For over a hundred years, local farmers have been selling food and supporting the community through the Duluth Farmers Market. Our first building was initially funded and constructed by the Duluth Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Council in 1911, and sat at the corner of 6th Avenue East and 3rd Street where Gloria Dei church now resides. The first market experienced great success, which prompted the city to build two other markets by 1922. The expansion markets were located on 24th avenue East and 1st Street, and 57th Avenue West and Ramsey St.
During the Great Depression, membership remained stable at the market as population grew in the area. Duluthians were flocking to the markets, enjoying great locally grown produce at competitive prices. The Duluth Farmer’s Market re-centralized to the original market on 6th Avenue E and 3rd Street building by the early 1950’s, and continued to lease the market property from the St. Louis County board.
By 1952, Duluth was booming, and the market was soon looking for a new home. That year, the market moved to its present location of 1324 E 3rd St. The St. Louis County Board assumed ownership and leased to the then named Duluth Market Gardener’s Association. Amid rumors of the market moving again in the early 1970’s, then Duluth mayor Ben Boo urged the City of Duluth to purchase the four lots housing the market so it could remain.
“If the Farmer’s Market were to fall by the wayside, we would lose not only a colorful part of Duluth’s history, but a desirable feature of our retail grocery facilities,” Mayor Boo (pictured right) proclaimed, in a speech given in 1973.
The City successfully purchased the land and has been leasing to the market ever since, ensuring our market has a stable property status for years to come.
In the early 80’s, the market continued to grow and soon incorporated as the Duluth Market Gardener’s and Berry Assocition. A set of bylaws were drafted as well, setting a code of ethics that continues today, setting how each vendor at the market sells what they grow and/or make.
“The purpose of this organization is to maintain and improve the marketing of home-grown produce in the Duluth area by local gardeners. Consistent with this purpose, this organization shall work to provide marketing space and services to its members for the sale of fresh vegetables, fruit, plants, flowers, Christmas trees, syrup, preserves, honey, or other agricultural products which the member has completely produced.”
This quote comes from the first clause of the Duluth Farmer’s Market bylaws. It’s important the market keeps their products local and homegrown. We hope you enjoy it too! Since incorporating the market has enjoyed regular business throughout the spring and summer market seasons. We’ve even recently made improvements to the building, including a new roof in 2012, which some farmers obviously helped build! And we wouldn’t have it any other way.