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Lakes Area Farmer's Market opens Saturday: Peoples Park venue to offer variety of produce, slightly shortened hours

The Lakes Area Farmer's Market, which opens for the season this Saturday, May 10, and continues every Tuesday and Saturday through the end of October, features a wide variety of homegrown fruits and vegetables. (File photo)1 / 4
Besides fresh produce, the Lakes Area Farmers Market also offers homemade products such as artisan breads and pastries. (File photo)2 / 4
Set up in Peoples Park (across the street from Freeman Arena), the Lakes Area Farmers Market will be open every Tuesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting this Saturday, May 20. (File photo)3 / 4
Young Lakes Area Farmer's Market vendors Josie Allen and Kelly Skarie help a customer with his purchase. (Submitted photo)4 / 4

Spring has finally arrived in the lakes area and, with it, the Lakes Area Farmers Market is set to open for the season this Saturday, May 20 in Detroit Lakes' Peoples Park.

"We've actually opened as early as Mother's Day in the past, but for the past couple of years we've been doing it on the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend," says John Skarie, farmer's market co-president (along with Marty Jorschumb).

After this Saturday, the Farmer's Market will be open every Tuesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the regular hours have been trimmed by an hour this year, Skarie said, because they felt that many of the vendors were selling out as early as 12:30, and it just didn't make sense to be open later.

"Typically people like to show up right away because they realize the things they want could sell out early," Skarie said. "Usually that last hour was just not busy."

There's nothing quite like biting into a big, juicy peach or a crunchy carrot that's been plucked fresh from the garden, and the farmer's market offers a wide variety of homegrown fruits and vegetables — though the selection is not quite as broad early in the season as it will be later on this summer, Skarie noted.

"On opening weekend, the produce will be slightly limited, but there should be a lot of greens there... spinach, lettuce, onions, radishes," he said. "I'm usually there with tomatoes, and there'll be (bedding) plants there too.

"There should be a lot of canned goods — jellies, jams, honey, maple syrup — and our bread and pastry vendors will be there," Skarie added, noting that there will also be a few rugs for sale, and Mary Laabs from Dunton Lakes Pottery will occasionally be doing live demonstrations at her booth throughout the summer.

Both the number and variety of vendor offerings will increase as the season progresses, Skarie said.

"We're always looking for new vendors," he added.

A downloadable application can be found at www.lakesareafarmersmarket.com.

Besides a list of participating vendors and upcoming events, the website also offers information about the rules of participation: Lakes Area Farmer's Market is a producer-only market, featuring homegrown and homemade products.

Their Facebook page is also updated regularly during the season, with information on new vendors and products available as well as upcoming events.

"We'll have a customer appreciation day later in the summer, probably in August, and we hope to have some food demonstrations as well," Skarie said.

People who are on a food assistance voucher program can bring in their vouchers for redemption at the farmer's market, and they are working on an electronic system that will enable people to use their debit cards as well, though that isn't up and running yet, Skarie said.

"I don't know if or when that will be ready this summer, but our voucher program is," he added.

For more information about the Lakes Area Farmer's Market, please call 218-483-3104, send an email to budnorman@arvig.com or contact John Skarie directly at 218-234-1888.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454
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