Under the overpass, the Minneapolis Farmers Market blooms where it was planted.

Long rows of market stalls display the best of our short, sweet summer. Heirloom tomatoes, snap peas, berry pints, sweet corn. Gleaming jars of jam and honey; fragrant blocks of handmade soap; growlers of kombucha; squeaky-fresh cheese curds.

The air smells like herbs and fresh-cut flowers and ribs sizzling in the smoker. Those drivers overhead, speeding through Minneapolis without stopping or caring, don't know what they're missing.

"You can get anything here," said Bruce Smith, who has worked this market longer than just about anyone; and whose family has been feeding Minnesota since their wagon train stopped on the plot of land they would name Brooklyn Park.

Come to the Smith Farm stall for the fresh produce, the pickles, the salsa. But most of all, Smith says, come down to the farmers market "for the experience and the people."

It was National Farmers Market Week last week, as good a reason as any to celebrate the largest open-air farmers market in the upper Midwest. Every morning, vendors set up shop along East Lyndale Avenue North. The city owns the land. The farmers run the market.

They'll show up for us as long as we show up for them.

Ka Yang and her children arrived at 5 a.m. to arrange the morning's produce in rainbow rows in stalls 316 through 320.

"I try to color-coordinate," she said, pointing to the displays of bright red tomatoes, next to the green tomatillos, beside the purple potatoes, beside the red onions. The produce gets more colorful and more eye-catching, drawing shoppers inexorably to this week's crowning glory — baskets of tiny gherkin-sized cucumbers, just right for pickling.

The market lost business during the pandemic. Rumor had it that Minneapolis had turned into a scary, empty wasteland, devoid of tomatoes. And if it wasn't an empty wasteland, then parking was probably going to be a hassle.

"They're missing out on the fun activities here," Yang said. On weekends especially, the market, and the neighboring annex, are full of live music, one-of-a-kind-finds, cooking demonstrations and some of the best people-watching this side of the Minnesota State Fair.

Not only will the vendors introduce you to new ingredients — ground cherries, bitter melons, ramps — they'll help you figure out how to cook them.

Some families have been at this market for generations. Anthony Simmons and Ulysses Zackery have been here two weeks, filling the air with the aroma of grilling ribs from their new stall, "Now That's Food." Follow your nose to find them on Fridays at the market.

"My wife and I always come to the farmers market. We live in Minneapolis, we like to get the eggrolls and the corn and all that good stuff," said Simmons, turning the last few racks of ribs left of the 30 pounds he brought to the market last Friday. The smell was so inviting, they sold out to the breakfast crowd, long before lunch.

Weekdays and early mornings are a great time to visit the market. It's less crowded and parking is ample. But summer weekends — when it's crowded — might be the most fun.

"It's a good bonding experience," Simmons said. "You run into so many different people. You can experience everything from different cultures to different cultures of food."

Simmons sees farmers markets as a way to nourish the body and soul.

"Why not come and get something fresh and good and nutritious for your body?" he said.

On his first day at the market, he found himself short of ingredients. Fortunately, he didn't have to look far to find fresh herbs for the smoked spaghetti sauce he was making that day.

Bob and Bonnie Dehn of Dehn's Garden have been selling herbs and produce at the farmers market since 1979.

"We've been here since they invented dirt," he said with a laugh. "I have enjoyed it tremendously. I just really enjoy the camaraderie of the public. We have very dedicated, loyal followers for many years."

The Minnesota State Fair tends to thin the crowds at the farmers market, so if you've haven't visited in a while, now's your chance to see what you've been missing. The market has missed you.

The Minneapolis Farmers Market is open daily at 312 East Lyndale Ave N., from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., through Oct. 31.