Farmers markets grow throughout regionMore will bloom in the future as people switch to home grown food Overall the number of farmers markets in North Dakota is increasing. Consumers can access locally produced meat and plant products easily through farmers markets and interact with their food’s grower.
By: Brandi Jewett, Grand Forks Herald
While overcast skies hung overhead on Saturday, hundreds still flocked to Town Square in Grand Forks to find fresh food and artwork at the weekly farmers market.
Starting at 9 a.m., shoppers could purchase items like rhubarb, lefse, homemade soap, coffee, jewelry, turkey jerky and wooden cartoon characters to place in their yard. Even kohlrabi — a type of cabbage also known as a German turnip — was available.
Karen McBride’s tables were nearly bare by 10:30 a.m. Only a few bundles of Swiss chard and a bucket of dill sprigs remained.
“I always have chard left because I bring so much,” she said.
McBride, a dietetic nutritionist by trade, said she has been coming to the Town Square Farmers Market for three years. When she couldn’t find a job in her field, she began growing chemical and pesticide free produce.
“I thought I’d help people with their nutrition another way,” she said.
“I’m giving them a choice to eat healthy,” she added, while modeling her lime green t-shirt with “Lettuce Eat Well” printed on the back.
McBride said she hands out business cards and puts customers on an email list to let them know what she will have at the market each Saturday.
The future for farmers markets is looking as bright as a ripe tomato.
Stacy Baldus with the North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association said 38 farmers markets are members of the organization this year, an increase from past years.
That doesn’t mean there are only 38 farmers markets in the state she said. Other markets not registered with the NDFMGA also exist.
The markets who choose to be members of the association pay dues but are also eligible for grants that provide funding for marketing items and market exploration services.
Overall the number of farmers markets in North Dakota is increasing. Baldus said there are a few reasons for this.
“Interest in local food growing has risen,” she said. More people are also planting their own gardens, leading to farmers market startups.
The focus on healthy living by state agencies such as the North Dakota Department of Agriculture may also be playing a role in the increase Baldus said.
The “buying local” trend can be observed across the United States.
“It’s a nationwide movement,” said Baldus.
The United States Department of Agriculture began keeping track of farmers markets in 1994, publishing the National Directory of Farmers Markets. In its first year the directory listed 1,755 farmers markets.
Data from the directory shows a steady increase of markets over the 16-year period.
From 2009 to 2010, the USDA found that the number of farmers markets in the U.S. increased from 5,274 to 6,132, or 16 percent.
The numbers are expected to increase as farmers markets continue to gain popularity.
The NDFMGA and the USDA both list benefits of buying local at farmers markets. Both producers and consumers benefit from the operation of local markets.
Small and medium-sized producers can use the markets as a point of entry into the agricultural marketplace says the USDA. The NDFMGA also notes they allow small, family farms to remain viable.
Consumers can access locally produced meat and plant products easily through farmers markets both organizations say. They can also interact with their food’s grower.
A community can also benefit from a local market.
“Farmers markets allow people to come together, allowing connections and positive relationships to be built while keeping our food dollars in our own communities,” says the NDFMGA on its website.
Farmers markets in some communities may also participate in assistance programs, providing access to farm-fresh food to those who may otherwise not be able to afford it.
Nearby markets in North Dakota
• Cando: Thursdays 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., from July 14 to Sept. 29. Located at Cando City Park.
• Cavalier: Fridays 5 p.m. Located at Pembina Country Historical Grounds, 5 miles west of town.
• Devils Lake: Saturdays 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., from July 23 to Oct. 8. Located at the corner of 5th Street and 4th Avenue.
• Fargo: Down at the Dike: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., July 6 to Oct. 31. Located at 100 2nd Street South. Great Plains; Produce Association Community Farmers Market: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., mid-June to Oct. Located at Dike East Park
• Hatton: Saturdays 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., July to September. Located at Beautification Committee Park, 1009 Dakota Ave.
• Langdon: Thursdays 4p.m., from July to October. Located at St. Alphonsus Park.
• Manvel: Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., from June to September. Located on Main Street.
• Walhalla: Saturdays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., from June to October. Located on Central Avenue next to McDonalds Bar.
• West Fargo: Farmers Market and Beyond, Thursdays 4p.m. to 7 p.m. from July 7 to Oct. 6 and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from July 30 to Oct. 8. Located at South Elmwood Park Lot, 500 13th Ave. W.
Nearby markets in Minnesota
• Bagley: Fridays 4 p.m. to 6p.m., July to September. Located at U.S. Highway 2 and Getchell Avenue.
• Bemidji: Area Farmers Market: Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., late June to Nov. 1. Located at 200 Paul Bunyan Dr. S.; Natural Choice Farmers Market: Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 18 to November. Located on Second Street and Beltrami Avenue.
• Crookston: Tuesdays and Fridays 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., mid-June to September. Located at the Polk County Historical Grounds.
• Fosston: Saturdays 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., May to September. Located in Melland Park.
• Mentor: Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., year round. Located in the Mentor City Park from Memorial Day until September. Located at the Mentor Community Center from October until Memorial Day.
• Red Lake: Fridays 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., July 1 to Oct. 1. Located at the Red Lake Hospital Complex.
• Thief River Falls: Saturdays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., July to September. Located at the Peder Engelstad Pioneer Village.