NY Mills Farmers Market picks up with fall produce
Heather Cassidy NYM Farmers Market "So, how are things going out there at the Farmers' Market?" I am asked, sometimes more than a few times during the course of the day. The people of New York Mills are genuinely interested in the success of our ...
NYM Farmers Market
"So, how are things going out there at the Farmers' Market?" I am asked, sometimes more than a few times during the course of the day. The people of New York Mills are genuinely interested in the success of our very own local produce venue. Depending on several factors, especially my mood at the time, my answer fluctuates.
"Wonderful" I will answer to someone on a day when I remember all of the success we have had while developing and implementing the market. This is my response after someone has returned to the market to buy more of my honey flax bread because it is "delicious".
"Not so great" is the answer I will blurt out after a particularly challenging week of poor sales, bad weather, and more hard work than I have time for.
Let me share an insider's view of the New York Mills Farmers' Market, then come out and visit us on a Saturday or Wednesday morning to see for yourself what a nice experience shopping at the market is.
The "wonderful stuff" about the Market
New Logo - Local Artist Lynn Kasma has created a gorgeous logo for the market. The logo features a "Rosy the Riveter" inspired farmer in front of the Trademark (Nyberg) tractor with a delectable spread of produce in front of her. The members of the market hope to have shirts, aprons and shopping bags printed with this logo. The logo is also being used in a new advertisement running in the The Contact this week.
Canned Goods - Five of the market vendors attended a workshop on canning safety taught by the University of Minnesota Extension service in Waite Park. There we learned about the pickle bill, and how to can foods safely for sale under the "Pickle Bill". The registration fees were paid for by Horizons.
Canned products are appearing at the market every week, including pickled veggie relish and dill pickles by Stephanie Goins, and a good variety of jams and jellies by Colleen Jacobsen and Shirley Goins.
Fresh, Beautiful Produce - Produce season is finally in full swing.
The booth of Colleen Jacobson and her son Eric (who lives and works full-time in Saint Paul) is always a big hit. They are harvesting garlic, onions, buttercup squash, potatoes, broccoli and sweet corn now.
Under the canopy of Diane Mattson and Debby Fischer (owner of Bloomers A & K greenhouse) you will be amazed at the size of their peppers! They also sell a wide selection of other produce including corn, carrots, tomatoes etc. They are one of our newest Farmers' Market Vendors.
Stephanie Goins probably has the biggest garden in New York Mills. She sells lots of cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, and tomatoes.
Pat Fredley is serving as the market manager this year, and manages to get signage up every week, in addition to the book keeping for the market. She has deep red tomatoes and dragon's tongue wax beans (yellow with purple streaks).
Our newest members are Dana and Lesley Bahr of Bahr's Melons! Dana has been growing Melons since 1977, and has mastered the art of picking perfectly ripe melons for sale. He sells red, yellow, and sorbet watermelons, as well as the sweetest cantaloupe in the world.
My booth has been well stocked with organically grown heirloom tomatoes, basil, onions, and purple beans. I also sell fresh bread when I have time to make it.
Hot coffee and muffin tops - Jack Monty of the Creamery in New York Mills keeps all of the vendors caffeinated. We are grateful that he is there with the raspberry white chocolate muffin tops every week.
The Customers and Camaraderie - The customers have been the most positive aspect so far. Many have made the farmers' market a regular stop during Saturday morning errands or Wednesday lunchtime visits. Many of them ask what produce is coming next week, for recipe ideas, or for advice on vegetable growing in their own gardens. "I just love to see all of the beautiful produce and buy my veggies for the next few days" Says Beverly Backstrom a regular market customer.
More Work Ahead
Shelter - Since the sculpture park is an inherently windy spot, we have had difficulty with our shade canopies (which are required by law for produce sales). The wind often damages the canopies. We are hoping to find a funding source for a picnic shelter for the sculpture park that will house farmers' market during market times, and be available for the community to use the rest of the time. The shelter would double as a visitors kiosk for tourists.
The market would benefit from a permanent sign and additional banners to lure drivers off of highway 10.
Additional vendors needed
To offer a wider selection of produce and locally produced food products we are always looking for new vendors to become members of the market. We are also looking into allowing member vendors to sell produce through other vendors at the market.
The Farmers' Market will run through mid October. This fall expect to see a wide variety of pumpkins, squash, onions, melons, potatoes and tomatoes. Thanks to everyone who has supported us this year while we work the kinks out of our market. See you on Saturday!
NY Mills Farmers' Market
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; New York Mills Sculpture Park