Concordia had its first ever Farmers Market on Sept. 22, in conjunction with Dining Services’ second annual local foods meal.
History professor Gretchen Harvey, a member of the food working group on the Sustainability Task Force, said the group generated the idea for the Farmers Market and it only made sense to coordinate the Farmers Market with the local foods meal.
The Farmers Market had five booths, but that did not mean there was a small selection. Tables in the atrium were lined with apples, sweet corn, leeks, hot peppers, Yukon gold potatoes and more from the Probstfield Garden. There were also jams and jellies from Noreen Thomas, tomatoes and basil from Yellowbird Farm, and organic beef from local producer Lynn Brakke.
Nutrition and dietetics professor Ellen Lutgen and some dietetics students were on hand to answer any questions buyers might have.
“They are here to provide health information, [let consumers know] what’s in season, and how to use products,” Lutgen said.
Harvey said that if the producers felt that this year’s market was worth their time and effort to bring their products to campus, there’s a strong possibility that it could be a recurring event.
“I’m a strong advocate of local food,” Harvey said. “The effort pays off in spades.”
Vendors Owen and Sha-ron Sivertson thought it was well worth their time and effort to bring their extensive variety of produce from the Probstfield Garden to campus.
“We were a little apprehensive about how much to bring,” said Owen, “but we ended up being just about right.”
The Sivertsons sold as much produce at Concordia’s Farmers Market as they typically do at Plains Art Museum Farmers Market, which is held Thursdays through Oct. 1.
“We were a little surprised at how many college students were interested,” said Owen.
Junior Tricia Connell said that the Farmers Market is a great example of thinking globally and acting locally.
“I think it’s fantastic,” she said. “I think a lot of students are interested, but when it’s here, present, and visible, students are so much more likely to use it.”
Dining Services had its local foods meal on the same day as the autumn equinox and was consequently entitled “Moon Illusion Meal.” Anderson Commons was decked out in streamers and balloons of warm fall colors for the event.
Some of the many local foods served included mozzarella cheese from Cass-Clay Creamery (Fargo) on the pizzas at the Slice station, Dakota Grower’s Pasta (Carrington, ND) at the Al Dente station, and Nick’s Granola (Sabin, MN) at Bliss. Each local food was accompanied by a sign with the name of the product and producer, a photo of the food or the producer, and information about the food.
Concordia dietetic interns Lisa Fuchs and Michelle Lewis said that they received many positive reactions about the local foods meal in Anderson from student surveys.
“Some students said they liked the feel of eating local things,” Fuchs said.
Lewis added that many students noted that they wanted to see local foods every day. Janet Paul Rice, associate director of Dining Services, said that Dining Services does serve some local foods every day, such as the breads and buns at several stations (from Pan-O-Gold Baking Company in Fargo) and honey at the Energy station (from Three Bears Honey in Moorhead), but most students don’t realize it.
“We’re working on showing that we have those [local foods] every day,” Lewis said.
Marisa Paulson is a senior and the news & features editor of The Concordian, although she still writes when she can. She plans to attend the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in fall 2011.