When you step into the rows of locally grown food and beautiful flowers at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, you’re carrying on a tradition that started here in the 19th century, with customers traveling up to 20 miles by horse and cart to purchase fresh produce. Today, the market carries the largest selection of products of any farmers market in the Upper Midwest. You’ll not only find quality produce, but also a wide range of fresh breads and baked goodies to cheese, salsa, and soap—all for a great value. The Minneapolis Farmers Market also offers live entertainment, educational classes (find recipes on their website), and prepared foods to make your outing even more of an experience. And since you don’t have to travel by horse, it’s also much easier to get to.
What’s in Season?
Currently, the fresh produce you’ll find at local vendors’ stalls includes asparagus, green onions, and rhubarb. It’s also the perfect time to pick up beautiful flowers or herbs for your garden.
Asparagus spears vary from those as thin as a pencil to as fat as a thumb. The larger sized generally come from younger, more vigorous plants, while the thinner spears come from older plants or those planted closer together. While the taste and nutrition in each is essentially the same, the bigger stalks tend to be more tender while the little ones tend to offer a bit more concentrated flavor. Try to enjoy your asparagus soon after purchase. To keep fresh, slice off about an inch from the bottom of the stalks and stand them in cool water like you would cut flowers and then refrigerate them.
These young, fresh onions are a must for a delicious range of dishes. Store wrapped in a plastic bag and place in the crisper section of your refrigerator for up to five days. Then mix in eggs, sprinkle on salads, top tacos and other Mexican fare, add to soups, and more—use both the mild green leaves and the small white bulb.
The tart red celery-like stalks of rhubarb are an old-fashioned treat dipped in a little sugar and nibbled fresh. Often rhubarb is chopped and mixed with sweeter fruits such as strawberries in jam or used on its own in crisps, crumbles, tarts, or pies. Store fresh rhubarb tightly wrapped in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three days. (The large, glossy leaves are toxic so make sure to discard safely.)
Flowers and Plants
Local greenhouse vendors have a glorious selection of plants and flowers this time of year. You’ll find potted herbs such as basil, cilantro, dill, and more to plant in your own garden so you can have freshly picked seasonings anytime. Beautiful flowers such as begonias, dahlias, Gerbera daisies and petunias are ready to plant and brighten up your garden or containers for your deck or patio.
MARKET LOCATIONS AND TIMES
Lyndale Market: Daily 6 a.m. – 1 p.m.
312 E. Lyndale Ave. N., Minneapolis
Nicollet Mall Market: Thursdays 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
Government Center Market: Tuesdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
300 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis