Farmers Market provides local commerce and fresh food to Winona community

Allison Mueller


Junior Marionela Molla purchases an eggplant at Winona Farmers Market on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
Junior Marionela Molla purchases an eggplant at Winona Farmers Market on Wednesday, Sept. 2. (Photo by Sara Tiradossi)

Sara Tiradossi/Winonan

The colorful combinations of fruits and vegetables brightened the environment as the scent of fresh flowers warmed air on the stands of the Farmers Market at Winona Health last Wednesday.

The Farmers Market is a local organization that gives sellers the opportunity to expose their homegrown produce to the population. Located on the Winona Health campus on Wednesdays and downtown Winona on Saturdays, the Farmers Market has been a hot spot for people looking for local, fresh food.

Health and Wellness Professor Connie Mettille said she appreciates how the Farmers Market has been supporting the community for many years.

“I love our Farmers Market,” Mettille said. “I think it’s a phenomenal way to buy local, a way to try new food, speak to people who produce the food and get an understanding of where the food comes from. Plus it has the most beautiful wild flowers.”

Mettille often bikes or walks to the market on Saturday mornings just to buy some fresh bread or flowers.

“The Farmers Market in Winona is like a tiny carnival,” Mettille said. “It has flowers, clothing, jewelry and it’s fun to be a part of something different happening in our community.”

Mettille said it is important to know and understand the origin of foods and the Farmers Market leads people to a direction of health and simplicity.

“The more fresh anything can be, the less processed, then the better it is for our body,” Mettille said.“A lot of the food you buy at the Farmers Market will be picked that same morning and I think that the more simple we can keep our life, and our diet, the better off we are.”

Mettille said people’s time is very valuable to them. In the U.S., people want convenience, and most of the population in Winona supports that. However, the purchase of natural and fresh produce is a phenomenon that is emerging more and more today.

“We live in a world of convenience and there is nothing wrong with that, but it’s nice to have a balance in everything we do,” Mettille said. “We need to take care of our community, and try something new which is good for a whole bunch of dimensions of our health. It makes us well-rounded persons.”

On Wednesdays the Farmers Market invites nutrition experts that explain to people how to prepare some foods. The program is set up by the Winona Volunteer Services.

Farmer and seller Kali Foley has been part of the market business for three years. She said she loves the location of the market in Winona and enjoys the scenery of the lake while she is working at her stand.

“We are a produce farm, so we produce all kind of vegetables and a few fruits. Typically our biggest seller overall are greens,” Foley said.

Foley’s stand was rich in homegrown produce, with fresh and natural apples garnishing the front of her stand.

“We are bio-dynamic, a little further passed organic,” Foley said.

Farmer and seller Kalia Vang presented a wide range of vegetables and fruits as well.

“My family has owned the stand for over eight years. Vegetables attract most of the people who come here so we usually run out of them by the end of the day,” Vang said.

Vang said her family produce is organic, from the vegetables to fruits. She usually attends the Farmers Market both on Wednesdays and Saturdays, however Saturdays are the busiest days. 

The Farmers Market is a local opportunity for the community to understand the quality and origin of foods and be exposed to different food options. Mettille said it is a great way to support the community and help each other.

“The Farmers Market is fun. It’s a fun option for something different to do and a new experience that can open you up to a bunch of new foods and taste and that is great,” Mettille said. “You feel good about yourself when you go there, and that is very important.”