by Joni Astrup
Greg Enkhaus is a chemical engineer who ran a successful business before selling it at age 48.
Now he’s a regular at the Nowthen Farmers Market, where he sells jams, pickles, salsa, sauerkraut, Italian antipasto, black bean and corn salsa, and other products he makes in a venture he calls Greg’s Gardens.
“He’s very popular at the farmers market. People thoroughly enjoy his products,” said Dennis Blake, one of the market’s organizers.
Enkhaus has been gardening and canning as a hobby for the past 20 years, giving his goods away to family, friends and business associates. He used to give jars of his Italian antipasto to his largest customer in Thief River Falls and said they were always wondering when the next batch would be delivered.
Enkhaus connected with the Nowthen Farmers Market a couple of years ago when he stopped in and bought some products. He met Lynda Kolasa, one of the market organizers, who told him he could still be a vendor at the market that year.
Now he’s there every week. His mom, Betty, often joins him at the booth.
Enkhaus said he likes meeting people and sells his wares just for fun.
A native of Fridley, he said he loves the sense of community at the farmers market. Last year was his first full season there, and he began seeing repeat customers.
“It’s really kind of neat,” he said.
His favorite product is the cherry jam he makes from cherries grown on his 2-acre lot in Ramsey, where he shares a home with his wife, Val, and their two teenaged sons. The cherry tree was a wedding gift from one of Enkhaus’ college fraternity brothers. It typically produces about 20 quarts of cherries a season.
Another popular item he makes is sauerkraut, crafted from a recipe in an 80-year-old cookbook. He makes it by layering cabbage, caraway seeds and salt in a vintage Red Wing crock. He had to buy another crock to keep up with the demand.
One of his most unusual products is a type of pickle made from watermelon rinds.
Enkhaus grows most of the produce that ends up in his products on his own land. He has a variety of garden plots and a number of fruit trees.
“I want as much of it to come off these two acres as I can,” he said.
If you go
What: Nowthen Farmers Market
Where: New location this year at the corner of Viking Boulevard and Nowthen Boulevard, near Bill’s Superette.
When: 3-7 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 25, (closed July 4) concluding Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Nowthen Heritage Festival.
For more information: Contact Lynda Kolasa at 612-751-9995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org