Farmer’s Market hosts student giveaway

Michaela Gaffke, Features Reporter

When the rain let up on Saturday, Sept. 16, the Winona Farmer’s Market picked up the pace. People of all ages gathered to browse local vendors’ products—from flower bouquets to caffeinated beverages to vegetables and everything in between.

Last Saturday’s Farmer’s Market was Winona State Student’s Day, where the first 25 students received a free purple reusable bag. Other giveaways included Winona State accessories and Winona Farmer’s Market baskets. 

It had been a slow morning because of the rain, according to Esther Heyer of Out on a Limb Orchard and Gardens. She was under her tent selling cucumbers, broccoli, apples and homemade pies.

Heyer, who sets up her stand almost every Saturday and has done so for 26 years, said the farmer’s market is a much different grocery experience than your average store.

“Talking to the grower makes the farmer’s market experience special,” Heyer said. “We can exchange recipes, how to cook certain vegetables, it is more interactive than a grocery store.”

Moni Berg-Binder picked up pears, raspberries and cauliflower from Heyer while shopping with her husband and toddler.

“I love to support local [businesses], and everything here is organic and doesn’t use pesticides,” Berg-Binder said. “You get to know people here.”

Across from Heyer’s stand was Firefly Gardens, ran by Sandy Pehler who was selling bouquets of flowers and succulents. The bouquets were placed on her tables with different color themes. Pehler started growing her flowers at home and decided to set up as a vendor at the market.

Pehler also sets her tables up every Saturday, though she said the rain negatively affected traffic at the farmer’s market.

“If it weren’t raining it would be packed,” Pehler said.

Rachel Geulker, a sophomore nursing major at Winona State, walked around the market with her family, who were visiting for Family Weekend. Geulker purchased spinach, tomatoes, garlic and peppers, which she kept in the purple reusable bag she received.

“I am beginning to cook on my own and I grew up going to farmer’s markets back home in Madison,” Geulker said. “I love to support local [businesses], and it isn’t a far walk from campus.”

The Winona Farmer’s Market is every Saturday through October, located in the Midtown Food’s parking lot 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.