Franklin Farmers Market remains open through winter at FAC

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 16, 2013

FRANKLIN — Last summer’s Market on the Green in downtown Franklin was such a hit with shoppers looking for fresh, local foods that organizers decided to keep the market going throughout the winter.

But don’t worry — you won’t need to bundle up to hit the popular farmers market this season. For the first time, the Franklin Farmers Market has moved inside Franklin Athletic Club to give visitors the chance to shop each Sunday, despite the chilly temperatures.

Just like the summer market, the winter version is organized each week by Brian Cretton, a local expert in farming and sustainable agriculture. He said he’s pleased to be able to give shoppers access to locally made goods that can sometimes be hard to find during colder months.

“We have a lot of the same vendors, although due to the winter, some produce vendors have dropped off,” said Cretton. “But we still have cheese made from raw milk. It’s some of the best cheese in the state. And we also have our bread maker, Il Sconto.”

According to Laura Seaman, sales and marketing director at Franklin Athletic Club, the market is a natural extension of the club’s wellness resources, and they’re happy to host it during the winter.

“We’ve got all kinds of farmers selling fresh meats, jellies, even maple syrup,” she said. “There are all kinds of people coming with Michigan-based products. Right now, we have between 10 and 15 vendors a week.”

Cretton said that, despite the outdoor market’s success during the 2012 spring through fall, the winter market has yet to garner as much interest from shoppers in its pilot year. But with some tweaking, including a change in hours from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays to 11 a.m.-4 p.m., he hopes the venture will attract more visitors before the market moves back outside, late this coming spring. 

Seaman agreed, saying that once more of the faithful shoppers of Market on the Green find out the market is still open, she expects they’ll pay a visit to the club to load up on their favorite natural foods and other products.

“We decided to take it on pretty late in the season, and not everyone knows that we’re here. But once people start finding out about it, we’ll get a lot of people here, especially since you don’t have to battle the weather.”

Though the list of vendors from the summer market has shortened and changed a bit since the warmer months, Cretton said there are plenty of artisan food makers to be found at the athletic club each Sunday. Among the most popular, he said, is the Detroit Bulk Co., a Midtown Detroit-based couple dedicated to preparing healthy, affordable foods with locally sourced ingredients. Co-owner Jon Barth said the indoor market is a great place to promote and grow his business.

“The Franklin market is unique in that most passers-by are health-conscious and often seeking healthy, convenient ways to feed themselves and loved ones,” said Barth. “The whole-grain, gluten-free and organic features of Detroit Bulk Co. products are especially interesting to them.”

Franklin Farmers Market is held each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Franklin Athletic Club is located at 29350 Northwestern Highway in Southfield.