Farmers Market Tour

Freshness from Northeast to Lake Street

Believe it or not, Minneapolis has 27 farmers markets. We’ve done cinnamon rolls; we’ve done pizza. It’s time The Wake sampled something a little less fattening. We did, thankfully, still find fattening things at several farmers markets.

Skip the trip to Cub Foods this week and get your produce from one of these lovely establishments. A trip to the market can function as a date, a fun outing for you and your friends, or even just that sense of community we crave which can get lost in the hustle and bustle of the city.

Farmers markets function most heavily throughout the summer, but we’d argue that there’s nothing more “fall” than bundling up in your most fashionable scarf and boots and getting a bag of locally-grown Honeycrisp apples from the farmers market. Here’s a look at what a few of them have to offer.

East Lyndale.Lauren Cutshall......

East Lyndale Farmers Market

By Lauren Cutshall

East Lyndale.Lauren Cutshall...

The East Lyndale Farmers Market is surely one of the classics. Open from mid-April to mid-November, the market has a huge range of products — from bouquets of spring flowers, to summery vegetables, to autumn apples, and the most perfect, round pumpkins.

The best picks at the East Lyndale Market obviously depend on the season, but not to worry: one rarely finds a sparse booth or picked-over stand. With over 170 stalls and a rotation of 230 vendors, the market is always hopping. The wide variety will make you ask yourself, ‘Why do I ever even go to a grocery store?

Hungry for some fresh fruits? Looking for tasty vegetables perfect for a homemade stir-fry? How about some locally butchered meat? Need some tasty cheeses for your wine night? East Lyndale’s got you covered.

Sure, those are the foods you’d expect to find at a farmers market and while half of the experience is shopping around to find the cheapest zucchini, you can always find some more unique items. They’ve got plenty of fancy honey and some tasty brats or roasted nuts to munch on as you stroll the stands. And if you’re into spicy, be sure to check out the wall of hot sauces. How could you refuse trying a hot sauce called “Jump Up and Kiss Me”?

The wide variety will make you ask yourself, ‘Why do I ever even go to a grocery store?’”

And even though we all go to farmers markets to be healthy and creative with our cooking, you will not be able to resist the sweet smell of kettle corn that wafts its way into your path no matter which direction you’re walking. Just give in and buy some already. You know you want it.

While the best time to stop by the market is on the weekends — cooking demos on Saturday and live music on Sunday — you can always check out the smaller market on Nicollet Mall downtown every Thursday. The atmosphere at both markets is family friendly and relaxing, up until you are squeezing down the long aisles trying to pass the family hogging the aisle with their double stroller. Saturday mornings tend to be busiest and parking under I-94 definitely takes some patience, but a morning spent at the market is a morning well-spent.

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Mill City Farmers Market

By Emily Mongan

Nestled between the historic Mill City Museum and the Guthrie Theater just a stone’s throw away from the Stone Arch Bridge, the Mill City Farmers Market gives you a chance to take in some classic Minneapolis sights while you shop.

Take a stroll through Mill City’s train shed and you’ll stumble into a foodie’s paradise — vendors selling fresh picked produce, artisanal meats and cheeses, and specialty pastas, jams, chocolates, sauces, and more crowd the sprawling 19th century structure.

You can feel good about getting your shop on because most of the vendors are local, sustainable, and organic.

If you’d rather have somebody else do the cooking the market also hosts several food vendors offering up baked goods, crepes, potstickers, curries, cold-pressed juices, and ice cream.

You can feel good about getting your shop on because most of the vendors are local, sustainable, and organic.

My favorite buy of the day was a super tasty, mulled apple cider jelly from Market Chef Pantry, which specializes in jams, jellies and sauces. It’s like autumn in a jar! Mill City Farmers Market runs Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Oct. 25.

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Northeast Farmers Market

By Alex Nelson

Sometimes I attribute my yearning to move to LA to its variety of delightful parking lot and hole in the wall farmers markets. It turns out, Minneapolis has its own slew of these that I just didn’t know about. My favorite: the Northeast Farmers Market.

Along with the standard fare of magazine-perfect produce, this event features cutesy singer-songwriter performers, two food trucks toting environmentally friendly agendas, and a station where you can pay a friendly man to give your dog a bath.

After making the rounds and taking all the samples, I headed straight for the food truck: The Moral Omnivore. Their renowned fried tomato BLTs sang an irresistible siren song, but I opted for the cheapest thing on the menu: a caramel apple waffle. I feared a caramel apple waffle could go very wrong and get too rich or sweet for my taste. That was not the case here. Instead, it was an impressive brunch indeed: a perfect balance of salty caramel drizzled over diced apples topped a deliciously fluffy and crisp waffle.

I left the market with a bottle of raspberry Honey Weiss jam from We Be Jammin’  (a company run by a duo of cute mom friends who make around 30 different flavors), and three dishes of incredible salsa and tortilla chips from Haas Brothers’ booth. You’d be doing yourself a huge disservice if you visit this market and don’t pick up these highlights. 

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Midtown Farmers Market

By Grace Birnstengel

For those who don’t want to wait until the weekend to hit up the farmers market, head down to East Lake Street on Tuesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. for your fill of the Midtown Farmers Market, (also open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays as to not break the unwritten farmers market code, don’t worry).

Conveniently situated next to the Lake Street Station on the Light Rail’s Blue Line, the Midtown Farmers Market is a good place to start for new marketers, or those who aren’t looking to spend three hours sampling blueberries.

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The Midtown isn’t showy: a small parking lot of 10 to 15 vendors — mostly vegetables and a couple buckets of apples, no more than two craft-y vendors, one vegan and cruelty-free food truck, and one infamous Chang’s Kettle Corn (with bubble tea!).

While I could go to a farmers market downtown and make a day out of it with live music, weird married couple food start-ups, and endless lines (which is often times what I want) I could just go to Midtown where I get a quick, easy, and guaranteed successful market experience. It’s as simple as smiling and talking to a few vendors, grabbing some apples, fresh peppers, and a bag of kettle corn and heading out.

But one of the best parts of the Midtown Farmers Market doesn’t even have to do with cucumbers or homemade soap—it’s the convenience of being across from Savers. That’s right; get your fresh produce and secondhand clothing shopping done in one trip.

So yes, the Midtown Farmers Market isn’t as effortlessly close to campus as some of the others, but it provides an experience (and slight lack of yuppie culture) not offered elsewhere. It’s worth the trip “down south,” even if you accidentally lock your keys in your car and have to wait to be retrieved for a half-hour in the brisk October wind.