MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At first glance, the Nicollet Mall Farmers Market in downtown Minneapolis might seem like a serious clash of cultures.

The agronomic people of the land, trading beneath towers of chrome, glass and steel, with the city’s movers and shakers.

“This is a food oasis!” said Bonnie Dehn, president of the Central Minnesota Growers Association, and a fourth-generation grower at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. “It’s wonderful! Look at the interchange between the people. It’s people meeting people just focused on food.”

Market manager Pat Nelson said it is good to be back on the mall after a long hiatus.

“We weren’t here for three years with the reconstruction of the mall,” Nelson said. “I’ll tell you, both customers and vendors missed this location.”

(credit: CBS)

At times, it seemed like they were constructing a pyramid instead of upgrading the street. But the market is back and bigger than ever, with about 60 weekly vendors selling their fresh wares.

“We love to people watch here and it’s a nice place to be,” said grower Mailor Moua. “There is a lot of communication and a lot of sharing.”

And it would be no stretch of the imagination to say that many lasting relationships have been formed here at this market.

There are three Minneapolis farmers markets: Nicollet Mall, Government Center and The Lyndale Market — which dates back to 1868.

The Nicollet Mall Market is open Thursdays from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.; the Lyndale Market is open daily from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and the Government Center market is Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Click here for more information.

Frank Vascellaro