Mount Clemens Farmers Market returns May 6

By: Julie Snyder, | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published April 29, 2017

MOUNT CLEMENS — Open season at the Mount Clemens Farmers Market starts May 6.

For the past 38 years, the popular local market located at 141 N. River Road has been one of the area’s most highly anticipated signature staples that keeps customers eating fresh while supporting Michigan-based farmers.

Pearl Romberg, a longtime vendor, board member and farmer, said she’s looking forward to getting back to the market and seeing her regular customers’ smiling faces again.

 Beginning Saturday, May 6, the Mount Clemens Farmers Market will be open every Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 141 N. River Road in Mount Clemens.

Beginning Saturday, May 6, the Mount Clemens Farmers Market will be open every Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 141 N. River Road in Mount Clemens.

File photo by Donna Agusti

“We get a lot of comments from our customers who tell us that our produce is top notch, fresh, and how all the farmers are very friendly,” said Romberg, a Harrison Township native whose parents were also Mount Clemens Farmers Market vendors. She and her husband, Paul, have been vendors selling products grown on their Ubly farm for the past 32 years.

“They like the atmosphere they find at the market.”

And, she said, the farmers feel the same.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to market and seeing those who I haven’t seen since last fall,” said JoEllen Clark, who with her husband, John, runs a 72-acre farm in Riley. “Mount Clemens is a great little market.”

The Mount Clemens Farmers Market will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through Nov. 18. From July 19 through Sept. 20, the market will also be open from 2 to 6 p.m. inside the parking lot at southbound Gratiot and Pine Street in downtown Mount Clemens.

“We’re really reaching a good, diverse customer base,” said Romberg, who is the current market board president. “Social media helps us bring in even more people. Even after 38 years, we still get new people who didn’t know we were here.”

The Mount Clemens Farmers Market wasn’t always where it is today. The market first operated on a small lot at southbound Gratiot and Cass Avenue, followed by a short stint on Market Street near St. Peter Catholic Church. It’s been at its current home with the red barn for the past 17 years.

As the seasons change from spring to summer to fall, vendors at the Mount Clemens Farmers Market change up the farm-fresh products they sell. In addition, each season brings along special events like a Mother’s Day event on May 13. Others include a soup day event, Battle of the Chefs, as well as featured events starring particular produce items like strawberries and apples. On the last day of each year, the market holds a ceremonial Hubbard squash drop. Romberg said the hard-to-bust squash is planted outside the market at the start of the season. When it’s fully grown come November, market vendors drop it from a high distance until it breaks into pieces. Those pieces are then offered to patrons. The market website and Facebook page keep patrons updated on the regular events.

Romberg said the market will be “bursting with flowers” come opening day. Items for sale will include bedding plants, hanging baskets, planters, annuals and perennials, among others. Many of the vendors will have spring vegetables, there will be fresh eggs, mushrooms, and also honey vendors and pasta vendors. In the fall, Romberg will also be selling her breads, jams and jellies, among many other items.

In total, there are 23 permanent farmers/growers/vendors each market weekend. They mainly come from farms in Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Sanilac counties.

“We’re a unique farmers market in the sense that all the products for sale, with the exception of our egg vendor, are sold fresh by the farmers themselves,” said Romberg.

In between their time at Eastern Market in Detroit, where they have also been regular vendors, the Clarks will be selling flowers, garden bedding and patio pots, as well as lettuce and rhubarb. In the summer, more items are sold like sweet corn, broccoli and cauliflower, followed by fall produce like cabbage and squash.

JoEllen Clark said she has been going to the Mount Clemens Farmers Market since she was a kid, since her parents were local farmers as well. She and her husband began selling on their own 20 years ago.

“We have a lot of regular loyal followers,” Clark said, adding that her two children, ages 18 and 19, also help with the family farming business. “We enjoy every minute.”

The Mount Clemens Farmers Market accepts SNAP and WIC, as well as debit.  

For more information and upcoming events, go to mountclemensfarmersmarket.com or check out the Mount Clemens Farmers Market Facebook page.