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Baudette Farmers Market featured at area market meeting

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 03/28/2013 9:00 PM

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FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Lynda Annoreno couldn't be stopped when she decided to start a farmers market in Baudette.

Armed with her background in sales and a "few quirky ideas that really seemed to work," she laid the groundwork for what has become a successful venture in northern Minnesota. Thanks to her efforts and strong support from the community, the market sold $250,000 worth of merchandise in its first year.

At the Area Farmers Market Gathering in Fergus Falls last week, Annoreno talked about the conversation with a friend that led to the Baudette Farmers Market.

"We were going shopping and I told my friend I thought we should have a farmers market," Annoreno said. "I wanted a place to shop at that had a green aspect to it. I am all about fresh food that isn't always provided in a grocery store."

Her friend, knowing Annoreno's creativity and tenacity, asked when she'd be starting it.

Annoreno put her vision into action.

She started with the Minnesota Farmers Market Association. The MFMA has information, both in binder form or downloadable material, covering a host of topics from setting up bylaws to housing for markets. The information became the base for the market's development, Annoreno said.

Through Minnesota Grown she purchased stickers and bags for vendors and to promote the farmers market.

Funds were limited, but she was resourceful. Instead of hiring a graphic artist, she contacted the Baudette school's art department to see if students to design a logo.

"I thought why should I spend money when I could go to the people who would talk to their parents about what they did at school that day and eventually visit the farmers market," she said.

Students were asked to draw pictures of their favorite vegetables. The pictures were put in plastic protectors and hung throughout the market. Parents of the students visited it to see their pictures, she said.

She also contacted the mayor, got $50 in chamber bucks and offered it as an award for the student winning the design contest.

Annoreno promoted the market through business cards. The winning student design was used on the cards and included Annoreno's contact information. The cards were given to all market vendors, she said.

Every time she approached a business or organization regarding involvement with the market, she told them she had an opportunity for them. When she went to thel hardware store, she said there was an opportunity for the store to advertise at the market.

Annoreno worked with the local bus company to provide busing to the market for senior citizens every weekend.

A waitress at the local coffee shop started a facebook page for the market. Annoreno contacted the school's music teacher and got a group to perform at the market.

The groundwork was in place, but she still had to get vendors. The Baudette Farmers Market included fruit and vegetable growers and more. Anyone with homemade, recycled, organic, locally grown or food could come to the market, she said.

Some of the vendors who take part in the market included a "pantry lady" who sold flour and a woman who made rugs from rags. One family made 20 to 30 pies and sold them. A young girl made tutus and another sold Watkins products. A farmer brought chicken and eggs. They had around 15 vendors at most markets.

Annoreno said the market helped build community. That was evident in the unsolicited support the market got at a city meeting. More than 90 residents came to support the market.

The Area Farmers Market Gathering drew several market managers and vendors from Battle Lake, Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes and Wahpeton, N.D.