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October 23, 2013

Church hosts city’s first indoor farmers market

By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Kendall Ostrowski stands inside Clawson United Methodist Church Oct. 18 with fruits and vegetables from Shar Kar Farms in China, Mich. Ostrowski and other vendors will be returning throughout the winter to the church for the city’s first indoor farmers market.
 

CLAWSON — Unlike years past, the city’s farmers market will not be ending this year with the end of warm weather.

Throughout the late fall, winter and early spring, Clawson United Methodist Church will be hosting the city’s first indoor farmers market on Fridays from 3-7 p.m. If successful, organizers would like the indoor market to become permanent.

“Assuming it goes well, and it proves to be a place for community gathering, we’d like to keep it going,” said the Rev. Peggy Garrigues, the minister of the church located at 205 N. Main St.

Garrigues said the idea has roots to when she was a minister for two small churches in a rural town just northeast of Flint.

There, she worked closely with organic farmers and vendors. When she moved to Clawson to become the reverend of Clawson United Methodist three years ago, she realized how difficult it was for metro Detroiters to access locally grown organic foods.

Since June, she has been allowing the church to act as a pickup point on Fridays for customers buying organic products from farmers she knew in Genesee County. So with customers already stopping at her church and knowing she wanted her church to be more involved in the community, Garrigues decided that Clawson United Methodist would be the ideal place for the city’s first indoor market.

She called Mayor Penny Luebs to see if pulling it off was possible. Luebs immediately liked the idea.

“It’s a fun way to shop, to eat healthy and to buy things you wouldn’t normally think to buy,” said Luebs, who also helps organize the summer farmers market in City Park.

“I just asked (Luebs) a few questions, surveyed a number of vendors and found several vendors that were interested,” Garrigues said.

For the indoor market’s first day Oct. 18, Garrigues expected up to nine vendors selling organic produce, jams, baked goods and more. Garrigues expects the variety of vendors to grow as news about the market spreads.

“We have several (other vendors) finishing up at other markets who will start selling here,” Garrigues said.

Altogether, the church has room for 24 vending tables, she said. Garrigues also hopes to incorporate free workshop classes on a wide range of topics, like eating healthy and personal finances.

Garrigues has not set an end date for the indoor market but said it will be sometime in the spring to coincide with the reopening of the outdoor farmers market.

“We haven’t set a definite date, but it will definitely end before the summer farmers market starts,” she said.

People with questions about the indoor market and those interested in selling products or teaching workshop courses can call Garrigues at (734) 255-2802.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robert Guttersohn at rguttersohn@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5006.