On a Saturday morning, business at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market is brisk. Locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as artisan cheeses, meat, honey and other products attract loyal customers.
I love that. I get to talk with the people who are growing my food. I feel really good knowing that I know where it came from and then it came from somewhere close and somewhere that I consider to be home. Produce grown within 80 kilometers of the city of St. Paul is sold directly by its growers. I believe that the St. Paul Farmers’ Market has been instrumental in sort of the creation of the farm-to-table movement. People have been coming down here for generations to shop and eat and experience food from growers.
The market also has growers whose families have been selling there for more than a century. My family came from Germany and Denmark. I was born into the truck gardening business. I took over from my father, that we go back for at least four generations on the St. Paul Farmers’ Market. We started when it started. That was in 1854, four years before Minnesota became a state. A long time ago, the market was basically people that were settling Minnesota, gradually that shifted and changed. Now they’re Somalian families that grow here, lots of Hmong growers, I believe are over 50 percent. There’s a Russian family that just started this year. There’s a woman from India. It’s really the entire world. The influx of Hmong refugees farmers to Minnesota in the 1970s and 80s is credited with giving the market a second life.
I’m actually second generation here. My father’s from Laos, that was born in Thailand. We’ve been at the farmers market for over 30 years, so this is pretty much our second home here. I came from Nepal 1997. I sell raw honey, that’s what we produce. We have a hives.And I love being with the people and I enjoy being in the market, just like a home.I’m from Somalia. I joined the market May this year. I make some different hot sauces,some of them are from a country flavors and background, the rest is something that I created for my family. Shoppers appreciate the vendors diverse ethnic backgrounds and their products. I just bought the Hebo hot sauce from a Somali vendor.In addition to wanting to buy it, because it’s an absolute excellent hot sauce, we come here to support local farmers and local vendors who’s from the immigrant community. Goldin says there is something magical in the market. It feels like a family here. It feels like a big family with all the growers and it feels like a big family with all the customers. And you see people over, you know, really, you know, years and years and years and years. It works here.
For producer June saw in St. Paul Minnesota.I’m Carol Kearson VOA News