Quintessentially Winona…

I was talking to a young fella who occasionally visits family in Winona, and by young I mean like 11, about this blog and all the things there are in Winona to write about.  He perked up and said, “You should write about the Farmers Market.” I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but to myself I thought, “Yeah, kid, we’ve got Shakespeare and Monet and Beethoven and world-class trails and breathtaking scenery, I’m pretty sure potential visitors don’t want to read about homegrown rutabagas.”

So I said something patronizing about how it was a great idea and I’d be sure to do that, and I went on my way, promptly dismissing the idea. Then, laying in bed that night, I started to think.

Why, I wondered, would that kid think the Farmers Market is so cool? I mean, it’s  just vegetables….well, and sometimes fruit, and fresh meat.  And I guess their are flowers,  and usually someone has jellies , and jars of honey on the comb, and homemade breads…

Then I realized how stupid I am.

Winona’s Farmers Market is flippin awesome. That it took an 11-year-old boy from St. Paul to point it out to me is just another example of how much we take for granted living in this vibrant river town. I mean doesn’t everywhere shut down part of a downtown street twice a week so vendors can fill it up with their wares? Haha, I guess probably not.

But in Winona the end of Main Street springs to life every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning and frankly, it’s a beautiful display. More than 40 stands set up shop for the day, and the fresh vegetables, brilliant flowers and happy vendors make the scene look like something out of a old-time story book.

Cradled by bluffs topped with fertile soil, Winona is blessed with a rich bounty of fruits and vegetables, but even if you’re not in the market for that kind of thing, this Farmers Market is worth planning for. Amish pies, gourmet cupcakes and organic breads are just a sampling of the locally made goods there . Sheep skins, nuts, fresh eggs, syrups — seriously folks, you can’t take home a better souvenir than something created from the soil, sun and people right here in Winona.  And you can’t beat the chatter – if you want to socialize with the locals you’d be hard pressed to find a better place.

The market opens for the season Saturday, May 1 and runs until mid-September. You can read more about it at www.winonafarmersmarket.com.

If you’re coming to town, don’t miss this experience that is quintessentially Winona for all its vibrance, all its uniqueness, and all its charm. Take it from a kid in St. Paul – it’s pretty cool.

Local morel mushrooms will be among the things popping up at the Farmers Market in May

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