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North Iowa Farmers Market opens for the season
Market Day

North Iowa Farmers Market opens for the season

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MASON CITY | Sheryl Ehlke sounded a horn at 3 p.m. Friday to let browsing shoppers know that the first North Iowa Farmers Market of the season was officially open.

Ehlke of St. Ansgar has been a vendor at the Farmers Market for 30 years.

Although she doesn't have any fresh vegetables yet due to the cold, wet spring, she did have lots of greenhouse plants, including tomatoes, lettuce and peppers at her booth.

She also had lots of little jars of jam and jelly.

"Every one is different," she said.

DESPITE THE UNFAVORABLE weather this spring, there was fresh produce at a few of the booths at the Farmers Market, located in the former Kmart parking lot.

Eagle Lake Gardens of Britt had a little rhubarb, as well as lettuce and herbs. They also had lots of plants, including flowering ones.

"We had to use the greenhouse a little to assist them," said Bill Rasmuson of Eagle Lake Gardens. "They aren't growing very good outside now."

Some vendors were selling baked goods, including Kara Watters, who operates Kara's Homemade Cookies out of her home in Mason City.

She said her business got its start nine years ago, after she began selling homemade cookies at the Farmers Market. 

Now that her business has taken off, it has been several years since she's taken her cookies to market.

However, her two older daughters, Sydney, 9; and Savannah, 5, "talked me into doing it today," she said. 

Watters said the girls love helping her out. 

She had a new "helper" on Friday — her youngest daughter, Sawyer, who is 7 months old.

PAT AND JUDY Abrego of Albert Lea, Minn., also had a booth at the market.

"Our big thing is lefse," Judy said. 

They won't have the Scandinavian treat at their booth for another month, but in the meantime they have doll clothes, baked goods and wooden boxes and crosses that were "carved with these little Norwegian hands," Pat said.

Judy said they enjoy coming to the North Iowa Farmers Market because "we like the people."

"Everyone stops to look," she said.

Joice Hill and her friend, Shirley Hasty, both of Kanawha, had the day off from work and stopped by since they were in Mason City.

SHOPPING AT A farmers market is "nice for people who don't want to mess with a garden," Hill said.

Hasty said she likes "just the variety of things that people bring."

The North Iowa Farmers Market is now open from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays through the end of October.

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