AT LAKE COUNTRY CONVENIENCE & Bait in Shieldsville, you can pick up a Heggie’s pizza, meat from Dean’s Smoke Shack, firewood, a fishing or hunting license, coffee, even a face mask, and much more.
Need bait? Pull out your Minnow Punch Card. Buy six scoops of minnows and the seventh is free.
Fuel up. And, if you need to use the restroom, Lake Country claims to have “the cleanest bathrooms in the area.” Rather important in these days of COVID-19.
This convenience store/gas station/bait shop also claims to have “the best soft serve ice cream in Rice County,” although Dairy Queen may dispute that.
But there’s one more aspect of Lake Country Convenience that may just draw you to this business serving the community of Shieldsville and the surrounding lakes area. That’s Mark’s Fresh Veggies, a seasonal pop-up vegetable stand.
Recently, while driving through Shieldsville, which is about 10 miles northwest of Faribault, Randy and I stopped to check out Mark’s produce, displayed inside a small metal shed next to the Lake Country parking lot. The portable shed appears to also serve as an ice fishing shelter in the winter.
We pulled up, waited for another customer to exit the tiny vegetable shed and then went inside, masked, and looking for fresh sweetcorn. We found the corn, along with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and cabbage, all separated in custom-built compartments. The kohlrabi were gone; no problem for me as I don’t particularly like them.
I expected payment would be inside the convenience store. But, nope, Mark has set up an honor system payment plan. I love this, when roadside vegetable vendors trust customers. Mark provides bags, a scale, and even a notebook to jot down purchases before dropping payment into a secure metal box. And then, he’s even thoughtfully set out hand sanitizer.
Randy bagged our six ears of sweetcorn while I chose two tomatoes. He paid. And then we exited Mark’s Fresh Veggies Stand, grateful for gardeners like Mark who provide us with fresh seasonal vegetables here in southern Minnesota.
TELL ME: Do you have a favorite spot to get local fresh produce? We buy from a variety of local vendors, including those at the Faribault Farmers’ Market.
© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling