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New farmers market opens in Willmar, Minn.

Dave Helmuth of Atwater arranges his produce Wednesday during the first Mid-Week Farmer’s Market in the Kandi Entertainment Center parking lot. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR -- Willmar has a new farmers market, with the goal of filling the gap between existing farmers markets.

The Mid-Week Farmer's Market will run from 2:30-6 p.m. every Wednesday through Oct. 30 in the Kandi Entertainment Center parking lot on 19th Avenue Southeast in Willmar.

The new market was open for the first time Wednesday, with about five vendors, though organizer Dave Helmuth said he has a goal of eventually having 20 vendors.

"I have a total of 10 vendors signed up so far, but our produce just isn't ready yet," Helmuth said. He sells produce himself.

Vendors set up at the Mid-Week Farmer's Market included those selling baked goods and crafts. In addition to the vendors who sell produce, vendors selling clothing and knitted goods are also signed up to sell.

Helmuth said produce should be ready to go in a few weeks.

"We're really going to have produce by mid-July," he said. "I've also been trying to get some meat vendors to sign up with us."

Helmuth said he started planning for the Mid-Week Farmer's Market when he realized Willmar residents were sometimes leaving town for their produce.

"We're trying to fill the gap between the other farmers markets here," he said. "A lot of people have been going to Hutchinson's farmers market in the middle of the week, so now they can stay local."

The additional farmers market also gives vendors who can't get into the Becker Market on Thursdays in downtown Willmar or the Saturday farmers market that was mainly at the YMCA last year the opportunity to sell their products, Helmuth said. He stressed that they are not trying to compete with Willmar's other markets.

"We don't want to interfere with the other markets," Helmuth said. "I'm still signed up to sell at the Becker Market. We're just providing residents with local goods in the middle of the week."