Farmer’s Market Time Again

Saturday, 23 May 2009


The downtown Minneapolis farmer’s market is open for the season and I paid my first visit of the year yesterday.  Highlights:  fresh locally-picked morels (yum! but $15 for .5 pound), local pork, raw honey, nuts, bread, pickles, and great offerings of fresh herbs and flowering plants from area nurseries.  It’s a little early to get much in the way of local produce.  As always, there were large stalls with shipped-in produce and the quality was hit or miss.  Mostly miss, actually.  I saw a lot of damaged, brown, unfresh and inferior vegetables.  The prices are much better than the grocery store, however.  For $10 I picked up three ears of corn, a large bunch of asparagus, three yellow peppers, a huge bunch of grapes and a large honeydew melon.  The quality of these items was ok, but I really would prefer organic, so buying this stuff probably won’t be a habit.

I stopped by a stall run by a Minneapolis company selling Caribbean salsa and tortillas in a multiplicity of flavors.  If I remember right, the purveyor is originally from Trinidad.  I picked up some whole wheat tortillas and they were ok, but a little crumbly.  It seems that is frequently the case with whole wheat tortillas, or tortillas with a healthier bent.  Unfortunate truth:  real homemade tortillas get that beautiful soft texture from lard.  I also sampled the salsas, immediately going for the “hot.”  It was good but too sweet and fruity for my tastes.   The New Mexico salsa purist in me tends to go for non-sweet tomato/green chile/jalapeno/onion based salsas, but the fruitier Caribbean stuff definitely has its place.  I think it can be a particularly good as an accompaniment to seafood.

I’m looking forward to checking out the larger main farmer’s market (open every day) in addition to the downtown branch (Thursdays).  As the summer goes on I expect to see more and more great produce from local growers.

Addendum:  Went for a short walk this morning, then that turned into a longer walk and we happened to end up at the Mill City Farmer’s Market next to the Guthrie.  WOW.  They have everything — lots of great local organic produce (saw lots of greens), just about any kind of meat you can think of, amazing pico de gallo (Francisco’s), fresh rhubarb, you name it…  There were also tons of great food stands selling stuff like sweet and savory tarts, dim sum made with local organic foods, and coffee and fruit drinks.  I would love to go in there and grab some food and have a little picnic brunch in adjoining Gold Medal Park — gorgeous lush grass, views of the Guthrie, mills and river — that would make a perfect Saturday morning in my book.  I just wish I’d had my camera with me this morning.  And some money.

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