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Farmers Market & Beyond set for Arena parking lot

West Fargo will soon have its very own weekly farmers market for residents to shop for those fresh, much sought after summer vegetables many don't have the time or space to cultivate on their own.

A variety of items including fresh produce, berries, herbs, flowers, hand-crafted items and agricultural products will be available for purchase at the West Fargo Park District's Farmers Market & Beyond beginning on August 2. The event will take place each Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Arena parking lot in an area cordoned off and highly visible at 1201 9th St. E., right along 7th Avenue.

West Fargo Park's Executive Director Barb Erbstoesser said a farmers market has been in the planning stages for a number of years, and is finally coming to fruition this year because of the involvement of Ruth Schill. "A farmers market is something that the Park District has wanted to do for quite some time. It never seemed to work out until this year when Ruth approached us, and she is now actively involved in promoting the venture to help make it the best it can possibly be."

Schill herself is a craft person, previously active with the Fargo downtown Market, but looking for a different venue to promote her craft creations including dish towels, buckwheat hull pillows, buckwheat seed and mustard seed heat wraps, along with several other items.

The West Fargo market concept seemed like a good idea and the Veterans Arena the perfect location, with its high visibility on 9th Street. "I think Thursday evening will be a good night," Schill said, "I'm really excited about this. We're open to any vendors and I know Barb has made a lot of contacts and that she has gotten quite a few responses."

Erbstoesser did make several contacts, with a long list of varied vendors, and is anticipating an excellent showing the first night. The biggest push is expected to come by word of mouth from happy vendors and shoppers who feel fortunate to be able to purchase fresh produce weekly.

"Hopefully, these will be good evenings for everyone, buyers and sellers alike," Schill said. "This event will provide a lot of people who depend on produce for their living, the opportunity to promote what they have, at the same time giving people the chance to acquire fresh, homegrown produce. So many times we buy items in the grocery store and we don't know where it comes from. When you get it at the farmers market, you'll know it's fresh because it was more than likely picked that day or the day before." It will also be the perfect place for people to purchase produce for home canning.

Both Schill and Erbstoesser are hoping the market will be a strong attraction until cooler, fall weather forces its cancellation.

If you haven't been contacted to be a part of the Farmer's Market, the Park District would welcome hearing from you. Cost of participation is minimal, at a charge of $10 weekly for a 12 foot by 12 foot space.

Anyone who is interested in reserving a space should contact the West Fargo Park District for rules and registration. Information can also be obtained on the Park District Web site at or by calling 701-433-5360.

Erbstoesser said that if individuals just want to show up and register Thursday evening before the show they are welcome to do that, but pre-registration is encouraged.

The West Fargo Park District sponsored Farmer's Market & Beyond is a 2007-2008 member of the North Dakota Farmers Market Association.