WCCO Viewers’ Choice For Best Farmers Market In Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With buzz words like “sustainable,” “grass-fed” and “natural,” farmers markets are truly farm to table.

And your favorite place to eat the food grown in rural Minnesota is right in the heart of our urban center — the Minneapolis Farmers Market.

Farmers markets give us a chance to buy food fresh and local.

“Seeing a little bit of dirt on the plants is pretty cool,” customer Al Heinen said. “You know that’s fresh. Came right out of the ground probably this morning or certainly yesterday.”

Sandy Hill of the Minneapolis Farmers Market says this location first opened in 1937. There were 510 farmers and 15 sheds.

“We’re here now with the remaining three sheds,” Hill said.

Though it has been at this location since the 1930s, this market dates back even farther. It all started back in 1868 with an Anoka County farmer.

“He realized that he could sell more of his hay if he came to where the people lived that needed the hay for their horses, the cows. Other farmers caught on, so all a sudden there’s a bunch of farmers down there,” she said. “Eventually, you know, the customers would ask, ‘What else do you have on your farm?’ And they started like bringing potatoes or fresh hens, eggs, things like that.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

A real estate developer caught wind and eventually opened an official, more-organized market. Vendors had elaborate displays of produce and goods.

“They dressed up to come to market in suits,” Hill said. “It was just amazing.”

The market outgrew that and another location, before finally laying down roots on the corner of 3rd and Lyndale avenues.

“We see mom and dad with their children, we see grandparents, we see different people from different countries,” she said. “You name it, they all come to market here.”

In an age when convenience is valued over sustainability and community, we tend to forget what food really is: something that was alive and had to grow, and what it means to the people who produce it.

And when we see them, it all makes sense.

“The fun is just seeing the different people behind their stands and knowing that they’re the ones that were digging in the dirt and planted the crops and harvested them,” Heinen said. “They bring them here and look for someone to help them out. And it’s just more fun.”

What better way to know where your food comes from than by talking to the person who grew it.

“Our motto is, ‘Feeding the mind, body and soul of our community,'” Hill said. “And that’s what we feel we try to do every day.”

The Minneapolis Farmers Market is open seven days a week through October from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. The address is 312 East Lyndale Ave North.

Some of your other favorites were in St. Paul, Maple Grove and the Mill City Market in downtown Minneapolis.

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