Homegrown, handmade food and art becomes available each winter month at the Sprout markets in Little Falls, but in November and December, the Holiday spirit is in full swing. With over 40 farmers, artisans, and artists displaying their work, the market becomes a one stop gift shop for the whole family. The Growers & Makers Holiday Markets take place on Saturday, November 16 and December 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sprout MN (609 13th Ave NE, Door 8, Little Falls, Minn.) Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace highlights regional arts through performances, cooking demonstrations, and free art activities at each monthly market.
Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace takes the form of a mini monthly festival, offering entertainment through performances and cooking demonstrations. The November performance will feature St. Cloud musician, Nathan Neuman on accordion. While primarily polka, Nathan also plays old-time music, waltzes, two-step and country. Nathan will perform at the Sprout market starting at 10 a.m.
Another feature of the market will be free art activities for all ages at “The Happy Little Art Cart” with artist Tressa Hills. The mobile art studio was named after Bob Ross, American painter, art instructor, and television host of “The Joy of Painting” who famously called painting mistakes “happy little accidents.” Tressa carried on this mindset of turning “mistakes” beautiful by hosting a painting party with her community to paint the outside mural on the studio. Tressa is one of four artists engaged in Sprout’s À la cARTe Initiative that brings art experiences on the road to increase art access in rural Minnesota. The other artists include Lisa Jordan (Brainerd), Maria Ervasti (Staples), and Heidi Jeub (Little Falls), who will each have their mobile art studio at one of Sprout’s indoor winter markets throughout the season.
The community is invited to attend the market and enjoy free samples during the cooking demonstration which will showcase the culinary talents of Chef Mateo Mackbee (Model Citizen the Restaurant, New London). Chef Mateo holds the 2019 Master Chef award from the cooking competition MINCED: The Finer Version of Chopped. Sprout hosts MINCED annually, pitting three area chefs against each other and the timer to prepare a dish to impress the judges. Mateo won over the judges in the dessert round with an Ethiopian pancake, bananas foster and berry sauce topping. Mateo’s MINCED competitor, Jenna Brower Von Siebolds will also be working in the Sprout kitchen the week of the market to host a Friendsgiving Cooking Class. The cooking class on Thursday, November 14, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. will use locally sourced ingredients from Sprout Food Hub like Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes to create traditional Thanksgiving favorites with a twist. Cooking class tickets are $30 per person and can be purchased at www.sproutmn.com/kitchen#class.
Market attendees are encouraged to come to the event hungry, to taste the samples by Chef Mateo, and to dine at the Cabin Fever “pop-up restaurant” that will have lunch, craft brews, and wine available during the market. Local food and art producers interested in participating in the market can become a vendor by visiting www.sproutmn.com/vendors.
The community is invited to shop the Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace vendors selling local food and art on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on November 16, and December 14, and in 2020 on January 25, February 29, March 28, October 31, November 14, December 12. During these markets, through visual and performing art, culinary demonstrations, Sprout showcases community assets and talents of a variety of cultures across the region. In the months of April through September, Sprout hosts cooking classes, educational workshops, MINCED: The Finer Version of Chopped cooking competition on May 8, 2020, and Summer Harvest Dinner on July 31, 2020, utilizing food to tell stories and connect to one another.
Due to a partnership with Hunger Solutions Minnesota, families and individuals eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can also double their dollar at the Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace and the Sprout Mobile Market. Shoppers with SNAP can swipe their EBT card at the market to receive an additional dollar for every dollar spent up to $10 in “Market Bucks.” SNAP is a federal food assistance program. Benefits are placed on an electronic benefits transfer card (EBT) similar to a debit card. To find out if you qualify for SNAP, call the Minnesota Food HelpLine at 1-888-711-1151 or visit mnfoodhelpline.org for more information.
The activities are funded through a grant awarded to the Region Five Development Commission by ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund.
Interested shoppers, growers, artists, chefs, and educators who want to learn more, visit www.SproutMN.com and follow Sprout MN on Facebook.