Thought the Twin Cities food scene had taken a major step backwards with JP’s closing? Brother, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Farm in the Market, the year-round meat-and-dairy farmer’s market that Laurie Callister, the chicken lady, ran in the Midtown Global Market, has also shut its doors for good.
What’s the next step after heartbroken? Bereft? I’m bereft.
Farmer’s Market has been one of the principal joys to living in Minnesota these last few years. I luxuriated in getting restaurant-quality pork from her from Pastures A’Plenty, and the experience of getting fresh, never-frozen chickens from Callister’s own farm changed my life. Also, my son has eaten Farm in the Market chicken meatballs just about every day of his life since he started eating things like, well, chicken meatballs. We’re going to have to go to the St. Paul Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings now, which will be the only place Callister chickens will be available.
What happened? I called up Laurie Callister on her farm to find out. Basically, she told me, the market had always lost money, and was siphoning all the money out of her chicken farm. This past August they realized they had put between $150,000 and $175,000 into it—money that they’d never get back, and had to pull the plug. “For a long time I felt like I couldn’t quit because so many people were depending on us. I can’t let people down,” Callister told me. “Finally I had to realize: if I don’t take care of myself that’s not real smart. But what can I say? My heart is breaking. I can’t talk to people without crying. I look like I’ve been dragged through a keyhole backwards.”
“We’re down, but we’re not out,” Callister told me. “Look for us. Hopefully, Farm in the Market will be back in another way, another time.”
I sure hope so, because by my calculation, the Twin Cities is about 10 percent worse than it was only a week ago. What’s next? Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. I’m being dragged through a keyhole backwards too.