If you aren’t a grower, you might not know how much goes into the growing season, in fact, for a lot of Minneapolis Farmers Market growers, January really might be the only month of rest. Certainly, there is a lot of planning, cleaning, and making ready that goes on. But for some of the farms selling at the Market, February is when their greenhouses and high tunnels are getting ready to be filled with little cuttings and seedlings that are being shipped from all over the world. All they need are the temperatures to rise just a little!
But until spring arrives, here is a little snapshot of producers and growers who are braving the elements every other Saturday so you can stock up on meats, cheese and eggs during the winter. Next winter Market is February 18 (and if you are wondering about the spring schedule, check it out right here!).
Along with the cold temperatures and brisk winds, Minneapolis’s bi-monthly winter Saturday market, from 9-12, features meat, cheese, eggs, and sometimes another surprise or two (syrup, honey, wild rice). But who are the people ready to greet you in the cold?
Tollefson Family Park
Now if you’ve been to the market in the summer, you probably already know about the Tollefson’s and their amazing pork products grilled up and served fresh—sausage, hot dogs, ham steaks and more—to excited customers. Though they don’t cook at the market in the winter, you can still purchase their fresh, delicious sausages, bacon, ham steaks—and, well, anything pork! “We’ve been coming to the Minneapolis Farmers Market for more than thirty years,” said one of the sons, “In fact our Dad was one of the reasons the winter market started, customers were asking to buy meat in the winter, so we started coming.” That was more than fifteen years ago. Tollefsons’ farm is in Gaylord, Minnesota where they never give their animals antibiotics, growth hormones or feed them animal bi-products.
Sleeping Cat Organic Farm
Though Sleeping Cat Farm is not at the market every winter market Saturday (check our website), when they are, there is a loyal following for their meat, which comes from organically raised and fed, chickens, sheep and cows. Owner, Mindy has been coming to the market for more than thirty years. Her hay, feed and pastures are certified organic- in fact her whole farm is, though the butcher is not certified.
“We dry age the meat, never give the animals medication—everything is so healthy and clean. I guess you’d say, these animals are living the real life.”
Bar 5 Meat & Poultry
Bar 5, whose name comes from their family’s very old, unique signature cattle brand, has been a market business with their meats for about fifteen years. This past Saturday they had a big supply of chicken wings for Super Bowl appetizers, along with beautiful chicken pot pies, and of course the meats: beef, chicken, pork sausage and bacon, eggs and much of it fresh, not frozen.
One of the newer pork vendors at the market, in their third year now, this family business often involves the whole family. No matter what the season, you can often see one of the young sons , selling right along side his father. In the summer, Utecht serves fresh grilled brats and sausage sandwiches, but in the winter, come for their fresh pork products.
Also spotted this past weekend…
Wisconsin Cheese Outlet
This creamy, delicious Wisconsin cheese is a staple for many market shoppers, particularly the fresh made cheese curd.
Two words, fresh eggs. Picha farms is known for their beautiful plants and produce, they also have eggs (and I’ve met the hens!). You can read about Picha Farms right here.