Carters upgrade look of Red Wagon Market

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The Carter family recently renovated its Red Wagon Market, located on the east side of Park Rapids on Hwy. 34, originally built in 1993.

Mark Carter and his wife, Beth, own and run Carter's Red Wagon Market. This summer, they decided to update the look of the market. They painted the previously white fence black and installed a wall with barn-style doors to block out the dust and sound inside the market.

"I've got a crazy dream," Mark said talking about the recent remodeling. "I hope to eventually get a stage, for some live entertainment, for bands and plays. It'll give our customers a little something extra to enjoy."

"This wall right here is just a start," Mark said of the barn-style doors.

He's hoping to eventually be open all year 'round, providing people with their local goods.

Today, they sell hormone-free, grass-fed beef; a large selection of seasonal, farm-fresh vegetables, and home-grown strawberries.

Carter's Red Wagon Farm has been family-owned since the very beginning when it started with Russell and Maxine Carter, who had moved to town to supplement their income as rural missionaries. Russ had experience in the farming business from working on his father's farm, Prayrie Orchards, in White Pigeon, Mich. Ever since, the Carter Farm has grown along with the Carter family.

Today, Tony, the youngest of Russ and Maxine's seven children, has taken over the farm with his wife, Linda, and two kids, Luke and Susanna. The farm consists of 50 acres of crops, 30 beef cows, and a small flock of chickens.

Mark is one of Russ and Maxine's middle children.

The store started out selling out of a red wagon. Soon it upgraded to a small roadside stand and pickup trucks. Eventually in 1955, Carter's Red Wagon Farm established its first building.

Timbers used for the Red Wagon Market building were grown on the farm. They were harvested and sent to a local sawmill. Construction took place in the winter of 1993-94. The framework was put together with wooden pegs; not a single nail was used.

The structure of the building is similar to that of a barn in the southern part of the state.

Along with running the farm market and CSA, the family designs and puts together the Fall Fun Festival featuring a pumpkin patch, corn maze, and a family-friendly Pumpkin Party that draws people from around Minnesota and surrounding states.