Farmers market season opens this Wednesday

Published 9:05 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Albert Lea and Freeborn County residents will soon be able to wander through tables of locally produced fruits and vegetables, meat and handmade goods available for purchase.

On Wednesday, the Albert Lea Farmers Market will open its season in the North Broadway Avenue parking lot, next to the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center in downtown Albert Lea.

Verlys Huntley, president of the Farmers Market Board of Directors, said because it is still early in the season there won’t be a lot of produce available yet; however, people can expect to see fresh meats, eggs, baked goods, jams, jellies and crafts.

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There will also be asparagus and rhubarb, along with other bedding plants.

American Legion Leo Carey Post 56 will serve food.

Huntley said in late May or early June people can expect to see green onions, lettuce, spinach, radishes, asparagus and rhubarb.

In June there will be broccoli, onions, peas and strawberries.

July will bring green beans, yellow beans, beets and broccoli, and by late July there may be sweet corn, cucumbers, cauliflower, eggplant, peas, sweet onions and potatoes, she said.

In late July or early August there will be raspberries, tomatoes and zucchini.

In August, there will be early apples, green beans, beets, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, melons, onions, green peppers, hot peppers, potatoes, squash, zucchini and tomatoes.

By September there should be more apples, beets, cabbage, sweet corn, gourds, Indian corn, winter squash, melons, watermelons, muskmelons, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, fall raspberries and tomatoes.

October will bring produce more tolerant of cold weather, including apples, cabbage, Indian corn, gourds, onions, potatoes, pumpkins and winter squash.

Baked goods, jams, jellies, eggs, meats and crafts will be available all months.

Huntley estimated there will be more vendors than last year, when there were 42.

“We’re never quite sure what these new vendors are going to bring,” she said.

Once the season gets going, there will be a weekly drawing for a basket of produce donated by the vendors.

Different nonprofit organizations are set up to sell a meal each week, and there should be entertainment lined up throughout the season, she added.

“With the emphasis in the city on nutrition last year — and hopefully again this year — we’re hoping people will come out to the market,” she said. “We’ll be there with lots of good things.

The farmers market is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays from May through October.