‘Meet Your Farmer’ at Co-op Natural Foods

From staff reports

The Co-op Natural Foods is connecting its customers with local farmers and fresh produce today and Saturday.

The annual Meet Your Farmer event is from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, May 12, in the grocery store’s parking lot at 18th Street and Minnesota Avenue. And the first farmers market of the season is from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 13.

Eight vendors will be at the store today to explain how they grow or make the products they sell through the co-op.

“If you can put a face to a business, that makes it so much more real,” said Sam Serbus, marketing manager. “It’s also a great opportunity for customers if they have questions about the products.”

A customer visits with farmers at last year’s event.

The first 25 people to visit all of the farmers will receive a $5 gift card for the co-op, which sells annual memberships but also is open to the public.

The vendors have been invited to bring items for sale, but if they don’t, it’s likely their products are in the store, Serbus said.

Here’s the list of farmers attending:

  • Deep Root Gardens  of Canton.
  • The Good Earth of Lennox.
  • Hillside Prairie Gardens of Brookings.
  • Mary’s Kitchen & Gardens of Beresford.
  • Seedtime & Harvest of Hull, Iowa.
  • Stensland Family Farms of  Larchwood, Iowa.
  • Tannenbaum Tree Farm of Lennox.
  • Wheatstem Meadows of Sioux Falls.

In addition to the meeting the farmers, shoppers can try samples and kids can start their own seeds to grow.

General manager Patrick Sayler will lead a rain barrel-making workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. He has enough materials for 10 rain barrels. Do-it-yourselfers can call to reserve a spot for $50. There’s a $5 discount for co-op members. Anyone can watch the session for free.

The farmers market will kick off Saturday morning in the parking lot with three vendors: Happy Hydros, Mary’s Kitchen & Gardens and Home Grown Honey.

“We’re hoping it picks up some traction over the summer,” and more vendors sign up, Serbus said.

Another recent addition to the co-op is a “tent sale.” The small tent in the parking lot near the front door is open the same hours as the store. It’s stocked with potted plants, hanging baskets and herbs from Tannenbaum Tree Farm and grocery items that will change. For now, there’s a pallet of Honest Tea, Serbus said.

The tent sale at The Co-op Natural Foods includes plants and grocery items.

The co-op also hired a new chef, who started Monday, Serbus said. Matthew Regnier is putting on a “hot bar” for lunch that features an entrée and a soup.

“It’s something different every day, so as soon as we know what he’s going to make, we post it on social media,” Serbus said.

The salad bar is available daily, too.

Hours at the co-op are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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‘Meet Your Farmer’ at Co-op Natural Foods

The Co-op Natural Foods is connecting its customers with local farmers and fresh produce today and Saturday.

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