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Local farmers’ markets will open this week despite slow start to growing season
MAY 30, 2011

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

COKATO, DASSEL, MN – Despite the extreme delay in the growing season this year, local farmers’ markets are still on track to open this week.

Because of the cool and wet weather, local farmers estimate they are behind about three to five weeks compared to recent years.

Cokato Farmers’ Market Manager Andrea Vargo said she is about three weeks behind with planting.

“Last year [with the early spring], all my stuff was up and doing well already,” Vargo said.

Since it’s been so wet and the ground so cold, Vargo hasn’t been able to plant the majority of her garden including radishes, lettuce, green beans, and sweet corn.

“Nothing is in,” she said.

The Cokato Farmers’ Market will be open Wednesday, June 1 from 2 to 6 p.m. in the parking lot next to Cenex on Highway 12.

Even though there won’t be much as far as fresh produce, Vargo said there will be plenty of other items for sale including fresh breads, jams and jellies, and crafts.

“Regardless, there will be things to buy,” she said.

Oftentimes, farmers will bring in extra plants they have, including hostas, lilies, and herbs.

Over the past few years, farmers’ markets have increased in popularity.

“People are looking for the really fresh, safely grown [produce],” Vargo said, adding that everyone that grows at the Cokato Farmers’ Market believes in intensive weeding and no chemicals.

Local vendors still have time to sign up for the Cokato Farmers’ Market. Anyone who is signed up by Wednesday, June 1 will not be assessed a daily charge, which is otherwise $20 a day. To sign up, call Vargo at (320) 286-5560.

Dassel Farmers’ Market opens Friday

The Dassel Farmers’ Market will open Friday for the season in Bandstand Park, located on Atlantic Avenue, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Last year, there were roughly seven vendors set up for the opening season, which didn’t begin until September. This year, there are 12 vendors signed up.

Though there won’t be much as far as fresh produce this early in the season, vendors like Tony and Wendy Ebert will have plenty to offer market-goers.

“We’ll have hostas and raspberry plants,” Tony said, adding that Wendy will also have nature prints for sale.

The Eberts live just north of Dassel and enjoy growing fresh produce that is organic and free of pesticides.

On their 5-acre farm, the Eberts also have free-range chickens and eggs.

They have come to call their garden operation Bluebird Hill Farm due to the number of bluebirds and other songbirds they see dwelling on their property.

So, along with their other items, the Eberts will also have homemade bluebird feeders and meal worms for sale.

“Once the summer gets going, we will have a myriad of things coming,” Ebert said. Such items include squash, sweet corn, green beans, a variety of tomatoes, peas, watermelon, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers apples, pumpkins, and more.

There is also expected to be fresh baked goods, jams and jellies, seedlings, and other canned goods at the market.

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