BEST FARMERS' MARKET Minneapolis 2003 - St. Paul Downtown Farmers' Market
One of our oldest and most enduring gathering places, the St. Paul Farmers' Market is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. To celebrate, the St. Paul Growers' Association is adding a new indoor hall that by next year will sit adjacent to the market's dozens of rustic outdoor stalls in Lowertown. Open Saturdays and Sundays until 1:00 p.m., the market is a rather relentless display of culinary possibility. Aside from the astounding array of vegetables (all locally grown), one can also purchase enough perennials, annuals, and shrubs to landscape Versailles. Meanwhile artisan breads and other tempting baked goods compete with fresh honey, homemade cheese, just-tapped maple syrup, and a variety of meats (including buffalo, venison, pork, beef, and lamb), for meal-planning options that would make even Martha Stewart pause for breath. Early risers will enjoy the fresh coffee and relatively crowd-free perusing. But there is something to be said for entering the fray at its height, when money is exchanged quickly for plastic bags filled with plump red tomatoes, stalks of hot-pink rhubarb, and emerald-green zucchini. At the market, buying is almost as much fun as eating.