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Lakes Area Farmers Market a land of opportunity for home-based food producers

Detroit Lakes residents, friends and home-based business owners Katie Paulson, of KT Bakes, and Nikki Larsen, of Doughing Crazy, share their thoughts on how the farmers market provides a community of support for local entrepreneurs — and an avenue for new clientele.

KT Bakes proprietor Katie Paulson talks with young customer Eli Aho about what kind of muffins he would like to buy at the Lakes Area Farmers Market on Saturday, May 28, 2022. Paulson just began marketing her baked goods at the market after opening her new home-based business in March.
KT Bakes proprietor Katie Paulson talks with young customer Eli Aho about what kind of muffins he would like to buy at the Lakes Area Farmers Market on Saturday, May 28, 2022. Paulson just began marketing her baked goods at the market after opening her new home-based business in March.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES — Every Tuesday and Saturday at Peoples Park in Detroit Lakes, from mid-May through October, the Lakes Area Farmers Market is open for business from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The producer-only farmers market features a variety of locally produced and freshly grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, plants, fresh meats, eggs and more.

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About a dozen vendors were set up at Detroit Lakes' Peoples Park for the Lakes Area Farmers Market on Saturday, May 28, 2022. The market is open every Tuesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., mid-May through October.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Home-based businesses that produce baked goods, candies, jams, jellies and the like find the market to be an ideal place to sell their products, as well.

"I just opened in March, and I've been doing it out of my home, waiting for the farmer's market to open up," said Katie Paulson of KT Bakes , a new home-based local bakery business that produces fresh-baked cakes, cookies, bars, breads and muffins.

Much of Paulson's business has consisted of pre-orders through her Facebook and Instagram pages, baked fresh and then delivered to customers' doors, but she now brings a variety of boxed treats along with her to the market each week, and has done a brisk business there so far.

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"I also take pre-orders for people to pick up at the market," she said.

On Saturday, May 28, her booth was set up next to Doughing Crazy , another local bakery business. That business is operated by someone Paulson knows well.

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A customer eyes a potential purchase at Doughing Crazy, Nikki Larsen's (at right) home-based bakery business, which was one of about a dozen vendor booths set up for the Lakes Area Farmers Market at Detroit Lakes' Peoples Park on Saturday, May 28, 2022.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"We're actually neighbors," said Paulson of Nikki Larsen, the owner of Doughing Crazy.

Larsen, who opened her business in March 2021 — one year earlier than Paulson — said she's been acting as a mentor for her neighbor's fledgling bakery. "I helped her get started, and encouraged her — it's always fun to have more people out here (at the farmer's market)."

"That's the fun thing about the market — everybody here supports each other and wants us all to succeed," Paulson said, adding of Larson: "She's been really helpful to me."

Larsen, who produces sourdough-based bagels, breads, pretzel rolls, hamburger and bratwurst buns, pull-aparts, muffins and cinnamon rolls, just to name a few of the products listed on her menu, said she also occasionally "pops up" at Manna Food Co-op in downtown Detroit Lakes to market her goods there.

Both women said they are able to create and market their baked goods through Minnesota's Cottage Food Law , which allows for Minnesotans to make and sell certain non-potentially hazardous foods and canned goods without a license, provided that they register their business with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

That's the law under which another new farmer's market vendor, Sue Trnka, was able to start cooking up her homemade caramels and other candies, stamped with the name Hand-Crafted at the Lakes.

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Sue Trnka, left, proprietor of the new candy-making business Hand Crafted at the Lakes, talks with a customer at her vendor booth during the Lakes Area Farmers Market on Saturday, May 28, 2022.
Vicki Gerdes / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"I've made caramels for years, but it was always for family and special occasions," she said. "Last year, right before Christmas, I decided to start selling them, so I applied for a Cottage Food license (i.e., registered her business) and started up in December."

Though she has a website and Facebook page , Trnka decided to apply for a booth at the farmer's market this summer "because I thought it was a great opportunity to get out and meet people, and to market my products."

So far, business has been quite good, she added.

If you go

What: Lakes Area Farmers Market
When: Every Tuesday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., from mid-May through the end of October
Where: Peoples Park, 1337 Rossman Ave., Detroit Lakes
More Info: Visit the Lakes Area Farmers Market website , check for updates on the market's Facebook page or call 218-230-9822. You can also email lakesareafarmersmarket1@gmail.com.

Related Topics: DETROIT LAKESBECKER COUNTY
A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at vgerdes@dlnewspapers.com.
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