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Know your farmer: Market Square growers talk produce

Barb Mann of Backus, founding member of the Pine River Market Square Grower's and Crafter's market sells the extra produce from her garden, but her breads are a particular favorite to her customers. Photo by Travis Grimler1 / 2
Gourmet beans and squash are favorites from Paul and Sandy Gilbertson's Pine River Market Square's Growers and Crafters Market booth, but they also sell baked goods, homemade mustard, and poultry. Photo by Travis Grimler2 / 2

Much of your food likely comes from the grocery store where produce is potentially shipped in from all over the world. Local farmers markets are still one place you can go to find locally grown foods.

Barb Mann of Peaced Goods of Backus is one of these growers. Mann is also one of the founders of the Pine River Market Square Growers and Crafters Market, which runs from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Fridays in downtown Pine River. She sells an assortment of greens and vegetables from her garden plot at the Pine River Community Garden, but that's not all.

"I sell a little bit of everything. I love to bake, so I started off with mostly doing organic baked goods as much as possible. Recently I've been doing a lot more gluten free options because more and more people throughout the years have issues related to eating gluten," Mann said.

Though her vegetables are popular, perhaps Mann's most popular items are her baked breads, particularly her "easy riser" bread and wild rice bread. The wild rice for her bread is often purchased from a vendor at the Growers and Crafters Market. Other ingredients are ordered in bulk from Stone Woman Herbal.

Paul and Sandy Gilbertson from Armstrong Acres of Backus say their best-sellers are their gourmet French filet beans and delacata squash.

The Gilbertsons have been at the Growers and Crafters Market for six years and at the Green Scene in Walker for four years.

Tradition is part of Armstrong Acres, which is located on property once owned by Sandy's grandparents, who were named Armstrong. In addition to selling beans and squash, their booth is covered with cookies and bars made from family recipes as well as jars of homemade mustard.

"I buy the mustard seed at Stone Woman Herbal and the recipe is from a little old lady in Hackensack who is no longer with us. She gave me the recipe about five years ago," Sandy said.

In addition to gourmet vegetables, sweets and mustard, Armstrong Acres sells organically raised chickens by order. These, too, are popular.