Farmers market extends invite

FAIRMONT — It’s a sure sign of spring.

There will be an informational meeting about the Fairmont farmers market at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in room 112 at the Southern Minnesota Educational Campus.

The farmers market, held in the Five Lakes Centre parking, takes place from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday beginning in June and continuing through the end of October. It also is held 4-6 p.m. Tuesday evenings after the Fourth of July and running through September.

Several community members comprise the local board of directors for the farmers market. Doug Abel of Abel Family Farms is president. He explained that they are members of the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association. Abel said the association pays insurance, as the market is insured. It is recommended that each vendor also have their own private insurance. The association also pays rent to Five Lakes Centre for use of the parking lot.

There is a yearly fee of $125 for the season to be a vendor at the farmers market. The fee goes to the association.

“[Vendors] need to read and sign a contract that basically says they’ll abide by the state rules and our rules,” Abel said.

A license is required to sell certain goods at the market, as per state law, but Abel said a license is not particularly expensive or difficult to obtain. Rather, it’s just a matter of following the rules and applying for the license.

There is a cottage food law that says people can make foods in their home. These include items such as baked goods, pickled and canned goods, and jellies. But those interested in selling these goods must first take approved food safety training and register with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Another license is required in order to buy someone else’s product and resell it.

Abel said the market has been taking place in Fairmont for several decades. Last year, there were 10 to 12 vendors, with six or seven there consistently. Abel said goods typically sold at the market include fresh produce, canned goods, salsa, honey, baked goods, jellies, soaps and handmade crafts.

“We’re looking for more people who are interested in coming,” he said. “Any time there’s more vendors at the market, there’s more eye appeal and more people will show up because there’s more products to look at. Anyone is welcome, they just have to read the rues and sign up.”

More information about what it takes to be a vendor will be provided at Thursday’s meeting.