By Ana Alexander
HOWARD LAKE, MN Locally produced honey, handmade soaps, and cartons brimming with fresh vegetables line the pavement at Howard Lake’s Memorial Park every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The new farmers market has attracted a group of local vendors, who will be present every Saturday in September, rain or shine.
Myra Laway runs the farmers market, which is sponsored by the Howard Lake Chamber of Commerce. The market first opened in June, and initially was only open the first and third Saturdays of the month. However, vendors recently expressed concern about their stock and potential spoilage if they do not sell their goods, so the market will be running every Saturday until Sept. 24, the final date of the market for the summer.
The market has anywhere from five to 12 vendors each week, though the average is about seven. The market also included the addition of a food truck, which serves burgers and kabobs to customers perusing the market. According to Laway, plans are to continue the market next year, and to add to its the growing list of features.
“I’m hoping to get some entertainment going on as well, and to just grow and get ready for next year,” Laway said.
The market is still on the lookout for new vendors. This year, all fees were waived, so the group could gain a solid base of vendors. As the market grows, however, it is possible that a fee might be included to help pay for signage and advertisements. The payment structure currently being discussed for next year is tentatively $10 per week.
Memorial Park has provided the market with convenience for both customers and vendors. When parents bring their children to the market, the children can play in the park while their parents shop. The market has also made use of the shelter during the few times it has rained, providing the vendors with a dry space to sell their goods.
“Memorial Park has been a wonderful venue, because they have a huge shelter,” Laway said. “We’ve been totally blessed with the weather it has been perfect. We set up under the shelter [when it rained] and all of the vendors were dry, and traffic still came through.”