train shed

Mill City Farmers Market hosts Harvest Social Dinner

On Sunday, Sept. 9, the historic Mill City Farmers Market train shed will transform from a bustling grocery destination to an elegant benefit dinner. This annual fundraiser, the Harvest Social, takes place from 4:30 p.m.–7 p.m. and is an opportunity for the market to raise money for its Charitable Fund. Founded in 2017, the Mill City Farmers Market Charitable Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers a robust grant program for local farmers and food makers, free public cooking classes and wellness programs and supports food access and community development throughout the region.

The Harvest Social is not only a chance to contribute to the market’s programs and mission of “supporting a healthier community,” but also a chance to celebrate the fall harvest. Market chefs Jenny Breen, Nettie Colón of Red Hen Gastrolab and Beth Jones of the University of Minnesota Campus Club will be preparing an abundant dinner using seasonal produce and pasture-raised meat donated from the Mill City Farmers Market’s farmers. Highlights from this year’s menu include a trendy smashed cucumber appetizer, a signature Bootlegger Cocktail from Twin Spirits Distillery, an heirloom tomato and farmstead cheese platter, roasted turkey with North African piri piri sauce (recipe below) and desserts from James Beard Award-nominated market vendor Salty Tart Bakery.

Guests will also enjoy a panel discussion from recipients of the Mill City Farmers Market Charitable Fund’s Next Stage Grant program, which has granted over $90,000 and 50 grants to local farmers and food makers who are improving sustainable farming and business practices or growing toward the next stage of their local food businesses. The panel will include Laura Frerichs of Loon Organics Farm, Joe Silberschmidt of You Betcha Kimchi, Mhonpaj and May Lee of Mhonpaj’s Garden and Emily Hanson of Whetson Farm.

The night also includes live jazz music from Orange Mighty Trio and silent and live auctions featuring truly unique items such as dinner with former Vice President Walter Mondale, an artisan noodle making class with the owners of Dumpling & Strand and a year’s worth of market breakfasts!

Tickets for the Harvest Social on Sunday, Sept. 9 are $125. They can be purchased at the Saturday, Sept. 8 market or online at

Nettie Colón’s North African piri piri sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons Aleppo chili flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seed
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • **1 cup fresh cilantro


For the sauce, mix chili flakes, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, salt, sugar, red pepper and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping the sides of the bowl. Combine lemon juice and vinegar together in a pouring cup and drizzle into the food processor while the machine is still running. The sauce is ready when all the ingredients combine together into a sauce.

Keep sauce refrigerated for up to one week. When ready to use just take out of refrigerator a half-hour before using.

**Save the cilantro for later to sprinkle atop the piri piri sauce when ready to serve. Piri piri sauce is excellent on roasted turkey or chicken with grilled seasonal vegetables.