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Homegrown treats at area farmers' markets

Debbie Fisher, owner of Bloomers A & K greenhouse, is pictured on the left. On the right is Diane Matson, employee and sister to Debbie.

The taste of summer will be available at farmers' markets in East Otter Tail County. Starting at the end of May and ending with the final harvest in October, local produce and homemade goods will be available in Perham and New York Mills.

Saturday, May 29, will mark the opening day of the third season for the New York Mills Farmers' Market. The market will be set up next to the Mills Creamery, on Centennial 84 Drive.

Initially, until more produce is available, the Farmers' Market will be open on Saturdays only from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In mid to late June, the market will be open on Wednesdays, also, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The change in the Wednesday hours is a result of the survey community members completed at the New York Mills Trade Show in April.

Organizers Diane and Debbie Matson of Bloomers A & K Greenhouse say there are currently over eight producers signed up. In addition to produce, there will be organic pork, jams, jellies, pickles, baked goods and fresh eggs.

The Perham market will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays at NP Park, next to the post office on West Main Street. In Perham, the first day of operation was June 4. In season berries will be part of the mix there. On the north side of Perham at Blossoms, Birds and Beyond, Gary's Produce will again offer local products around the clock with a self-service selection and payment system.

Local home gardeners who purchased vegetable plants from Blossoms likely will be harvesting produce that began from seed at the Perham High School greenhouse. Agriculture teacher Carl Aakre's 24 horticulture and landscape design students learned about plant identification, seedling growing conditions, transplantation, plant identification, plant anatomy and physiology, and greenhouse management as part of their class. Blossoms helped sponsor the 2010 program and then 80 percent of their vegetable plant stock came from the PHS students.

Diane Matson says her mother and another sister began A & K 32 years ago with a small a-frame. Today, in northeast Otter Tail County, three acres of vegetables and five acres of corn are being grown for the markets. There are also numerous greenhouses on the property filled with vegetable and flower plants for sale to the general public.

Farmers who wish to sign up for a table at the market and consumers who would like to pre-order in bushel quantities, may contact Diane at 218-252-1809 or Debbie at 218-564-4053.