Residents start Fraser’s first farmers market

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published May 8, 2018

FRASER — Last year, longtime Fraser resident Nancy Berube decided it was time to bring fresh food and creative crafters to her own community. It didn’t take long for the vision to become reality.

The first-of-its-kind Fraser Fresh Farmer’s Market will kick off from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 12 at Steffens Park, adjacent to Fraser City Hall, 33000 Garfield Road. It will subsequently take place at the same time and location the second Saturday of every month until September, when the hours will change to 5-9 p.m.

Berube said the idea was first derived by former Fraser First Booster Club President Vania Apps, but the group’s fundraising efforts at McKinley Park took precedence. Then, she tried to organize the market in collaboration with the Fraser Parks and Recreation Department, but that fell through because of budget cuts.

“I said, ‘You know what? Fraser needs to boost its spirits,’” Berube said. “I said, ‘Let’s do it,’ and that’s how it evolved.”

The group that organizes the market meets on the first Monday of the month at the Fraser Activity Center, 34935 Hidden Pine Drive in Fraser. Berube said the first meeting was well-received and drew increased interest in the endeavor.

Each month’s market will include crafters and growers, both local and from surrounding communities. The Fraser Public Library will participate with storytime sessions, and there will be game areas for kids and Jazzercize classes for older attendees. There will also be food trucks.

Berube said the focus is on individual farmers and crafters, rather than on direct sales competitors. At press time, there were 21 vendors taking part in the market.

“It’s people that sell goods that they make, and farmers that grow,” she said. “We’ve kept our guns to that.”

Fraser Councilwoman Kathy Blanke has helped Berube try to get the market idea off the ground.

“(Berube) has done 80 percent of this,” Blanke said. “Of course, we have talked lots during this, but she would be the headliner. … This well may be my final recreation event of my career, (so) why not?”

Jessica Laity works as a sponsor chairwoman, garnering personal and corporate sponsorships, creating flyers and encouraging people to participate via social media and online. She said, “People want to support local.”

“I really wanted to do something positive for the city, and I think it’s just a great way to bring the community together, families together, bring healthy food to the area,” Laity said. “I love fresh produce. What better way to have it than our backyard?”

Sites cost $125 total for five months, which includes a $50 refundable retainer fee. Single-use sites cost $35, with a $25 retainer fee. Berube said the response thus far has been overwhelming.

“We started this with nothing — no monies whatsoever at all. … It’s a challenge, and people are up for the challenge,” Berube said. “They want some good to come out of this. And a gathering, a happy place.”

For more information or to reserve a site, contact Berube at nancyfraserfarmersmarket@gmail.com.