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Organizer of Crosslake Farmers Market dies; young relative steps up to continue tradition

Sheila Carleton, new organizer of the Crosslake Farmers' Market behind her Mission Creek Market produce. Photo by Sarah Rudlang

Winston Borden was well-known in the area as the farmer who ran Borden Road Farm Market in Merrifield and organized the Crosslake Farmers Market. When Borden died early this year, many people were uncertain of the Crosslake Farmers Market's future.

Fortunately, the green thumb runs in the family, especially in Sheila Carleton, who moved into the house that was her great-aunt's to continue the upkeep.

Not new to farming, Carleton studied natural resource management and agronomy (crop production) at the University of Minnesota. She is a teacher's assistant at Discovery Woods Montessori School in Brainerd and works at the Food Co-op.

"I began getting calls wondering what was going on with the farmers market," Carleton said, noting that is when she decided to continue the tradition. She had no idea the vegetables she planted earlier in the season would be selling in the market.

"I started calling vendors and began getting everything in order. The city of Crosslake even paid for our permit so that we could continue to have a market," said Carleton.

The Crosslake Farmers Market welcomes vendors. There is no charge to be a part of the market, which runs from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays in Crosslake Town Square through Sept. 10.

Carleton is now in charge of the farm and sells her products under the name Mission Creek Market, which currently can only be found at the Crosslake Farmers Market. Produce she offers includes fresh, hand-picked raspberries, green beans, kale, heirloom lemon cucumbers, cucumbers, beans, rhubarb, fresh peppermint and more. She said her tomatoes are grown from seeds from her previous tomatoes. All of the produce is pesticide free and she will soon be offering organic eggs.

Another attraction at the Crosslake Farmers Market is Hanson's Honey, an area honey producer for 20 years.

Hanson's Honey Farm is south of Aitkin and contains 400 colonies of bees where Phil and Martha Hanson collect and process the honey. Hanson's Honey has been available in local farmers markets for about 10 years. They offer creamed honey, buckwheat honey (from the buckwheat flower) and clover, alfalfa and wildflower honey.