Usually I stop by one of my favorite Minneapolis-St. Paul Farmers Markets on Saturdays.
However, I found myself in Burnsville for an early morning oil change and swung by the Bloomington Farmers Market on my way home.
It’s been years and years since I’ve shopped here. Before we moved to Fargo eight years ago, we lived in Bloomington. I remember enjoying this market back then.
The Bloomington Farmers Market is just the right size. It’s not overwhelmingly huge and it’s not too small. Of course there are plenty of produce vendors, plus a good variety of vendors offering items like candied nuts, jam, pickles, meat, eggs, flowers and honey.
Handicap parking is available next to the market. There are plenty of parking spaces in the lots across 98th street.
You could pay $3 a bell pepper at the supermarket or you can buy a bag of bell peppers at the farmers markets for $3-4. Their produce can’t be beat quality or price-wise.
I loaded up on herbs, slender japanese eggplants, Chinese long beans, banana peppers, eggs and sour cherry jam. The woman who sells jars of pickles offers good-sized jars for only $5. I need to learn how to can things, but, until I do, I’m happy to buy your pickles!
Something that’s very important to my farmers market pleasure is the presence of hot food vendors. I hit the markets upon opening and arrive hungry.
I don’t just want a scone or bagel, I want a hot meal. And itt doesn’t have to be typical breakfast food. I’ve visited a couple of Twin Cities markets where the hot food vendors aren’t operating right away. There’s gotta be someone else who wants to eat cheese curds or gyros at 8 am too, right?!
The menu includes pork, chicken, and veggie egg rolls + fun flavors like cheesy chicken and breakfast (filled with ham, bacon, eggs, cheese). There’s also fried rice and teriyaki chicken.
These egg roll are large and the wrapper is crisp. Mai’s egg rolls are the farthest thing from those generic frozen egg rolls you find at many restaurants and cafeterias. The pork egg roll is something I’ll return for and wish I’d ordered more. My favorite type of egg roll has the smooth, crisp wrapper and includes those tiny clear noodles. This could be the perfect egg roll.
I also tried a breakfast egg roll for fun – it came with a delicious sweet, savory, kind of mustardy sauce. You can buy them for $2.50 each or 3 for $6.
Finally, here are notes on to make the stir-fry I prepared with the market produce.
Chinese long beans remind me of what I imagine witches’ fingernails might look like. They’re really delicious. They may look kind of strange, but taste like a sweet, crisp green bean. Simply trim the ends and cut into pieces.
Japanese eggplants are smaller and skinnier than the big, deep purple globe eggplants. Their skin is thin and they don’t taste bitter. Simply trim the ends and cut into pieces.
Instructions: Cook scrambled egg and set aside. Stir-fry your choice of veggies. I used Japanese eggplant, long beans, sweet banana pepper and onion. If you also use eggplant, cook it first since it will take the longest to soften.
When the veggies are done cooking, stir in some grated garlic and ginger briefly (just until fragrant).
Add broth/water, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, a touch of toasted sesame oil and sugar or honey to taste. Let the sauce reduce. Stir egg back in. Serve over rice.
Check out my other farmers market posts from this summer:
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