By Brian Sheridan
Farming has long been a part of the Eau Claire community. For over 20 years now farmers have been bringing produce to the downtown farmers market to share their bounty of the season.
Over time, the downtown farmers market’s popularity outgrew its old location on Galloway Street and moved to Phoenix Park. The new space allowed them to have more vendors and more foot traffic through the area. Pa Thao, the executive director of he Eau Claire Hmong Mutual Assistance Association, said this is due to Eau Claire’s Hmong community.
Hmong vendors make up around 60 to 70 percent of the downtown farmers market, Thao said. They started getting involved after Phillip Chute, the founder of the farmers market, reached out to them and help them become successful vendors at the market.
Now after many years, Thao said Hmong farmers are using the market as a dependable source of income. Farmers who come every week, like Anderson Xiong, sees the market as a good place to buy fresh food and to support the locals.