A farmers market is a place where local farmers, producers and artisans come together to sell their crafts to the community. While “farm” often gets the attention, it’s the latter part, the community that truly makes a market a success.
With locally sourced foods being a hot commodity and a thriving arts scene in Northeast Minneapolis, a growth in area farmers markets is a natural extension. Riverplace Market opened on June 1 at the similarly titled Riverplace Plaza, which is near the intersection of Main Street and Merriam and faces the scenic Nicollet Island. It will serve the Northeast and St. Anthony Main areas each Wednesday this summer with over 20 vendors providing a variety of foods, crafts and other artistic creations each week.
The story begins with Sentinel Management Company, which manages the Riverplace building on Main Street.
“People think of St. Anthony Main but they don’t see it as going down this far,” says event producer Stephanie Hansen, also host of 107.1’s radio show “The Weekly Dish.” “It’s kind of bringing the two ends of the street together … create more synergy between them.”
The building itself is mostly office space with numerous condos and apartments in the surrounding community. Main Street is already vibrant on weekends, so the weeknight attraction is designed with residents and workers in mind.
The market itself was planned to feature 24 vendors each week and four food trucks. Through the early stages, though, Hansen already sees room for more vendors and hopes to add another six to 10 to provide even more for visitors. Of note to the food truck community, the June 1 market was the first time St. Anthony Main had allowed trucks to park on the street.
“I’d like to be at 60 percent produce and 40 percent [other artisan creations] but it’s back-ended into June and July when the produce comes in,” Hansen says of the market’s offerings, which featured products from Creature Comfort Hot Sauce, Heath Glen’s Kitchen, Natasha’s Pierogi, Red Table Meats, Minnesota Microgreens, The Twisted Shrub, and more during its first week of operation.
She’s happy to provide a unique flair though. “The setting is beautiful, we got a home run with that,” she notes, and to increase the dynamic feel of Riverplace Market, there is live acoustic music each week paired with arts vendors. Hansen personally reached out personally to A-Mill Artist Lofts to occupy one of the 24 tents each week.
“I think it’s cool to have a mix,” says Leah Bartizal of Consume to Survive, a jewelry maker from the A-Mill collective. “And it’s representative of the local demographics. This is a huge artist community. It would be weird to go to a market and not find artists and just find veggies.”
With 16 years at other markets in the metro, Dorothy Stainbrook of Heath Glen’s Kitchen likes what she sees in Riverplace Market’s infancy. “There are so many markets now that it takes a while,” she says. “They say you’ll know for sure after three years.”
Hansen is already working to fit more into the space, learning and adjusting as she goes. “We need to do a better job of orienting the food truck community, they’re too far away,” she says. “And some signage,” she adds, updating her to do list.
With a dense population and a unique time slot on Wednesday evenings, she expects the market to prosper. “Everybody likes the space and says it has potential,” she recaps. Ultimately Riverplace Market will provide a place to get local Riverplace flavor, from jams and jellies to music and fine art.
At a glance: Riverplace Market
When: Wednesday, 3–7 p.m.
Where: Main & Merriam Streets