Local food options
Farmers markets launch new season
Farmers Market season is just around the corner, and market managers say a growing number of vendors are hoping to meet local demand despite the impact of the region’s drought.
Minot Farmers Market, which sets up in Oak Park, delayed its opening slightly to July 13 to accommodate vendors who want to give their plants a little extra time due to drought, said Ann Olson, marketing coordinator and vendor. She said growers are spending more time watering or are modifying their watering systems to become more efficient. A few crops needed replanting because conditions were too dry to germinate.
“Most of us have now reported that things are looking good. Our plants are really doing well despite how dry it is,” Olson said. “The recent rains have helped a lot.”
North Prairie Farmers Market, which sets up in downtown Minot, is opening around its usual time, with its first market on July 10. Market manager Wendi Hoffer said the first market will include crafters, canned and baked items and any early produce.
Opening day for Minot Farmers Market is expected to feature mushrooms, radishes, lettuce, early onions, rhubarb and possibly green beans and peas as well as other offerings, Olson said.
“Our vendors are really excited to get back to market,” Olson said. “I’ve not ever seen this level of interest in being vendors.”
Minot Farmers Market’s 38 vendors this year is believed to be a record.
“They’re not all going to be there every market day, but it’s going to allow us to have a really wide variety of producers and vendors. We’ve got local honey coming. We have some baked goods vendors. We have a few craftsmen,” Olson said. “People are going to have a great option to buy locally raised meats at market this year.”
The local foods movement seen during the COVID-19 pandemic increased the number of meat producers. The six meat vendors associated with Minot Farmers Market include a new bison vendor from Rugby, a Sherwood beef producer coming for the second year and a Granville grower bringing chicken, pork, lamb and beef.
Hoffer said a few beef growers and egg vendors are included among the 25 to 30 vendors who sell through North Prairie. She said the market is expected to have a couple of additional vendors this season. Also new this year is the market’s ability to accept EBT cards for food items.
Any restrictions continuing from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic are being left to individual vendors at the markets. Olson said vendors will maintain the sanitary measures in place before the pandemic, and some may continue additional precautions.
Hoffer said North Prairie looks to keep additional spacing between booths, adopted as a COVID-19 precaution last year, because people enjoyed the improvement in customer flow.
Minot Farmers Market switched its Tuesday market hours to evening this year to accommodate customers who work during the day.
“We’re also going to have some food trucks coming on Tuesday nights through the season. We’ll have a coffee bus coming on Thursday mornings. We’re going to try to make it a little bit more of an event for people,” Olson said.
Plans still are being made for musical entertainment and children’s activities, such as the scavenger hunt held in the past. Minot Farmers Market also plans to schedule a kids’ market for young vendors.
Minot Farmers Market again has an intern working with events, social media and vendors. This is the third year of a three-year, grant-funded internship program of FARRMS (Foundation for Agricultural and Rural Resources Management and Sustainability).
People can follow Minot Farmers Market and North Prairie Farmers Market on their Facebook pages for details about market days and to learn when different types of produce are becoming available.
North Prairie Farmers Market
Opens: Saturday, July 10, 11 a.m.
Where: Second Avenue and First Street Southwest, downtown Minot
When: Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., into October
Minot Farmers Market
Opens: Tuesday, July 13, 4 p.m.
Where: Oak Park parking lot
When: Tuesdays, 4 to 7 p.m.; Thursdays and Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon, into October