Monday, May 11, 2009
Mill City Farmers Market: Short on produce, but still awesome
I think any farmers market, and what they stand for (local produce, sustainable practices, supporting local businesses) is awesome, but the Mill City farmers market may be the very best in the state.
The variety of sellers and the setting are second to none. I love the idea of locally produced foods for sale in the shadow of the Guthrie. I think it's a symbol of how far the local food movement is reaching. The market made its chilly debut on May 9th and even though few sellers had produce (some good looking greens, awesome asparagus, a whole pile of fiddle heads and some good lookin' ramps) there were still lots of other great items for sale. I dare you to try and find a better gathering of local crafts, meats (including yak and rabbit!), cheeses, art and baked goods (the tarts looked awesome) in a single setting. It's the perfect spot on a Saturday to gather a great breakfast, a hot cup of coffee and all the goods needed for a killer meal.
The people who come here to sell their goods simply could not be nicer or more knowledgeable and the diversity of products is simply amazing, even this early in the season. I'll start heading up to the cabin pretty much every weekend for the majority of the growing season, so I'm glad I made it out to the opening. I was even able to buy some nice heirloom tomato starters and all the necessities for a gorgeous Mother's day feast to celebrate the woman who taught me how to love and appreciate food.
In addition to finding some new suppliers, I was able to work in a second trip to the chef shack and finally got my hands on some fresh, flavorful and truly unique tongue tacos. The tongue was surprisingly tender, and tasted like nothing I've ever experienced - there really is no comparison. The generous piles of flavorful salsa, plump avocado and fresh cheese really rounded out what was probably the most interesting snack I've ever encountered. I doubt I'll make it a regular part of my diet, but part of the reason I love food is for the adventure.
If you're looking to hit the shack this summer I suggest getting there early as the demand for those darn-good donuts would have given the KFC free chicken fiasco lines a run for the money, but honestly, they're wroth the wait. My mom was also nice enough to share her Thousand Hills All-Beef Hot Dog. All you need to do to this dog is slather a bit of their grainy mustard (they have a really good looking apricot and ramp mustard too!) and bacon ketchup on the perfectly toasted bun and you have an awesome snack.
Be sure to check out this market and all the other fabulous food-based fun in Minnesota, and don't forget to support our local farmers and all their great practices.