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Farmers market news


August 16, 2019

Carrots are this year's "One Vegetable, One Community" vegetable in Carlton County.

It's peak produce season at the Carlton County farmers market - we recently celebrated National Farmers Market Week and are looking forward to our harvest festival in mid-September. Meanwhile, customers are happily filling their market bags with colorful, healthful fresh food each Tuesday 4-6 p.m. in Carlton and Saturday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Cloquet. Everyone is welcome.

We have a great group of produce growers behind the booths, with decades of experience among us. Our fearless leader, Mike Little of Heavenly Acres, has been selling at our market for 16 years. Mike figures he's been growing produce for 43 years, and he clearly knows how to grow beautiful potatoes, onions, beets, and carrots - all crops he considers his market specialties. Mike told me he actually grows a little bit of everything, but much of what he grows is for his own family. Market customers seem happy to snap up anything he is willing to sell.

Ken and Ruth Jorgenson of Leaning Barn Farm have been vendors at our market for 9 years, and Ken also is serving as our Carlton market manager this year. Ken said he's especially at home growing root crops like potatoes, carrots, and beets, but you'll find a wide variety at the Leaning Barn booth, including delicious fresh blueberries, jams, jellies, pickles, and salsa. Shiitake mushrooms complement Ken and Ruth's fruit and vegetable offerings; Ken said they have 300-400 mushroom logs and inoculate about 50 fresh ones per year.

Lori Gamble of Promised Land Farm grew up on the land where she and her husband, Rob, now farm, and she said they've grown vegetables all along for their own family. Rob and Lori milked cows for a few years, and in 2011 they started expanding their farm offerings; they've been selling meat, eggs, and produce at market for about six years. Lori said she likes to play with different vegetable varieties, such as golden and cylindrical beets. She sells beautiful beans and peas, and is expecting to have white carrots, lettuce, onions and leeks available this month, plus sweet corn. Many market customers have been asking us about sweet corn for months now, so that should be a big hit.

Gail Olson of Hay Creek Hill Century Farm is the fourth generation of her family to live on her farm. She grew up picking strawberries starting at age 5, learned to drive a tractor at age 9, and has been a gardener all her life. She and her husband moved to the family farm in 2009, and she got involved in the market when her mom was in her late 80s and needed some help at market. Gail started bringing vegetables herself "to make it seem more like a family project." Gail said she was quickly hooked on selling at market, and this year she is also serving as our Cloquet market manager.

"There's something different at market every week," Gail said. "I love to cook, and I grow what I like to eat. I'm always looking for interesting, tasty and beautiful vegetables to grow and share with customers."

As for me, I feel like a complete newbie in comparison to these fine folks, as I've been growing vegetables since only 2007. I started Stone's Throw Farm in 2010 and have been selling a variety of veggies, herbs, and flowers at the Cloquet market for three years now. Stop by my booth for tomatoes and a variety of peppers this month.

Carrots are this year's "One Vegetable, One Community" Vegetable of the Year in Carlton County, and one of our most popular market items. Roasting vegetables is almost always a good idea, and roasted carrots and potatoes are a real treat.

Roasted Potatoes and Carrots


• Half-pound baby

potatoes, halved

• Half-pound carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• Black pepper, to taste

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place potatoes and carrots on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, add rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

3. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Top with fresh parsley.

Catherine Conover is a vendor at the Carlton County farmers market. She grows vegetables near Wrenshall at Stone's Throw Farm, which was recently certified organic.


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