Farmers market opens season

Published 10:01 am Friday, May 22, 2009

Mondays4 to 6 p.m., Oak Park Mall starting June 1

Thursdays4 to 6 p.m., Main Street

Saturdays9 to 11 a.m., Oak Park Mall starting May 30

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Summertime must be close.

Austin’s farmers market kicked off its season Thursday on Main Street. The long-time area hotspot for fresh flowers and produce is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays through the end of October. It’s also open on Mondays beginning June 1 just outside the Oak Park Mall from 4 to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays beginning May 30 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the same location.

Roughly a half-dozen vendors provided everything from Lilies of the Valley, rhubarb and honey Thursday.

“We miss the people, and it’s good to see them back,” said ‘Farmer’ John Ulland, who with his wife Jan was selling asparagus, rhubarb, radishes and scallions, to name a few.

Jan also featured an assortment of jellies, including a green pepper variety she said goes well with a cracker when topped with cream cheese.

“That’s just the way you do it, don’t argue,” she said with a smile.

As the summer goes along, vendors will feature different produce from their farms and gardens.

“Green beans are looking good,” Farmer John said. “Everything’s looking good so far.”

Iowa resident Sheryl Ehlke was selling plants, including tomato and celery plants, and an assortment of herbs. Ehlke is a long-time Austin farmers market vendor and frequents other markets as well. She said she enjoys the Austin event because of its proximity to Iowa.

“Its the closest to home, and I know a lot of the customers from being here so many years,” she said, while wearing her rain gear.

The vendors weren’t the only ones happy to be back.

Despite the overcast skies and light rain, several customers came through just as the market opened.

Henry and Eleanor Hinchcliffe of Austin, who were with their mother Thursday afternoon, purchased some sugar cookies from Karl Milliron, co-owner of the K&K Bakery in Albert Lea.

The Hinchcliffes also bought some chocolate chip cookies, Lilies of the Valley, radishes and asparagus at the market as well.

At the opposite end, Wanda Evans of Austin was happy the market was back in business.

“I got some plants I couldn’t find anywhere else, and some asparagus and some rhubarb,” she said.