A Farmington favorite and two vendors whose products are made in Detroit will be at the market Saturday.
The hometown business is Chive Kitchen, located in downtown Farmington next to TJ Maxx . The vegan restaurant no longer is a full-service restaurant but instead is offering online pre-orders, catering, private events and special coursed dinners and brunches. All of their specials, deli items, groceries and tickets for the special dinners and brunches can be purchased at www.chivekitchen.com.
At the market Saturday, Chive will be selling Arroz Gordo, a Portuguese stir fry that is gluten- and nut-free as well as 100% vegan. Price is $8. The dish consists of jasmine rice, house chorizo, scramble, chickpeas, mushroom bacon, scallions and potatoes, all smothered in their savory slow-cooked pepper Sofrito.
Joining Chive as new market vendors will be Drench and Gus and Grey.
Drench is a line of salad dressings and marinades developed by Karen Akouri of West Bloomfield several years ago when she began reading the labels of commercial salad dressings.
"It didn't make sense. Here I am making a healthy salad and pouring all of these chemicals on it,” she says on her website, idrench.com.
Her products use all-natural ingredients without any refined sugars, artificial preservatives or colors. They are also gluten free, dairy free, nut free, soy free, egg free and GMO free.
Shoppers are invited to pre-order on her website by choosing one of these options:
1. You can make a purchase online at idrench.com and email Karen at Karen@idrench.com that you will pick it up at the market. Please select “free local shipping” at checkout.
2. You can reserve a product without paying for it by emailing her at Karen@idrench.com and then purchasing it Saturday at the market.
Gus and Grey makes jam with no preservatives or pectin and with about a half pound of fruit in every jar. The company also sells apple butter, nut butters, marmalades, mustard and preserves. You can learn about them at their website, https://www.gusandgrey.com/. They will not offer pre-order at this time.
We're No. 1 again!
It's official: For the fourth straight year, the Farmington Farmers Market has been voted the best farmers market in Metro Detroit! The news was announced July 24 on WDIV Channel 4, the sponsor of the Vote 4 the Best contest.
"It's great to win this title any year, but it's especially gratifying this year," said market manager Walt Gajewski. "We've worked really hard to keep our market safe during this pandemic so we can bring nutritious food to our shoppers."
Unlike other area markets, Farmington opened on schedule this spring after weeks of preparation that included setting up traffic flow, designating specific entrances and exits and offering handwashing stations. Masks were required of vendors and volunteers and strongly recommended for shoppers (they are now required). Tables were spaced in such a way as to maintain social distancing.
"We did our homework, and we've been diligent in maintaining healthy standards," Gajewski said. "The reward was immediate – after a slow opening day, we've seen our attendance numbers increase steadily. And that's been great for everybody – our farmers and vendors as well as our shoppers. Everyone involved gets the credit for this win."
A new 2020 market banner acknowledging the win is now on display in the market's home, the Walter E. Sundquist Pavilion in downtown Farmington, beginning Saturday. It hangs alonside three other Best of Detroit banners.
French Lady will be back this season
As her many fans know all too well, the French Lady has not been at the market for several weeks. But she plans to be back sometime this market season.
After delighting shoppers with her meringues. quiches and other treats for the first few weeks, the French Lady, real name Claude Pellerin, has had trouble finding kitchen space in which to prepare her goodies.
“We are ‘playing by ear’ right now, and I can't tell when I'll be back in business,” she wrote in a recent email to market manager Walt Gajewski. “I'm sorry I can't give more positive and clear news.”
Gajewski does expect her back at the market yet this summer. “She is a big part of what we are all about,” he said, “simply good food found here!”
In her email, Ms. Pellerin added that she and her husband “miss the markets very much … for the people, for the connections we made those past two years, the community feeling, the friendships we both developed with fellow vendors or customers.
“I received so many phone calls and emails from my wonderful customers, it warms my heart! We are looking forward to being back.”
So are we.
Fresh coffee returns to the market
For those who like their java as they shop the market, we have good news: Once again we are offering freshly brewed coffee inside the pavilion on the west side.
We welcome Mugs Coffee and Grub to our roster. Owner Mel Hussin serves brews and baked goods at his new shop on the west side Orchard Lake Road, just north of Shiawassee, at the end of a small strip mall.
His timing in opening his shop was not the best -- just a few months after he and his wife, Sara, began doing business, the coronavirus shut them down. But the coffee place is open again, offering carry-out, online ordering and dining-in from a limited menu.
"We are a family-owned shop serving high-quality organic coffee," Mel said. "We're trying to do what we can to be earth and health conscious while offering vegan and dairy-free options so everyone can enjoy something at our coffee shop."
For now, Mugs will be offering just coffee and tea for now, although Mel said they will have some "bagel bombs" (stuffed bagels) from Evergreens Bakery in Oxford. "Usually we get baked goods from Avalon in Detroit, but they aren’t back to wholesaling items yet," he said.
You'll find Mugs Coffee and Grub in the southwest corner of the pavilion. Stop by and welcome them to the market. We're happy to have them.
Wear that mask
Wearing a face mask continues to be mandatory in order to enter the Farmers Market this Saturday and until further notice. If you don't have one, you can get a disposable one free of charge at either entrance.
The market has encouraged the wearing of masks since opening May 16. But the practice has become more urgent as the number of coronavirus cases has begun to grow.
The market has been directed by the city to be in accordance with the recent executive order issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that requires all Michiganders to wear masks in public indoor and crowded outdoor spaces or face a misdemeanor charge that comes with up to a $500 fine.
To obtain a free mask, just ask any volunteer; they're the folks wearing black aprons and name tags.