Faces of the Fair: Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar

Sweet Martha's chocolate chip cookies
A bucket of Sweet Martha's cookies.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

There are few State Fair foods more iconic than Sweet Martha's cookies.

Martha Rossini Olson
Martha Rossini Olson is the namesake of Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar. Her two Minnesota State Fair booths sell about a million cookies a day.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

The fair staple started modestly in a 9-by-11 stand built in Martha Rossini Olson's backyard and filled with rented equipment.

Now, years later, Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar sells about a million cookies a day from two permanent, go-to spots on the fairgrounds, identifiable by their bright yellow paint and lines of hungry fans.

Every night during the fair, the booths replenish their supply with nine pallets of ingredients. That's a lot of flour, sugar and chocolate chips.

While it's a must-eat once-a-year fair food for droves of Minnesotans, it's also possible to eat the sweet treats all year round.

About 14 years ago, Rossini Olson said, the company started selling Sweet Martha's cookie dough — which now include five varieties — into grocery stores. And last year, Sweet Martha's sugar cookies joined the mix.