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Take home fresh finds from these farmers markets

Head to the northern states of Mississippi River Country to discover some of the nation’s best (and oldest) farmers markets.

Dane County Farmers Market (Credit: Travel Wisconsin)

Farms and agricultural producers abound in the northern states of Mississippi River Country. Here, you’ll find the country’s largest producer-only farmers market, a market that’s been serving St. Louis for more than 200 years and much more. Here’s a look at some of the best farmers markets in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.

Minnesota: Saint Paul Farmers Market

If you’re looking for local foods and other products in the Twin Cities, the Saint Paul Farmers Market has you covered. The market, “100% locally grown since 1854,” has been offering farm-fresh flavors for nearly 170 years and hosts more than a dozen markets throughout Saint Paul in the summer. The downtown St. Paul farmers’ market takes place on Saturdays and Sundays in April through October and Saturdays in the winter.

Wisconsin: Dane County Farmers Market

Welcome to America’s largest producers-only farmers market. The Dane County Farmers Market, held in Wisconsin’s capital city of Madison, takes place every Saturday from April to November around the iconic Capitol Square. (There’s also a smaller summer market nearby on Wednesdays, and the winter market is held on Saturdays at the city’s new Garver Feed Mill.) About 150 vendors appear at the market weekly, offering everything from fruits and vegetables to meats and cheeses (this is Wisconsin, after all).

Illinois: Green City Market

More than 150 Chicago-area chefs consider this their “go-to” market for fresh produce, meats and more, and you’re sure to agree when you visit either the Green City Market location in Lincoln Park or the West Loop, each held on Saturdays from May through October. In the winter, an indoor farmers market is held at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park. The Green City Market also offers home delivery and curbside pickup for those who can’t make it to the weekly market.

Missouri: Soulard Farmers Market

This historic farmers market—it’s been around since the late 1700s!—is open Wednesdays through Saturdays year-round in St. Louis’ famed Soulard neighborhood. It’s one of the largest and oldest farmers’ markets west of the Mississippi (just a few blocks west, in this case) and boasts nearly 150 vendors. At the market’s Grand Hall, permanent vendors like bakeries, butcher shops, florists and more welcome customers, while other vendors occupy the different “wings” extending from the main building.