Savvy Mom: Growing with the Northeast Farmers Market
Before we had kids, my husband and I liked to visit the big farmers markets in the summer. Minneapolis was impressively sprawling, but it felt odd to see decidedly un-local offerings like peaches and pineapple. St. Paul's was more focused—only farmers within a certain radius of the Twin Cities partake—so we knew what we were getting was fresh and local. But even before we had little ones, navigating the crowds was a challenge. Once we had toddlers, even smaller farmers markets took on a nightmarish quality. The kids had an uncanny knack for disappearing just as something would catch my eye. So we took a few years off from farmers markets. We relied on our co-op and CSA farm share for local produce, but there was something about a weekly market that we missed. We were glad to find the Northeast Farmers Market when we moved to Northeast Minneapolis. It is open every Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., rain or shine, June 1st through October 19th, in the parking lot of St. Boniface Church on University Avenue N.E. & 7th Avenue N.E.
When we first started going, the Northeast market was small and food trucks didn't have the presence they now do. It's been growing a little every year, along with my boys, and has become exactly the right size for us. There's a good mix of farmers, food, and other local vendors. The parking lot is big enough to run in, but not big enough to get lost in. The kids can make their own drink at Smoothie Cycle, or visit the Children's Tent for weekly activities like sculpting clay or smashing flowers. We see friends and neighbors while we wait for our order at food trucks like Vellee Deli, Hot Indian, Nate Dogs, or The Moral Omnivore. We sip coffee from Sip, and have a number of treats to choose from. There are the biscotti or not-too-sweet potato flour donuts at Rebecca's, the muffins at Great Harvest, or the sweets at Tantalize. Then I check out what's on offer from the farmers. This year's long cold spring meant a late start for produce, but the selection gets better every time. Last week I brought home strawberries, broccoli, lettuces, radishes, sugar snap peas, and new potatoes. I'm eager to go back this Saturday and see what's on offer.
So if it's been a while since you've visited your local market, or if you feel the one you've been going to is not quite right, take a field trip. Somewhere in the Twin Cities you'll find your perfect fit.
Northeast Farmers Market
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through October 19, 2013
7th and University Avenues N.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55413