By Linda Cameron
Minnesota retains rich agricultural roots in the midst of urban expansion. Both a bazaar and community setting, many local farmers’ markets are domestic and international tourist attractions. Where else can you dine, dance, take in live music or look for rare gifts while shopping for locally farmed and imported produce? Enjoy the attractions at these local markets.
217 Como Ave.
St Paul, MN 55103
Call it a scaled down Midtown Global Market. One of the most fascinating indoor/outdoor farmers’ markets, Hmongtown Marketplace is a window into a thriving Southeast Asian culture in Twin Cities. In the summer, the array of colorful Hmong fruit and vegetable stalls is staggering. Hmong cuisine, pungent and spicy, has both local and imported ingredients. The Hmongtown food court is a good place to sample its flavors. If you would like to try Hmong recipes, or simply want to spice up an ordinary meal, Hmongtown vendors will assist you in selecting the right greens, roots, fruits, and herbs. Hmongtown Marketplace also sells rare gifts and sponsors community events and programs.
2041 140th St., N.W.
Prior Lake, MN 55372
Just southwest of Twin Cities, the Wozupi Tribal Gardens produces seasonal vegetables, condiments and cage-free eggs. Seasonal produce includes Asian bok choy and tomatillos. The pulpy tomatillo, found in salsa verde and originally from Mexico, is increasingly an ingredient in Italian pasta dishes. You can buy this tomato in the Tribal Gardens store, along with seeds, USDA certified organic eggs, and varieties of indigenous crops. The grounds and gardens are wonderful for a contemplative stroll. A popular visitor spot is the Medicine Garden, where indigenous wellness herbs are cultivated. Owned and operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the farm and gardens are staffed with agricultural and livestock experts. You’ll enjoy roaming range free with the goats, chickens and other farm animals.
Minneapolis, MN 55405
(612) 333-1737, 1718
Travel agencies have put this ubiquitous farmers’ market on the map. With locations at Lyndale Ave., Government Center and Nicollet Mall, the Minneapolis Farmers’ Market is a major tourist stop. A mecca for fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers, the market heats up when Caribbean Heat plants itself around Twin Cities. Oh, mama! This ubiquitous Latin/Caribbean groceria has the best tortillas, burritos, rice, beans, tacos, Caribbean spices and Jamaican Jerk seasoning this side of Twin Cities. In spring and summer, Caribbean Heat has fiery warm weather food fests that thaw the remnants of winter chill.
Related: Best Curry In Minnesota
Winona, MN 55987
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Shucks, man! We promised live music to accompany you around the market square. Farmers’ markets are some of the best entertainment venues. Mill Cities is one of them. From stringed quartets to jazzy folk, you can listen to local bands and strolling musicians (buskers) while browsing grocery stands. You can also learn how to make terrific meals from lesser known and underutilized produce while enjoying the sound of music.