PRINCETON – Thirty years of fresh produce was being celebrated Saturday, June 3, at Princeton’s north mall.
The Princeton-Zimmerman Farmers Market Association recognized 30 years of having a farmers market in Princeton with a party. Farmers market vendors celebrated with music, face-painting, free chips and beverages and complimentary pork chops cooked on a grill on the farmers market grounds.
Dan Whitcomb of JQ Fruit Farm, president of the farmers market association, has been with the farmers market since the very beginning.
The farmers market was born in 1987 as Princeton looked to boost economic development on its main street.
For two years prior, in 1985 and 1986, former Minnesota Gov. Elmer Andersen (founder of the Princeton Union-Eagle and ECM Publishers Inc.), the Rum River Citizen League, and the city of Princeton sponsored community meetings to address the ailing economic situation of Main Street. As a result of those meetings, the Princeton Farmers Market was originally conceptualized to be a downtown community market that encouraged local economic activity.
The first farmers markets were held in Riverside Park. A group of local specialty crop farmers was organized by the Minnesota Food Association Chapter and the market began the summer of 1987.
Initial farms included the Melon Patch, Clasen Acres, Promise Land Organics, Foltz Orchard and Nursery, Pelucidor Farm, Polly’s Pickins, and J.Q. Fruit Farm and Orchard.
Dan Whitcomb of J.Q. Fruit Farm is the president of the Princeton/Zimmerman Farmers Market Association. Al Feldeverd is its the manager.
Originally composed of seven farms, expansion necessitated the farmers market’s move to the north mall parking lot. Today there are more than 20 farms that are members of the organization.
In 2006, the organization started the Zimmerman Farmers Market. Three years later, in 2009, the member farms incorporated as the Princeton-Zimmerman Farmers Market Association — a nonprofit farmer association with markets in Princeton and Zimmerman. Currently, the association enjoys more than 20 member farms.
The Princeton-Zimmerman Farmers Market Association stated it is proud the farmers market is run by farmers and that product sold at the market is 100 percent local. Goods sold at the market must come from within 45 miles of the Princeton and Zimmerman communities.
Visitors to the farmers market can find on a regular basis a wide variety of vegetables, including rare Asian and European varieties; meats, including beef, pork, chicken, turkey and duck; fresh fruits, including apples, blueberries, currants, raspberries and strawberries; various syrups; baked goods; canned goods; milk-based and plant-based soaps and lotions; apiary products; and annual and perennial plants.
The Princeton farmers market is held every Saturday from mid-May through October. The market is open from 8:30 a.m. until noon in the Princeton mall parking lot.