Farmers’ market planning family friendly activities

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 23, 2003

Everybody’s crazy for strawberries, and to celebrate that, the Albert Lea Farmers’ Market is holding a strawberry festival.

Walking tacos, fresh strawberry malts and shakes (made with Dairy Queen soft-serve ice cream and locally grown strawberries) and old-fashioned strawberry sundaes will be sold from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at the farmers’ market, located in the city parking lot at the corner of Water Street and North Broadway Avenue. Bakers also plan to have some strawberry items for sale that day.

According to Verlys Huntley of the market, organizers hope to have a family event once a month. &uot;We want to be known as a family-friendly place,&uot; she said.

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On July 16, Destination: Albert Lea will co-host a grilled pork sandwich supper. In August, there will be a sweet corn feed and bratwurst and hot dogs, and fall will bring events related to pumpkins or apples, Huntley said.

But for now, strawberries seem to be what everyone wants. A crowd of customers gathered early Saturday morning and what growers had brought sold out immediately, Huntley said.

&uot;You have to come early if you want strawberries,&uot; she said.

But there are many other items for sale now as well, and the variety increases as the growing season goes on. People can find not only locally grown items, but home-baked goods, too.

And the market is accepting crafters as members this year. The first time they come to sell their handmade wares is free. After that, it’s a five-time permit for $20.

Vegetable growers and bakers must buy a full-season pass for $55. Members come from a 35-mile radius.

&uot;We want local people who come back time after time,&uot; Huntley said. &uot;People can be assured of the quality and consistency that way.&uot;

Huntley also said the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, part of the Women, Infants and Children program, went into effect on June 15 and income-eligible people can now get vouchers to spend at the market. &uot;It’s similar to how they can buy at the grocery store,&uot; she said.

The Albert Lea Farmers’ Market is open from 4-6 p.m. Wednesdays and from 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays.