by Joni Astrup
It all started with a gift of watermelons.
Lynda Kolasa was at Bill’s Superette in Nowthen one day when she saw watermelons on cars.
When she inquired about it, she was told someone had a bumper crop and put the extras on people’s cars for them to take home.
Kolasa loves farmers markets and had been traveling to other communities to buy produce. Seeing those watermelons planted a seed: Why not have a local farmers market? Other experiences reinforced the idea and today, the vision of a farmers market in Nowthen is a reality.
Kolasa, with help from Dennis Blake, organized the community’s first farmers market in 2011 with 10 vendors. The number of vendors doubled the next year and this year, Kolasa is hoping for still more.
An informational meeting for people interested in being vendors is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at Nowthen City Hall, 8188 199th Ave. A number of vendors have already agreed to participate. Kolasa said among the products that will be at the 2013 market are kettle corn, alpaca fiber items, bison meat, honey, canned goods, produce and “lotions and potions.”
The farmers market is scheduled to run 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, tentatively beginning June 20, in what has come to be known as “Farmers Market Field.” The site is near 199th Avenue and Nowthen Boulevard in Nowthen, one block north of County Road 22. The Nowthen market is also listed on the Minnesota Grown website, which has a site locator.
The theme of the Nowthen Farmers Market is “Eat Healthy, Be Healthy.”
For Kolasa, who volunteers her time, launching the farmers market has been a labor of love. She initially spent about two years figuring out the details, but put it on the back burner after it became somewhat overwhelming to do alone. Then one day the mayor called and said Blake was willing to help. Together they got the first market going.
Kolasa has been a driving force. That first year, she made fliers and went door to door to almost every home in Nowthen to deliver the fliers and invite people to attend the informational meeting. She was encouraged when about 30 people showed up.
“If it is something that I really believe in, I’ll work 120 percent on getting it done,” she said. She said she believes the Nowthen Farmers Market is something God wanted her to do.
Kolasa is a small-business owner with her husband and was a flight attendant for 16 years. She also has been a Girl Scout leader, a camp director and a Sunday school teacher.
She is pleased that the Nowthen Farmers Market is not only a place to get produce and other goods, but it has become a meeting place for people. She is always looking for ways to enhance the market and bring in new vendors.
In addition to seeking vendors, Kolasa is recruiting volunteers to read to kids at the farmers market and for people of all levels of musical talent to perform.
For more information, call her at 612-751-9995 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nowthen Farmers Market is also on Facebook.