Guide to the Downtown Rochester MN Farmers Market

This post is sponsored by Experience Rochester MN

farmers market, local produce, summer events, local, support localall photos by Choochoo-ca-Chew

One of the jewels of downtown Rochester MN is our Rochester Downtown Farmers Market.  Not only does this offer an easy way for Rochester area residents to support local producers (important!) as well as provide healthy and delicious foods throughout the year, it is just a fun thing to do. It’s also FREE to go! Our farmers market is a growers market.  This means that everything that you find at the market was grown, baked, or created by local hands.  That is something very special!

There are several reasons why we enjoy the Farmers Market and love to support its efforts:

  • Enjoy Incredible Tasting Food
    • There is no denying how fresh your food will be at the Farmers Market.  Most of what you will buy there has been picked that morning and if not, the night prior.  
  • The Chance to Be Adventurous
    • There is so much wonderful variety at our Farmers Market…from tomato varieties to vegetables to proteins you haven’t even tried before…this is your opportunity to explore some new tastes and textures.
  • Meet the Farmer
    • Shopping at our Farmers Market supports our local producers and contributes to our local economy.  Introduce yourself!  They are so passionate about what they do and are only so happy to share with you about what makes their food so special.
  • Explore More Than Just Produce and Protein
    • Our Rochester MN Farmers Market boasts numerous artisans and other producers.  From syrups, to honey, to wood carving, to hand-made lotions and balms, there is so much more than just food at the market.

If you’re new to our Farmers Market, we’ve put together a fun and handy guide for you to make the best out of your experience!

What Time Is It?

There are two seasons for our Rochester Downtown Farmers Market: Winter and Summer.  The summer market runs from the first Saturday in May until the last Saturday of October, 7:30 AM – 12:00 PM.  The winter market runs every other Saturday in November through April, 9 AM – 12:00 PM.  

Where is it Located?

Summer:

The Summer Rochester Downtown Farmers Market is held in a parking lot just across the Zumbro River from the Mayo Civic  Center and near the Government Center at 4th Street SE and 4th Avenue SE:

farmers market, local produce, summer events, local, support local

Winter:

The Winter Rochester Downtown Farmers Market is held at the Olmsted County Fairgrounds at 35 Fairgrounds Avenue SE:

farmers market, local produce, summer events, local, support local

Parking

While there is plenty of parking for the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market, it can be helpful to know where you’d like to park before you go.  Depending on time of day, the parking options can become limited in some spots, but rest assured there is always parking to be found! There are a few designated parking lots (designated by the pink boxes in the graphic below) for the Summer Farmers Market as well as ample street parking. You may park in the parking lot of an office building on 300 3rd Avenue SE and access the back of the Farmers Market or you can park in the parking lot across the street at 4th Street and 4th Avenue SE (across from the Holiday gas station) and enter through the main entrance to the market.  If you park across the street, please be sure to cross busy 4th Street SE at the cross-walk using one of the visibility flags to alert cars to your presence.

farmers market, local produce, summer events, local, support local

 

What’s in Season?

There is a variety of produce available throughout the growing season at the Farmers Market! It can help to know what to expect before you go, especially if you’re recipe planning!  And don’t forget, if you need a mid-week veggie fix, many of the producers who sell at the Farmers Market also provide their produce to People’s Food Co-op! Of course you will find MUCH more than just this list, but this will help give you a good idea!

May

  • Asparagus
  • Bedding Plants (Annuals/Perrenials)
  • Green Onions
  • Radish 
  • Rhubarb 
  • Spinach

June

In addition to the above:

  • Green Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Greens/Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Kohlrabi
  • Peas
  • Herbs
  • Strawberries (tail end of June/beginning of July!)

July

In addition to the above:

  • Beets 
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries 
  • Sweet Corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Melons

August

In addition to the above:

  • Apples 
  • Onions

Can I Bring Kids?

YES! The Farmers Market is so kid-friendly.  There is so much to see and do.  There is oftentimes a musician playing fun music that children will dance to, kids can help pick out vegetables, sometimes there is a balloon animal twister, there are always fun treats and new produce to explore. Put the kids in the stroller or pull them in a wagon or even just walking on their own, the Farmers Market is very welcoming.  There are also kids helping out their parents with produce at the stands!  We’ve made a really fun scavenger hunt printable that kids can do when they are at the Farmers Market to help them locate and identify common things you’ll see at the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market.farmers market, local produce, summer events, local, support local

>>>DOWNLOAD HERE<<<

Can I Bring My Dog?

No.  Please leave your family pets at home.  As this is a food market, cleanliness is very important.  Dogs are not allowed at the Summer or Winter Farmers Market.

 

So, Is it All Vegetables?

Definitely not! In addition to the freshest fruits and vegetable produce, you’ll also find proteins such as beef, pork, chicken, bison, fish, elk, and shrimp. (Many of these also have organic, free-range and/or grass-fed options) You’ll also find dairy (cheese, ice cream, milk) and eggs (organic and free-range options available),  bedding and plants, fresh bread, baked goods, coffee, donuts, other delicious desserts, preserves and jams, salsa, flower arrangements, macarons, lotions and balms, syrups and shrubs (apple cider vinegar often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks, dressings, vinaigrettes, etc) and more! 

Any Tips and Tricks?

As we LOVE the Farmers Market we have learned a few tips and tricks along the way:

  • Get there early if you want to ensure something doesn’t sell-out!  This is particularly true during the strawberry and raspberry season!
  • Grab a coffee from the two coffee vendors at either side of the market to make your morning perusing that much more enjoyable.
  • Northwoods Orchards sells amazing apple cider donuts for $.75.  Grab a few to keep the kids happy!
  • There is a vendor with a large booth that also sells wood-crafts.  Ask to see their assortment of wood-cut animals – available for $1! Kids love to pick out a new one each time they go.
  • There are walking trails leading out from almost every direction from the market.  Consider going for a nice walk along the river once you’re done picking up your produce or even make it a picnic lunch to go!
  • There is a wonderful playground down the street (across the bridge) from the Farmers Market.  This is a great place to have the kids run around and burn-off some steam before or after you do your browsing
  • Bring cash.  While some vendors do accept cards, you’d hate to be without a way to pay when you find something you really want.

all photos by Choochoo-ca-Chew

 

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