Farmers market opens WednesdayPublished 9:40am Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Despite weather-related planting setbacks, the Albert Lea Farmers Market is slated to open for the season Wednesday in the North Broadway parking lot.
Farmers market President Verlys Huntley said the growing season is about a month behind last year, when warm weather allowed gardeners to plant two weeks early.
Because of this, Huntley said, there may be some rhubarb, asparagus and early lettuce the first week, but there may not be much other produce.
Available every week will be baked goods, eggs, jams and jellies, salsa, pickles, bedding plants and other craft items.
She said all items sold at the market are vendor-produced from within a 25-mile radius of Albert Lea.
Though construction is taking place on the north end of Broadway and a portion of Water Street, customers will have access to the lot, though parking there may be limited, she said.
Additional parking will be available on Saturdays in the Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea lot to the west.
Continuing this year will be a scanning machine equipped to handle credit and debit cards, SNAP vouchers and EBT transactions. Huntley said the first $5 spent by people using EBT cards will be matched.
There will be entertainment on Wednesdays, along with a meal served. Home-based vendors will be there, too. They can choose five days out of the season to attend.
New this year is a 10-week interactive program called Budding Farmers, in which children ages 3 to 8 can sign up to learn more about different fruits and vegetables at the market.
The program includes at least one craft project each week, lessons on a different fruit or vegetable and interaction with local vendors.
There may even be some farm visits.
Parents can sign up their children through Albert Lea Community Education for $68. The cost includes a notebook and new packet of information each week. There will also be samples of the fruits and vegetables. Huntley said people are asked to sign up by June 15 and the first class will be July 6.
The class will be led by volunteers, and Huntley said she is still looking for some people to help. Parents of the younger children participating are asked to attend with their child.
If people have questions, they can contact Huntley at 297-5546.
When is certain produce at the market?
• Late May and early June: green onions, lettuce, spinach, radishes, asparagus and rhubarb
• June: herbs, broccoli, onions, peas, kohlrabi and strawberries,
• July: green beans, yellow beans, beets and broccoli
• Late July: sweet corn, cucumbers, cauliflower, eggplant, peas, sweet onions and potatoes, raspberries, zucchini, summer squash, melons and early tomatoes
• August: early apples, green beans, beets, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, melons, onions, green peppers, hot peppers, potatoes, squash, zucchini and tomatoes
• September: apples, beets, cabbage, sweet corn, gourds, Indian corn, winter squash, melons, watermelons, musk melons, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, fall raspberries and tomatoes
• October: apples, cabbage, Indian corn, gourds, onions, potatoes, pumpkins and winter squash
Note: Timing of produce may change depending on weather conditions.