In recent years, following trends throughout North America, the number of farmers markets in the Twin Cities and throughout the state are burgeoning like rhubarb in the summer heat. Providing conscious shoppers with fresh local, sustainable produce and goods from nearby farms and producers, whether for people into “locavoreism,” “flexitarianism” (and other such buzzwords) or those who just enjoy fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables for their cooking, it’s good to have them. I’m always impressed with what I find; in addition to the regional seasonal stuff the Midwest is known for (rhubarb, squash, corn, etc.) there are also rare and interesting things you don’t see at any grocery store; bitter melons and obscure pepper varieties, heirloom eggplants, or, at the farmers market in Mankato, ground cherries. Those were certainly interesting, and pretty tasty in a pie.
However, sometimes it can be difficult to schedule a visit during a busy workweek. For those who work in downtown Minneapolis, though, a couple of options exist that you can make a quick stop at on your lunch break. The Minneapolis Farmers Market, which has organized a spin off on Nicollet Mall on summer Thursdays for years, has moved it over to Hennepin Avenue this summer while Nicollet Mall is undergoing some major construction. It’s always fun to grab some ingredients for dinner on your lunch; I got some really nice zucchini and eggplants for a couple recipes I’d wanted to try. I kind of like shopping for cheap, fresh vegetables on the busy sidewalks of downtown Minneapolis, with Hennepin Avenue being even busier and more exciting than Nicollet. The Hennepin Avenue Market is open Thursdays from 6 am to 6 pm.
There is also a market, called simply The Market, which is being held every Monday evening at the Target Field Station. I checked it out yesterday evening, taking advantage of the lovely weather to do a lot shopping (I needed more zucchini). To be honest, I’d never been down this way before, having no interest in baseball, but it was a nice area to explore. The Market, open Mondays for the rest of the month 4:30 to 8:30 pm, was a little bit more geared to fancier local artisan crafts and products, like salsa, honey, coffee roasters, and such, than the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Still, there were some nice produce stands, too and in coming Mondays, live music will be present as well.