Culinary Adventures: Minneapolis Farmers Market

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A Minneapolis morning

It’s been a pretty adventurous week for me and it will continue to be, since it’s been Fringe week since last Thursday and is on it’s last day. As one of the most adventurous live theater events of the year, with 169 unique, strange, and interesting shows at the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival, you never know just what to expect. I will be reporting more on the Fringe in upcoming days.

Aside from going on adventures biking, hiking, and traveling around the Twin Cities visiting its many lovely and beautiful attractions, I do spend a lot of time at home just thinking about things I could be doing, but one kind of mundane, every day adventure I like to confront is cooking. I do it everyday, pretty much, at least on the day’s I’m not too lazy. One of the perks of living alone is that you can experiment, try out some of the most interesting and go for things that you are not sure your friends and loved ones would tolerate. You can cater to your own tastes, eat your favorite foods, go for the “different.” Me, for instance, I like spice. I’m not one of those masochistic people who is really into hot sauce (though some sriracha helps just about everything), I just like to make food with a little kick. Green thai curries, chipotle mole, things with a lot of peppers. I’ve trained myself to be able to tolerate food heat indexes that would render most Minnesotans into a gasping, water swigging state and, in fact, I enjoy it! I never self censor when I’m trying out the Indian or Thai recipes- on occasion this can require some quality ingredients, and in Minnesota, we are lucky to be able to draw from such a fertile farmlands, allowing for an expanding palate of awesome dishes.

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Rows of produce at the Farmers Market

While some weeks ago, I reported on the new kid of farmer’s markets in Minneapolis, the Mill City Market, which is very nice, and I love, if you are looking for a sheer variety of produce and food, nothing can be the old standby of the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Nestled under the 94 overpass and in the shadow of the downtown Minneapolis skyline, it is still an atmospheric and vibrant space and I’m so glad it was not plowed under for a new Vikings stadium.

Visiting the market is always a vibrant and exciting experience, and I have great memories of coming here with my parents on summer Saturday or Sunday mornings to get ingredients for seasonal soups or camping. Don’t forget to bring a tote bag! Probably that one you got from a Minnesota Public Radio pledge drive, right? Grab a tamale from the tamale stand, it makes a great breakfast! Of course, there are those who feel roast corn is perfect at any time of the day. Wash it all down with a refreshing limeade, so much tangier than the average lemon.

After having breakfast, browse the produce. Farmers from around the region sell their wares, from flowers, fruits and vegetables, honey, maple syrup, wild rice, and all sorts of food items. While much of the produce is from the local region of Minnesota and Wisconsin, they also offer produce grown elsewhere due to Minnesota’s rather short growing seasons (particularly for things like bananas). I always try to get there early, as it definitely can get crowded, with the rows of covered platforms offering double columns of things to look at. The thick perfume of dill and basil, cilantro and flowers, as well as the constant tang of roasted corn, drift through the air. Many merchants offer samples of their wares, and this time, I try a delicious garlic dip, a Chilean salsa, varieties of rare Wisconsin cheese, and some great hot sauce. I ended up buying a bottle, along with some local bok choi, daikon radishes, broccoli, garlic, red onions, cilantro, and zucchini. A good haul, I made a delicious soba noodle soup, a broccoli/zucchini fajita, a radish curry, and a rice zucchini hotdish. Enough for two weeks of meals, all turning out well this time.

Been meaning to try out some bitter melons next time- I’ve got a Nepali recipe I’ve been wanting to test!

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Minneapolis Farmers Market

Minneapolis Farmers Market, 312 East Lyndale Ave North, Minneapolis, MN 55405

Open every day 6:00-1:00, April to November

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