Fresh at the Farmers Market

By Walt Gajewski

Sunday morning after Saturday market, I’m out gathering-up the signs that had been put out for the market. The town is quiet. Overhead, fisting clouds form a low ceiling, showing short grey wet tails. Rain is sputtering around like a dog shaking off a wet coat. Temperatures are cool, my raincoat is soaked. It’s dreary, but driving around with the music on and listening to lyrics in the background that pine out… “one minute you’re waiting for the sky to fall, next moment you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all…”. Gosh, how I love Sundays in Michigan. It’s my day to be grateful, acknowledging my presence in the stillness of an early morning on a day that ends the week for some, starts the week for others. Me, I’m winding down to wind up again on Monday…

Just weeks into the Michigan growing season, crops are already three to four weeks behind. There are stories about mid-west farmers who have yet to open their fields for planting. There are also stories about large-scale farmers thinking about throwing in the towel completely. Our Farmington Market farmers are planting. There’s no getting ahead of cold and wet but our farmers are not wholesalers…they don’t have to push produce out to the superhighways for long hauls meeting schedules, production numbers, and shipping deadlines. Our farmers are smaller with lower overhead – families do the labor. The produce gets to town quick. The produce is coming, albeit in smaller yields, but it’s coming…and that’s a good thing.

Your Farmington Farmers Market in July

If we can spot-in dry days with temperatures near 80 degrees and holding, July should be a prosperous month for Michigan farmers. Look for field tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, lettuce, mustard greens, chard, kale, beets, carrots, onions and more including cherries, berries, and peaches. We might be behind, but we are still mighty! Did you know that Michigan is the 2nd most agriculturally diverse state in the country behind California? With over 54,000 working farms and 10 million acres of farmable soil, Michigan is a fruit and vegetable powerhouse and a top producer of apples, cherries, blueberries, pumpkins, asparagus, dry beans, squash, and cucumbers. In all, our great state produces nearly 300 agricultural products and employs nearly one million people in doing so!

Special events coming to the Farmington Farmers Market in July include a special holiday market on July 6, featuring a petting zoo, live music, children’s activities and a cooking demo hosted by Calder Dairy, featuring Chef Laura Romito from High Five Salts. July 13 brings our monthly, children’s “Power of Produce” program to downtown Farmington. This national program made possible by a grant from the Farmington Hills Foundation for Youth and Families and presented by Beaumont teaches children 4 – 12 years, “Where food comes from”. Kids personalize their own market bags, are sent off to “find things” at the market, sampling new foods and shopping the market with a $3 voucher at our participating farmers. Market nutritionist, Julie Stevens, includes a kid family-friendly recipe for each “POP Club member”. The program is free, fun and helps train our future shoppers about eating food in season! Find the POP tent at the market to unleash the “Power of Produce” in your family!

July 20 brings the 55th Annual Founders Festival to town, and the Farmers Market will be in full swing! Market goers can look forward to live music, a used book sale hosted by the Farmington Library, and free health screenings with Beaumont and Essential Family Chiropractic. Adding to the fun, look for the “Big Heads” from the Detroit Parade Co. to pay a visit to the market at the noon hour, following the Founders Festival parade down Grand River Ave.!

The Farmington Farmers Market is located at the corner of Grand River and Grove Street in downtown Farmington and is FREE and open to the public Saturdays, 9am – 2pm through October 26. For more information please visit: www.farmingtonfarmersmarket.com

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