Fresh Michigan fruit arrives in a big way this Saturday when R.B. Miller's truck pulls into the Market.
A second-generation family orchard in the southwest corner of the state, Miller's provides us with great fruit choices all summer. But at this time of year, when you say Michigan fruit, you mean strawberries. And there should be a lot of them, thanks to Miller, Fusilier Family Farms and Kapnick Orchards.
But they'll go fast. So here's an insider's tip: Come early, even before we ring the opening bell at 9 a.m., as our vendors set up early.
As if all this fruit news isn't berrylicious enough, take note that Strawberry Shortcake Day is on the horizon (see flyer below). What's on the menu? Only strawberries and biscuits courtesy of Kapnick Orchards and made with Calder Dairy butter, topped off with fresh whipped cream and hosted by Edible WOW and the Friends of the Market. Wow, indeed!
Covid updates: No more masks
Here’s our latest update on Covid regulations from the Michigan Farmers Market Association as of June 1:
Masks are no long required, even for the non-vaccinated. For those who feel safer with masks, free ones will be available at the Information Tent, located just south of the pavilion.
There will no longer be formal entrances and exits or closed-off pathways.
Hand-sanitizers will be available around the market, but there will be no hand-washing stations.
Restrooms will be open to the public.
Dogs are welcome in Riley Park only.
Riley Park tells the tale
There have been rough times at the Market since May 2020. But lots of great times, too. One of the best occurred on Saturday, May 22, when Riley Park, that expanse of green just north of the pavilion. was, well, almost crowded. Not dangerously packed, mind you, but with just enough people to make it look like a normal Market Saturday.
Masked and maskless people were sitting on benches, chatting. Young couples were strolling on the beautiful green grass. Children were scampering about, playing corn hole or just exploring. Families were gathered for a what might have been a chance to catch their breath from what has been a crazy life.
It was a great sign that everyone's diligence and dedication are finally paying off. The vaccines are working. Masks are still working. Social distancing when possible is working. And slowly normalcy is returning.
Welcome once again to Saturday in a Michigan small town.
Rousing Opening Day kicks off a new market season
The sun wasn't the only thing shining on Saturday, May 8, when the Farmington Farmers Market opened its 28th season on a day that seemed more than a year from last year's subdued Covid-restricted opening day.
A full color guard from American Legion Groves Walker Post 346 and disciplined drum corps from Farmington High School set an upbeat tone for this year's event, which was ably emceed by Paul Gross, WDIV weathercaster and Farmington area resident.
Andrew Neer, composer and orchestral conductor, delivered an inspiring performance of the National Anthem, after which Farmington Mayor Sara Bowman welcomed a large, enthusiastic crowd to downtown's Sundquist Pavilion and Riley Park.
Other guest speakers included Robb Harper, founder of Edible WOW magazine; Kim Guesman, Beaumont Hospital's chief nursing officer who was served on the front line in the battle against the coronavirus; Todd Lippa, director of C.A.R.E.S. of Farmington Hills, and Henry Francis, the market's youngest volunteer.
After the speakers, Miss Farmington Emma Hahn, with help from Guesman, rang the market bell to officially open the season that welcomed a largee and enthusiastic crowd that made last spring's opener a distant memory.
Market Walking Club offers fitness and history
Walking returns to the Farmington Farmers Market this season, under the guidance of three volunteers who have logged plenty of miles around the community.
Sandy Boland and her friends Suzanne Clinton and Polly Varhol will lead the new Walkabouts Farmers Market Walking Club, coordinated with Americorps and Beaumont Health. Walkers will meet at the information tent for the 10 a.m. tours.
“I just love walking around Farmington, and Suzanne and Polly know a lot about Farmington history,” Boland said. “This is what the market is all about, healthy food and healthy living.”
Walking and history
The team has developed half a dozen routes that range from one to one-and-a-half miles. Boland said each will include two Farmington landmarks.
On Opening Day, walkers will see a Civil War-era home, built in 1863, and learn more about Heeney-Sundquist Funeral Home, which opened in 1850 as Michigan’s first funeral service provider. Future stops will include Oakwood Cemetery, the downtown Farmington library, Farmington City Hall, and the Quaker Cemetery.
The goal for the season is to complete 24 miles. Walkers who sign in and record their progress will receive incentives for completing each 8-mile leg of the journey.
‘A more concentrated effort’
Boland said guest walkers will also make each event more interesting. First up is Farmington Mayor Sara Bowman, who was part of a previous attempt to get a regular fit walk going.
“It was tough to get people to lead,” she said. “This is a more concentrated effort to put it out there so people know they can rely on it.”
The walks, Bowman said, are not just about getting fit, but also camaraderie and building community. It’s another opportunity for people to gather, a Farmington tradition.
“It’s been a long winter and tough on families. We’ve missed a lot,” she said. “Having the Farmers Market, it’s a community event where we get to see our friends and neighbors.”
How to get involved
To join the opening day walkers, just show up at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, at the information booth. The Farmington Farmers Market is open Saturdays, May through October, at the Walter Sundquist Farmington Pavilion and Riley Park in downtown Farmington.
Story courtesy of Joni Hubred, Farmington Voice
The Weekly Market Basket Giveaway returns
It’s with great pride and pleasure that we announce the return of our Weekly Market Basket Giveaway for the 2021 season.
The popular feature took a sabbatical last season due to the pandemic so we could focus on keeping our shoppers, vendors and volunteers safe. But now, thanks to a great co-operative effort by everyone to wear masks and maintain safe distances last season, the market community has overwhelmingly demonstrated it may be possible to safely return to some kind of normal this summer, an idea that’s fortified by the success of vaccinations.
As a reminder for you veteran shoppers and an introduction for newcomers, here’s how the giveaway works:
Every Saturday morning when the market opens, volunteers visit farmers and vendors with a wagon to collect such donated items as a bundle of fresh asparagus or a bar of handmade soap. The haul, which is displayed at the information tent, can weigh 40 lbs. and be worth $125 or more.
To register for the drawing, just stop by the tent and fill out a slip of paper with your name and phone number. At noon a blind drawing picks the winner, who is contacted by phone and must collect the bounty before we close at 2 p.m.
And there’s a bonus: As you fill out your entry, you can say hello to our hard-working volunteers and get caught up on what’s new at the market. It’s all part of a Saturday in a Michigan small town.
See you May 8 – Opening Day!
A four-peat as best market in metro Detroit
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.