It’s a happy day in Linden Hills! I don’t know about you, but walking over to the new market today felt like going home after a long absence. Some of us miss the co-op as it used to be, and now, to take its place is one of the best markets I’ve seen in Minneapolis. I know, I know, the farmers market is not going to take the place of the co-op, but I believe it will foster something that has been missing in Linden Hills since its move a couple of years ago. This little market is sure to bring a crowd of local, veg-loving, farmer supporters to Linden Hills downtown once again. Compared to other markets, this one will act as a not only a catalyst of support for local farmers, but will also bring business to downtown in general. I don’t think many other markets in the metro area have that dual ability. When the co-op was in its old location, community gathered. People walked downtown, stopped by the library and had a cup of coffee at Dunn Brothers. Unfortunately, its new location doesn’t provide that same sense of community. The new co-op tends to be a drive in and drive out affair, at least for me, so I’m elated to be able to return to my old stomping grounds!
Last year when I heard about the Fulton Market I was so excited about having a market within walking distance. I anticipated being able to find a variety of veg from local farmers, but when I got there, I was disappointed to find very few farmers, and an overabundance of breads, pastries, prepared foods and preserves. I ended up spending the summer going to the Kingfield market instead. So, when the announcement came that Linden Hills was planning to start their own market, I was a bit more cautious in my enthusiasm. For the last few months I envisioned a tidy little market with lots of young farmers, a variety of veg, some vendors with heirloom plants, a few purveyors of packaged products like honey and cheese and maybe even somebody selling sprouts. Every time I found myself thinking about the Linden Hills market opening day, I had to remind myself that I may end up disappointed. Boy, let me tell you, this market lived up to my wildest dream! If I were giving awards, I would say it is the best market in the city! Of course, I am biased, but it is true.
I was awed by the number of farmers there today, and thrilled to see so many young start-ups! Perhaps the lack of vendors available for new markets was a blessing in disguise for us, as this market may have pulled a few newbies out of their shells! The variety of veg was not overwhelming, but satisfied my raw food dreams. There were snap peas, lots of salad greens, radishes, spring onions, bok choi, rhubarb, strawberries and hand-snipped-with-a-scissors sunflower sprouts, pea shoots and other micro greens! The amount of respect and admiration I have for a farmer who will do that for me is unquantifiable. In addition to edible greens and other veg, there were quite a lot of plants for sale. I saw a good variety of perennials, herbs and many heirloom veggies. As I tend towards beauty in life, I noticed that many of today’s displays were creative, tasteful and eco-friendly eye-candy! Green was a common theme!
In fact, to my delight, green things ruled today’s market. The balance was not tipped by too many breads or pastries, and I thought there was a nice blend of vendors with value-added products. Packaged goodies didn’t steal the show as they do at the Fulton Market. Star Thrower Farm impressed this vegetarian with their extreme respect for the animal. They brought to vend cheese, meat, soap, wool yarn and sheepskins. The honey vendor, Bare Honey had a lovely variety of herb and spice infused product – something you don’t see much. One of the farmer’s mothers is enamored with drying strawberries – what a delectable treat for a cold winter breakfast over oatmeal or granola! Not that we want to think of that yet.
I just about cried when I saw that Foxy Falafel was only selling sauces today, but then quite relieved to find that Foxy was at her brother’s wedding this weekend and will bring the food truck starting next week. If you haven’t tried Foxy’s Falafel yet, you’re in for a treat!
To those of you who organized this market, BRAVO! To the farmers who chose to vend in this location, A MILLION THANKS! You have returned a missing piece of life to Downtown Linden Hills and can be assured that we will support you!