Ahhh. It sure is summertime and that means that right now the Farmer’s Market in Aberdeen is hopping.  Nothing beats local, fresh produce and baked goods so stopping here is necessary before time runs out!  Every Thursday from 4-7pm you can enjoy Melgaard Park and get in on the best local produce (and since it is at a park, you can bring the kids and let them play while you cash in on the deals).

 I went around 6pm….big mistake.  If you want to get in on the goods you have to be there early!  So the following week I made sure that I got there right at 4 and it was already full of people.

I first stopped by Gilkerson Gardens from Brookings.  These guys offer a huge variety of tomatoes and cucumbers.  Greenhouses allow the Gilkersons to grow luscious, green plants even in the dead of winter.  This way they have produce ready for you really early.  Look how beautiful all the plants look!  

One thing that I noticed about their produce was the amazing color.  So bold and vibrant.  That is how you know they are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants.  The experts always say to eat a lot of color on your plate and these veggies would do the trick for you.  

I had such a great time talking with these farmers.  I could really tell that they had a passion for producing.  I mean this stuff isn’t easy.  I grow a small garden and that is a ton of work, but it is nothing compared to this.

Next, I wandered to the tent of Prairie Soul Meats by Sand Ranch out of Ashley North Dakota.  These ranchers provide flavorful, nutritious, locally-raised, and grass-fed beef for the community. Think I could fit more adjectives into that sentence?

 Free samples!  Don’t mind if I do.

So delicious.  I mean it, if you have only gotten your meat from a chain grocery store, you are truly missing out on the real flavor of beef.  I was raised on this type of beef from my family's farm so I know the difference in meat quality between a chain store and locally produced.  The difference is incredible.  Also, it is always reassuring to know with 100% certainty that this beef was raised with the highest standards.  You can't say that if you picked up meat at a chain store.  They also have grass-fed lamb and pastured pork so you can fill your freezer up!  

These guys are the real deal.  Raising cattle isn’t easy so go support these local ranchers! If you aren’t able to make it to the farmer’s market, that’s okay because they sell individual beef cuts at Natural Abundance in Aberdeen.  

The next tent I stopped at belonged to Better Roots from of Pierpont, SD.  I had already heard other’s talking about getting to this tent in time before the bags of lettuce mix sold out.  Again, you better get there early because these sell like hot cakes.  Still if you don’t happen to make it on time they do have their lettuce mixes available at Natural Abundance, Kens, Kesslers and other grocery/convenience stores around the area.  

Isn’t she a beauty! The deep, rich colors of these leaves make for an amazing salad.

I stole this picture from their facebook page because I just love how fresh and lovely and perfect the lettuce looks.  

Follow them on facebook @betterrootsfarm! 

Yapa Kettle Corn was next (my daughter insisted). Growing up, I never really knew that kettle corn was a thing, but every time that my family had popcorn we had to have something sweet with it, whether it was M&M’s or homemade fudge.  I just loved the combination of that salty popcorn and sweet candy.  Then when kettle corn became more popular in the 2000's it became my thing.  So, of course, we had to get a big bag.  The sales of the kettle corn benefit the YAPAtorium (a youth center fro students ages 11-19), hence Yapa Kettle Corn.  Not only is it scrumptious, but it goes to a good cause…. so a win for my tastebuds and a win for the community (probably not so much of a win for my waistline though....oh well...worth it)!  It just melts in your mouth and eventually when you look down, the bag is mostly gone..whoops!

I am not sure if you believe me yet or not, but…..GET THERE EARLY because I watched him sell out of this before I left! Yes it is that good!

Look at that happy face!

Charolette Barondeau’s tent is a must stop!  I have known Charolette for many years and her baked goods never disappoint.  She puts a lot of love into her baked goods and you can tell because this tent was buzzing!  It kind of reminded me of vultures swarming around trying to get to their favorite item before someone else snatched it up.  

 

I had to buy a rhubarb pie since it is my husband’s favorite and I don’t really love making pies! This was the mostly delicious pie ever!  I had zero willpower to put down my fork! My husband, who is super picky about food, kept remarking about how tasty this pie was. My only regret was that I didn't buy more pies to put in the freezer so I could enjoy them longer!

Freshly-baked homemade goodies can’t be beat.  It always tastes better when you don’t have to make a mess in your kitchen to get them!  I can't wait to go back and try more!

Let's talk about the lline that wouldn’t stop.  A local Hutterite Colony brought in a huge variety of garden produce as well as breads and other baked goods. It is obviously worth it to stand in line.  The line remained like this for most of the time that I was there.  I have to let the pictures speak for themselves here.  

The Miss Lemonade tent...I stop here every single time I am at the farmer’s market.  This freshly-squeezed lemonade is the perfect thing to sip on while you are perusing the goodies at the market.  So refreshing and made with the best ingredients this lemonade doesn’t disappoint. 

So many different and interesting choices, I haven’t tried them all yet but I do really love the REAL raspberry lemonade.  

Now this is beautiful!  

Bumpy Road Ranch is an unconventional farm located just outside of Aberdeen and offers a variety of the highest-quality meats (chicken, turkey, and pork) as well as eggs. Their chickens run free and the pigs root in the fresh grass, while the turkey’s chase bugs in an open pasture.  Now doesn’t that sound like an idyllic place.  You never have to worry about the quality of meat when it comes from this ranch.  They do things right.  Make sure to stop by their tent and load up on quality, good-for-you meat!

They also sell their goods at Natural Abundance, in case you were wondering 

You need to check out their website in order to learn all the wonderful things about their farm. 

In addition to all of these friendly, hard-working vendors at the Farmer’s Market there is also some live entertainment (most weeks) and even yoga provided by Fit and Fire Studios!  Also, if you putts around long enough you can catch Jerry Letcher and the Aberdeen Municipal Band putting on a free concert in the park at 7pm.  There’s only a few weeks left of that so you better take advantage of that quickly.  

So this coming Thursday, you need to come see what the Farmer’s Market is all about.  All of the vendors are friendly, hard-working, local people who would love to share their goods with you.  I'll see you there!

(produce like this makes my job of taking pictures easy)