Fall in Michigan has arrived, officially as of 9:31 a.m. September 22, marked by the autumnal equinox – that point at which the sun is directly above the equator and the hours of night and day are equally balanced. Being a Libra, I can appreciate this as, astrologically, the sign of Libra equates to balance and harmony, to which I say: Bring on the fall!
These are times to savor and enjoy as the light of our days gives way to the quickening shadows and crisper nights while fall awakens in us all. I don’t know about you, but I would characterize summer as “carefree” and the fall as being “collective” – that time to take stock and shore up. For me it’s taking comfort in the simple act of putting another log on the fire, while listening to Cat Stevens’ “Tea for the Tillerman.”
Meanwhile, on fall Saturdays here in this archetypal Michigan small town of Farmington, there is great abundance at the farmers market. And with that comes a certain balance, if you will, as we enjoy the fruits and vegetables from a late summer stock of corn, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, zucchini and peppers while on the other side of the seasonal scale we are now seeing the incoming fall stock of hearty squash, sweet broccoli, apples, plums, sweet potatoes, parsnips and pumpkins. The fulcrum, of course, is in our hearty root stock of carrots, beets, potatoes, garlic and onions.
All the good food atop our farmhouse tables is a spark to our primal DNA as the changing of the seasons stokes our appetites for the comfort of food. I believe there is an overarching unity that calls us to market – underscored by food as a common denominator. It makes everyone feel welcome, balanced and in harmony for finding our food outdoors in the open air.
Saturday, September 19, was a prime example. I pulled into the market at 6 a.m., taking note of the temperature, which was standing at a rigid 37 degrees. I doused my truck lights to black before switching off the idle of the engine and the warmth of the cab. All was in the harmony of darkness before dawn. I thought to myself: It’s going to be a long day and a long wait for the feel of 50 degrees!
Stepping out I snapped shut the buttons on my thick, checkered flannel shirt, donning my baseball cap and stepped into the lair of a market clamoring for the light of a new day. As sure as the skies would turn blue under a bright orange sun, the people came. Oh, how they came. By 10 a.m., volunteers were saying it was as if a line of busses had pulled up. By day’s end, more than 4,900 people had come to market, harmoniously wearing masks and respecting each other’s space while finding the good food that’s here.
The next astronomically significant agricultural event comes our way on Thursday, October 1, when the first full moon of fall rises as the sun is setting. Fittingly, it is the called the harvest moon because, in bygone days during this night of endless light, the farmers would stay in the fields longer to reap the harvest. On Saturday, October 3, in Farmington, we will bring you the market of the harvest moon. On this day, our farmers and food artisans will pay forward the bounty of the season with food donations to CARES of Farmington Hills and the Neighborhood House, helping feed local families in need. This is made possible by all our shoppers who support our farmers. Donating food is our way of paying forward the bounty we have harvested. As much as we have a long-standing tradition of celebrating the arrival of fall, this year’s autumnal equinox brings a time for reflection and appreciation for the good food that comes to Farmington every Saturday.
So thank you. And until next time, here’s saying: See you at the market.
The Farmington Farmers Market is located at Grand River and Grove Street in downtown Farmington and is free and open to the public seasonally mid-May through October.
If you have any additional questions, comments or suggestions about the market feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to find us on Facebook at Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market. Please Like Us on Facebook so we can keep you updated on "Saturday life in a Michigan small town!"