Holly Ebel: New faces at the farmers market
While the winter farmers market certainly kept us well supplied with meats, cheeses, produce and baked goods, there is nothing quite like the summer market outside. The crowds, vendors, colors, aromas, the ambiance all add up to a great Minnesota happening, and it’s about to get underway again this Saturday.
Along with all of that, there will also be a Cinco de Mayo celebration, with music and dancers from Riverside Elementary and Listos Academy. Pray for good weather.
Your longtime favorites will be there as well as a new group of vendors who promise to bring additional excitement and unique products to the market experience. Among them:
• Buffalo Gal, from Money Creek Buffalo Ranch near Houston. Naomi Fogel is the third generation to be involved in this venture started by her grandfather with just one buffalo over 40 years ago. The herd now stands at 75. In addition to the buffalo meats, they also offer wild boar and yak as well as beef from their Scottish Highland cattle. They are the last farmers in the state allowed to raise wild boar, of which they have close to 40. In addition to these various meats you will also find buffalo-tallow skin care products, candles, and hand-stitched bison leather crafts.
•Also new is Lone Oak Creamery, run by Greg Siems from Zumbro Falls. As he explains it, their business originally was milk but these days he finds it easier to sell meat, even though he comes from a dairy family. Proud of his product, Siem has a wide variety of cuts, sold both by the pound and in packages. Popular is the package that includes 4 pounds of hamburger, two steaks and a rump or chuck roast. Passionate about what he does, Siems says, “I love talking about agriculture and educating people on what’s involved.” Got a question? He can answer it.
• Levare Breads focuses primarily on sourdough bread, and who doesn’t love that freshly baked? Sean Lavare is fairly new to baking but already has a reputation for baking exceptional sourdough loaves. His wife is from Taiwan and she will be bringing specialty Taiwanese breads that are steamed rather than baked.
• You’ll also want to cross paths with Unparalleled Farms from Plainview. Tony and Heidi Welti were involved in a dairy farm in central Wisconsin but were wanting to become more involved with raising steers. Having grown up in Plainview, Tony was able to convince his wife to move back to the area and focus on this venture. Pasture-raised and organically fed, their beef products saw great success at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. However they felt they were missing that important local connection with other farmers and growers in this area. They also will be bringing lamb and eggs. Meats are packaged in individual cuts and bundles. They also have a concession truck and will be selling hamburgers and hot dogs at Thursdays on First.
• Pearson Organics from Oronoco is run by Kristin Pearson, a Rochester native. She brings to market a wide variety of vegetables and herbs grown on 5 acres she leases. She knows a thing or two about growing, having worked on a 15-acre vegetable farm in Maine. Her vegetables are not certified organic but are currently in transition. Pearson also offers custom CSA shares.
Other new vendors to welcome include Revolutionary Earth (vegetables), Rosemary and Lavendar (baked goods) Syverson Produce and Embolden Farm, also produce. Oyster mushrooms will also be available.