The fragrant summer days of walking, biking or driving to the Mahtomedi Area Farmers Market to stroll among fresh produce, cut flowers and fresh bread are back.
Don't forget to stop for coffee or brunch while on your errand to the Triangle to pick up fresh Minnesota-grown tomatoes and jars of jam or maple syrup.
After a two-year absence, the Saturday Mahtomedi farmers market will return to its familiar spot at Veterans Park this June.
The Mahtomedi City Council at its April 20 meeting approved a request from Heather LaValle-Tumbleson on behalf of the Mahtomedi Area Farmers Market, for an interim use permit to hold a farmers market in the city-owned portion of Veterans Park at 93 Mahtomedi Ave. for the next five years.
The five-year IUP is but a formality, but a necessary one. The organizers of the farmers market completed another bit of paperwork when the council approved the seasonal market park use license agreement with the Mahtomedi Area Farmers Market for the use of city-owned property in Veterans Park.
The market is set to start on June 26 and run every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon until approximately Oct. 2. The market starts when the first produce items come in toward the end of June, LaValle-Tumbleson said.
“And we never know when (the market) is still going to be there in the fall and when it's not,” she added, alluding to the fact that the annual Punkinmania event or an early frost will preempt the market.
For this year at least, expect COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing and sampling rules to be in place at the market in compliance with Minnesota Department of Agriculture guidelines.
The market is a 100% volunteer-run and -operated farmers market, LaValle-Tumbleson said. Vendors are local growers, nonprofits and artisans. All food and flowers will be grown by the person selling them at market, and all crafts will be designed and made by the person displaying these items. The market will also include musicians who will be required to comply with the city noise ordinance.
Items on sale each market day will vary, but look for vendor-grown produce such as fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices; plants such as hanging planters, potted plants, bedding plants, cut flowers and dried flowers; animal products such as cheese, meats, fish, poultry and eggs; baked goods; cottage items such as honey, maple syrup and preserves — all prepared and packed according to rules established by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
“I'm so overjoyed that we're doing this and it's coming back,” said Council Member Jane Schneeweis. “It's so wonderful for our restaurants downtown, with the coffee shop and everybody that meanders. To see everyone walking and biking there — I'm just thrilled.”
During the hiatus, the new Mahtomedi Area Farmers Market banner apparently disappeared. Anyone who knows where it is should contact City Hall.
Other news from the Mahtomedi City Council April 20 meeting:
• The Mahtomedi High School Class of 2021 Car Parade is on, pending weather approval. After a presentation from senior parent Suzanne Anderson on the proposed event, council gave unanimous approval for the parade to move forward. The Car Parade is set to take place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 2, with a rain makeup date of June 3. The senior cars will line up in the Wildwood Elementary parking lot at 3:00 p.m. From there, they'll follow the access road to the high school, then to St. Andrew's Church and past the football fields before heading north on East Avenue. The parade will make only left turns from that point, starting with its first on Hickory Street, then onto Warner Avenue and over Stillwater Road, left on 72nd Street, and left on Hallam Avenue before finishing at the Mahtomedi Fire Station. A Mahtomedi fire truck will lead the parade.
• Council approved a request from Eric Hansen of Fresh Start Builders on behalf of the property owners of 1010 Hallam Ave. N. for a variance to allow a corner side setback encroachment of the existing home to build an addition. The 28.29-foot setback constitutes a 1.75-foot variance from the 30-foot required corner sideyard setback, City Planner Eric Zweber said. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the variance at its April 14 meeting.
• Council approved a request from Andrea Hammel Wollak of HW2 design and Architecture LLC on behalf of the property owners of 5 Birchwood Road for a variance to allow an enlargement of the existing nonconforming structure with reduced setbacks. The project will involve expanding the home, built in 1953, and adding a deck. “The applicant should be commended for trying to increase the amount of energy efficiency and improve and keep their home as it is, but not completely overhaul the home into a monster home,” Council Member Jeff Ledermann said.
• Mahtomedians should expect to see some changes in their city streets that will likely involve lower speed limits and parking restrictions. Citizens will have an opportunity to provide input about those changes at the next council meeting on May 4. Meanwhile, council approved a WSB Engineering proposal to prepare a speed limit policy, as required by state statute, before the city can set speed limits below 25 mph. The proposed fee for the study proposal is $4,129. The results of that study are expected to be available by the second council meeting in May. City Engineer John Sachi presented council with an outline of several possible improvements throughout the city. Council will move forward with several of the items on the to-do list, such as speed limit signage and striping in the greater O.H. Anderson school zone; bicycle traffic sharrows, reduced speed signage and a possible flashing speed limit sign on Old Wildwood Road; and trail connections between Gosiwin Avenue, Dahlia Street and East Avenue. “We want to do this right, and we want to get public opinion before we do anything, if we’re going through neighborhoods,” Schneeweis said.
• The city has hired three seasonal public works maintenance employees. Adequate funding was allocated in the 2021 public works division budgets to finance the positions.
• City staff will purchase new office furniture after council approved a furniture proposal from Innovative Office in the amount of $3,115.05.
• Council approved an agreement with the property owner at 1320 Griffin Ave. relating to landowner improvements within city right of way. The property owners would like to build a retaining wall within the public right of way on Griffin Avenue.
The council next meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, at City Hall, 600 Stillwater Road, or by videoconference.