The Mabel Simple Living Farmers Market board is already preparing for its 2014 season. From left are Virginia Karlsbroten, Gary Dahlberg and board chair Kathy Newman. Not shown are Donna Rasmussen and Laurie Wendel.  DAVID STOEGER/NEWS-RECORD
The Mabel Simple Living Farmers Market board is already preparing for its 2014 season. From left are Virginia Karlsbroten, Gary Dahlberg and board chair Kathy Newman. Not shown are Donna Rasmussen and Laurie Wendel. DAVID STOEGER/NEWS-RECORD
The Mabel Simple Living Farmers Market has three new leaders for the upcoming 2014 season as well as a new chairperson. The group is hoping to kick off its third season located on Highway 44, just one-quarter mile west of Mabel, by mid-April as well as continuing to grow the market and give it greater exposure in the area.

Returning board members include Donna Rasmussen, Virginia Karlsbroten and Kathy Newman. New board members include Gary Dahlberg and Laurie Wendel. Kathy Newman is serving as chairperson.

Newman said the challenge of having a farmers market is to make both the vendors and the customers happy. "We've got people from all over that really put their heart into this market," she said. "The job of the market is to, number one, make absolutely sure that our vendors are happy and making money - along with our customers coming back and being happy with the product. That has to be the core of a farmers market."

The board is currently working on new directions to improve the farmers market in 2014.

"Obviously, we are going to be going in a little bit different direction," Newman explained. "Our goal is to really hit the advertising heavy and try to bring in more customers and more vendors to really make this impact in the area. We don't (currently) have a grocery store - so a lot of people find that they are shopping for their fresh fruits and vegetables out there (at the market)."

One new aspect being added in 2014 is a flea market in addition to the food and locally-produced items. "This is another thing that is quite unusual for a farmers market - to include the flea market, but it is another draw," Newman said.

"We have a lot of space, so there is room for everything out there," Karlsbroten added.

New board member Dahlberg said he has a desire to make fresh produce available to homes in the Mabel area and beyond. "We would like to see (this) work in Mabel and give the community some fresh vegetables and crafts...and whatever we have to offer," said Dalhlberg.

While the board plans for the third annual farmers market, plans are under way to possibly start construction on a new grocery store coop in downtown Mabel in spring. When asked how the new grocery store would affect them, board members said the new grocery store would only help their cause.

"Maybe some of our vendors could sell to the grocery store, and then maybe the grocery store would bring more people to the town who would then visit the market," Karlsbroten said.

"I think it (the grocery store) would really, really help us," added Dahlberg.

Newman said all of the same vendors plan to return to the market in 2014. Each vendor is charged a $60 fee each season to sell his or her items at the market and to cover liability insurance.

"We want to encourage more vendors so we are trying to keep our prices low and then we have a raffle toward the end of the summer that we will make some money on," Karlsbroten said.

If one is interested in being a vendor at the Simple Living Farmers Market, please contact Newman at (507) 429-5451 or email redhousegardens@gmail.com.

The group also has a Facebook page that is updated regularly.