Area farmer’s markets gear up for summer

By Nicole Brodzik
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A variety of homemade baked good and crafts can be found at each of the local farmer’s markets, like these offerings in Mound. (Nicole Brodzik/The Patriot)

The Waconia Farmer’s Market is back for 2017 with hopes to add even more to a fun Thursday night for local families.

Music in the Park will be preceded this season by the market, with hopes of entertaining shoppers with food, family activities and some music of it’s own. The market will be set up in City Square Park from 4 to 7 p.m., just before Music in the Park starts up.

Organizer Tracy LeTourneau said she thought the new date and time would help create more of a community feel and reach a wider audience.

“With people going away on weekends over the summer, we though it would be good to move it to Thursday so people can come support the market and go to music in the park when it starts,” she said. LeTourneau said there will also be activities for kids, a food truck, cookie trailer and monthly free yoga in the park to draw people in.

“Between the music, yoga, shopping and stuff for the kids, there’s something for everyone,” she said. “We hope it will be a great family night for everyone.”

The market runs from late May through Sept. 7 and so far, they have around 10 vendors signed up to sell their goods at the market, but are accepting more applications and looking for new volunteers. To sign up, visit the Waconia Farmers Market Facebook page.

BONGARD’S FARMER’S MARKET
For shoppers looking to stock up midweek, Bongard’s Farmer’s Market in Norwood Young America will be set up Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at St. John’s United Lutheran Church off Highway 212.

Market Coordinator Vicki Monteel said that the market has a mix of everything from authentic Mexican meals cooked right in front of customers, to fresh product, to wood and metal-worked gifts.

Another perk for families at Bongard’s is the Power of Product (POP) program. The aim of POP is to help children make healthful choices while supporting community vendors. The program is for children aged 4 to 12 and gives out tokens worth $2 to spend at the market on healthy food items. The program is sponsored by Minnesota’s Statewide Health Improvement Partnership.

“We’re hoping to get more families to expose kids to fresh product,” Monteel said.

She said that items can be purchased from a number of vendors, including two returning vendors who sell fresh, canned and baked goods.

“It’s a nice variety,” Monteel said. “You can get supper, shop for product and do a little gift shopping on the side.”

More information on Bongard’s Farmer’s Market can be found at https://bongardsmarket.com/

MOUND FARMER’S MARKET
After a rained out opening weekend, Mound Farmer’s Market and More is now open for business. The extra rain was a help for farmer’s early crop, but there’s a lot more than just vegetables for sale outside of the Mound Transit Center on Saturday mornings.

Mound resident Penny Mueller makes all natural soaps. Craig Gilbertson crafts wooden bird houses. His wife, Jeni Gilbertson, sells homemade bread and hand crafted, wooden decorations. Stan Klein sells maple syrup, hand stitched dish towels, mushrooms he grows on logs and hand crafted wooden benches. There’s even a booth where you can get pancakes and sausage for breakfast as you browse the market.

Mound Farmer’s Market and More, which is open from May through October, serves as a place for many of the vendors to sell the products of their hobbies or side businesses, but it’s about more than just making a sale according to Mueller.

“I’m a customer turned vendor,” she said. “It’s just nice to have that small town feel and make friends with all of our customers.”

This is Mueller’s first year on the selling side of the market, but others, like Klein, have been there much longer. In the market’s eighth year in the community, vendors new and old have helped it thrive. Klein is one of about 20 vendors that rotate throughout the season.

“This is my seventh or eighth year here,” he said. “The customers are fun to talk to. What else are you going to do on a Saturday morning?”

His eclectic array of products started with making maple syrup years ago, but he got turned onto mushroom farming more recently from a neighbor. He’s got a variety of different mushrooms he grows, with some like Oyster mushrooms for sale now, while his shitakes will be available closer to the fall.

“A couple of hours work gets you eight years of mushrooms,” Klein said. “It’s just fun. People who come out don’t even have to buy anything from us. Just come look around and meet your neighbors.”

“It’s all about making relationships,” Craig Gilberston said. “The Mound community is so great. That’s why we’ve been coming back for five years.”

New vendors are welcome apply for space at the market on the Mound Farmer’s Market and More Facebook page or via email at [email protected] The market runs from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Saturday morning through Oct. 7.