To find my perfect farmer’s market, I had to head to the suburbs.
We live fairly close to such Minneapolis gems as the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market (a giant affair in the shadow of a highway), the Mill City Farmer’s Market (a smaller, cozier market with a focus on organic and sustainable agriculture in the heart of scenic riverside downtown), and the Linden Hills Farmer’s Market (a picturesque little neighborhood fest near Lake Harriet). If you’re visiting me I will take you to one of these markets, and you will find them utterly charming.
But if I want to go get my weekly vegetables, I’m going to head to the suburbs. Located under the water tower near Golden Valley’s municipal buildings, the Market in the Valley (as Golden Valley calls its farmer’s market) is not picturesque. Instead of a glimpse of the Mississippi, you get a view of the neighboring McDonald’s.
1. Free parking, in lots, right next to the market.
2. Ideal timing: the market is open Sunday from 9-1. Sunday means I don’t have to wake up to an obligation Saturday morning, and 9 means I can mosey my way over — no pressure to beat the crowds here.
3. It’s small enough that I might actually develop a relationship with the vendors, like you read about in books and blogs. There were maybe eight vegetable sellers, which made it easy to scope the place out and choose what we wanted from where. And with no crushing lines, we chatted to the people who sold us vegetables, and learned a few things to make better selections. This week we bought lettuce (a mix of about seven different kinds), beets with their greens attached, cabbage (I can’t resist $1 cabbage), and potatoes. We already made the potatoes up in a lemony potato salad and the beet greens were great added to a risotto-style Israeli cous cous dish. I almost took a picture of Bee eating the beet greens because I know her days of eating widely are numbered.
4. $3 veggie and cheese omelet. Add a side of potatoes for $2 and you’ll have a meal you can split three ways to tide you over until lunch. Equally appreciated: having copious space to sit in the shade and eat and let Beatrice run around.
We stayed at Market in the Valley for an hour — by far the longest we’ve ever made it at a farmer’s market. I think we’ve found our farmer’s market home!