Downtown farmers markets are switching into spring and summer mode.

Starting in May, the Minneapolis Farmers Market on Lyndale Avenue will be open five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, and the Mill City Farmers Market will be open every Saturday. The longtime Thursday market on Nicollet Mall will not return again this year.

From May 1 through October 31, the Minneapolis Farmers Market’s hours of operation are Wednesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Last year, it was open seven days a week, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We felt making this change [to our hours] will bring a better customer experience to our weekday market and increased revenue for our vendors,” executive director Ashley Nathe said in an email to Downtown Voices.

There are 135 vendors lined up for the market’s 170 stalls, though the amount of vendors will vary throughout the season. A handful of the vendors are new to the market and some returning vendors will have new items.

The Minneapolis Farmers Market will offer a series of monthly cooking demos that show shoppers how to preserve what they buy at the market.

Later this year, the Minneapolis Farmers Market will be open daily on Lyndale Avenue from Thanksgiving to Christmas for Christmas tree sales. After that, it reverts to every other Saturday from January through March, then every Saturday in April.

Photo courtesy of Mill City Farmers Market

On May 4, the Mill City Farmers Market will resume outdoor markets every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on South Second Street and Chicago Avenue, next to the Guthrie Theater. They'll stay outside until November, when the market will switch back over to its winter schedule of every first and third Saturday of the month inside the Mill City Museum.

This year, the Mill City Farmers Market is adding 10 new vendors, including Mom’s Garden and Zeytoon Bread & Co., for a total of 115 farmers, food makers, jewelers, bakers and artists. Educational programming is back in full force as well, with live cooking lessons, yoga, veggie sampling for kids, and story time. 

The Mill City Farmers Market was founded in 2006 by local restaurateur Brenda Langton, who owned Spoonriver in the Mill District for 14 years.

Both the Minneapolis Farmers Market and the Mill City Farmers Market triple purchases of up to $10 for SNAP and EBT users, so they’re able to spend as much as $30 with vendors. Excess produce from farmers at the Mill City Farmers Market is purchased and distributed weekly to low-income seniors in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.

Photo courtesy of the Minneapolis Farmers Market

The Minneapolis Farmers Market had operated a Thursday market on Nicollet Mall between Fifth and 12th streets from May through November since the ‘90s. But its run came to an end when Nathe announced ahead of the 2023 season that the market would not return to Nicollet Mall due to reduced foot traffic downtown.

“We remain open to the idea in the future, but this year will not be the year we return to Nicollet Mall,” Nathe said over email. She encourages anyone who misses the Nicollet Mall market to visit the Lyndale Avenue location on Fridays for fresh produce, prepared food, flowers, and other items.

Last summer, the Downtown Council activated Nicollet Mall from Washington to 10th Street, with activities, live music and food trucks on Thursday afternoons, and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board piloted markets at The Commons on Wednesdays and at Water Works on Fridays.

Downtown Thursdays and Nicollet xChange, a Downtown Council-sponsored marketplace, are expected to return to Nicollet Mall in early June. This summer, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board plans to run three pop-up markets on Wednesdays in coordination with other events at The Commons, but it won't return to Water Works due to poor attendance last summer, a spokesperson told Downtown Voices.

Here are details on the markets at The Commons:

  • Downtown Parks Kickoff to Summer: A market featuring 10 local businesses on June 5 from 4-8 p.m.
  • Paws in the Park: A dog- and pet-themed market on July 17 from 4-8 p.m.
  • Park Market: A screening of "Drop Dead Gorgeous" and market featuring Minnesota vendors on Aug. 28 from 4-8 p.m.

The Park & Rec Board is also hosting two weekend markets in the Nicollet Island Pavilion: the Nicollet Island Spring Market on May 5 and the Nicollet Island Aquatennial Market on July 27, both from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.