A scene from a Neighborhood Roots winter market.
For most vendors, the outdoor farmers market season is a whirlwind of activity. Early morning harvests, post-market chores, late nights of baking, and hours spent in kitchens tending to bubbling stovetops.
Vending at a market as a farmer or small business owner is a lot of work and the winter months bring change of pace for many. Here’s what some of the vendors from the Fulton, Kingfield and Nokomis Markets are up to this winter!
Pete Skold and Anna Racer of Waxwing Farm bring you produce and plant starts at the Fulton Farmers Market and through their CSA during the outdoor season. In the winter, Anna works as a classroom assistant at Prairie Creek Community School. Pete is staying busy on the farm and building an addition to their house!
Liz Plambeck, the talented seamstress of Universal Pants, continues her artistic pursuits during the winter through the Tree Rat Collective, a group of local artists who come together once a month to sell their wares at Squirrel Haus Arts, a new arts space in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Dorothy Stainbrook, proprietor of Heath Glen Farm and Kitchen, stays busy through the holiday season producing and selling the same delicious jams, shrubs and simple syrups you find at her tent at Kingfield and Nokomis during the outdoor season. In the second half of winter she works as an online diet and fitness coach, helping folks make healthy choices.
In the warmer months, Ger Yang helps his mother, Pang Xiong, sell her colorful produce at the Fulton and Nokomis Farmers Markets. Ger works full-time as a machinist, but on weekends during the winter he can be found out in the middle of one of Minnesota’s many lakes, ice fishing with family and friends.
Mike and Gretchen Perbix of Sweetland Orchard are busy pressing apples for cider and fermenting and bottling their amazing hard cider! They leave the trees be in December and begin pruning in January and February.
Jean and Eldon Davidson spent November covering the strawberry patches with hay and getting gardens and equipment ready for the cold and snow. They will spend a few weeks in December and January traveling down to Florida and visiting friends and family along the way. By the time they return it will already be time to begin planting seeds for the productive plant starts they have ready by opening day of the outdoor market season in May!
Arie Peisert of Northern Fires Pizza is spending time in the California Bay Area to learn about natural leavening and sourdough. He is currently working and learning with Josey Baker Bread at his bakery in The Mill, working at the new Pizzeria Del Popolo and consulting at PizzaHacker. He looks forward to using natural fermented doughs, expanding the menu and improving efficiency at Northern Fires Pizza in the coming season.
Rachel Henderson and Anton Ptak of Mary Dirty Face Farm are participating in the Land Stewardship Project’s Journeyperson Training Course. They are working with a farm production mentor, as well as a farm business management consultant to scale up and make holistic plans for the future. They’ve also fenced off 5 acres for a new orchard block where they will be planting about 500 new apple trees in the spring!
Dave and Mary Falk of LoveTree Farm are catching up with chores and projects that needed to be put off during grazing season such as moving the portable electric fencing before the ground freezes, getting the sheep, goats and cows set up in their winter paddocks and milking some of the remaining animals in production. Mary is working hard preparing Nature’s Gift, a high fat cow’s milk cheese wrapped in birch bark (look for it at the winter markets at Bachman’s)!
While several of our vendors are scattered far and wide or taking a break for the winter, those that are still in production haven’t slowed down. The hens at Sunshine Harvest Farm are still laying 700 eggs per day seven days a week!
Rebecca Lee is the market manager of Neighborhood Roots. She has worked for the markets since 2014.
Stock up on produce from farmers who have been able to store hearty crops such as cabbage, potatoes, beets and carrots and grow hoophouse greens through the winter months, along with eggs, meats, cheese, pickles, jams, baked goods, fermented veggies and more at our upcoming Saturday winter markets — Jan. 23, Feb. 27 and March 26. We’ll be inside at Bachman’s (6010 Lyndale Ave S) from 9 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Our vendors will be loaded up with local goods and stories about what they’ve been up to since they last saw you!