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Market season is a busy time

For Empire Township Aaron Brand, the arrival of spring means the arrival of farmer's market season. It's a busy time for Brand, who sells eggs, raspberries and other items at multiple markets in the area. But he seems to enjoy himself.

Brand, a Rosemount High School graduate, took time recently to talk to the Town Pages about this busy time of year.

Tell me a little bit about your family farm. What are you growing out here?

We do corn, soybeans and alfalfa mainly. Sometimes we'll do a small grain but we haven't done that in a couple years. Mainly corn and soybeans and alfalfa.

What do you bring when you come to the Farmer's Market?

When I come down to the market, I've got fresh eggs. Eggs are the primary. I do the eggs, apples. I also sell off the tree there, at the old Appleside (orchard). I've got apples and cider and all the stuff that goes with that. I've also got raspberries, strawberries, honey. And that's it.

What got you into doing the market?

It kind of started with the chickens and the eggs. When I got out of college in 2005, we started with 30 birds, just for our family. And those 30 birds got to be too much for just our family that lives around here. So I put a sign down by the road, fresh eggs. And it's grown ever since then. Then I got too many eggs that I could sell out of the farm here. I heard she was starting the market, so I got in on that. Now I'm doing another one up with the city of Eagan, the city-run one up in Eagan. It's just kind of spiraled from there.

You've been doing this for a couple of years. Do you enjoy it?

Yes. There's definitely never a dull day. There's always something to do.

You're from this area. When you're at the market, do you see a lot of people you know?

Yep. In the smaller town -- I don't get that a lot up in Eagan -- but in Farmington you see a lot of the same people from week to week and throughout the course of the year, you start to get to know them a little bit. Kind of that small town atmosphere type thing.

What, to you, makes a good batch of strawberries or raspberries or something?

Fresh. Fresh. If I get a lot of eggs and I can't move them all, I will not sell them here. After they get a couple weeks old, I do not consider them fresh anymore. I've got some places where I'll wholesale them, a lot cheaper than what I would sell them at the market for, but I don't consider them fresh so I won't sell them. I'll just wholesale them to get rid of them. Every other day when I wash eggs, the fresh eggs are what are sold first. The old eggs don't come out of the fridge unless I need more. Even like raspberries and the strawberries. They're picked that day when I go to the market. They're not picked four days ago and put in the refrigerator. Everything is fresh.

What do you like best about doing the farmer's markets?

Getting to know the customers. Giving them something that's fresh and not put in a refrigerated truck and sitting in refrigeration for two weeks. It's something fresh.

So are your market mornings a little bit crazy?

Yeah. Yeah. It's not too bad right now because I don't have too much stuff, but as soon as the apples come in at the end of August, it's chaos. We've got stuff everywhere, it can't all fit into one truck so we've got to put it in other vehicles to get it there. It's a long day. It's a very long day.

But obviously it must be worth it.

Yeah. It's fun. I enjoy it. Most of the times I cant stay at the market the whole time, I have to come home so my grandparents come out and help me quite a bit. They run the markets when I can't be there.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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