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Minogitoon: The creativity of naming


May 21, 2021

Gail Olson / Carlton County Farmers Market

Next time you’re at the Carlton County Farmers Market, walk down an aisle and look at the names on the booths. Each of those names can tell you a lot about the food you’re buying and the neighbor who grew or made it.

Some farms, like Heavenly Acres and Promised Land Farm, are named with deep love for a specific place and life-long ideals about how to care for land, animals and people. Others honor farmers who came before them. Leaning Barn Farm takes its name from an original pioneer structure that is still useful today despite its angle.

An old farm document listed our home as “Back Achers.” That sounds typical of my grandfather’s sense of humor. During my childhood it was Olson’s Strawberry Farm. Nowadays we call it Hay Creek Hill Century Farm to honor my grandmother, who combined our local trout stream and Duluth-facing hilltop view into the name, and my father, who obtained its designation as a Century Farm.

The meadow of “Bread in the Meadow” is more than a riff on the town of Meadowlands, where Stephen and Elizabeth Naglak live and bake. It also provides wild yeast for sourdough starter and heirloom wheat for baking experiments. Terry Sharkey was also inspired by our shared landscape and chose a poetically-named native shrub to represent her gluten-free Snowberry Bakery.

A farmers market is a place where you can buy directly from the person who digs the potatoes, picks and cans the cucumbers to make pickles, and hauls the bags of flour for a loaf of bread. You will buy your honey from Mike at Mike’s Apiaries and your Norwegian oatmeal bread from Lonnie at Lonnie’s Breads. The Wagner Booth recognizes four generations of the Wagner family at the market, selling everything from peas to raspberry preserves.

Hot Rod’s Bake Shoppe employs the name of Rodney Lind’s alter ego. He makes caramel apples so glossy you can see your face in them. Pants Mary Land and Apiaries is a callback to the colorful — and real — character Housu Maija of Thomson Township, who wore very practical trousers working in forests and fields.

During the 38 years of the Carlton County Farmers Market, we have also learned your names, met your families and shared your stories as we provide lovingly made and carefully grown foods that nourishes our community. We look forward to seeing you in 2021.


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