What do free outdoor yoga, Minnesota-grown watermelon and a bald eagle have in common?
They are all part of the Mill City Farmers Market’s upcoming Mississippi River Day on Saturday, July 28. Thousands of community members and over 65 local farmers, food makers and artisans plan to celebrate the beautiful river that plays backdrop to the market each Saturday.
Minneapolis’ riverfront, just steps away from the market, has held extensive cultural value for many years. The Dakota name for the Mississippi river, Haha Wakpa, means “river of the falls.” It is seen as a place of creation and is an historic gathering space for many Dakota people.
In the mid-1800s the river became integral to the lumber and milling industries. The water provided power, helping Minneapolis earn nicknames like “Mill City” and “The Flour Milling Capitol of the World.”
You can learn more and celebrate the rich history of the Mississippi River on Mississippi River Day. The market opens at 8 a.m., and the festivities kick off shortly after as instructors from YogaFit Studios Northeast lead a free, all-level yoga class overlooking the river and the Stone Arch Bridge 9 a.m.–10 a.m.
After you roll up your mat, get some cooking inspiration from chef Nettie Colón at the market’s 10:30 a.m. cooking demo in the train shed. The demo highlights seasonal fruits and vegetables and other market products just in time for you to pick out your weekly groceries.
While you’re shopping remember to stop by the stalls on Chicago Avenue where (after grabbing a hand roll of sushi from the market’s new vendor, Gohan) you can “dive in” to the river’s ecological and agricultural history. On Mississippi River Day the market will be hosting conservation experts from Friends of the Mississippi River, national park rangers from Mississippi Park Connection and a bald eagle and other raptors who make the water home from the University of Minnesota Raptor Center.
By the end of the day, you’ll be ready for a snack, so be sure you pick up all the local ingredients you need to make this refreshing summer salad! Event information and more seasonal recipes can be found at millcityfarmersmarket.org.
Summer melon salad
Recipe courtesy of the Mill City Farmers Market
1 cup cubed cantaloupe or watermelon
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Lemon juice to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
In a large bowl, combine the melon, tomatoes, cucumber and mint. Toss to combine. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and honey. Drizzle over the salad and top with feta cheese. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tip: Turn up the heat with harissa paste! It’ll only take about a Tablespoon of this chili-pepper-infused paste to give it an extra kick! You can find traditional harissa from Caldo Foods at the Mill City Farmers Market on select Saturdays!