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Fresh Local Foods in a Fresh Location

Posted by Kristian Nyberg, Morris Healthy Eating on Thursday, Jun. 21, 2012

Many Morris area farmers woke early Thursday, June 14 to meticulously prepare and pack for the Morris Area Farmers Market’s grand opening in its new location at East Side Park. A forecast of severe storms weighed heavily on the farmers’ minds as they filled their cars with farm fresh goods. As vendors arrived, they secured their tents and tables in anticipation of the predicted weather and unloaded their wares. Bread baked that morning was set aside crisp lettuce at one booth, and cartons of freshly-picked, juicy strawberries, were sold along with sweet canned rhubarb jam at another.

The Morris Area Farmers Market’s grand opening began at exactly 3 pm with a ceremonial grapevine cutting by City of Morris Mayor Sheldon Giese, and a cowbell signaled the official opening of the market. Gray skies began to clear, and the sun came out for a beautiful afternoon at the market.

Morris area farmers who were on hand selling their goods showed their smiling faces at the arrival of customers there to purchase the fruits of their labor. "I thought the grand opening of the Morris Area Farmers Market was a huge success. Customers and farmers alike enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere which the Morris East Side Park offers," said Paula Feuchtenberger, Market Manager and a Morris area farmer selling her fresh vegetables at the market.

A record 170 Morris residents were on hand for the grand opening. “We have been looking forward to this all day. We planned our dinner tonight on what we knew we could get at the market,” Alyana Johnson, a University of Minnesota Morris student, said.

The Morris Area Farmers Market will continue every Monday and Thursday from 3-6 p.m. at East Side Park (East 7th Street and Colorado Avenue) until September 20. A weekly list of available items will be posted on the Farmers Market website.

The Morris Area Farmers Market is supported by Morris Healthy Eating and the Statewide Health Improvement Program’s (SHIP) “Farm to Fork” initiative.

SHIP is a program of the Minnesota Department of Health that works to prevent disease before it starts by helping to create healthier communities that support individuals seeking to make healthy choices in their daily lives. The goal of SHIP is to help Minnesotans live longer, healthier lives by preventing the leading causes of chronic disease: tobacco and obesity.

Morris Healthy Eating works to make fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods more available and accessible on the University of Minnesota Morris campus, in Morris, and in Stevens County. The initiative links leaders from our food, healthcare, and educational systems with partnering organizations, agencies,and businesses to make the healthy choice the easy choice in our community. Morris Healthy Eating is coordinated through the University of Minnesota, Morris Office of Student Affairs and funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Healthy Eating Minnesota initiative.

Photo caption: City of Morris Mayor Sheldon Giese cuts a ceremonial grapevine at the 2012 opening of the Morris Area Farmers Market.