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Produce and more for sale at Rugby Farmer’s Market

By Staff | Aug 8, 2020

It’s Rugby Farmer’s Market time again.

Local gardeners and farmers park cars along the driveway near the visitors’ center near the Prairie Village Museum to display a variety of produce, baked treats and home canned goods for sale twice each week.

The farmers’ market, a Rugby tradition for more than a decade, is in its second week this year. The market is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, and Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., or until items are sold out.

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, several cars, trucks and minivans opened their trunks to set out fresh green beans, cucumbers, beets and more.

“Beets are doing well this year,” said Sandy Brossart, who had not only fresh veggies but also pastries and other baked goods for sale.

Brossart said she started gardening on her family farm, but she now lives in Rugby. “I still have a couple of things in the country,” she said. ” I have my corn and potatoes there. Otherwise, the rest is in town.”

Brossart said she’s noticed a few differences between growing vegetables in town and on the farm. ” The soil is lighter in town than it was on the farm,” she said. “It’s a little bit different. Last year was sort of a trial year for the garden in town. I had a ton of weeds, but I got them under control now,” she noted.

“Last year, we had trouble with my green beans,” Brossart added. “I have a little bit of everything now, and it sells. People like a variety.”

Brossart said she’s been selling her produce at the farmer’s market for 12 years. “I’m one of the co-charge people,” she added with a smile.

“Vernice Brossart and I took over the management (of the farmer’s market) when the Chamber let it go,” she added.

Brossart said she’s noticed “a lot of enthusiasm (from customers) this year. Everyone’s wanting fresh veggies and baked goods go very well also. Jams, jellies, pickles and beets people are looking for all of it.”

Ed Selensky had cucumbers, squash and fresh dill for sale.

“These are Japanese burpless cucumbers,” he said, pointing to a pile of veggies on a table. It’s a good year for cucumbers so far. I also have yellow zucchini.”

“I have a garden in town,” he added. “I’m retired.

Karen Christenson, who had veggies, raspberries and buns for sale, said she also thought 2020 was a good year for cucumbers. “We had cucumbers here, but they disappeared right away,” she said.

“We have zucchini, buns, bars, beans, onions and carrots,” she added. “People always look for tomatoes right away, too. We’re waiting for our corn and tomatoes (to ripen). They should be getting there,” Christenson said.

Christenson said she gardens on her farm about five miles north of Rugby. She has brought her produce to the farmer’s market for four years.

“After it rained, it was good,” she said of her garden this year. “Before, you had to water a lot. But a couple of inches of rain made a huge difference.”

Other vendors offered home-sewn masks and pickled watermelon.

Kayla Brase and her children had home-baked goods and snack mixes for sale. Brase held an infant in a sling on her chest as she talked with customers.

Stephanie LaRocque and her daughter, Morgan, offered a unique treat usually sold in Alaska.

“This is fireweed jelly,” Stephanie LaRoque said, pointing to jars filled with a clear, ruby red substance.

“It’s from the petals on the fireweed plant,” La Rocque added, pointing to a photo of delicate pink wildflowers on a stem. “My daughter picked these up by the border,” she said. My parents live up there. This is the first year we’ve seen it. I don’t remember seeing it here,” she added.

“My mom’s from Alaska,” LaRocque added. “We usually buy fireweed jelly when we go to Alaska. We decided to make some here. My daughter picked the fireweed and we made jelly.”

LaRocque described fireweed jelly’s taste as “a real light, sweet flavor. It kind of reminds me of a flavored tea. When you have blueberry or the different herbal teas. When you’re cooking it, it has that smell.”

“When you look at the flowers, they bloom from the bottom up,” LaRocque added. They start at the beginning of summer. Summer’s over when the blooms get to the top, they say. That’s kind of sad.”

The LaRocques also offered cookies and banana bread for sale. Morgan LaRocque, a 2020 Rugby High School grad, recently won music awards, scholarships and admission to Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. “We’re raising money for college for her,” Stephanie said of her daughter.

Christenson and other farmer’s market vendors said the market ends when their gardens’ harvests end.

“Usually, this runs through September,” Christenson said. “It’s kind of when you run out of produce.”

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