Getting excited

And we’re back!

The hibernation is over. Hello to spring, and hello, almost, to farmers market season! The sunshine and blooms have felt joyous, and I alternate between thinking that this is the feeling I have every spring, and the insistence that, no, there’s something truly magical about it this time.

While I’ve seen my neighbors more times in the past week than I had in several months prior, there are still so many familiar faces I haven’t yet seen this year, new vendors and market-goers yet to meet and delicious local products soon to be eaten. I’m itching for the weekly cycle of markets to begin, ready to fill up on people and produce.

When the Fulton and Kingfield markets open on May 20 and May 21, there will be new business developments and vacations to catch up on, and even new babies to meet.

Naton Vang and his family are expecting any day now, and we’re excited for them to re-meet you all as a new produce vendor at Kingfield. Shoppers there may recognize him and his eldest daughter Rose from their time working with former vendor Blia D. Yang.

Johnson Family Pastures, our meat vendors at Nokomis (opening June 14), welcomed baby Daisy at the end of March. I can’t guarantee there aren’t other little ones out there; these things happen when you don’t see someone for seven plus months at a time, as I learned with Ger Yang’s family and baby Landon when the markets kicked off two springs ago.

Old fans of the former Tiny Planet Produce will recognize Ben Hopper, making his debut as Norris Farm with business partner Aaron Hoag at our Nokomis Market this year. They’ll be there weekly, while Bootstrap Urban Farm, our first ever urban farm vendor, will join them every other week. Bootstrap farms in backyards and under-utilized spaces in South Minneapolis, along with an acre in Taylors Falls.

Amid the hellos there are also goodbyes — we’ll be saying farewell to long-time Fulton vendor Waxwing Farm after the first couple of weeks of the season. Be sure to find them at market May 20 through June 3 with their abundant plant starts before they depart to focus on their CSA and wholesale accounts (and planning for baby no. 2 this summer).

Fans of theirs at Fulton won’t be left hanging, however — new produce vendors to meet there will include Twin Organics and Turtle Hare Farm. Both come from east of the Twin Cities, on opposite sides of the Saint Croix River.

Brothers Jacob and Andrew of Twin Organics are going into their third season growing diversified vegetables in Wisconsin, while Kayla and Eric of Turtle Hare have their microgreens sprouting up in Minnesota already this season, with additional salad crops to follow.

In addition, Fulton can look forward to new fruit offerings from Dahl Hobby Farm to complement those of long-time vendors Mary Dirty Face Farm and Brand Farms.

Excited yet? Let the countdown begin! In the meantime, may the asparagus and rhubarb stalks grow mightily, and may the frosts stay at bay. See you at the market!


Alexandra Cortes is the executive director of Neighborhood Roots. She has been growing with the markets since 2011.