WORTHINGTON — Fresh produce fans found plenty to chew on when the first Saturday farmers’ markets of the season cropped up in Worthington this past weekend.
From 6:30 a.m. to nearly noon, area vendors set up their garden-fresh offerings in two locations along Oxford Street — in the parking lots of both Ace Hardware and Northland Mall.
“The rainy weather has delayed some of the crops,” admitted producer Paul Marco of Bigelow, who nevertheless had a healthy quantity of onions, peas, lettuce and cabbage on hand.
“Tomatoes will be a little slower this year, and I’ve heard talk of blight on some tomato plants because of all the moisture,” Marco added. “The rain has some bearing on that.
“Corn will be a few weeks out yet, but we may have some small potatoes by Tuesday, and maybe green beans.”
Nearby, Douglas and Lou Kluever of Worthington peddled products for their daughter, producer Renee Peterson of Rushmore.
According to the Kluevers, Peterson had a rough road en route to the 2014 farmers market.
“The wind tipped over a lot of her plants, and that late frost killed 300 tomato plants and 150 peppers,” shared Douglas Kluever, who echoed Marco’s opinion that tomatoes may be slow bloomers this year.
Still, the Kluevers said they’d sold plenty of cilantro, kale, cabbage, pea pods and lettuce Saturday morning — not to mention dozens of Peterson’s home-baked cookies, quick breads and pies, plus her jellies, salsa (three varieties) and pickled beans.
“Renee put in 500 pepper plants later on, so there will be lots of those coming up,” Lou Kluever said. “It all depends on the weather.”
Around 11 a.m. Saturday, several vendors still remained in the Northland Mall lot, touting goods such as new potatoes, a variety of herbs and rhubarb.
Mee Yang of Tracy sported a big smile as she described a successful morning of selling potatoes, onions, basil and cilantro.
“I’m not sure how everything will turn out this year,” she confided about her crops. “But I’ll be back next week.”
Farmers Markets in Worthington take place (through October) each Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. in the parking lot near the intersection of Second Avenue and 10th Street in downtown Worthington, and from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. each Saturday in the parking lots of Ace Hardware and Northland Mall on Oxford Street.