What’s new at the farmers markets

Sprø Gård Organic Farm is one of the new vendors at the Nokomis Farmers Market, which is now running weekly on Wednesday. Credit: Submitted image

The farmers markets are back for another season, and there is something new to find in all of them.

The Nokomis market is now weekly on Wednesday, aiming to become part of the local grocery shopping routine.

In Linden Hills, food gurus are now available to answer cooking questions, and an online ordering platform will allow advance orders for pick-up at the market. Info on the new “Local Orbit” platform will become available through the newsletter at lindenhillsfarmersmarket.com.

The inaugural outdoor Calhoun Square Market is located in the Girard Avenue walkway between the mall and the parking ramp, running every Friday.

The following is a rundown of the new vendors:

Nokomis Farmers Market

Wednesday, 4-8 p.m.

52nd & Chicago

Radicle Heart Farm is run by two sisters who operate a pesticide-free farm in Ham Lake growing heirloom vegetables and herbal tea.

Sprø Gård Organic Farm (which translates to “Crazy Farm” in Norwegian) is in the midst of converting a conventional farm into an organic farm. Crowdfunders more than doubled the farm’s fundraising goal to buy equipment for the conversion — with the help of more than 13,000 Twitter followers. The farm sells 500 vegetable varieties as well as eggs and meat from quail, chicken and ducks. The farm also donates extra produce to food shelves.

“There is always going to be extra food. A lot of farmers compost or feed it to the animals. We don’t,” said Frank Raasch. “We feel it’s the right thing to do.”

Raasch worked in IT for 16 years before farming, and he’s rolled some of his technical expertise into the operation. CSA buyers can digitally request extra onions, for example, or opt out of buying carrots that would go to waste.


Linden Hills Farmers Market

Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Settergren’s Hardware lot, 2813 W. 43rd St.

Superior Switchel is a ginger-infused drink made popular by 19th century haymakers, who drank the beverage to give them an extra boost of energy. Superior Switchel’s founders made their own first brew on the stovetop of their St. Louis Park apartment. The organic drink is made with ginger, apple cider vinegar, honey and cinnamon. The company recently finished a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring the drink to farmers markets.

Turnip Rock Farm produce includes beets, carrots, onions, spinach and basil. Cheese curds made from grass-fed cow’s milk are now available through the new Cosmic Wheel Creamery, which specializes in “true raw milk, natural rind, aged farmstead cheeses.”

As part of a classroom project at the Carlson School of Management, students are selling local products.

The all-natural soda vendor Whistler Classic Soda is a zero-waste operation: Simply return the glass bottle when you’ve finished imbibing. Flavors include root beer, cream soda and cherry vanilla cola.


Fulton Farmers Market

Saturday, 8:30 a.m.- 1 p.m.

4901 Chowen Ave. S.

Big River Pizza is focused on opening a new restaurant in Lowertown, so the market has a new pizza vendor this season. A former sous chef at The Bachelor Farmer and the lead bread maker at Salty Tart cook Northern Fires pizza in a mobile wood-fired oven. Many of the pizza ingredients come from fellow famers market vendors.

Roundtable Coffee Works has opened a roasting hub near the Raymond Avenue LRT station, and Arrowwood Coffee Roasters (also roasting at Roundtable’s manufactory) is their new replacement at the Fulton market. The shop offers free local delivery every Wednesday and Thursday in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Part of their mission is to employ people with disabilities at the company.

Brand Farms out of Farmington is selling eggs and apple chips, with raspberries and apples coming later in the season. The fourth-generation farm was founded by German immigrants in 1930.

Wicked Tarts’ Kara McElhinney (store manager at Bogart’s Doughnut Co.) is a new baker with dates at both the Kingfield and Fulton markets, selling homemade pies. Pies in rotation include key lime, strawberry rhubarb and raspberry.


Kingfield Farmers Market

Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

4310 Nicollet Ave. S. 

Clover Bee Farm, which offers a local CSA, sells Asian greens, popcorn, dried beans and unique varieties of other vegetables.

Big River Farms is operated by the Minnesota Food Association, a nonprofit that trains immigrant and minority farmers. (Dawn2Dusk Farms, one of the longtime produce vendors at the Fulton and Kingfield markets, trained through the program.)

Twin Cities Paella sells Spanish tapas and paellas, a traditional rice dish from Spain cooked over an open flame. The shop uses imported essential ingredients to achieve an authentic flavor.


Calhoun Square Market

Friday, 3-7 p.m.

Girard Avenue, between the ramp and Calhoun Square 

Calhoun Square’s winter market vendors are stepping outside for the summer, and the list of vendors is still growing.

They include Banana Bob’s banana breads, eco-friendly tote bags and scarves by Banner Creations and Scrappy Products, Barkley’s Bistro gluten-free dog treats, gourmet canned food by Gracie’s Pantry, Horner’s Corner maple syrup, Idlewilde Candles, custom products by JM Woodgifts, Kettle Roasted Nuts, and beef from Kornder Farms.

You’ll also find the beekeeping chocolatier Mademoiselle Miel. The vendor collects honey from St. Paul rooftops to make honey bon-bons wrapped in chocolate and burnished with edible gold leaf.

Other vendors include Mean Green Hot Sauce, Merry Little Bath Company Soaps, Must Be Mitzi handmade jewelry, Olive Oil from the Farm, Serendipity Accessories, apparel from Sugar Lake Designs, jam from Summersalt Kitchens, Tilly Air Plants, Lepal acrylic paintings, Whistler Classic Soda and Untiedt’s Vegetable Farm.

Food trucks include Tru Pizza; Foxy Falafel; Gastrotruck, serving modern Midwestern cuisine; and Cave Café, serving Afro-Italiano fusion food.