Chantel Prigge sells bread and other goods at the Chatfield Growers' Market last Thursday afternoon.  The market is open Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m., from May through the end of October.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Chantel Prigge sells bread and other goods at the Chatfield Growers' Market last Thursday afternoon. The market is open Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m., from May through the end of October. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
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Chantel Prigge's grown to market "local."

"Right now, I'm hoping to have asparagus, rhubarb and baked goods - like cookies, pies and quick breads," said Prigge, organizer of the Chatfield Growers' Market, which opened just two Thursdays ago in Chatfield's city park.

The market features a gathering of gardeners, beekeepers and crafters devoted to giving their best to the people who come to shop there and partake of locally-produced foods.

The market presently has about five or six vendors, but by mid-summer, there might be as many as 10, and all of the vendors are eager to share what they've worked hard to grow or create.

Spring market offerings could include maple syrup, popcorn, specialty canned goods such as salsa and pickles, bedding and vegetable plants to dig into one's own garden, Prigge's homemade soap, some crafts and various curiosities.

"As the season goes on, there'll be more people and more garden produce," she added. "Later in the year, our honey lady comes back from Arizona, we have all sorts of produce, like tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, cucumbers...we have jellies and jams and canned goods."

Prigge would like to expand the market to offer a greater variety of fruits and unusual vegetables to tempt customers to experiment in the kitchen.

"We're generally open to just about anything," she said. "Crafts have to be homemade or original, and we can always use more produce, herbs, different varieties of something other than the normal vegetables. We can always use more fruits...I'd like to see more melons and apples."

Vendors are expected to bring their own tables, baskets and signs, but they're more than welcome to join the market and meet neighbors and friends in the park after a long winter.

"Over the winter, it's the vendors' relaxation time, but that's when we're looking at the seed catalogs and planning what's coming for next spring," explained Prigge.

She elaborated on why she feels that buying locally-grown produce is vital to the community's health.

"It's important to have local products...and for the health of your family - I feel good having locally-grown foods because I know where they came from," she said. "We, as a group, grow things the most natural way we can. We can't claim to be selling organic things because that means vendors would need to be certified, but we like to grow things the most natural way. There are some local people who count on us and enjoy the market."

Prigge concluded, "We are about the stuff we sell. We take pride in what we have...we're proud of our products."

The Chatfield Growers' Market opens at 3 p.m. in Chatfield's City Park every Thursday from May through the end of October, and dependent on the weather, the hardy sellers remain there each market day until 6 p.m., occasionally spending a rainy day under the band shell.

For more information on the market or on setting up a booth, call Chantel Prigge at (507) 951-8405, or e-mail her at growersmarket@yahoo.com.