Farmington Farmers Market largest yet

With 20 vendors, the city’s market has grown since it started five years ago

More than 350 people turned up to the first Farmington Farmers Market of the season. With 20 vendors, the city kicks off its biggest market yet. (Photo by Theresa Malloy)

More than 350 people turned up to the first Farmington Farmers Market of the season. With 20 vendors, the city kicks off its biggest market yet. (Photo by Theresa Malloy)

The Farmington Farmers Market is back with 20 vendors, the most it has seen in its five years. Market Manager Cindy Muller estimates that more than 350 people attended the opening day of the season Thursday, June 13.

“What I am most looking forward to is probably just providing a nice variety of products,” Muller said. Shoppers can look forward 20 vendors with products ranging from homemade sauces, elk meat, new produce vendors and homemade soda. All vendors must live within 60 miles of Farmington.

More than 350 people turned up to the first Farmington Farmers Market of the season. With 20 vendors, the city kicks off its biggest market yet. (Photo by Theresa Malloy)

More than 350 people turned up to the first Farmington Farmers Market of the season. With 20 vendors, the city kicks off its biggest market yet. (Photo by Theresa Malloy)

Market shoppers can also get free advice from the University of Minnesota Extension Dakota County master gardeners. Master gardeners go through a training process and carry a large binder to answer gardening questions. Bertha Carter from Rosemount and Trish Johnson of Hampton were the gardeners on hand Thursday.

With the bout of bad weather, the most common questions included: Can I still plant seeds? Can you plant vegetables in the shade? Carter and Johnson said yes it is not too late to plant, and vegetables do need sunlight to grow.

The weather has taken a toll on most farmers. The late spring and heavy rain throughout June means difficulty sustaining crops.

“It is terrible for any farming,” said new vendor Dave Smith, owner of Elk Haven Farms whose farm is about 10 miles south of Farmington. While Smith offers choice elk meat and steaks, his table did not have the fresh vegetables he usually carries.

“Nothing is growing,” his dad, Gary Smith, a fellow owner said. They grow alfalfa and oats to feed the elk, but a lot was lost in the early spring frost. Gary Smith’s hay business is suffering as well.

The two remain cautiously optimistic as they wait for the crops they have reseeded to begin growing.

“It’s just farming,” Dave Smith said. They hope to offer more fresh vegetables later in the season.

Returning vendor Char Smith of Char’s Bars saw a good first day at the market.

“I enjoying being in this market,” she said. “The locals come out and shop.”

Smith offers handcrafted organic soaps, oils, lotions and other products that include her own essential oils and some ingredients from her garden.

The market runs from 2:30-6:30 p.m. every Thursday through Sept. 26, with the exception of July 4 and Aug. 8, in front of City Hall between Oak and Spruce Streets. People can receive a free downtown Farmington Farmers’ Market bag while supplies last. For a list of special events and vendors, visit ci.farmington.mn.us.

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