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Brimson Market offers more than crafts, produce

Diane Dickey shows off her "Border Battle Slaw Kit" on Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Brimson Market. Dickey started the market almost 20 years ago, selling organic produce from her garden out of the back of her car at the Brimson Volunteer Fire Department. (Jamey Malcomb/News-Chronicle)1 / 6
Nearly 150 runners came out for the Sisu Run/Walk, a 4.4-mile race on the roads and trails in Brimson. The event is a fundraiser for the Brimson Volunteer Fire Department. (Photo by Lisa Malcomb)2 / 6
Brimson Market vendors offer fresh local produce, baked goods, crafts and even massage therapy. (Jamey Malcomb/News-Chronicle)3 / 6
Jan Ringer (right), speaks with a customer while her husband, Al, serves a caramel roll with walnuts. The couple sells the rolls each week at the Brimson Market at Hugo's Bar along with other produce from their garden. (Photo by Lisa Malcomb)4 / 6
The Brimson Market offers handmade crafts from local artisans from around the North Shore and Iron Range. (Jamey Malcomb/Iron Range)5 / 6
Arne Luoma of Aurora works with a piece of wood while manning his table at the Brimson Market at Hugo's Bar. Luoma makes and sells wreaths, flowers and other crafts using the cross section of small trees he collects each fall. (Jamey Malcomb/News-Chronicle)6 / 6

Each Saturday morning from July to early September, a small market springs up around Hugo's Bar in Brimson, bringing people to the tiny community on the border of Lake and St. Louis counties.

The Brimson Market is part farmers market and part craft fair, with a touch of a flea market thrown in. There are even two vendor booths offering massage therapy.

Diane Dickey started the market about 20 years ago when she started selling her organic produce out of the back of her car at the Brimson Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD), just down County Road 44 from Hugo's.

"A lot of people got on board and it just got bigger and bigger," Dickey said.

Dickey, a nurse at the University of Minnesota Duluth, has the summers off, and was growing more produce in her garden than she could use, so she started selling it at the firehouse. As more people got involved, the market moved to a more visible spot at Hugo's.

On Saturday, Aug. 18, Dickey was selling her "Border Battle Slaw Kit," with green and purple cabbage, more likely to provoke another argument between Packer and Viking fans than to settle the matter.

Brimson residents Jan and Al Ringer started selling produce at the market and decided to up their offerings with warm caramel rolls, fresh out of Jan's oven. The caramel rolls go quickly. Customers who don't arrive at the market when it opens at 9 a.m. are likely to miss out because even vendors are lining up for the sweet and savory treats.

Arne Luoma makes his way down to Brimson from Aurora most weekends to sell his wreaths, flowers, Minneota maps and other art using the cross sections of small trees and branches.

Luoma spends the fall collecting and cutting the wood he will use for his products. He dries the wood over the winter. Each spring, he begins making the maps and wreaths to sell at the market and other area stores.

Luoma said he started painting the cross sections when he was younger, but didn't start making the maps, flowers and wreaths to sell until he retired a few years ago.

On Saturday, Aug. 18, the event of the weekend was the 36th annual Brimson Sisu Run/Walk. The race, 4.4 miles along roads and trails around Brimson, raises money for the BVFD. Nearly 150 people came out to run the race. Members of the department sold hot dogs and bratwurst to those at the market or waiting on friends or family to finish the race.

When Dickey looks around at the crowd, the market and everything that started in the back of her car in the 1990s, she smiles and laughs before tempting another customer with her Border Battle Slaw.

"It's awesome," she said. "It's just local people bringing their stuff out — it's a happening."

Brimson Sisu Run/Walk results

Male runners Time Female runners Time

Grant Johnson 25:42 Anna Lahti 29:42

Skyler Bennyhoff 25:58 Becca Zwak 34:21

Seth Karhonen 26:22 Vicky Bennyhoff 34:33

Male walkers Time Female walkers Time

Mark Thomley 1:01:48 KayLynn Swak 1:06:59

Urho Johnson 1:05:36 Sophie Kilas 1:07:37

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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