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Published November 19, 2012, 11:39 PM

Thanksgrowing: 100-Mile Farmers Market brings local food from garden to Thanksgiving table

MOORHEAD – While students and faculty will be packing up and taking off for the holiday weekend, a different group of people will be literally setting up shop today at Concordia College.

By: John Lamb, INFORUM

MOORHEAD – While students and faculty will be packing up and taking off for the holiday weekend, a different group of people will be literally setting up shop today at Concordia College.

The school hosts its fourth annual 100-Mile Thanksgiving Farmers Market from 3:30 to 7 p.m. in Knutson Campus Center.

The event sprang from the sustainable food movement and offers food and goods grown and made within 100 miles.

“Most people think the farmers’ markets end in September and what can you really buy that’s local? The fact is you can actually buy quite a bit,” says Gretchen Harvey, assistant professor of history at the school, who organized the event.

Harvey started the Probstfield Organic Community Garden in Moorhead and considers the 100-Mile Thanksgiving Farmers Market a continuing way of educating eaters.

“People have moved away from root vegetables and fall vegetables that were common a generation ago. Parsnips, carrots, turnips, squash and Brussels sprouts,” she says. “The community almost needs to relearn to eat seasonally.”

Harvey says the event isn’t dogmatic, but rather held to celebrate local growers and their bounties.

“It’s the spirit of what we’re doing, not a rigid rule to be imposed,” she says. “At some level we’re preaching to the choir, but we want to expand the singers.”

The market has grown slowly but surely, and this year will feature about 10 vendors, including organic farm operations like Red Goose Gardens and Noreen Thomas, selling produce like squash, potatoes, pumpkins and onions. Others will offer jams, jellies, dips and breads. Popular caterer Deb Jenkins will be selling her handmade chips and vegan mint cookies, gluten-free olive oil lemon cookies and gluten-free snickerdoodles starting at $1.75.

Different student ensembles will perform music, and there will be a hands-on table offering demonstrations. One such display will help people make their own pancake mix to take home for free.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” says Deb Hoesley, who runs Prairie Faith with her husband Tom.

The Hoesleys had participated in farmers’ markets but were looking to find outlets to keep business going through the year. They’ll be selling apple, crab apple and caramel crab apple jellies in 8-ounce jars for $5, as well as salsas, chocolate and chocolate mint fudge for $8 a pound.

She’s also looking forward to networking both with customers to see what they are looking for but also other vendors to hear about their experiences.

Thomas raised about 70 free-range turkeys that were harvested Monday and ready for roasting on Thanksgiving. But if you were looking for a fresh bird, the list filled up weeks ago.

While many Thanksgiving staples will be available at the market, some items not indigenous to our area, like cranberries and sweet potatoes won’t be.

“If you go back to Plymouth you won’t find sweet potatoes, but you will find squash and pumpkins, and we will have plenty of those,” Harvey says. “Let’s just pick one meal and have a local bounty on the table and really give thanks for what’s nearby, what’s fresh, what’s local.”

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