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Austin farmers market to open

Go & Do

What: Opening day of Austin Area Farmers Market’s 2007 season.

Where: North Main Street in downtown Austin.

When: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.

By Tim Ruzek

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truzek@postbulletin.com

John and Jan Ulland packed up their freshly picked rhubarb, green onions and asparagus Tuesday to travel to Mason City, Iowa, for a farmers market.

It’s a warmup for the rural Austin couple’s upcoming season with the Austin Area Farmers Market, which begins Thursday. They’re one of about 17 vendors expected to sell goods at the market on Mondays and Thursdays until October.

For the third straight year, the market will be open 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays along the sidewalks of North Main Street in downtown Austin.

The market’s time downtown will be one hour shorter on Thursdays than in past years. The market’s final hour in the past downtown has been "pretty quiet," said Ulland, who’s known as Farmer John.

In 2004, the group of vendors moved downtown from the Oak Park Mall parking lot on Thursdays to help in the local effort to revitalize the city’s core.

The farmers market has been positive for downtown as it’s helped attract a lot of people there, said Sarah Douty, coordinator for Austin Main Street Project, a nonprofit group of citizens aiming to revitalize downtown.

"We support them 100 percent," Douty said.

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Starting June 4, the market will resume its usual Monday operation from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Oak Park Mall in northwest Austin.

Several new vendors are expected to join the market this year, including a Blooming Prairie woman who sells homemade soap. Vendors come to Austin from all around Mower County as well as neighboring counties and Iowa.

People interested in selling their own homemade products at the market pay $75 for the season or $25 for a five-market trial.

For more information about the farmers market, see www.postbulletin.com/weblinks.

Austin Area Farmers Market

www.austinafm.com

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