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A vendor selling some vegetables to several customers.

The farmers market along Church Street on the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday, through August 24.

Fresh produce on TC campus

By Paulline Oo

From eNews, July 21, 2005

The baby red potatoes were flying off the table, and so were the sugar beets, carrots, zucchini, and green onions. Within 30 minutes of opening shop, Say Vang and her mother had almost nothing left to sell. The duo was one of six vendors at the July 13 opening of the very first farmers market on the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis.

"We really didn't expect this--the crowd and the selling out pretty much everything we brought," says Vang, whose produce is home-grown in Wisconsin. "We're definitely going to be back, and we'll be bringing more with us next time." The farmers market runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday through August 24.

In addition to vendors from the Minneapolis Farmers Market cooperative, the U's farmers market has seen offerings from a University student group. Cornercopia, which manages an acre of organic farmland on the Twin Cities campus in St. Paul, sells flowers ($3 a bunch); herbs, such as dill and parsley (two bunches for $1); vegetables, such as Swiss chard, mustard greens, and spinach ($2 a bunch); and a wild salad mix.

"We're thrilled to launch our farmers market," says Carol Carrier, vice president of human resources. "This has been on my list of something that I thought would be wonderful for the U community [and residents in nearby neighborhoods], but I had no idea what it was going to take to make it happen."

Shopping tips

* Arrive early for the best and widest selection.

* Bring change and small bills.

* Bring a tote bag, backpack, or a wagon to carry your purchases.

* To assure freshness, buy only what you can use for a week.

* Refrigerate your perishable purchases as soon as possible.

Once you're done shopping, or even before you start, head over to the Northrop plaza. Playing noon to 1 p.m. next Wednesday is Cafe Accordian Orchestra (waltzes, swing, and tango).

But Carrier's staff latched on to the idea and started the ball rolling early this year to secure a site, recruit farmers, and obtain permits and licenses.

"The farmers market goes hand in hand with the overall UPlan Wellness philosophy of eating right and knowing what's healthy," says Deb Stull-Erickson, project coordinator. The U's Office of Human Resources introduced the UPlan Wellness program in 2004 to encourage University employees to lead healthy lifestyles.

"The response [from the U community] has been overwhelming," says Stull-Erickson. "We had about 1,500 people show up for the 500 complimentary tote bags we had [on our first Wednesday to celebrate the occasion], and we gave them all away in eight minutes."

Where is the East Bank market?

For a map of the exact location of the new farmers market, see the UPlan Wellness Web site.

The University also has a farmers market on the Duluth campus. Vendors from the Sustainable Farming Association will be on Kirby Plaza every Wednesday, through September 28, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Items available for sale include plants, herbal hand creams, lip balms, and fruits. Both the Morris and Crookston campuses offer fresh local foods through two campus-community partnerships: Pride of the Prairie and Local Foods Partnership, respectively.