Otsego kicked off its inaugural farmers market on Tuesday, June 25, with sunny skies and eager shoppers. The market, located in Carrick Waterfront Park (behind Guardian Angels), drew crowds delighted to have a farmers market in their hometown.
Otsego residents Tim and Deb Peterson were some of the very first customers at the market.
“We wanted to come down and see what they have,” Deb said. They picked up onions, radishes and honey, and are looking forward to many future trips to the market.
Other shoppers echoed their sentiments, citing the fresh produce and flowers as a big draw, as well as the local honey, maple syrup and coffee for sale. Vendors at the first market included Beck’s Vegetable Farm, Home Sweet Honey, Maritime Roasters, and more.
Connie Schwecke, Otsego’s recreation coordinator, is looking forward to seeing even more vendors at future markets. According to Schwecke, residents have been asking for a local farmers market, and the Parks and Recreation Department was happy to spearhead efforts to make the request a reality. She was thrilled with the steady flow of shoppers visiting the event and her hope is that “we continue to grow, that we continue to develop community, and that we have a good time.”
The kids at the farmers market were enjoying themselves. Like other local markets, Otsego offers a PoP (Power of Produce) Club, a program geared toward kids ages 4-12. Each child receives a $2 token that they can use toward the purchase of fresh fruit or vegetables, and they can also participate in hands-on crafts or activities. A table set up for rock painting allowed pint-sized shoppers to flex their artistic muscles.
Otsego resident David Kridler is both a customer and a vendor at the new farmers market. He owns and operates Maritime Roasters, selling coffee beans sourced from small farms and cooperatives from around the world. The beans are roasted on-site in Otsego and then bagged and sold at local farmers markets, craft shows, as well as online through his website. When he learned about the Otsego market, he immediately signed up.
“I love the idea of bringing the community together,” Kridler said, indicating he plans to be a regular at the market.
Jade Warren, Elk River beekeeper and owner of Home Sweet Honey, also intends to be a regular.
“We feel like we’re part of the greater community and wanted to participate and be a part of this,” he said. Items for sale at his booth include regular and flavored honeys, along with homemade jams and sauces.
The Bank of Elk River is the official sponsor of the Otsego farmers market. Branch manager Shawn Butler was at the event.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for us to help get (the market) going and interact with the community,” Butler said.
The Otsego farmers market will be held 4-7 p.m. every Tuesday through Sept. 3.