An Asian Street Market in St. Paul, Minnesota

Hmong Dresses Hanging in the Hmongtown Marketplace

Hmong Dresses Hanging in the Hmongtown Marketplace

What a wonderful experience!

Where can you get the best-looking green beans, onions, peppers, papaya, sugar cane, lemongrass, and ginger root … and chicken feet … and brightly colored embroidered dresses … handmade knives, rakes, and hoes … and rent a DVD … and do it all in one stop? Only at the Hmongtown Marketplace, in Frogtown.

The marketplace is in a collection of warehouse buildings, a converted lumberyard. We huddled under our umbrella, trying not to let the 40-degree wind blow the cold St. Paul rain in our faces. When we stepped through the double glass doors, however, and heard the Oriental music blasting from a karaoke machine, we thought we had been transported magically to a southeast Asian street market …


It Was a Cold Day in April …

Bundled-Up People at the St. Paul Farmers' MarketThe girl behind the meat display wore a crocheted cap, a winter coat, and gloves. “When I have to stand over here by the table, the wind blows right up my coat. My butt is cold!”

Such is the life of a meat vendor at the St. Paul Farmers’ Market on opening day. It was 40 degrees, windy, and raining. Welcome to Minnesota!

Read the article at

Guide to the Twin Cities Farmers’ Markets

Peer down the aisles at tables loaded with red heirloom tomatoes, white onions, green chives, yellow marigolds. Breathe deeply, and inhale the aroma of fresh-cut basil and rosemary and cilantro. Listen to the jazz band playing, to the road of cars passing by, and to a hundred voices, vendors answering questions about their products, children translating for their non-English-speaking parents, husbands looking for their wives, who are looking for their favorite stalls.

Admit it: Going to the supermarket is a chore; but visiting the farmers’ market is an adventure in an agrarian wonderland.

But what metropolis has more farmers’ market choices than the Twin Cities? Minneapolis, St. Paul, and countless suburban sites. With all these options, how should you know where to go? Want directions to the closest market? Want only local vegetables? Want a variety of local and imported? Or looking for the place with the most granola, or ice cream, or bison meat?