Farmers market taking root at mall
FARMINGTON — Farmington Farmers Market plans to bloom where it is planted this season and that is in a new venue. The market will open this week, Thursday, May 3, on the north side of the renovated Farmington Mall parking lot off Highway 3.
Market organizer Arlyn Lamb said vendors decided to move the market from Dakota County Fairgrounds to offer a more visible space with heavy north, south commuter traffic. They hope the new location will offer more foot traffic this season that runs this week through October.
Lamb said the fairgrounds offered optimal parking and shaded trees for parking, but ultimately the foot traffic did not adequately support the vendors.
The owner of the Farmington Mall is the Caspian Group. This summer there will be all new businesses open in the fully leased mall.
"The Caspian Group is excited about having the market there and they have been real easy to work with," Lamb said.
This season Farmington Farmers Market will sell weekly seasonal veggies, annual bedding plants, organic herb and seasoning mixes, grilling rubs, barbeque sauces, fresh cut flowers, specialty breads, and jelly, jams, breads and cakes. Other booths will sell jewelry, sea salts, home-brewed soda pop, honey and fall produce like pumpkins, apples and fall vegetables.
"We will have a sweet and spicy Luau sauce that is pretty good," Lamb said.
Known locally as "The Herb Man," Jeff Adelmann will bring crops grown at his Castle Rock farm as Highways 3 and 78.
"I raise 3,000 herbs and the unusual succulents for busy people," Adelmann said in an interview.
Now he is busy propagating 48,000 succulent cuttings for the garden season.
"I call them my Star Trek collection because you do not know where they are from and they all have different colors, shapes and some have leaves and some do not," Adelmann said.
The old-fashioned plants are now trending as a fashionable way to decorate indoors with plants and can be taken outdoors during warm Minnesota spring and summer months.
"We need succulents because they are nice stock plants that you do not have to grow from seeds, and you can get ahead on gardening since I grow them in my heated greenhouse all winter," Adelmann said.
"In general, I like the natural world and I used to raise pheasants and peacocks in the exotic world, but today I like growing vegetables in the summer and herbs for health and for making food taste good," he said.
"If you are going to enjoy life, you are going to be a part of the living world," Adelmann added.
Lamb grows vegetables on Adelmann's farm and then enjoys them himself and sells some to market customers.
"It keeps me busy and I enjoy growing my own vegetables," Lamb said.
"The vegetables taste so much tastier when they come right out of the garden, and I like to take my salt shaker to eat tomatoes right in the tomato patch," he added.
"One thing I really enjoy is the heirloom vegetables and they are so much tastier and some are more flavorful, some are sweeter and some more acidic"
Heirloom tomato varieties come in interesting shapes and colors — deep shades of red, burgundy, plum, yellow and variegated skin designs.
"It is amazing all the different flavors and one tomato used in tomato paste is advertised as an heirloom San Marzano tomato, a type of Roma tomato," Lamb said.
Organizers welcome the public to check out the new location and fresh produce. This week there will be cold crop vegetables including cabbage and kohlrabi. In future weeks, there will be garden and bedding plants along with early peppers and tomatoes.
The new Rebel Chef restaurant located in the shopping center plans to open in a couple weeks, according to owner Keith Russell. He plans on buying the market's fresh produce for his entrees.
"Caspian Group has been really excited to have us go in and we feel it is mutually advantageous for them and us," Lamb said.
Market vendors are looking to partner with other businesses. A food truck may be present. There is hope of having musical groups offer entertainment..
Lamb said, "At our vendor meeting, there is a lot more interest than I had anticipated and a lot more enthusiasm since they heard it was moving over to the mall."