From Hometown Focus:
Virginia Market Square opens for the season June 1
The Virginia Market Square got its start last year in City Center Park in Virginia, across from the Veterans Memorial. We’ll be back there again, this time from 1 – 5 p.m. on Thursdays, and we’re still accepting EBT payments with a match from Essentia Health. This year—starting July 1—we’ll also host the Power of Produce, also known as the Pop Club, a program for children ages 4 – 12. Each week, children will receive tokens worth $2 to buy produce of their choice. Registration is free.
Everything you’ll find at Virginia Market Square is grown or made within 50 miles of Virginia—that’s a requirement for vendors. And that means we have only what is in season in northern Minnesota. In June, you’ll find greens and peas and rhubarb and such, but Minnesota tomatoes and corn don’t ripen till later in the season. And pumpkins ripen just in time for those fall festivals.
Twelve vendors have signed on so far representing a broad range of local goods:
• Karl’s Bread will be back this year with amazing breads that come out of the oven just hours before the market begins.
• Balsam Lake Farms will be back with eggs, meat, produce and home canned veggies like beets and sauerkraut.
• Jan Dircks from Dircks Farm in Zim will again offer her non-GMO pastured eggs.
• Deb Wiitanen of Ethnic Creations in Embarrass will offer her delicious home-canned pickles and assorted fruits and veggies, as well as her handcrafted Finnish goods.
• Bob Byrns will be back in July with fresh flowers.
• The Nutty Minnesotan, Karen Hamilton, will delight us with a wide variety of nuts that she flavors at her home in Finland, MN.
• New vendor, Ted Anderson of 2 Maple Farm in Hibbing, will bring his fresh-grown microgreens to sell—so you can have fresh greens in June!
• New vendor Jordan Metsa will sell his locally grown kettle corn.
• New vendor Majestic Muse Farm will have produce and goats’ milk soap and shampoo from their own very contented Minnesota goats.
• New vendor Allison Austin will bring botanicals that she makes herself from herbs harvested locally.
• New vendor Claudia Skalko will offer her home-crafted pasta made from Homestead Mills flour.
• New vendors Erika Bradach and Stuart Blee of Miller-Mohawk Bean Company in Aurora will sell their locally roasted coffee as well as yummy baked goods and honey.
The United States Department of Agriculture sees the local farmers market as an “engine of revitalization” for communities. Located just a block off the Virginia Historic Commercial District, we hope to draw folks to downtown Virginia and the beautiful City Center Park on Bailey’s Lake.
Nutrition.gov provides a list of the “Top 10 Reasons to Shop at a Farmers Market.” Here they are:
• Freshly picked, in season produce is at its peak in flavor and nutrition.
• Support your local farmers and economy.
• Fresh fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients.
• It’s a great way to get your kids involved.
• Supporting your local farmers market strengthens your community.
• Farmers markets offer foods that align with My- Plate guidelines.
• Farmers often have recommendations for preparing their products.
• You can try a new fruit or vegetable!
• SNAP and WIC benefits are accepted at some farmers markets.
• Farmers markets are easy to find.
The Virginia Market Square Farmers Market is located at 250 N. 4th Ave., across from the Veterans Memorial in downtown Virginia. Don’t miss the grand opening on Thursday, June 1, at 1 p.m.!
Marlise Riffel lives in Virginia, MN.