Harvest Time: Twin Cities Fall Farmers Markets & Outings

Two girls sampling strawberries at the Mill City Farmers Market in Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota

We think a trip to a fall farmers market trumps a traditional grocery run any day of the week. There is nothing more inspiring than the stacks of brightly-colored autumn produce just waiting to be turned into cozy family dinners. Here are 8 fall farmers markets in the Twin Cities we think go above and beyond by offering not only a fresh selection of food, but an atmosphere that will appeal to the youngest shoppers.

And speaking of those youngest shoppers and diners: any picky ones in your crew? Have you ever come home from the market bursting with beautiful veggies only to have them left cold and alone on little dinner plates? To cut down on those sad trips to the compost bin, we’ve added in some pro tips for getting kids to eat more vegetables.

Twin Cities Fall Farmers Markets

Bloomington Farmers Market | 1800 W Old Shakopee Rd | Saturdays, 8am-1pm thru 10/19/19
Family fun: Take in live music. Kids ages 5-12 can participate in the Power of Produce (POP) Club at the market. This typically means they can score free produce simply by trying a new vegetable. An indoor market is held on Nov 9 & Dec 14 from 9am-noon.
Eat more veggies: When shopping, task kids with choosing a vegetable for the family meal. Once home, look up a simple recipe they can help prepare. They’ll be proud (or at least more likely) to gobble down their own creation.
Make a day: Less than two miles from the market are the Works Museum – filled with hands-on engineering exhibits for kids and the Normandale Japanese Garden, which is free to visit and hosts a Japanese Garden Festival in mid-September.

Fulton Farmers Market | 4901 Chowen Ave S, Minneapolis (plus 2 other locations and times)  Saturdays 8:30am-1pm thru 10/26/19
Family fun: Enjoy live music every weekend and occasional family activities at this fall farmers market.
Eat more veggies: Tasty studies show kids are more likely to eat their veggies paired with a dip or dressing. This could be as simple as placing a bottle of ranch on the table. Or try dressing up your market haul with a homemade recipe for hummus.
Make a day: Less than 10 minutes from the market lies the charming Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis, home to the critter-filled Wild Rumpus Books and wonderful drop-in crafting for kids at Heartfelt. Truly, there are crafts for any age here. The very youngest can “paint” with watercolor crayons while older kids might enjoy decorating their own fairy house.

Maple Grove Farmers Market | Maple Grove Community Center | Thursdays, 3-6pm thru 10/24/19
Family fun: Weekly music, Kids POP Club and seasonal activities round out the fresh local offerings.
Eat more veggies: We make it our routine to include a vegetable every time we sit down to dinner together. Every. Single. Time. Admittedly, on super busy nights that might mean a bowl of baby carrots gets set down next to the mac and cheese. The point is to make the vegetable serving a familiar, expected sight on their plate.
Make a day: The community center is a stone’s throw from the awesome Central Park of Maple Grove playground, green space and splash fountains. Hit this one up while there’s still plenty of sunshine!

Midtown Farmers Market | Lake St E & 22nd Ave S, Minneapolis | Saturdays, 8am-1pm & Tuesdays, 3-7pm thru Oct 2019
Family fun: Live music weekly, fall Second Saturday Arts for All, and demonstrations for cooking, gardening and composting. If this is a convenient location for you and you’d like to shop for fresh produce year round, visit Midtown Global Market. It has the feel of a old-fashioned street market indoors with lots of ethnic specialties.
Eat more veggies: Introduce, introduce, introduce. I think I learned years back in my lifesaving parenting classes that it may take up to 20 “introductions” of a new food before a child takes to it. In our house, it was chili. 20 tries was the magic number. And hey, you can hide a LOT of veggies in chili!
Make a day: After you shop, lovely Powerhorn Park is only about a five-minute drive. Families have the choice of three updated playgrounds to burn off energy (tip: if you visit after the summer market, bring swimsuits for the wading pool), and the trail around Powderhorn Lake makes for a nice stroll.

Mill City Farmers Market | 750 S 2nd St, Minneapolis | Sat, 8am-1pm thru Oct 2019
Family fun: Fresh fall farmers market produce, flowers, samples, live music, storytime with the Guthrie each first Saturday of the month, and occasional activities for kids, including the POP Club.
Eat more veggies: Sneak if you have to. I mentioned above that chili is a great meal for hiding vegetables. Spaghetti sauce, soups, fried rice, omelets, meatballs and tuna salad are other good options. I very slowly replaced all the greens in our salads with spinach and kale and I promise, nobody noticed.
Make a day: Round of the day downtown visiting the super kid-friendly Mill City Museum, crossing the Mississippi on the Stone Arch Bridge, and taking a tour of the St Anthony Falls Lock and Dam – all within easy walking distance of the market.

Northeast Farmers Market | 629 NE 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | Saturdays, 9am-1pm thru 10/19/19 Family fun: A children’s tent is stocked weekly 9am-1pm with educational market activities such as seed planting, food-themed art projects, storytime and more. Live music also accompanies the bountiful local food and handcrafted items.
Eat more veggies: Build-your-own meals go over great with kids and beg for brightly colored bowls of vegetables on the table to choose from. We love top-your-own pizza night (use this yummy homemade crust recipe then top with olives, peppers and mushrooms), or a classic taco night (think beans & avocados).
Make a day: Stock up at the market on picnic supplies and walk the easy three blocks to Boom Island Park on the Mississippi. There is playground equipment and a lovely pedestrian bridge that connects to Nicollet Island, a fun and safe way to cross the river.

Richfield Farmers Market | Veterans Park, Richfield | Saturdays, 8am-noon thru 10/26/19
Family fun: Plenty for families to enjoy at the market in addition to perusing the produce.
Eat more veggies: Switch up your cooking method. I regale my brood with stories of how my own mom ruined brussel sprouts for me as a kid (frozen, then overcooked) – until I discovered in my 30s you could air fry and toss them with spicy chili sauce. If your kid doesn’t take to a vegetable, try preparing it differently: roast cauliflower and asparagus instead of steaming it. Saute green beans with a little garlic.
Make a day: Wheel Fun Rentals’ Pumpkin Patch offers a whole crop of fall fun including hayrides, inflatables, and a round of mini golf at their 18-hole course. There’s also a large playground. Or, take to the park trails and enjoy the fall colors on a surrey bike. Wheel Fun Rentals Pumpkin Patch is taking a break in 2019. Look for a return in 2020.

St Paul Farmers Market | Downtown STP location year-round hours are Sat from 6am-1pm and Sun, 8am-1pm. See link for branch locations & hours across the Metro.
Family fun: Be spontaneous! Pick any day of the week, except Monday, and find a market location to visit.
Eat more veggies: Use them as an appetizer. I like to put the serving dish of vegetables on the table first and allow the kids to help themselves while I put the finishing touches on the rest of dinner. Typically, at this point in the evening, veggies look a lot more appealing when they’re “starving”.
Make a day: The St Paul Saints are still playing games in early September at CHS Field literally next door to the market stalls if you’ve got baseball fans in the family. Should cooler weather drive you indoors, the wonderful Minnesota Children’s Museum is an easy, five-minute trip away.

Saint Paul Saints
The FFTC Families at the All Star Game

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