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Fresh eats on Church Street

July 10, 2013


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Relax with a chair massage, enjoy free organic mint tea, and pick out a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers. Sounds like a day at the spa, but you can do all this—and throw in a delicious lunch from the Northrop Grill—at the U of M's Church Street Farmers Market. The market kicks off its ninth season July 10, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., and continues on Wednesdays through October 9. Join the estimated 3,000 people likely to attend the opener; mark your calendars now: Put this on my Google calendar.

Shopping tips

Bring change and small bills.

Bring large bags with handles or a backpack to carry your purchases.

Arrive early for the best selection. (Arrive near closing time and you may find a deal.)

Ask questions and get to know the farmers.

Growing partnerships
Thanks to partnerships with, for example, University Dining Services to Northrop's Summer Music Festival, the market has become a reflection of the vibrant culture the University of Minnesota offers the Twin Cities community.

The produce-packed tables are still the market's main attraction, offering fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables that can otherwise be difficult to find on or near campus. Vendors offer apples, melons, squash, tomatoes, herbs, potatoes, peppers, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, carrots, corn, berries, and more. Jen Arntzen, who administers the market on behalf of the Office of Human Resources' Wellness Program, says the Farmers Market is a highlight of summer on campus for many employees.

"It's a treat for all the senses—and just a short walk from people's workspaces," says Arntzen.

In addition to local farmers, the Wellness Program partners with several other University departments to enhance the Farmers Market's offerings. The Campus Club offers free samples of their organic mint tea, which they make exclusively for the market with mint grown at Cornercopia—the University's student-run organic farm located on the St. Paul campus.

For those employees who use their lunch break to visit the market, University Dining Services and Northrop Grill are on hand, offering grilled chicken sandwiches, bratwurst, and kabobs.

"We use as many Cornercopia produce items as we can for the menu," says UDS Marketing Manager Suzanne Hedrick. "Customers can eat a wonderful, fresh lunch and enjoy the market at the same time."

In addition to providing Campus Club and UDS with ingredients, Cornercopia Student Organic Farm also sells produce at the Farmers Market, and has the distinction of being the market's only certified organic vendor. Farm manager Courtney Tchida is looking forward to seeing familiar faces at the market this summer and sharing recipes that put the farm's produce to good use. "The market is a great way for Cornercopia to fulfill its mission to feed our local campus community food from our farm," says Tchida.

One unique attraction at the market is a chair massage offered on a first-come, first-served basis by Boynton Health Service. The massages are available on four market days: July 10 and 24, and August 7 and 21. Boynton uses the market as an opportunity to increase awareness of its nutrition services that are available to students, staff, and faculty, says communications manager Jolene Johnson.

These and other cross-departmental collaborations make the U Farmers Market a truly nourishing experience for employees. And even with the Central Corridor Light Rail construction, Church Street is still accessible. Walk over to the market, stroll down the pedestrian mall, and it is possible to build some easy physical activity into a lunch break. View these maps of easy wellness walks around the Twin Cities campus and other health options available to the U community.

Tags: All administrative: President, Provost, etc.

Related Links

Connect with the Farmers Market online.

Connect with the market on Twitter.

Find updates on weekly offerings on Facebook.