For the third consecutive year the Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market has taken the top spot as metro Detroit’s favorite farmers market in local WDIV 4’s annual “Vote 4 The Best” competition. While I am personally proud of the achievement, I think this is perfect time to bring forward “the backstage” supporters who altogether frame “Saturday life in a Michigan small town…”
Let’s start with Farmington Public Safety. Every Friday night at midnight, officers come out and barricade the south parking lot of the Walter E. Sundquist community pavilion so farmers can freely set up their sawhorse tables on Saturday morning as they bounce into Farmington in a line of trucks, trailers and cargo vans. Throughout the entire market day- all season long, public safety maintains a presence at the market. As we roll into the peak of the season with crowds now swelling above 3,500 a week this time of year and for all of us who come to market each week, it means feeling safe and cared for in downtown Farmington.
Farmington Public Works shoulders together with public safety, making multiple trips through the market area on Saturdays, emptying trash, filling soap dispensers, cleaning the bathrooms and more. Meanwhile at city hall, the treasurer's department works throughout the week processing payments, managing market accounts, re-stocking petty cash. It’s important to note that each of these critical support arms do not charge the market for their services. The work gets “absorbed” or in other words, simply put…”The job gets done!”
Our roster of market volunteers is over 30 strong. Each a week a dozen or more sign up for regular weekly “market duty”. Early to rise regulars include City Economic Development Director Kevin Christiansen and city planning commissioner, Geoff Perrot -both of whom are typically at market on Saturday morning before I even get there! I do wish I had space to thank and name all our volunteers but to Sandy, Brian, Bobbi, Theresa, Micki ,Kim, Polly, our Peggie’s, Bert, Richard, Julie, John, Carol and Barb…these good people are the beating heart of community gathering and giving, thank you all and to every one of our volunteers!
The market stays fresh, vital, vibrant and relevant by an ever-growing beanstalk of vendors, some 95 strong and counting, that make up our selection roster. To date, 22 new vendors have been added in 2019, most recently Motika, a purveyor of hand-crafted baklava and Curry Fresh, who will debut at the market this coming Saturday. Here in Farmington, the farmers are the weekly mainstays and we are 18 strong in that category. Specialty foods and artisans make up the balance through regular scheduled rotations. The market thus stays “fresh” each week offering both new and re-discovered finds.
Finally and most impactfully let’s turn to our local sponsors. These good-hearted, generous, benevolent businesses and institutions demonstrate their community stewardship by committing to care about what “the people care about” – direct access to fresh locally grown produce, supporting local farms, a space to gather, a place to call home and making fond memories possible. Thank you Beaumont, Essential Family Chiropractic, Fresh Thyme, Wright Beamer Attorneys, The Accountants at Montomery, Wiethorn, Burke, Mackinder & Dye, Erika Skrabut Realty, Encore Impressions, Tom Holzer Ford, Farmington Garage, Farmington Insurance, Mutual Realty of Farmington, the Farmington Farmington Hills Foundation for Youth and Families, Peterlin’s Restaurant and Great Lakes ACE.
All in all, the market is supported by acts of giving… funding, personal time and manpower. No tax dollars fuel the market. This is simply about local pride, unbridled passion and an unspoken bond of “together we can…” So thank you all! There truly is a great abundance of outreach here in this community and I believe the market here in Farmington is a reflection of both our personal and community values… friendly, warm, welcoming, open, inclusive and giving. That, my friends, is the real reason why Farmington is home to the best farmers market. On that level well, in my book this is the best farmers market in the country… It is, if if you want it to be.
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!"