The first hint of autumn hit me last week at the K&B Gardens stand, when co-owner Karen Brooks invoked the "F" word: frost. She and her husband, Barry ("I'm the 'K,' and he's the 'B,'" said Karen), cultivate a dizzying array of vegetables on their seven-acre farm in Anoka County, including more than a dozen varieties of chiles. At the couple's stand at the Nicollet Mall farmers market, their peak-season harvest was laid out in neat rows: cayennes, jalapeños, hot and sweet bananas, poblanos, sweet gypsies and green and orange bell peppers. Back in Elk River, the farm still has several more varieties -- habaneros, serranos, Cherry Bombs -- inching toward their moment at the market. "They just keep going until the end," said Karen. "We pick them right up to the first frost." Please, let that date be a long way in the future.


K&B Gardens sells at the Minneapolis Farmers Market on Thursdays (6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nicollet Mall between 7th and 8th Sts.) and Saturdays and Sundays (6 a.m. to 1 p.m., 312 E. Lyndale Av. N., For a complete list of Twin Cities metro-area farmers markets, go to