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Veggie Tales: Minot Farmer's Market in full bloom

MINOT, N.D. -- Paulette Dailey, vendor at the Minot Farmer’s Market in Oak Park, assists a customer with his rhubarb purchase here Aug. 5. Dailey has been selling produce at the market for eight years. She is also the executive director of the Minot Symphony Orchestra. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Kidron B Farnell)

MINOT, N.D. -- Paulette Dailey, vendor at the Minot Farmer’s Market in Oak Park, assists a customer with his rhubarb purchase here Aug. 5. Dailey has been selling produce at the market for eight years. She is also the executive director of the Minot Symphony Orchestra. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Kidron B Farnell)

MINOT, N.D. -- Flowers, produce and more were sold in Oak Park at the Minot Farmer’s Market here Aug. 5. Vendors assemble Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and provide the community an outlet for fresh quality foods and friendly fellowship. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Kidron B Farnell)

MINOT, N.D. -- Flowers, produce and more were sold in Oak Park at the Minot Farmer’s Market here Aug. 5. Vendors assemble Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and provide the community an outlet for fresh quality foods and friendly fellowship. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Kidron B Farnell)

MINOT, N.D. -- It's a beautiful summer morning in Oak Park. The 9 a.m.-sharp whistle has just signaled the start of the Minot Farmer's Market, just like it has for more than 30 years. Some firm squeezes, a little bit of hand-weighing, and a few deals brokered on green beans and cucumbers are just getting underway while customers start gathering around several of the produce vendors. The standard question of 'how much?' seems to dominate conversations as swarms of people pick up garlic, onions, zucchini, or any other number of items perfect for summer cooking.

Eating healthy and saving money is on the minds of many families these days. The farmer's market is the perfect place to do both. Three days a week, starting July 13 through Halloween, you can find the hustle and bustle of vegetable aficionados at the farmer's market looking for a good deal on fresh-picked produce. And the Minot vendors are happy to oblige.

On any given day there are approximately 23 spots, with some vendors occupying more than one stand. Market fare ranges from produce and fruits, to flowers, baked goods, syrup and honey. Although some vegetables might not be in season, just ask one of the vendors and they will be happy to give the farm report on whatever one is after.

One of the longest-selling vendors at the market is David Kopp, having started when he was in high school back in the 1950s. Kopp is also the president of the Minot Farmer's Market Association. He said he has seen the market move to a few different places, finally relocating to its current location in Oak Park for the past 30-plus years.

"There's a lot of interest in eating fresh these days, and the prices are very comparable to what you will see in the supermarket," said Kopp. "Some things are cheaper, others are about the same, and some of the produce is a little more expensive."

Although prices between the market and grocery stores may be close, most patrons at the market seem to agree that locally-grown food just tastes better.

Robert and Alexandra Kibler have been selling their products here for the past five years, and like most vendors, are almost exclusively organic in their production. Kibler and his wife both teach at Minot State University and are firm believers in growing healthy food. They also believe being part of the farmer's market is less about making money, and more about living healthy.

"This [the market] is something we do in the summer and on the weekends for fun when school starts," said Mr. Kibler. "We have a green house at home and grow a variety of vegetables, in addition to making our own bread, and syrup."

In addition to the produce and baking, Kibler recently started extracting honey from his bee hives and will start selling it soon as well.

"I consider myself a bee novice, but it is incredibly fascinating," he said.

Like the Kiblers, Paulette Dailey also has a passion for gardening and growing vegetables. Dailey is the executive director of the Minot Symphony Orchestra and in her spare time, she loves to garden. Dailey has been selling produce at the market for eight years, grown locally from her three gardens. Whatever doesn't sell, Dailey will usually save and can it for later. A skill, she said which came from growing up gardening with her parents. These days, Dailey's son is now helping pick and sell produce at the market.

"He told me he has a new appreciation for what mom does," said Daily with a big smile.

These days, people looking to eat healthy and save money also have a new appreciation for the farmer's market as well.

The Minot Farmer's Market is located in Oak Park and is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The market opens July 13, and closes at the end of October.
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