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Published April 11, 2010, 09:04 PM

Fosston man to open weekly farmers market in East Polk County Heritage Center

Quinn Olson says it’s a way to get better, fresher food out there in a more convenient way. A 1986 graduate of the high school in Fosston, which is about 60 miles southeast of East Grand Forks on U.S. Highway 2, Olson lived in California for about 20 years before moving back a little more than a year ago to care for his mother.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

A Fosston, Minn., man plans to open a farmers market in the Polk County city every Saturday starting May 1 and running all summer.

Quinn Olson says it’s a way to get better, fresher food out there in a more convenient way.

A 1986 graduate of the high school in Fosston, which is about 60 miles southeast of East Grand Forks on U.S. Highway 2, Olson lived in California for about 20 years before moving back a little more than a year ago to care for his mother.

Last summer, he made lefse and sold it in Bemidji’s four-days-a-week farmers market.

And this wasn’t small-potatoes lefse.

“I put a twist on it, and made it with different flavors,” said Olson. “I had a roasted garlic version, a rosemary-and-cracked-black-pepper lefse and a sweet potato lefse.”

Despite scandalizing a few veteran lefse-makers, Olson sold out his batch “in about an hour.”

Leading him to conclude a general principle: “People like lefse.”

He also figured it would be good to not have to drive to Bemidji to sell his specialty lefse.

Once a restaurant owner in California, he’s got an interest in promoting healthier eating, he said.

“Fosston has had a farmers market sporadically, usually it’s held on a special occasion, like the Fourth of July,” he said. “But this year I’m taking over and we will try to do it regularly every Saturday.”

It will be a tourism boon, because the market will be held on the grounds of the East Polk County Heritage Center on the east side of Fosston.

“They give tours, and were interested in having more activity there,” he said of the site along U.S. Highway 2.

Though Internet listings, including Facebook, he’s collected about 200 people “who are really chomping at the bit,” for the market to open. The plan is to begin at 8 a.m. May 1 and do it again every Saturday. “We will kind of go until 2 in the afternoon or whenever we sell out.”

He figures about 15 sellers will start out and hopes to grow it from there, so to speak.

Sellers have to abide by Minnesota’s laws for farmer’s markets, which can be accessed by going to his Web site, www.fosston

farmersmarket.org.

That means freshly baked bread, home-grown honey, and homemade jams and jellies are cool, as well as whatever someone grows in a garden along the lines of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

He’s advertising it as a food revolution that can help decrease heart disease and diabetes.

“I have started a bunch of things already,” he said. “I planted some lettuce — that’s a cool weather crop, and I have in my own yard — a lot of rhubarb which I’m hoping will be ready by May 1.”

He also plans to have special events, like a monthly pie-eating contest.

Reach Olson at (218) 209-2091; e-mail him at manager@fosstonfarmersmarket.org.

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to slee@gfherald.com

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