Listen: Farmers market

MPR’s Dulcie Lawrence takes the day to visit the Lyndale Farmer’s Market. Lawrence talks with both vendors and customers to get a sense of this harbinger of spring for those in the Twin Cities.


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DULCIE LAWRENCE: May Day 1972-- Along with the beginning of Daylight Saving Time and the throwing out of the first baseball, there's another harbinger of spring that lights up the eyes of people who like to grow things and like to buy fresh vegetables right from the produce growers truck. And that's the opening of Farmer's Market down on North Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis.

The Farmer's Market is the closest thing we have to a European flower market, at least this time of year. And no matter how cold and gloomy the weather, as it was at 7 o'clock this morning, the sight of all those rows and rows of flowers lining the trading docks is good for the soul of all of us who live in the city. What kind of produce do you raise?

SPEAKER 1: He sells. He's a buyer.


SPEAKER 1: I'm a seller, and he's the buyer.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: And what do you sell them?

SPEAKER 1: We sell bedding plants, and then vegetables later in the season.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: What have you got this morning?

SPEAKER 1: Geraniums, petunias, onion plants, sweet Spanish, parsley, celery, chives, pansies, tomato plants, dahlias, dusty miller, and aster.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Now you wouldn't advise setting these out yet, would you?

SPEAKER 1: Well, you can plant parsley out, onions, chives, because they take a lot of-- and Pam's Yeast. And if you're in a protected area, geraniums.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: But you could buy the geraniums and keep them in your house.

SPEAKER 1: Oh, definitely. You get a better choice now because they're larger. You get a better plant out there at market now.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: What's the schedule of the vegetables now that will be coming up? What will you have next week, for instance?

SPEAKER 1: They should have asparagus and green onions coming in about two weeks and rhubarb coming too.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Well, you have some nice geraniums. What else do you have this morning?

SPEAKER 2: That's all we got today.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Will you be having more variety next week?

SPEAKER 2: Yeah, just pruning anything you want to come down here, and you'll find it.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Do you deal in just flowers, Sir, or do you also have vegetables?

SPEAKER 2: Vegetables later, yeah.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: What's the crowd been like today?

SPEAKER 2: This is only the first day, and it's cool. So that's it.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Where do you fellas come from?

SPEAKER 3: Well, from Minneapolis.

SPEAKER 4: I'm from Brooklyn Center. He's from Big Lake.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: What kind of bedding plants do you have? You seem to have quite a variety here. You've got some--

SPEAKER 4: He hasn't got it. He'll get it.


SPEAKER 4: He raises everything.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: How long have these been growing?

SPEAKER 3: Long time. Start them in--

SPEAKER 4: January.

SPEAKER 3: Well, some of it started back in November.

SPEAKER 4: Well, the stock plants. Yeah. You have to take some cuttings and seedlings, and start your seeds way back in January, and even as far as December.

SPEAKER 3: Oh, yeah. Some of them.

SPEAKER 4: And in order to get them up to this height-- he's got some pretty good sized geraniums back there that's been started on a little while.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: There's some--

SPEAKER 3: Big ones.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: --coleus and some impatiens there and--

SPEAKER 3: Begonias.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Begonias. How's business been like this morning?

SPEAKER 3: Pretty fair.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: For opening day?

SPEAKER 3: Yeah. We don't expect too much in the first day.

SPEAKER 4: One thing about the market, it's always cool down here. You get up early in the morning, come down here and talk to us, guys.



DULCIE LAWRENCE: Big event. Big news.

SPEAKER 3: I didn't bring anything down because I overslept this morning. But usually-- I usually just bring down all-- just geraniums. I don't compete with him. I always try to get next to him because I only have geraniums and he's got everything else. So the people will stop and look at his and, oh, look at all those geraniums.

Then they have to come over and buy from me. But he has very nice stuff here at-- like I say he's got about the biggest variety of stuff on the market. And it's-- like I say, if he hasn't got it, he'll get it next time he comes down.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Well, I think you got a good competitor here.

SPEAKER 3: Oh, yes. Well, we've been coming down here together for four or five years now.

SPEAKER 4: Quite a while.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: You think it'd be safe to put these geraniums out this early?

SPEAKER 3: I don't predict the weather.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: You don't guarantee the weather. What's the day like at the market? Do-- is there a big surge of people at 6 o'clock in the morning, and then tapers off, or how does it work?

SPEAKER 5: Well, when it gets warmer, there's quite a bit of people down here. You can very seldom walk through when it gets real. Well, they're here until maybe 12:00.

But we have vegetables in the summer, yes. We have flowers now. And then we have tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, and different variety of vegetables.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Private people haven't started coming down.

SPEAKER 6: No, no privates yet. There are no privates. Well, there is some. But there isn't-- the majority of the business is mostly wholesale right now.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Some beautiful stuff.

SPEAKER 6: It is, even if I have to say so myself.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Thanks very much.

SPEAKER 6: You bet you.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: The Farmer's Market opens at 6:00 every morning. And at this time of year, the customers are mostly the big wholesale buyers. But as the season goes on and the fresh vegetables begin to come in, the docks will be jammed with all kinds of people just wanting to buy their vegetables and flowers right from the farmers who grow them, and maybe stand around and talk about the weather and the crops. Most of us don't have a chance to do that very much anymore, since we moved to the city. This is Dulcie Lawrence.

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