Farmers Market season kicks off Tuesday
WORTHINGTON -- Lettuce, radishes, eggs, bedding plants, handmade crafts, fresh baked goods.
Those are just a few of the items that are likely to show up at the season's first Downtown Farmers Market. Farmers Market season officially kicks off in Worthington at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the former Campbell Soup parking lot at 10th Street and Second Avenue.
"Right now, we have 23 producers registered," said Amanda Walljasper, owner of Schafer's Health Center in downtown Worthington, who is volunteer coordinator for the market. "This year, it's required that every producer registers and pays a small fee. There is still room for more producers; the number has not been limited as of yet. Some of the producers will come a little later in the season."
This is the second year for the Downtown Farmers Market, which was organized to complement the Saturday Farmers Market that in the past has been in the back of the Runnings Fleet & Farm parking lot on North Humiston Avenue.
"Our Farmers Markets are on Tuesday and Saturday, so there's fresh produce that people can buy a couple times a week," emphasized Walljasper. "They're spaced out rather nicely, so it gives people the opportunity to buy fresh local goods. People really want to know the people who are growing the products that they're putting in their mouths."
Many of the local producers participate at both locations, since their gardens produce new goods on a daily basis. Lori Rosenberg, who operates Lori's Country Garden at her rural home, appreciates having two venues to market her wares
"I'm going to be bringing some bedding plants, hanging baskets, perennials," she said about the first market night. "For veggies, we'll have lettuce, spinach, radishes, peas, cabbages, green-top onions. ... I think there are even a couple of jalapenos that will be ready. They're really early this year. Each week we'll be bringing more stuff as it gets ready."
Last year, the downtown Tuesday market started out as "a small idea" that grew quite quickly, according to Walljasper. This year, many downtown merchants are staying open until 7 p.m. on Tuesday nights to accommodate downtown shoppers.
"Last year, it became like a little carnival downtown every week, and we just want to expand on that," said Walljasper. "This year, we're working with Minnesota Grown (a project of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to promote locally grown foods), and we'll have stickers and signage available for the producers to use if they want, and we'll have some special events later in the season.
"We welcome new ideas," Walljasper added. "We keep talking about, but haven't gotten anything lined up yet, about adding some possible entertainment. So if there's someone who wanted to bring their guitar, we would welcome that if they would contact us, and the local square dancing group might do a demo out there one night. We want it to be a great thing for the entire community."
Rosenberg enjoys the festive atmosphere that prevails at the Tuesday night market.
"It's like a big ol' get-together," she said. "I can't wait. It's so much fun to see all the new people."
Anyone interested in being a vendor or entertainer for the Tuesday market should contact Walljasper, 372-7127, or the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, 372-2919.
Meanwhile, the Saturday Farmers Market will get under way on July 10 at a new location, according to organizer Renee Peters. To gain more visibility for the weekend event, it will move to the parking lot of W-2's Quality Meats, 362 Oxford St. The Saturday market runs from 6:30 a.m. to noon.
Producers who are interested in participating in the Saturday market are asked to contact Peters, 478-4103.