Meet the market // Dwindling days

The angles of the sun are a little longer these days, you can’t help but notice it. That means that the final days of the farmers market season are here. It’s a bittersweet time for all of us. We’ll miss seeing our vendors and friends on a weekly basis. We’ll miss the regular abundance of fresh fruits, veggies and treats that we’ve so easily indulged in over the past six months. But at the same time, the change in the seasons presents an opportunity for the market staff, board members and volunteers to take a bit of a breather, review our progress, and take a thoughtful and intentional approach to how we can do a little more next year, and do it better.

It’s been quite the year for us all. We opened the Fulton Farmers Market this May and have been blown away with the response. Folks from the Fulton neighborhood and beyond have heartily embraced this new hub of activity in the community. With two dynamite staffers running the show, Fulton was prepared to take off right out of the gate this season, and did it ever. The foot traffic has surprised us all — we’ve had just about as many visitors to Fulton in its first year as we did at the 10-year old Kingfield Farmers Market last year.

And all the while as fledgling Fulton has been earning its chops, Kingfield just continues to rock and roll. The Kingfield Market had the most visitors in our history this year. It probably didn’t hurt that we were named the Best Farmers Market in the Twin Cities by the City Pages. (I always joked last year that we would win this designation in 2011, but was just as pleasantly surprised as everyone else when it actually happened.)

But when you stand back and consider it, it’s just remarkable to see how these two markets have thrived and complemented each other, all the while building their own distinct vibes and identities — someone once whispered to me that Fulton has more strollers, Kingfield has more tattoos.

Over the winter, all of us who help make the markets happen will be putting our energies into exploring how we might expand educational opportunities at the markets, growing our impact in community efforts, becoming more engaged in the local food system, and more. Stay tuned for next season, it’s bound to be yet another banner year.

But wait! The 2011 season still rolls on! The last markets of the regular season are Halloween weekend, followed by Kingfield’s Holiday Market, on Sunday, Nov. 20 from 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. at the MLK Rec Center on Nicollet & 41st. We hope to see you there for the final hurrah of 2011.

John Brosnan is a member of the board of directors for both markets and a resident of the Whittier neighborhood. After serving as the Kingfield Market Manager last year, he just couldn’t leave the organization he loves so much. His regular gig is as the project coordinator for the Urban Agriculture Alliance at Gardening Matters.