We like farmers markets for bringing fresh food straight from the farm to our community, but we love the markets for providing so much more than that. The markets that are now offered weekly in almost every city in our area offer live entertainment, fresh-cut flowers and a gathering place for friends. Most are organized by community members who have a passion for bringing healthy, locally grown food to their neighborhood with perhaps a little bit of entertainment mixed in. It’s a simple summer pleasure to be enjoyed weekly until the cold weather rolls in all too soon.
Here’s a list of local markets for you to browse and enjoy. If you’ve already discovered the market in your neighborhood, check out another close by. There’s a fresh option open every day of the week.
Chanhassen Farmers Market
9 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturdays through October
City Center Park, 7700 Market Blvd., Chanhassen
The Chanhassen Farmers Market is a vibrant one. Pastor Jim Bledsaw of Bethel Fellowship Community Church started the weekly market at City Center Park 12 years ago, and it has grown to include more than 15 vendors who offer a variety of produce and homemade items. “I wanted to give back to the community, and I think it means a lot to the community,” Bledsaw says. “We enjoy it immensely.”
With live music and the opportunity to socialize with neighbors, a trip to the Chanhassen Farmers Market often transcends the typical Saturday morning errand.. “We have an awfully good crowd come through, and the vendors all feel like they do very well,” Bledsaw says. “The atmosphere is really neat.”
Chaska Farmers Market at the Carver County Government Center
10 a.m.- 1 p.m. Wednesdays June 24 through October
Carver County Government Center, 600 E. Fourth Street, Chaska
The Chaska Farmers Market started in 2011 as a way to offer fresh produce and products to the more than 400 employees who work out of Carver County Government Center. “We wanted to offer healthy foods and not a flea market atmosphere,” says Kathy Paulsen, wellness program manager for Carver County. “Our employees really like going out and getting fruits, vegetables and flowers.”
It’s a popular lunch spot for employees to grab a prepared meal or even a smoothie. While the purpose of hosting this market is to offer healthy options to county employees, the public is more than welcome to stop by and pick up fresh goodies, too.
Chaska Downtown Farmers Market
3–7 p.m. Wednesdays June 3 through October 14
City Square Park, 300 Chestnut St., Chaska
Chaska residents and Highway 41 commuters on their way home from work will have another option to pick up fresh produce during the summer months. The Southwest Metro Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the city of Chaska and SayHey5k organization to offer a farmers market at City Square Park on Wednesday evenings.
The market will feature more than 20 vendors offering regular fruits, vegetables and flowers, as well as specialty items like jam, honey and jewelry. “We’ll have live entertainment and fun activities that will delight both the young and young at heart,” says Lori Anderson, president of the Southwest Metro Chamber of Commerce. “Establishing a farmers market is a great way to increase access to healthy fresh food and provide a market for local farmers, as well as local business owners in the downtown area.”
Marshalls Farm Market
11 a.m.– 6:30 p.m. daily July through November
9100 Eden Prairie Road, Eden Prairie
Experience a different kind of farmers market at a family farm-run store with produce fresh from the neighboring farm that’s only a mile and a half away. Marshall’s Farm Market uses sustainable practices and organic growing techniques to produce dozens of varieties of vegetables from potatoes to tomatoes, as well as cut flowers—and 25 different varieties of peppers. “We also raise beef, pork, chicken, turkey and lamb, and it is sold through our retail market in season and we offer free delivery of those items off season,” says Carrie Marshall, owner. “The big thing for me about our market is that we’ve kept it simple, but you can get everything you need. My favorite thing is to see kids riding their bikes up with a grocery list from their mom. We are the corner market that every corner should have.”
Produce flourishes during the summer, but there’s also plenty of fun to be had at the market in the fall when pumpkins and fall gourds are ripe.
Waconia Farmers Market
9 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday May 30 through October 3
City Square Park, 101 E. Main St., Waconia
The Waconia Farmers Market will enter its third season this summer with a new location in the southeast corner of City Square Park. “It’s a park, so there’s beautiful scenery, plus there’s a playground so that makes the moms happy,” says Tracy LeTourneau, organizer.
More than a dozen vendors are planning on being a part of the market, and there are specialty vendors offering items like cheese, lamb and coffee. The site will also be a drop-off point for the TangleTown Gardens CSA. “It’s a gorgeous location with fantastic produce,” LeTourneau says. “It’s a great Saturday morning activity.”