Thriving local foods marketplace draws neighbors to Maple Grove Community Center
The opening horn at 3 p.m. Thursday, June 12, will start the Maple Grove Farmers Market’s 11th season at the Maple Grove Community Center, 12951 Weaver Lake Road in Maple Grove. This year’s market will feature nearly 50 vendors and will be open every Thursday afternoon through Oct. 23. Market hours are 3 to 7 p.m. June to September and 3 to 6 p.m. in October. Four indoor markets are planned in November and December to round out the season.
“There has been a tremendous growth in demand for local foods in recent years,” said Market Manager Kirsten Bansen Weigle. “We’re pleased to have long-standing relationships with so many local growers and food artisans. We place a strong emphasis on vendor-grown and vendor-made food items, so our shoppers can feel confident that the food they are buying was grown or made by the person behind the table.”
Items available at market in 2014 will include a wide variety of locally grown vegetables and herbs, including two new USDA-Certified Organic growers. Vendors will also offer strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, melons, apples, plums, and pears. The market will feature farmstead meats including pork, beef, chicken, 100 percent grass-fed Highland beef, lamb, and heritage-breed turkey, as well as farmstead eggs, maple syrup and honey. Artisan breads and baked goods, pickles, preserves, jams and jellies, flax, gluten-free items, BBQ sauce and seasonings, Eastern European specialties, handmade soaps, herbal body care products and much more.
“We have learned so much from our customers about how to make the market more convenient,” said Bansen Weigle. “For example, Market shoppers who are short on cash can now swipe their debit, credit, or SNAP-EBT cards at the Market information booth. Shoppers receive wooden tokens for the amount of their swipe, which are accepted throughout the Market.”
SNAP Customers also receive a special incentive in the form of matching Market Bucks, up to $5 at every visit to the market. The market Bucks program is funded by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and is available at many farmers markets throughout the state: http://www.extension.umn.edu/family/health-and-nutrition/snap-ed/farmers-market/
The Maple Grove Farmers Market has long been a gathering place for neighbors to explore local foods and celebrate summertime. In 2014, the market will feature:
• Weekly live entertainment sponsored by Maple Grove Hospital, North Clinic, and Tiller Corporation. Opening Day will feature Mark Rosen and Carol Ashwood, favorites from the 2013 Indoor market.
• Free recipes available each week at the Market Information Trailer on the South side of the market. Recipes follow the seasonal availability of produce and other items at market.
• Return of the popular Frequent Shopper Card. Stop by the Market Info Trailer to sign up, then receive a punch each week you visit the market. The first 250 shoppers will receive a $5 token good anywhere in the market.
• The July 10 launch of the six-week Power of Produce program. The PoP Club will empower kids aged 5-12 to make healthy food choices by giving them $2 to spend on fruits, vegetables, or food-bearing plants at each visit to the Market. Weekly activities, samples, and special events will be open to children of all ages. Watch for a full schedule at www.maplegrovefarmersmarket.com. Power of Produce is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Whole Foods Market-Maple Grove, The Opus Group and Partners in Pediatrics.
• Hennepin County Master Gardeners on site every third Thursday to answer garden questions.
• CROSS food shelf is an active and welcome partner of the Market, “rescuing” fresh produce items at the end of each market day and gratefully accepting donations of fresh produce items for distribution to local families in need.
Learn More about the Market by visiting www.maplegrovefarmersmarket.com to sign up for informational market e-mails. Follow the market at www.facebook.com/maplegrovefarmersmarket or on Twitter at twitter.com/maplegrovefm.
Tthe Maple Grove Farmers Market features nearly 50 vendors offering Minnesota-grown and vendor-made food items. The market averages 2,050 adult shoppers per week. Located outside at the beautiful Maple Grove Community Center, the market also features weekly live music, Master gardeners, frequent shopper program, and seasonal special events. The Maple Grove Farmers Market is pleased to accept EBT, Credit and Debit Cards.