The Le Sueur Farmers Market is growing past its roots this year. Organizers Karen Wagner and Angel Ingles aim to turn the market into a place where vendors can sell homemade goods beyond fruits and vegetables.
“It’s pretty exciting. I’ve been so busy finding vendors,” said Wagner.
Since the market season began in May, the Farmers Market has attracted approximately 20-25 different vendors, with at least six to seven at the market per week. This came as the market organizers widened their focus to include handmade crafts, lawn games, plants, decorations, oils, bags, paintings, Tupperware, soaps and more.
To accommodate these new vendors, Wagner and Ingles added a separate night to the Farmers Market. Just like in previous years, the Farmers Market is held on Saturday mornings 8-11 a.m. Different this year is Marketfest. Previously a separate event, the Farmers Market has taken over Marketfest and now holds their own Marketfest nights every Wednesday evening 4-7 p.m.
“We talked with Marketfest, and they didn’t want to do it, but we wanted to work on it, so we combined the two,” said Wagner.
Wagner’s focus has been ensuring that the Le Sueur Farmers Market is as big as can be.
“My hope is to get it bigger,” said Wagner. “I want people to come here and do their shopping and be able to buy from any kind of vendor selling homemade products. I think it can really help get people interested in our town.”
To spur further community engagement, the Le Sueur Farmers Market is hosting different events each week, from hosting the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, to food trucks, petting zoos and even pet adoptions. Last month, the market held an ECHO Food Shelf donation drive and education night, and the organization has even more in store in October.
On Oct. 16, parents can bring their kids to the Farmers Market’s PoP Club for Kids, which will feature activities for children and visits from food trucks like The Cutest Little Ice Cream Truck and Les’ Lunch Wagon.
Just in time for Halloween, the Farmers Market will have a “Trunk or Treat” night Wednesday, Oct. 30. The event promises to be a safe place for kids to receive a variety of goodies from cars decorated with a Halloween theme.
While this year’s farmers market boasts many new vendors, the market has traditionally relied on its many repeat vendors who come year after year. One such vendor is Joyce Bailey, who, after 30 years of selling her garden vegetables at the market, is retiring to spend more time with her three-month-old granddaughter.
“I absolutely love gardening and I find it very rewarding because I can just plant a little seed, and it always grows,” said Bailey on why she has continued to sell at the Farmers Market over the past three decades. “Sometimes better than others, this has not been the best year, but every year is a challenge. That’s why I keep gardening.”
“The people of Le Sueur have been just wonderful over the years,” Bailey added. “I miss some who have passed. I think of them often, because certain people liked certain things. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I just wish more people understood that it’s all about relationships. It’s about relationships with my garden, with nature, my produce and all of the people involved.”
The Le Sueur Farmers Market is held every Wednesday and Saturday through October in the parking lot at the intersection of Bridge and Second streets.