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SHOP LOCAL: 13 MSP FARMERS MARKETS YOU NEED TO HIT UP

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Gina Van Thomme

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Minnesotans don’t take above-freezing temperatures for granted, so when farmers market season comes around, we go all in. We’re talking live music, catching up with neighbors and friends, feasting on food truck fare, and tons of locally-grown goods.

And while you can easily knock out your grocery list picking up straight-from-the-garden produce, freshly-cut flowers, and more dairy than you can carry, we’ve gotta level with you for a minute: Minnesotan farmers markets feel way more ‘block party’ than ‘big-box’.

Here are our top picks for the Minnesota markets that make food shopping fun, while proving that any opportunity to shed your parka to head outside is an opportunity for celebration.

Just a few blocks away from 50th & France and Lake Nokomis, Fulton Farmers Market is a must-visit before a day of shopping, sun-bathing, or summer activities of any kind. With pies, waffles, bagels, and more, this market is a bruncher’s paradise and features live music. How’s that for breakfast and a show? Saturdays, 8:30am to 1pm, May to October.

Richfield Farmers Market truly caters to you. In addition to the local food and produce, artisans selling their wares, and live music throughout, they make a Saturday morning commute easy as the pie you may buy. With free parking in the neighboring lot, bike racks, and an easy hop on/off the #5 bus, all you’ll really need is your tote and an idea of what to make for dinner. Saturdays, 7am to 12pm, May to October.

The Minneapolis Farmers Market is the top of the food chain among Minnesota markets. From radishes to raspberries to roses, any of the three Minneapolis markets will have it… and then some. Between picking out a fresh bouquet from the Lyndale market’s refrigerated warehouse, finding the produce you need for meal prep, grabbing a bite to eat, and walking through the offerings of 200+ vendors, it’s easy to lose track of time — thank goodness for the market’s 25 cent parking! Lyndale: Daily, 6am to 1pm, May to November | Government Center: Tuesdays, 9am to 3pm, May to November | Nicollet Mall: Thursdays, 6am to 6pm, May to November.

Not a morning person? No problem. Nokomis’ afternoon market means you don’t have to skimp on your sleep to get your hands on farmers market staples including fruits, veggies, dairy products, and arts and craft items from local makers. Bonus: because the market is held Wednesdays, it is the perfect chance to restock your fridge for the second half of the week. Wednesdays, 4pm to 8pm, June to September.

Minneapolis might be the biggest town in the state, but you’d never guess it by attending the Northeast Farmers Market. Nestled into a church parking lot a few blocks away from the Mississippi (and some of the best trails in town!), market attendees can get a taste of Northeast close-knit community and fresh fare from more than 20 local farmers and growers. Saturdays, 9am to 1pm, May to October.

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Whether you’re a rising Food Network star or the most advanced cooking technique you know if pressing ‘start’ on the microwave, you’ll find something to love at Linden’s market. Stock up on fresh local ingredients, grab a prepared bite to eat from the market’s vendors or do both and you’ll be well on your way to making all of your Sunday Funday dreams come true. Sundays, 9am to 1pm, May to October.

Just off the Stone Arch Bridge, the Mill City Farmers Market makes it super easy to get a good Instagram pic and—thanks to an amazing line-up of food trucks, bakeries, and coffee bars—super hard to resist buying one of everything. Come for the views and the vendors, stay for the live cooking demos, music, and people-watching. Saturdays, 8am to 1pm, May to October.

Summer school almost seems bearable thanks to the addition of the U of M’s Farmers Market. Vendors from up to two hours away join the U’s student-managed farm to deliver a variety of fruits and veggies, flowers, and food truck fare to campus. Yeah, this one definitely earns a farmers market 4.0. Wednesdays, 11am to 2pm, July to September.

What was once the site of a single pickup truck selling vegetables has become the two-time winner of the City Pages Best Farmers Market Award. And while Kingfield is still a great place to grab fresh fruits and veggies, it has also grown to include a huge selection of ready-to-eat foods, handmade goods (knitwear, pet toys, and pottery are all represented!), and live entertainment. We give this one two green thumbs up! Sundays, 8:30am to 1pm, May to October.

This Uptown market is the perfect place to fill up on fresh food, check out locally-made goods, and celebrate Minnesota summers. A smaller market packed with friendly vendors, Whittier has a laid-back, neighborhood vibe that is the perfect kick-off to your weekend — not to mention a prime location near the foodie paradise that is Eat Street. Saturdays, 8:30am to 1pm, June to September.

Unwind after a long workweek at North Minneapolis’ West Broadway Farmers Market. With live performances, food vendors, freshly-grown produce, and space for community gathering, West Broadway feels half farmers market and half cookout… and the entirely best way to kick off your weekend. Fridays, 3pm to 7pm, June to October.

Although the name suggests otherwise, the St. Paul Farmers’ Market is actually many markets—about 20 this year!—throughout the metro area. While you can likely find a market close to you, we recommend heading down to the main Lowertown location (you can even get your car valet parked for $5 if you’re feeling fancy!) and perusing the aisles of good ol’ Minnesota produce (all of which is grown within 50 miles of the TC). Lowertown: Saturdays, 6am to 1pm; Sundays, 8am to 1pm, April to November.

This South Minneapolis farmers market is right off of a light rail stop, making it even easier to get your fix of locally-grown goods. And while you can always find some of the best local eats, you can also count on variety: between shifting seasonal offerings and special events ranging from musical performances to blood drives to Zumba classes, this market is always keeping it fresh. Saturdays, 8am to 1pm, May to October; Tuesdays, 3pm to 7pm, June to October.

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Stay up to date on what’s happening in the Twin Cities health and fitness scene.

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