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Grosse Pointe Park

August 21, 2013

After 10 years, West Park Farmers Market still ‘growing’ strong

By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
During the West Park Farmers Market Aug. 17 in Grosse Pointe Park, Jerry Garrett, the owner of Blake’s Apple Orchard in Armada, sorts through peaches. The market is open through late October this year.

GROSSE POINTE PARK — Summer may be drawing to a close, but there’s still plenty of time to stock up on fresh seasonal produce and more at the West Park Farmers Market.

Now in its 10th year along Kercheval between Lakepointe and Beaconsfield, in the city’s business district, The Park, the West Park Farmers Market will be open through Oct. 26 this year to enable local shoppers to enjoy fall products like pumpkins, gourds, corn and more. The market is open, rain or shine, every Saturday during the season from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., said market manager Jennifer Meldrum.

Terry Solomon, the parks and recreation director for Grosse Pointe Park, said the market closed in September last year, but they decided to again extend the run through October this year because “so many of our vendors said they have new” produce in the fall, including caramel apples.

People who haven’t been to the market in recent years will notice that Kercheval is no longer closed in that area during market hours. Solomon said the vendors are now out on the sidewalks with their wares, making it easier for motorists to get around.

Meldrum said there’s additional parking available at a new municipal parking lot between Lakepointe and Beaconsfield, behind a Beaumont medical office facility. During market events, she said people don’t need to worry about feeding the meters. Parking is available on Kercheval and in other business lots, as well, she said.

“I know it’s fun to go to the cider mills, but if you don’t have time (to drive that far), you can come here,” Meldrum said.

Shoppers will find organic and non-organic produce, as well as food from wholesalers, Meldrum said.

“You can get everything from bananas to Michigan tomatoes to jam,” she said. “It’s a wide, wide variety with the farmers we have here.”

Prices “are comparable” to what consumers will find at their local grocery stores, said Meldrum. Shoppers can expect other foods, as well, from chicken to cheese, as well as gluten-free baked goods and ice cream.

“We have a lot of new bakeries this year, which I’m really excited about,” Meldrum said.

And there are some surprises in store for shoppers, too, from original fashions to lotions, candles and crafts, she said. Shoppers can bring their dogs, and most bring bags, carts or wagons to carry their haul back to the car, Meldrum said. They can patronize restaurants and other businesses in the district while they’re there. Organizers don’t have exact attendance figures because people come and go throughout the day, but she said it’s been fairly steady in recent years.

“It’s just a very nice way to spend a Saturday morning,” Meldrum said. “You see people you might know from the neighborhood, and it’s a beautiful area.”

The city’s Kercheval district has been undergoing something of a revival of late, with new businesses sprouting up and more coming. Solomon thinks it’s no coincidence this is happening in the wake of the establishment of a farmers market in the area.

“I think with more people coming down to the farmers market, it’s brought more people into (The Park),” she said.

People looking for specific items, such as cornstalks or bales of hay for fall yard décor, can even ask the vendors to bring those, Meldrum said.

“It’s a great convenience for people of the Park and other (nearby) communities,” Solomon said.

For more information or to become a vendor, contact Meldrum weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at (313) 822-2812, ext. 202, or visit the West Park Farmers Market link on the city’s website, www.grossepointepark.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran at kmoran@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1047.