The colors at the markets come full circle — the earliest produce is nearly all green, and it cycles back to that again later in the year.
In May, as we emerge from our dens, we gladly grasp at whatever fresh produce we can get. This year, June’s weather tested our patience as we dreamed of sunshine and bountiful market stalls.
If you haven’t stopped by the markets recently, I’m happy to announce that we’re past the green stages. Salad lovers fear not — there’s still plenty of it, but the crunches of broccoli, snap peas, bok choy and green beans round out the leafy kales and lettuces. Gloriously free of green are the potatoes and the carrots, the beets, the dwindling strawberries, and the newly arriving raspberries and blueberries.
As the color fills out and the produce ramps up, the work to be done for the markets eases somewhat. While farmers are pulling weeds and mowing fields, much of our heavy lifting has been done. Vendor applications have been processed; our schedule of vendors has been set; new staff has been trained. Additional tents and tables have been assembled; our event calendar is nearly filled.
Now comes the time for us to delve further into the education and outreach component of our work. We began relationships with several South Minneapolis mini markets last year to provide them with technical support. These markets, capped at five vendors or fewer and independently managed by community organizations working outside of the field of farmers markets, are designed to increase access to fresh, healthy foods in neighborhoods with otherwise limited access. We’re excited that this year we’ve been able to extend our markets’ ability to accept EBT (formerly known as food stamps) to both of the mini markets we’re currently working with: Stevens Square and Ebenezer Park.
The bountiful produce also brings an opportunity for us all to learn more about how to best enjoy it. We’ve debuted a new weekly “Veggie 101” series with tips and recipes for the items that you always see at the market, but never quite know what to do with. First up: kohlrabi! Check out Fulton’s website for everything you ever wanted to know. We’ve revamped our Pinterest page to focus on recipes. And you’ll find us Facebooking away each week as we keep you posted on what new veggies — and colors — are coming into season. We hope you’ll join us. (For details, visit www.kingfieldfarmersmarket.org and www.fultonfarmersmarket.org)
Alexandra Cortes is the Executive Director of the Kingfield & Fulton Farmers Markets. She has grown with the markets since 2011.