About two-and-a-half years ago I was driving down Nicollet Avenue with my son, Harry, and my then-pregnant wife Jen after having signed documents to purchase a house in the Lynnhurst neighborhood.
After spending the bulk of my life on the East Coast (with a detour to Maple Grove for a few years), I was looking forward to establishing roots in Minneapolis. A few blocks into the drive I remember stumbling upon the bustling Kingfield Farmers Market and instantly feeling like I made the right decision to buy our house where we did.
Over the last few market seasons, Sundays mean one thing in the Bresler house: market day!
My son asks all week if it’s the weekend yet, knowing that when the time comes we get go on a “date” to the market. Much to his chagrin, his sister Kensie now joins us on the dates as well.
Luckily for me, they both love the local food vendors. From the second Harry gets up on Sunday he asks about the sprinkled cake donuts from Bogart’s, which is always the first stop. Although Kensie likes to imitate her brother, she prefers the brown butter-glazed, which is my favorite as well.
From there, the second stop is to pick up a drink. Believe it or not, Harry loves any vinegary drink, so shrubs from Calvit’s Shrubs or Double Dog Kombucha usually do the trick. He makes it a point to try all the samples even though he almost always picks the same thing (Tomatillo, Tamarind and Hibiscus Flowers with Club Soda).
I go straight to Café Palmira for a cold press coffee and a lemonade for Kensie. Although the coffee obviously doesn’t come from Minnesota, I love to the story of the Palacios family and the family farm back in Guatemala.
After distracting the kids with treats, its time to shop for the week.
My next stop is almost always Dumpling & Strand for fresh pasta. My two favorites are the MinneSoba made with Minnesota wild rice and the toasted farro cavatappi. From there, it’s usually a quick jaunt to pick up a baguette from Sun Street Breads, then a stop at Wild Run Salmon to pick up some wild caught Alaskan salmon and get cooking tips from the actual guy that caught it.
Last stop before veggies is Sunshine Harvest Farm, always some of the friendliest folks at the market. I pick up chicken for my wife, bacon brats for me and burgers for my son.
Then it’s on to vegetables for the week. There are too many vendors to mention every one by name, but this time of the year I love to get fresh rhubarb to make a simple syrup for cocktails and garlic scapes to make a pesto.
After settling into chairs to listen to whatever live music is being played that day, we turn our attention to hot food. Once again it’s a separate stop for each kid.
For Kensie we go straight to the fresh, hot pizza from Northern Fire or whatever the paella of the day is from Twin Cities Paella. For Harry, it’s straight to the Chef Shack truck for whatever looks good that day.
After getting so much out of the Kingfield market, I decided to get more involved this year and joined the board of directors of Neighborhood Roots in the late fall of 2017. Most folks don’t know that Neighborhood Roots operates the Kingfield, Fulton and Nokomis farmers markets as well as the winter markets at Bachman’s. It takes dozens of dedicated volunteers to run those markets each and every week.
While vendors pay a fee to be at the market, the bulk of the operating budget comes from business sponsorships and individual donations. Another thing many don’t realize is that farmers markets make up a unique part of the U.S. tax code as 501(c)4 organizations — meaning, although they are nonprofits, contributions are generally not tax deductible. Because of this, patrons don’t often think about donating to the market.
If the market has become a central part of your family’s routine on the weekend I encourage you to get involved. For volunteer or sponsorship opportunities, contact us at [email protected]. Also, look for more information at the markets this summer for ways to give back financially.
See you there this weekend!
David Bresler is a resident of the Lynnhurst neighborhood and serves on the board of directors for Neighborhood Roots.