free with museum admission. For details, visit www.growingstrongexhibit.com.

Charity begins in co-ops

A hearty shout-out to Twin Cities area food co-ops that joined forces to raise money and collect food donations for area food shelves during the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign, a program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. MN FoodShare raised almost $8.5 million in monetary donations and more than 4.4 million pounds of food in March 2012. For the third year in a row, local area food co-ops ranked third in the state for corporate giving. Participating co-ops included Eastside Co-op, Lakewinds Natural Foods, Mississippi Market, Seward Co-op, the Wedge, Valley Natural Foods, Linden Hills Co-op, Just Food Co-op, St. Peter Food Co-op and River Market.