Lathrup Village may be among the area’s smaller communities, but its Wednesday farmers market packs a punch.
Though the market is just three years old, there’s a list of vendors queued behind the 15 that round out the market now, according to Maralee Rosemond, market master.
“We can’t fit any more people in there. There’s a waiting list, believe it or not,” Rosemond said, adding that the vendor count grew from 12 last year to 21 this year.
Now, the market is out in the spotlight through the Oakland County Health Division as a host for its Family Market Day, part of the Healthy Oakland Partnership. The event will run 2-6 p.m. July 24. Shoppers with food assistance, including EBT cards, WIC or Senior Project FRESH coupons, will receive free $5 coupons while supplies last. Buyers who use their EBT cards for a qualifying purchase are also eligible for an additional $5 perk.
The Oakland County Health Division puts on the annual event to showcase fresh and financially accessible foods — and Lathrup Village was chosen to be their first in south Oakland County.
The event was previously only held at the much-larger Oakland County Market in Waterford, but now with Lathrup Village vendors all accepting EBT, it makes the market a game-changer, according to Jennifer Kirby, health education supervisor for the Oakland County Health Division.
“Family Market Day is an event mainly focused on highlighting local farmers markets that have EBT and bring affordable, fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income residents,” Kirby said, adding that Lathrup Village’s market is one of the newest to work with them for training to accept EBT from patrons. “It addresses an issue of access and nutrition education, serving a population that may not have grocery stores all around them or produce markets that raise awareness, promote healthy eating or try to reduce obesity. … Lathrup Village has been a great partner working with us.”
At Family Market Day, the $5 produce coupons will be given to locals who make a purchase with their EBT card that day. Free activities like yoga, cooking demonstrations and health screenings will also be offered to all attendees.
Rosemond said that the number of market-goers using EBT is growing steadily as the word spreads.
“Our vendors are happy and spreading the word. We are in a good, central spot, serving in an area of need, and have the market on hump day, right in the middle of the week,” she said. “And we offer fruits and vegetables A to Z.”
Fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, baked goods, desserts, gluten-free products, sorbets, spices, turkey and vegan burgers, and soy candles and soaps are among the list of commodities that can be found at the Lathrup Village Farmers Market.
Kirby agreed that Lathrup’s central location allows them to serve surrounding areas, such as Southfield, Detroit, Oak Park and other communities.
Rosemond said that a patron to the market recently put it best, saying, “Just because I’m down on my luck and I have to use food assistance doesn’t mean I don’t want to eat healthy.”
“I was so happy to hear that,” Rosemond said. “With the fresh products you’re getting at the market, it’s more value for your dollar and you’re getting healthier; growing season in Michigan is short, so seize the day.”
The Lathrup Village Farmers Market runs 2-7 p.m. at the Municipal Complex, 24700 Southfield Road. A free concert featuring Toppermost, a tribute band for The Beatles, will kick off at 7 pm.
For more information, visit www.lathrupvillage.org.