Virginia Market Square enters its fourth year

The Virginia Market Square farmers market opened on Thursday June 6 with nine vendors, including several with ready-to-eat food! Customers could choose from market fare like First Pilipina Food Stand egg rolls, Momma’s Wooden Spoon bourbon wings basket, Essentially Jo’s amazing scones, Beyond Nuts’ sweet and salty cashews (my favorite), and Ethnic Creations’ garlic ranch pretzels. Of course our long-time members, Balsam Lake Farms with produce, meat, eggs and canned goods, Essentially Jo with hand-made soaps, Birch Bark Botanicals with amazing body care products, Karl’s Bread with out-of-this-world breads were on hand again this season. Nana’s Noodles with her home-made pasta will join us every 2 weeks too for those of you who missed her last year.

We’ve recently gained several new vendors: Bear River Farms with rhubarb, garlic and maple syrup joined us last Thursday and a local family selling beef jerkey will join us this week, we hope! Dragon Phoenix Farm and Shy Bloom Garden will join us soon with more produce. Tim Munns and Anna Stang will be there with offerings from their brand new organic farm, and 2 Maple Farms will bring their microgreens at the end of June. In July, Northern Delicious CSA will join in. And around that time, Mike Oselund with his heirloom tomatoes and wild rice will return, and Peterson Berry Farm too.

We’ll have entertainment every week this season! Sara Softich and Friends shared their music last Thursday and the Downtown Dance Studio will perform next week. Our local one-man-band Tom Kesanen will be with us on June 20 and the Downtown Dancers will perform again June 27. Three’s Company who delighted us with oldies last year will return July 11 and the fabulous Jane Mahovlich will be with us on July 18. Essentia Health, who last year gave out bike helmets, will return this year with life jackets for kids on July 18 too! And every week we have sidewalk chalk, corn toss, coloring sheets and bubble stuff for kids of all ages.

In addition to great vendors and live entertainment, the Virginia Market Square, in conjunction with AEOA and Essentia Health and the Virginia Community Foundation offers the Power of Produce Club for kids. Children get two tokens each week, worth $1 each, and they can buy their own fruits and vegetables at the market! In conjunction with AEOA, Essentia, and Minnesota Hunger Solutions, we also welcome SNAP/EBT customers and provide a $15 match. We welcome WIC/FMNP coupons too at four produce vendors. Finally, in July we’ll be offering “Cooking Matters” market tours and a $10 market challenge to customers who use SNAP/EBT.

So come on down, shop for veggies and locally-made goods and enjoy the entertainment every Thursday except July 4 in City Center Park, right across from the Veterans Memorial on Bailey Lake, 2:30-6pm, rain or shine!

Virginia Market Square is run by the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability. We want to thank the Virginia Community Foundation for helping to get us started in 2016, the City of Virginia for the dedicated space and great new banners, the VFW/Servicemen’s Club for our new storage shed, Virgina Public Utilities for our new electrical hookups, and Ed Alto for troubleshooting it all. Virginia Market Square is a member of Minnesota Grown and the Minnesota Farmers Market Association.

See you this and every Thursday!!!

Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/virginiamarketsquare

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