When a community hugs a new farmers market

It was about 8 a.m. that I realized my waterproof jacket was really water-embracing. I and a dozen others had already spent two hours setting up the Fulton Farmers Market in what one described as “an absolute monsoon.”

I’m a confirmed city boy and a weather wimp, so shortly before the market officially opened for the first time at 8:30 a.m., I ducked out to get a dry change of clothes and less permeable outerwear. What I saw when I came back a half-hour later warmed me from the inside.

The first thing I saw was knots of people, walking in twos and threes, up Beard and Chowen avenues toward the Lake Harriet United Methodist Church parking lot. Once there, the tents — which looked so waterlogged just 30 minutes earlier — were crowded with shoppers. The rain had abated somewhat, but no one seemed to care; they were all so happy.  

I recognized this from the Kingfield Farmers Market. Even if you live in a tight-knit community, a weekly market makes community seem so fun, almost giddy. The aroma of donuts and wood-fired pizza, the beauty of fresh flowers and piping pastries, and (soon), the heaping bins of fruits and vegetables make conversation with your neighbor that much more pleasurable.

As I re-entered the parking lot, I caught up with a church elder on her way to a board meeting. Her excitement was so genuine that it reminded me that the God of Love speaks in good works.

Kids, as they always do, stomped through the puddles. We hadn’t confirmed Opening Day music, but mid-morning, Jim Walsh and his happy band of Hootenanny troubadours showed up, plunked down under a dripping tent, and plucked buoyant melodies that pierced the dark day.

The day fought back — around 11, lightning was spotted, and we had to shut the market down early for safety reasons. Even the people who showed up in the aftermath were kind and understanding, vowing to come back next week.

As of this writing, we’re only one week into the season, but as we gathered, soaked, at the Edina Grill for a celebratory/medicinal beer, we all had smiles on our faces, too. We could feel a communal hug stretching from Armatage to Edina, Lynnhurst to Linden Hills, and we knew this was the beginning of a very good thing.

Fulton Farmers Market
49th & Chowen
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
May 21–Oct. 29
Follow on Twitter @fultonmarketmn facebook.com/fultonfarmersmarket

Kingfield Farmers Market
4310 Nicollet Ave.
Sundays, 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
May 22–Oct. 30
Follow on Twitter @kingfieldmarket