Nestled snugly between Crosstown Highway 62 and Interstate 494 is the charming city of Richfield, MN, just south of the Twin Cities. Part strip mall, part nature preserve. Oxymoron, you say? Definitely. That's the way we like it. Keeps us guessing.
I want to start giving some brief glimpses of what life for us in MN looks like. Partly for friends/family who don't get to see our life here, partly for my own memory's sake (the check-in girl in the nursery at church asked me for P's birthday today and I honestly could not for the life of me remember!).
Today I'd like to highlight one of my favorite memories of our life here before, the Richfield Farmer's Market. Farmer's markets are in abundance in MN. One of my favorite attributes. We love farmers in MN!!!
Our neighborhood is sandwiched between two fabulous parks on either side, just 2 of 10 within a few miles radius. Just to give you an idea, so far today we have seen 2 families of Canadian geese, babies and all, multiple ducks and ducklings, a myriad of birds including red-wing blackbirds, orioles, egrets, and a heron, a rabbit and a raccoon. In the middle of the city. And strip malls. Crazy! Fodder for an animal lovers eyes (like TB...and me if I'm being honest).
Every Saturday from 7 to noon, at Veteran's Memorial Park right across the street, is the Richfield Farmer's Market. Just to the northwest of the playground (with "rolly-slides") is a huge covered pavillion. Under it sit anywhere from 10-15 vendors selling their wares.
At least 80 percent of the products sold are grown locally within 200 miles of the market. It is a great opportunity to meet the farmer's who grow my food, up close and personal.
There is everything from bedding plants and hanging baskets...
...to honey (and I mean every type of honey you could possibly imagine, complete with samples of each)...
...to asparagus and rhubarb. I will always think of MN when I think of rhubarb. When Riv was born I can't tell you how many rhubarb treats we received. And if you've never had a rhubarb pie or crisp, you haven't completely experienced life!
My most exciting find this year, and new to Richfield since we left 3 years ago, is Sweet M's Berkshire Pork Farm. They carry pork chops, bacon, sausage, brats (which you'll learn is a Scandinavian staple), and even roasts! And it is the savoriest sausage and bacon I have ever put in my mouth! They offer a CSA that we are considering for the rest of the year. All their pigs are raised on pasture and any feed supplements are organic. These are some darn happy pigs! And bacon is much better from a happy pig.
There is also a cheese and bison vendor with a delightful selection of fresh cheeses and, obviously, bison meat. Haven't stepped out on that limb yet. And since we aren't doing dairy I just skipped over this vendor to avoid the temptation.
There is the old faithful Bread Smith with their oh, so yummy kosher breads and treats, and the biggest, best-smelling muffins you have ever seen! This used to be our Saturday morning ritual breakfast, but that was about 15 lbs ago. Again, I avoided.
And new to me, but so exciting to see, a local French chef, complete with French accent, is making crepes right on the spot. Out of the back of his truck. So fun!
I got to MN last Thursday evening and by Friday evening I was so overwhelmed and exhausted by the mix of emotions that I was moment by moment reminding myself not to freak out. Take it minute by minute. But Saturday morning at the farmer's market was a turning point for me. It may sound silly, but it represents to me so much that I love about this place. Like visiting an old faithful friend. The kind that never skip a beat and you just pick right up where you left off. It filled me with life and renewed an excitement to be here in these Twin Cities during their most productive season.
And here is my bounty for the day.