The new downtown location for the first Farmers Market of the season was filled Saturday with live music while people of all ages perused vendors’ booths, sampling products onsite and selecting handcrafted items.
The rain, which subsided mid-morning, did not dissuade customers from flocking to the area by Lyon’s Auto on North Fourth Street, which was blocked from traffic and lined with vendors, most of whom had canopied booths.
Farmers Market continues 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday, rain or shine, through Sept. 28.
The assortment of products was wide-ranging, including grass-fed beef and lamb, maple syrup, handmade jewelry, handcarved wooden signs, roasted nuts and specialty oils and vinegars.
With two young children in tow, Susan Carlson, of Grand Forks, was hoping to buy some hamburger from Tim Szymanski, of Szymanski Farms, Thief River Falls, Minn., who was marketing grass-fed beef and lamb.
“We’ll have some next week,” he promised.
Carlson said she had bought hamburger from the business before.
“I like that it’s grass-fed and locally grown," she said.
By late morning, the bacon had sold out, said Szymanski, adding that “pork chops go pretty quick.”
At the French Taste stand, a line of customers waited patiently to buy crepes, filled with bananas and strawberries, as owner Warren Sai and his helper, Abby Lund, cooked the thin pancake-like pastry on a griddle.
At another booth, Neil Wade and his wife, Cheryl Terrance, of Grand Forks, bought peanut butter cookies from the Sus C Bakery booth, where, in addition to baked goods, Mark Haux was selling jars of jam, jelly, pickled beets, salsa and sauerkraut.
The couple enjoys “the diversity in the food offerings” at the outdoors market, Terrance said. “We check out all the food -- that’s mostly what we’re here for.”
Nearby, Maartje and Casey Murphy, of Carrington, offered several flavors of gelato at their Duchessa Gelato stand.
“We use milk from our family farm to make this,” Casey Murphy said.
“Ice cream has a lot of air in it,” he told a customer. “Gelato does not; it’s very dense.”
David Bounds, of Grand Forks, was selling several types of microgreens, grown in his basement with grow lights so he can have more control over conditions, such as humidity levels.
“That makes for a better product," he said. “People are waking up to what’s in their food. And it’s not always healthy food.”
Jackie Nelson, owner of The Olive Barrel, was offering fine oil and vinegars, as well as olives, hot pickled peppers, bread and butter pickles and spicy dill pickle relish.
Her olives are imported from orchards all over the world, she said, noting that she focuses on selling Pride of Dakota and other unique products that can’t be found in other local stores.
Saturday’s event was dedicated as “Global Friends Day,” in honor of World Refugee Day, to celebrate the culture of Somalia and Kenya with music and dancing.
A different theme will be highlighted each Saturday this season, said Chelsea Jones-Thomas, Farmers Market manager.
The new location is working out “really well,” she said. “It still has that fun vibrancy.”