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Farmers Market is open

Hankering for some hand-picked veggies, real maple syrup or even fresh doughnuts?

Then mosey on over to the Lakes Area Farmers Market, where you can find all sorts of homemade and locally grown foodstuffs.

You can feel the lake breeze, enjoy the shade trees and shop barefoot with your toes sunk deep in the green grass of City Park, right next to the Pavilion near the Detroit Lakes City Beach.

The market opened for the season May 15, and is open for business from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays throughout the summer months.

There are 28 full-time venders this year, enough so that organizers are looking at three rows of booths instead of two this year, said farmers market president Linda Leitheiser.

There are also part-time venders and those who show up occasionally, she said.

Not all full-timers are there at the same time, it depends on what they're selling -- sweet corn venders obviously aren't there until the corn ripens in late July or August.

Already available are venders selling fresh rhubarb, asparagus, spinach, lettuce and other vegetables, real maple syrup and homemade doughnuts. (The doughnuts are from Leitheiser, who made more than 1,700 dozen last year).

New venders at the farmers market this year will sell homemade chips and salsa, locally-raised meat and homemade barbecue.

Venders come from a 60-mile radius around Detroit Lakes and their goods are required to be grown or produced at home.

"You cannot bring anything in from out of state and you cannot bring anything in you have not made yourself," Leitheiser said. "It must be your own product."

Some venders accept WIC (Women, Infants and Children) coupons, so that "mothers with small children can come out and get good, fresh produce," she added.

The market opens at 10 a.m. sharp -- no early sales -- in order to give all venders a chance to set up and get ready before the selling begins.

"If a vender comes in and is running late, we all help them get set up -- we have a good group of people here," she said.

Then a cowbell is rung and the selling starts.

The farmers market is a popular place with the locals, and others. "In the summertime we have a lot of tourists who come," she said.

Organizers are planning some special events this summer, including several customer appreciation days in which all the venders chip in to create a big gift basket to be given away in a drawing.

"We may also have a kids' day this summer, with face painting and fun things for kids to do," Leitheiser said.

The City of Detroit Lakes has been "very cooperative" with the farmers market, helping reserve parking spots in the morning so venders can set up, Leitheiser said.