Originally published in The Downtown Journal on April 18, 2017.
It is springtime in Minnesota, and even though it was snowing last week, farmers across the state have lots of greens and other vegetables to bring to the city! Many farmers beat the weather by planting crops in greenhouses as early as February to harvest in early spring. At Mill City Farmers Market’s indoor winter market on April 8th, farmers brought Minnesota-grown arugula, beets, carrots, cilantro, chickweed, lettuce, kale, microgreens, mushrooms, mustard greens, nettles, pac choi, parsley, potatoes, radishes, spring onions, Swiss chard and turnips.
Pam Benike, owner of Prairie Hollow Farm, is one of the farmers who vends at the Mill City Farmers Markets indoor winter markets. Not too far from Rochester in Elgin, Minnesota, Pam, her sons, Isaiah and Jonathan, and her daughter, Bethany grow fresh greens and vegetables throughout our Minnesota winters in their greenhouses. Iasaiah, who re-established vegetable farming back into the primarily organic dairy farm almost a decade ago, added the greenhouses to the property in 2008 and a second one in 2010 as a way to extend the growing season for the farm. With only sunshine and angles of the glass walls, the greenhouses are heated to an impressive 75 degrees every day! With these greenhouses and the farm’s storage crops, Prairie Hollow Farm sustains Mill City Farmers Market shoppers and its CSA-members with local food all winter long.
Mill City Farmers Market ‘s final indoor market of the winter season is Saturday, April 22nd from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside the Mill City Museum (704 S. 2nd Street, Minneapolis, 55401). In addition to local spring vegetables you can also find fresh bread, pasta, farmstead cheese, pasture-raised local meat, ceramics, jewelry, and delicious breakfast and lunch! The Mill City Farmers Market’s outdoor season opens Saturday, May 6th and will host over 60 local farmers and vendors, live music and lots of educational programming, including its free, weekly Mill City Cooks cooking classes! Click here for more information about opening day.