With her rhubarb ketchup, Susan Dietrich has found a clever use for June's tart red stalks. Not that she'll take any credit for it. "You're going to think that I don't have an original idea in my head," she said with a laugh. Hardly. Mill City Farmers Market shoppers who regularly peruse Dietrich's Very Prairie stand know to expect the unexpected, so why not a tangy rhubarb condiment?

Rhubarb-loving friends pelted her with suggestions. One steered Dietrich toward a Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe; another pal, mindful of Dietrich's locavore -- or, in her case, "prairievore" -- roots, proposed adding orange-infused Ratafia from Alexis Bailly Vineyards in Hastings. "Oh, wait, I did come up with using buckwheat honey [from Ames Farm Honey] in place of sugar," said Dietrich. "Buckwheat and rhubarb are in the same family, so there's a synergy there."

The result? A lively contrast to the one-note tomato taste associated with traditionalists like Heinz and Hunt's. Hurry in, because rhubarb season will be over in a flash, and with it, Dietrich's limited supply of rhubarb ketchup. "And then we'll be on to something else," she said. "Heirloom tomato ketchup, cranberry ketchup. I see lots of convergence."

Very Prairie rhubarb ketchup, $4.50 for 5 1/2 oz., $6 for 10 oz. Mill City Farmers Market, 2nd St. and Chicago Av. S., Minneapolis, 612-341-7580, www.millcityfarmersmarket.org. Open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.


For a complete list of Twin Cities metro area farmers markets, go to www.startribune.com/taste.