Debbie Dachis Gold has lived in the East Isles neighborhood for 22 years, during which she’s raised vegetables in her flourishing urban garden and cooked up a storm.
A decade after she moved in, she started making dill pickles. Then, she started growing her own cucumbers to make pickles. “If you enjoy cooking as a hobby, the better and fresher the ingredients, the better the outcome,” Dachis Gold says.
Why not bring local and freshly picked foods into the neighborhood she loves so much? She proposed the idea for a farmers market in East Isles at a board meeting of the East Isles Residents Association (EIRA), of which she’s a volunteer member and secretary. Fellow board members were intrigued, so Dachis Gold pressed on, doing hours of research and taking many meetings to make the market a reality.
Now, nine months later, she's the market’s director, and she’s looking forward to the June 28 opening day. Here’s what to know before you go.
6. This is the first farmers market held in a park that’s property of the city of Minneapolis.
Yes, you read right. The Mall Park, open to the public, will finally host a neighborhood farmers market. Dachis Gold says that members of the Park Board were nothing but helpful and supportive of the market, and securing all the required permission only took about four to six weeks.
5. Say it with me: Pickle Booth.
What’s a pickle booth, you ask? The name references Minnesota’s Cottage Food Law (once called the “pickle bill"). The law allows folks who bake, pickle, or can to sell their foods simply by registering and taking certain food safety precautions and training—no need to procure a permit. The East Isles Farmers Market Pickle Booth is open to any neighbor who has foods to sell and $10 to spend to secure their spot. This is a perfect gateway for folks looking for an audience and feedback on their foods.
4. Vendors, musicians, and food trucks will rotate.
“Vendors are our everything,” Dachis Gold says. She reports that they’ve confirmed about 35 separate food vendors who will rotate through just over 20 spots each week. More than half are women-owned businesses, and all are within a 100-mile radius (if not closer). Participants include Hip Pop Gourmet Popcorn, Criollas Pastries, and the Minnesota Hmong Agriculture Cooperative.
Each week will also feature two food trucks, likely one grab-and-go-dinner option and a dessert option like ice cream or gelato. Music will all be acoustic and represent cultures from around the world: African drumming, Louisiana marching bands, and much more.
3. The market will host a special Dog Day of Summer event on August 9.
Dogs are always welcome at the market, but on August 9 it’ll be especially pupper-y. “Dogs are in our DNA in this neighborhood, what with the East Isles Dog Park,” says Dachis Gold. “On August 9, we’ll have dog treats and water bowls and hot dogs and puppy dog tails from our beloved neighborhood shop, Isles Buns and Coffee. We have two all-natural dog treat vendors scheduled for the day… the rest is a surprise.”
2. It really took a village.
Though Dachis Gold was one of the main drivers of the market, she’s quick to acknowledge the many and varied contributions of her fellow EIRA board members, all the volunteers who dedicated their time, the members of the Park Board, politicians, and city employees for getting this market off the ground. Seriously, she shouted out so many people we can’t fit them all here. We trust you know who you are.
1. The first market day is June 28, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The EIRA was very careful about when they scheduled the market. “We didn’t want to step on people’s toes,” says Dachis Gold. The first market day will feature a seed planting ceremony attended by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Park Board Commissioner Meg Forney, District 4 Park Board Commissioner Jono Cowgill, Ward 7 Council member Lisa Goodman, and Senator D. Scott Dibble. So head over to The Mall every Thursday this summer for food, local produce, and terrific acoustic music.
East Isles Farmers Market
1420 The Mall, between Hennepin and Humboldt Avenues in uptown Minneapolis
Thursdays, June 28 through October 4, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.