A recent business trip found me in Minneapolis where I took in both the weekly and daily farmers markets.
I love that the Minneapolis Farmers Market comes to town once a week, right in the midst of the business district. The weekly market stretches for several blocks along Nicollett Mall, a lengthy pedestrian/transit-only street, making it easy for workers to access on breaks and lunch. Which they did, in droves. The stalls were full of fabulous produce, fresh flowers, and a variety of local food products bison jerky, honey and salsa.
If you want to take a quick trip, there is also the daily farmers market, about a mile outside the downtown core. It is much larger and offers a huge selection of produce, food products, crafts, clothing, and jewelry. The Saturday market is not as easily accessible by transit, but the multitude of stalls and sheer volume of goods make it worth the trip.
While the Vancouver Farmers Market is restricted to local products, the Minneapolis versions also allow resellers with non-local produce and wares. While it may fly in the face of a more narrow definition, the larger overall size and greater number of options at the Minneapolis market draws out many, many more vendors and attendees than I’ve seen at a Vancouver market and the season is 26 weeks long. In giving consumers so much choice, the market is more mainstream and therefore more accessible to Joe Public.
The benefit may be that even people who may not normally think about eating local do, because it’s there. And that can only help support the local agricultural economy.