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Another Farmers Market going in Wadena

Photo by Brian Hansel Diane and Chuck Webb of Gardens Gourmet have been instrumental in putting together a Farmers Market in Wadena on Friday afternoons.

The Farmers Market has been a hit with Wadena area residents for years. Locally raised produce has been sold directly to consumers each Thursday morning at Burlington Northern Park.

The Farmers Market, which began June 18, will run into October.

Led by Diane and Chuck Webb, the Friday market is an extension of Thursday's market in BN Park, with some significant differences.

The Webbs own Gardens Gourmet and operate a farm on Highway 29 south of Deer Creek. They have been regular vendors at the Thursday market in Wadena for several years, offering herbs, berries and vegetables.

The new Friday market operates from 2-7 p.m. next to Down Home Foods on North Jefferson Street (U.S. Highway 71) in Wadena.

The thinking behind the Friday market is simple. Many people buy their produce on Friday after work. They might be on the way home, or they may be heading for the lake. People who buy produce at Thursday's morning market must have the time to take it home and chill it. Working folks who do not have that option must keep their produce in a cooler in their trunk during working hours.

Chuck Webb is the Friday market's lot manager while Rick Schwartz will act as the Thursday market's manager. Diane Webb will be the director and a liaison between the two managers.

Webb got together with Kathy Connell and Dottie Kukowski and applied for a SHIP Grant from Wadena County Public Health. The funds will be applied for advertising the Friday market.

While greater convenience for customers is the driving reason behind the expansion at this point, the Friday market will also eventually offer produce to debit and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) customers.

Strawberries, lettuce and broccoli were sold at the first Friday market. A cheese vendor is also ready to come on board. Diane has noted that egg vendors always do well at farmer's markets. She would also like to see a beef vendor join the Friday market.

"Thursday has always been a good morning, but there is so much more potential," Webb said.