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If you’ve strolled through downtown on Saturday morning or afternoon you’ve probably seen the greatest thing to come here since that one time Jim Lahey of Trailer Park Boys was spotted buying liquor at the Empire.

Every Saturday from 10 am to 2pm, The Red River Market takes over Broadway and 2nd Ave. Right in between U.S. Bank Plaza and Gate City Bank, numerous stands reside offering tons of different fresh produce, along with spots to grab a meal. You can also find stands selling things like jewelry, coffee, and herbal and organic products. There’s a lot going on beyond your typical food market.

“We wanted to fill that void of having a market downtown, but we wanted to be more than just a grocery store,” RR Market co-organizer Joe Burgum told me. “So we have the hot meals being sold, the music playing and the patio furniture so people can hang out and spend time.”

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Vegan Chickpea dish from Deb’s Corner Foods & Catering

Aside from helping boost Fargo with even more street cred as a booming community, the RR Market is filling a need this summer. Construction going on along the river has forced the Dike West market to move out to West Acres for the season.

Moreover, the RR Market has a 200-mile rule where all the produce sold must come from farming operations within those parameters. Most of the food, Joe noted, is grown even closer than that.

“Many of the vendors at other great markets such as the ones in Bismarck have a lot of vendors from Fargo/Moorhead so it’s nice for them to have something local,” Joe noted.  

With the variety of offerings, the Saturday spot continues to grow in partons every week. As more produce comes into season, more vendors end up participating. Also, with such prime location, the market essentially advertises itself.

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Although born and raised in Fargo, Joe has had opportunities to live in a few different cities. He recalled spending time in Chicago where the market scene made an impression on him.

“On Saturdays, we’d wake up and bike to the Lincoln Park market to go and eat breakfast, buy produce, hang out and listen to music. I enjoy being able to create something like that here in Fargo,” Joe stated.  “We like to say ‘babies, bikes and dogs.’ We really wanted some place for our community to wake up on Saturdays.”

The folks running the market plan to keep things going until the snow flies. This is sort of the pilot season, but with some optimism, Joe hopes that the weather will hold out for them until sometime late October.
Read up on the numerous vendors and how to get involved yourself over at their website, redriver.market (the phase out of dot coms has begun!)