|1. Hopkins||2-3. Minneapolis|
|4. Mill City||5. Richfield||6. St. Paul|
Scene: Vendors cluster in a parking lot a block south of the quaint antique and coffee shops on Mainstreet.|
Pros: Small but sweet. With a range of vendors, from Cramer Organics to Bee Prepared Honey, you can pick up everything from elk meat to Martha’s Joy pickles to pottery from the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Afterward, you can grab lunch at Gusto Café & Wine Bar or see a cheap movie at the Cinema 6.
Cons: Can be sleepy early in the season. Prepared foods are limited mostly to beverages and pastries.
7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., through October 27
Parking: Free lots and street parking
Scene: Because it abuts a tangle of freeway overpasses, the Lyndale market feels tucked into the city’s armpit. By contrast, the Nicollet Mall market is an urban oasis.|
Pros: Sheer volume. Hundreds of vendors sell everything from Honeycrisp apples to green zebra tomatoes.
Cons: Sheer volume. Umpteen bunches of weedy cilantro and grocery store castoffs.
Hours: Daily, 6 a.m. to
1 p.m., through December 24 (Lyndale); Thursdays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., through October 25 (Nicollet)
Parking: Free lot (Lyndale); ramps and meters (Nicollet)
| Scene: Tables line the train shed behind the Mill City Museum and spill out into the area adjacent to the Guthrie.|
Pros: All local, organic, or sustainable-farmed items. Find Shepherd’s Way cheeses, Star Prairie trout, River Chocolates, produce, clothes, and jewelry. Nosh on tarts, sandwiches, or gourmet mini-doughnuts before you take in a cooking demo, walk the Stone Arch Bridge, or tour
Cons: You’ll wish you lived in a riverfront condo.
Hours: Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., through October 20
Parking: Ramps and meters
| Scene: Vendors set up tables in the Veterans Memorial Park pavilion and tend to attract a slightly older crowd.|
Pros: The Twin Cities’ third-largest farmers’ market offers a range of local produce and animal products, including Eichten’s cheeses and bison meat. You can work off what you buy at the neighboring
outdoor pool or mini-golf course.
Cons: Located in the flight path of airplanes and nesting swallows. Also: Only one egg vendor—whose chickens have been known to go on strike.
7 a.m. to 12 p.m., through October 27
Parking: Free lot
Scene: After a 2004 renovation, the 168-stall market is looking sharp with new restrooms, a pigeon-deterring design, and a snappy green roof over historic cobblestones that hint at the market’s 150-year-old tradition.|
Pros: All goods are made and grown within 50 miles of St. Paul. Quality produce, plus Love Tree Farmstead cheeses, Bar 5 meats, and A Toast to Bread. U of M Master Gardeners staff an information table.
Cons: It’s St. Paul on a weekend.
Hours: Saturdays, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sundays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., through November 3
Parking: Free lots and meters
|16 Ninth Ave. S., |
|312 E. Lyndale Ave. N.; Nicollet Mall between 5th and 12th; 612-333-1718, Website||Chicago Ave. and S. Second St., 612-341-7580, Website||6335 Portland Ave. S., 612-861-9385, Website||290 E. Fifth St., 651-227-6856, Website|