Farmers Market Update: Minneapolis

by | Oct 23, 2011
Minneapolis Farmers Market

Minneapolis Farmers Market

Bruce Bradley is a consultant, author, blogger and lifelong foodie from Minneapolis, Minnesota. After working for over 15 years as a marketer for several of the world’s largest food companies, Bruce finally awakened to “the green side of life” and is an avid supporter of the eat local, real food movement. He now offers his unique insider’s perspective on processed foods via his blog and a soon-to-be-released novel, FAT PROFITS. To learn more about Bruce Bradley you can subscribe to his blog, follow him on Twitter @authorbruce or check him out on Facebook.

Farmers Market Update: Minneapolis, Minnesota

by Bruce Bradley

Minneapolis Farmers Market Sign

Minneapolis Farmers Market Sign

The Minneapolis Farmers Market has been a long-standing fixture of the Twin Cities fresh produce scene. Its current Lyndale Market location opened in 1937, but its roots trace back to a fruit and vegetable market established in 1876. Located on the outskirts of downtown, the Minneapolis Farmers Market is held outdoors under three huge red sheds and stakes claim to the title “Largest Open Air Market in the Upper Midwest.”

Run by the Central Minnesota Vegetable Growers Association, the farmers market is open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., 7 days a week from May to December. On Thursdays, a special farmers market is held downtown along Nicollet Mall, a place made famous by Mary Tyler Moore’s hat toss in the opening credits of her 1970’s sitcom.

Minneapolis Farmers Market

Minneapolis Farmers Market

I decided to visit the farmers market downtown this week. It was a beautiful, sunny Indian Summer day in Minneapolis. Fall is at its peak here, so the red, orange, and yellow trees lining the streets created a wonderful backdrop to my shopping adventure.

Although many summer vegetables like tomatoes, green beans, and corn were still plentiful, fall vegetables have taken center stage. Brussel sprout stalks and squashes were available at many vendors and a number of local Apple Orchards were showing off their amazing crop.

Apples

Apples

During the summer my CSA keeps me pretty well stocked in vegetables. Although I love the CSA experience, what I miss about the farmers market is getting to choose exactly what I’m going to buy. That said, the hardest part of shopping at the farmers market is wanting to take home a little bit of everything and this week was no exception. Take a look at these squash! I love squash, especially all the fall varieties. Although these beautiful Carnival Squashes were calling my name, after reading Summer Tomato’s recipe for Delicata Squash, I knew delicata was on the top of my shopping list.

Winter Squash

Winter Squash

If you love food and you haven’t gone to your local farmers market, you’re really missing out. It’s a great place to explore different varieties of vegetables that you just can’t find at your local grocery store, like these white radishes …

White Radishes

White Radishes

and these Indian eggplant …

Eggplant

Eggplant

Spinach is one of my personal favorites, and these were so green and fresh. I love making spinach salad, sautéed spinach, or … some creamy spinach soup would be especially perfect on a cool fall day. The vendor assured me she would have some more spinach this weekend, so I passed on it for now. But believe me, it was tough call.

Spinach

Spinach

Raspberries are my son’s favorite, and I think the best varieties ripen in the fall. Not only are they more flavorful, but they’re also a little bit sweeter than the ones that are available during the summer. These will be perfect for dessert or breakfast in the morning, so they’re a definite addition to my bag.

Raspberries

Raspberries

Variety is the spice of life, and it’s always fun to check out things you’ve never seen before. Seed heads from sunflowers were new to me this trip. Although I love experimenting, my bag was already getting pretty full, so I passed on these beauties for now.

Dry Sunflowers

Dry Sunflowers

I also was tempted by these red moon beans. Their rich purple color was very alluring, but the vendor didn’t understand English so I couldn’t learn anything about them. I Googled them when I got home, but unfortunately I still couldn’t find anything about them. Does anybody know about this variety of bean? I’d love to learn more about them so please share what you know in the comments.

Red Moon Beams

Red Moon Beams

Fresh smells are one of my favorite parts of shopping at farmers markets. I was standing a few stalls down wind from this huge bunch of dill weed and it caught my nose’s immediate attention. Yum!

Dill

Dill

Next to the dill was a colorful array of chili peppers, tomatoes, beets, and potatoes. I LOVE beets, so they were an easy choice for me to add to my bag.

Chilies and Beets

Chilies and Beets

When you read Summer Tomato’s Farmers Market updates, you learn how each area of the country (and world) has their own specialties, so I thought I’d feature a couple items that I think are a little more unique to the Upper Midwest:

Pickles are a local favorite in Minnesota. Everyone seems to have their own secret recipe, and it’s something I’d like to try my hand at making sometime. The pickle bar at the farmers market is a great place to figure out exactly what your favorite type of pickle is and buy it. Bread and butter pickles are hands down my top choice.

Pickles

Pickles

Two other local foods from our neighbor to the east, Wisconsin, are cheese and cranberries. I had never heard of “cheese curds” until I moved to Minnesota. Although I don’t buy them very often, they’re amazing especially when fresh. These curds were made yesterday from rBGH free milk, so I couldn’t resist them. And as any Wisconsin native will tell you, the only way to know if your cheese curds are fresh is to taste them. If they squeak between your teeth, they’re fresh, and these were squeakingly delicious.

Cheese Curds and Cranberries

Cheese Curds and Cranberries

Now while everyone knows cheese is a huge Wisconsin favorite, not many people know that Wisconsin is the country’s largest producer of cranberries. I didn’t pick up any of these plump berries this week, but I made a mental note to get them in a couple weeks. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and there’s nothing better than a fresh cranberry relish.

My Purchases

My Purchases

What I bought (pictured above):

  • Corn
  • Delicata squash (I’m going back for more. I just made Darya’s Delicata Squash recipe and it was AMAZING!)
  • Butternut Squash
  • Ambercup Squash
  • Beets
  • Green Beans
  • Cheese Curds – Ellsworth Creamery
  • Raspberries (Unfortunately they got a little crushed. Maybe I should order one of Darya’s new Mercado bags.)
I <3 Farmers Markets

I <3 Farmers Markets

Tags: , , , , ,
You deserve to feel great, look great and LOVE your body
Let me show you how with my FREE starter kit for getting healthy
and losing weight without dieting.

Where should I send your free information?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

9 Responses to “Farmers Market Update: Minneapolis”

  1. Nice! Makes we want to go. I especially love the massive trunk of brussel sprouts. Yum!

    • Yes, I just made up a bunch of them this weekend. Delicious! As a child my mother made frozen brussels sprouts and then boiled them to death. Needless to say it has taken me a couple decades to overcome that abuse. Now that I’ve discovered fresh is best, I absolutely LOVE then.

  2. Darrin says:

    Having lived in Minneapolis for several years, this brings back many fond memories. The Minneapolis Farmer’s Market is pretty epic and a must-do for anyone who lives or visits there!

    • I totally agree Darrin. The Minneapolis Farmers Market is a Minnesota must-do. The food, the experience, the people watching … all just a wonderful, positive experience!

  3. Those brussels look unreal!! I’m looking forward to your book coming out. Thanks!

    • Thanks Burnt Carrots. Hopefully I can get Darya to do an update when it hits bookstands, but you can always follow my progress on my website as well.

      Thanks,
      Bruce Bradley

  4. Rachel says:

    Yay! I live in the southern suburbs of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro, and I was glad to see a post so close to home. I’ve never been to this market, but it sure looks great! 🙂

    • You should try it out sometime. It certainly has the most selection of any of the farmers markets I’ve been to around here. And it’s always cool to try out something new, right? Variety is the spice of life!

  5. Dan K. emailed with some information about the red moon beans I pictured in the Minneapolis Farmers Market post. He said:

    “Saw the pic of these beans on summer tomato. They look to be the purple version of Italian beans such as Roma or Romano. Not sure of the exact variety they are but this is a starting place to look. Unfortunately they will turn green in cooking.”

Leave a Reply to Darrin

Want a picture next to your comment? Click here to register your email address for a Gravatar you can use on most websites.


Please be respectful. Thoughtful critiques are welcome, but rudeness is not. Please help keep this community awesome.