VOICES // Meet the market

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August 1, 2011
By: Martin brown
Martin brown

A pioneer in farmers markets


Something I hear frequently while I’m out in the community promoting the Northeast Farmers Market is “Oh, that new market the co-op started at 7th and University?” And I gotta tell you, folks, you’ve got it all backward!

The truth is that we are actually the oldest community-based farmers market in Minneapolis. And the Eastside Food Co-op didn’t give us our initial kick — we began as a fundraiser for the co-op 12 years ago.

The market was one of the many “best kept Northeast secrets” for five years before the co-op opened. Although the vendors were getting by, the market itself never turned the profit that the founders were hoping would jump start the co-op. And it’s as true today as it was back then: The Northeast Farmers Market isn’t here to make a profit. It’s here because it’s a neighborhood asset. After several seasons as a project of the St. Anthony West Neighborhood Association, the market went independent three years ago.    

As an independent nonprofit, we are able to provide a broad range of services to the community. First and foremost, we bring our awesome vendors to you on Saturday mornings. And they are awesome. Hardworking farmers with the freshest produce you could ask for. Homemade hot sauce, honey, coffee, kombucha, kale chips, cheese ... not to mention jerky, jellies, jams and breads. And the fill-you up essentials: breakfast courtesy of Tantalize Sweets and Savories and the Roving Dish, lunch from the Caribbean Kitchen, and, for dinner, that incredible Maple Crest organic, grassfed beef.

We also act as a business incubator for more than a dozen other vendors providing services including acupuncture, chiropractic and massage, plus a variety of arts and crafts products.

That’s not all, though. We provide kids programming and music for your enjoyment every weekend. We host Northeast chefs on the third Saturday of every month for cooking demonstrations that are both educational and fun. We offer space to nonprofits at no charge to raise awareness of issues affecting our community and services available. We accept EBT/food stamp benefits to ensure fair access for all. And, of course, we have regular special events that many people can’t imagine the summer without.

(And, although no one wants to hear about it now, we cohost a winter market with the Eastside Food Co-op. Still friends, after all these years.)

The secret’s out! Come down and see what you’ve been missing.

Martin Brown is the outreach coordinator for the Northeast Farmers Market.

FYI
The Northeast Farmers Market
Where: University & 7th avenues NE
When: 9 a.m.–1 p.m. on Saturdays. Connect on Facebook, Twitter and the bulletin board at your favorite Northeast coffeeshop.
Website: nemplsfarmersmarket.com.