Preview the Maple Grove Farmers Market on May 9

Get a preview of this year’s upcoming Maple Grove Farmers Market. This year’s second annual Maple Grove Farmers Market Spring Preview is 3-7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, inside the Maple Grove Community Center, 12951 Weaver Lake Road.

Farmers market fans can expect a vibrant spring celebration featuring approximately 20 vendors of locally grown produce and vendor-made specialty items.

“We’re all anxious for warmer weather,” said Maple Grove Farmers Market Manager Kirsten Bansen Weigle, “but I don’t think anything compares to the anticipation that our growers are feeling this spring. They’re waiting for lower soil moisture and higher temperatures to begin cultivating the soil and sowing the crops that will supply our market.”

Some growers are concerned that seedlings sown early this spring in greenhouses will become overgrown and will need to be tossed before field conditions become suitable for planting.

“2013 brings a celebration of the 10th market season,” market coordinator Carol Morris said. “The spring preview is a great way to welcome our customers back into the market routine. We’ll be featuring a great selection of new vendors as well as customer favorites.”

Early spring vegetables may be in somewhat short supply at the Maple Grove Farmers Market Spring Preview, but shoppers can expect an abundance of plants and local food products. Baked goods; family-farm raised pork, chicken, and beef; bedding plants; cheese; eggs; barbeque sauces and rubs; many gluten-free items; honey and maple syrup; flax; Lebanese specialties and more will be available for sampling and purchase. With a little luck—and a good dose of sunshine—early spring produce such as lettuce, spinach, asparagus, and rhubarb will be available as well.

Spring preview-goers will be treated to live entertainment from the Banjo Dancers, as well as drawings for market gift baskets every half-hour. Sampling and special promotions from vendors will round out the afternoon. Market fans and Mother’s Day shoppers should take note of a special promotion…purchase $20 worth of market tokens (good at all outdoor Market vendors) and receive one $5 token free.

Minnesotans are experts at taking the long view on the weather, and market goers can expect rewards later in the season.

“There’s always a silver lining to Minnesota’s weather,” said Bansen Weigle. “Growers anticipate a fantastic season for maple syrup, apples, and strawberries—the very same crops that suffered last year when we had an early, warm spring.”

The Maple Grove Farmers Market outdoor season begins Thursday, June 13, at the community center. The market is open every Thursday through Oct. 24 (with the exception of July 4).  Hours are 3-7 p.m. from June to September and from 3-6 p.m. in October. At this time, more than 40 vendors will offer vendor-grown vegetables and herbs, and fruit. Local honey, flowers, artisan bread and baked goods, meats, eggs, sauces and a wide array of specialty products are available as well.

Beginning on June 13, the Maple Grove Farmers Market will accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.  Participants in Minnesota’s SNAP will be able to swipe their EBT card at the market and receive tokens to make their purchases with participating vendors.

“We are excited to offer this resource to SNAP participants,” said Morris. “This is a great opportunity to get fresh, nutritious farmers market items into the hands of more people.”

More details about the market’s SNAP and EBT program will be available in the weeks to come.

The outdoor market season will feature weekly live music, chef demonstrations, special events, market birthday parties and much more.

For more information on the Spring Preview and 2013 Outdoor Market season, visit maplegrovefarmersmarket.com or facebook.com/maplegrovefarmersmarket.

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