Tag Archives: Frogtown

Hmongtown Marketplace – This Shopper’s Perspective

The plan was to share my Hmongtown Marketplace with my friend Suzanne.  The result was a half-day of Poking Around in one of the community’s treasures.  Though for Hmong Americans and Frogtown residents the Marketplace is a second home and sole source provider of known commodities, it’s a drive-by location for those who whiz by the former lumber yard on Como near the State Capitol.

Pull in the parking lot ( like every street in the Twin Cities, it does need repair) and plunge into another world – a world in which English is definitely not the first language, where wondrous fruits require a how-to lesson from the vendor, where the delicate aroma of Hmong sausage, egg rolls, stick rice and a zillion other taste treats prove irresistible.

Most of all, it’s world where the awkward native Twin Citian is embraced, literally, by the owners (Toua Xiong and Nou Vang and their family) and by the scores of vendors.

Suzanne and I poked into every nook and cranny, paying  rapt attention as Nou graciously escorted, introduced, and explained the vendors and their wares.

At one point Nou asked if I were looking for anything specific.  Doting grandma that I am I targeted my one and only grandson Will Birmingham, age 19 months.  We sped to the top-of-the-line shop for boys’ togs where Nou introduced us, then surreptitiously purchased a Hmong suit for Will.  The result captures the splendor of the suit and the unbounded delight of an Irish American boy from Northeast Minneapolis who may never again settle for Carter’s

Original post from Twin Cities Daily Planet.    http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2010/06/28/mn-voices-toua-xiong-immigrant-year

Farmer’s Markets Sprout

Farmer’s Markets are sprouting (to coin a phrase) on every church, parking, and vacant lot, it seems.  It’s great.  What I’m learning in my poking around is about the unique nature of many of these sites.  Thanks to Twin Cities Daily Planet shared penchant for poking around, I’ve had a chance to dig a bit deeper into just a couple – so far.

The Village Farmer’s Market, opening July 12 in my community, is the fulfillment of one woman’s dream.  Wendy Huebner is the dreamer who now has the whole community abuzz.  The VFM will feature a generous array of locally produced vegetables and fruit along with a rich assortment of entertainment/educational programs that range from accordions to jugglers to a talk about the history of cookbooks, with emphasis on delicacies created from locally grown produce.  Details on TCDP.

Another community building market is the fulfillment of Toua Xiong’s dream.  The Hmongtown Marketplace in St. Paul’s Frogtown is the hub of the Hmong community.  The nine-acre site features locally grown produce, much of which is new to oldtime Minnesotans.  The Market also features several restaurants and foodstands, acres of purchasable items ranging from clothing to videos to bubble blowing gear.  Again, details on TCDP.

The summer isn’t long enough to poke around all of the market opportunities, but I’ve got a good start on a most delightful and delicious poke!