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5 exciting things to look forward to at the Farmers Markets of Minneapolis this year

Lupine Lady's Minnesota-shaped cookies: as tasty as they look!

Lupine Lady's Minnesota-shaped cookies: as tasty as they look! Stacy Brooks

Maybe you want to support local agriculture and small businesses. Maybe you want to bike home with a load of organic vegetables to make a batch of green juice.

Maybe you just really want a donut.

Whatever your motivation, there’s a farmers market for you—and the 2019 farmers market season is right around the corner.

We got a sneak peek this week at some of the vendors who will be on hand at one or more of the Farmers Markets of Minneapolis this season, and here’s what caught our attention.

1. Vegan options everyone will love
It’s great to see products for a wide range of dietary preferences, and the vegan options highlighted at the preview were so tasty everyone will want to give them a try.

For example, the strawberry crumble and s’mores bars by Hope’s Vegan Kitchen were straight-up delicious (and indistinguishable from a conventional dessert). While we enjoyed all of the doughnut samples from Bakery Box, our favorite was actually the vegan brown “butter” glazed, with its squishy, rich layers. Jen’s Jars offers plant-based spreads and seasonal soups, such as a tasty wild rice and mushroom soup made with coconut milk.

French expat Claire Corvaisier of Oh Crêpe! cooks up sweet and savory crepes to order.

French expat Claire Corvaisier of Oh Crêpe! cooks up sweet and savory crepes to order. Stacy Brooks

2. Unique CSAs
Most people are familiar with the CSA concept—pay a lump sum to a farmer at the beginning of the year, get a box of vegetables each week throughout the growing season. But some of the vendors we spoke to are expanding that model to other local products.

In addition to their summer and autumn vegetable shares, Growing Lots Urban Farm is offering a cheese share and mushroom share. Want a fresh bouquet each week? Dancing the Land has a flower CSA. Dream of Wild Health, a non-profit whose mission is to “restore health and well-being in the Native community by recovering knowledge of and access to healthy Indigenous foods, medicines and lifeways” has an Indigenous Food Share CSA.

3. Prepared foods that span the globe
All that shopping can leave you hungry, and luckily there’s a diverse range of fare to satisfy every appetite.

We enjoyed veggie patties from Wha’ Jamaican made with a curried dough wrapped around a filling packed with squash, potatoes, carrots, and peppers. French expat Claire Corvaisier of Oh Crêpe! cooks up sweet and savory crepes to order; we were partial to the savory ones made with buckwheat flour. Tequenice sells tequeños: cheese sticks wrapped in pastry dough and deep-fried, a Venezuelan specialty that would fit right in at the Minnesota State Fair.

Definitely seek out Fruit & Grain Bakery's homemade pop tarts.

Definitely seek out Fruit & Grain Bakery's homemade pop tarts. Stacy Brooks

4. Picture-perfect baked goods
If a trip to the farmers market is incomplete without an Instagram-worthy photo, there are plenty of pastries ready for a close up. Fruit & Grain Bakery offers homemade pop tarts iced with all-natural frosting in bright pink and green hues. The Lupine Lady sells Minnesota-shaped cookies with plenty of sprinkles that taste as good as they look, thanks to the perfectly moist shortbread and layer of raspberry jam.

5. Really good stories
One of the best things about shopping at a farmers market is the chance to connect—with the land, with the community, with farmers and food producers. There’s always a story behind what you eat, and it’s usually a good one.

For example, the 3LonettiSisters (Ann, Stephanie, and Katie) are selling a mix so that you can make their Italian Grandpa Lonetti’s meatballs. A framed photo of him, dapper in a fedora and tie, gazes down on their stall’s jars of mix and crockpot of meatballs.

Wondering why Jirik Family Farms offers wild-caught Alaskan salmon along with locally-raised beef and chicken, honey, and maple syrup? It’s because an Alaskan fisherman comes down to help with their maple syrup harvest, and they make the trip up north to return the favor.

Stop by one of the Farmers Markets of Minneapolis this season—there are nearly 30 locations spread across the city, and markets are held on every day of the week. Load up on local produce, munch on a snack, snap a few photos, and chat with the people who make it all possible.

Find this year's list of Minneapolis markets and mini-markets here