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Rain or shine

First farmers market of the year powers through rainy conditions

Juan Ramon Cervantes (right) shows Mary Schweiss (left) a bundle of how homegrown peas during the first farmers market of the year Thursday. Cervantes had onions, salsa, and canned jalapenos among other fresh and canned goods.

NEW ULM – Despite rain hitting New Ulm yet again Thursday, the farmers market brought a stream of vendors and attendees.

With tents over the vendors, around 10 made it to the first farmers market of the year. Among them was Guldan Family Farm, with Carter Wilson joining Blaine and Jeff Kral in manning the stand.

They sold multiple varieties of peas, kohlrabi, radishes, lettuce, onions, and broccoli fresh from the farm. Kral said the peas were enjoying an abundance of rain, while other plants were not.

“None of them have gotten too angry yet,” he said.

Kral said by far peas were the biggest seller. With another year of farmers markets on the horizon, he said he’s excited to see the different people come and support local businesses.

Carter Wilson hands Dawn Bleick her change back after she buys from the Guldan Family Farm tent.

“It’s pretty good to be able to come locally and sell this stuff,” Kral said. “Freshness is a big thing [for people], hasn’t been transported.”

Market Manager and Sugar Shanty owner Lori Zollner said they had a wide variety of products available at the market.

“Fresh produce, canned goods,” she said. “We’re excited this year. We’ve got a lot of meat vendors with pork, chicken, beef. We’ve got egg vendors and also got some different craft vendors.”

The market is different than in years past. No longer next to German Park or in the Cash Wise parking lot, vendors set up shop in the A to Zinnia parking lot. When more vendors are present, they will assemble on 1st South Street. It’s also the first time in 26 years the market is not hosted by KNUJ. The Chamber of Commerce chose to take over after KNUJ could no longer support the market.

Kral was of mixed opinion about the new location. He said it has better visibility, but is concerned about the parking situation.

Farmers Market Manager and Sugar Shanty owner Lori Zollner talks to business owners Luanne Moldan (Lu’s Moos) and Darrell Platz (Platz Produce) about business and the new location during the first farmers market of the season.

“Parking’s gonna be an issue for some people,” Kral said.

This issue caused some to park where they weren’t meant to. Chamber of Commerce CEO Sarah Warmka said the America’s Best Hearing parking lot was the main offending area that cannot be used by marketgoers.

While the new location has received mixed reviews, Zollner said part of that comes from it being new.

“We’re excited as far as the Broadway visibility,” she said. “People can see us that maybe didn’t originally know where we were. We’re looking to pick up people driving by. I hope people give it a chance.”

Though they sought to prepare for the rain and make it as beneficial for attendees as possible, Zollner said she believed there was a downtick in attendance. She said she is excited for another year of providing producers and attendees the chance to support locals and eat fresh.

“I can’t stress enough about supporting local and knowing where your food comes from,” Zollner said. “It’s important to support individuals. Being both a vendor and a market manager, I see both sides. I’m excited to provide this.”

The chamber is still looking for additional vendors and attractions. For more information, visit https://www.newulm.com/things-to-do/attractions/farmersmarket/

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