Amish presence to expand at Shelby Farmers Market

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published May 10, 2016

 Farm-fresh produce sits on display during the Shelby Farmers Market last season.

Farm-fresh produce sits on display during the Shelby Farmers Market last season.

Photo provided by Mary Anne Demo

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The eighth annual Shelby Farmers Market will roll back into town Saturday, May 14, at the Packard Proving Grounds. The market is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through October, rain or shine.

This year, the popular Amish booth will expand to three booths, and a new chef will serve up samples of items available at the market and hand out recipes.

Market Manager Mary Anne Demo said Amish farmers from Mio, Michigan, garnered a faithful following during last year’s season. Through the winter, she said, they also sold their goods in one of the garages on the grounds.

“There was always a crowd around their booth, so more workers will help (the line) go faster,” Demo said.

Along with locally grown organic produce, milk, goat cheese, eggs, maple syrup, honey, baked goods, grass-fed meats and more, Demo said the Amish group will  bring quilts and rugs to the market this season.

Doug Henry helps facilitate the sale of the Amish farmers’ products and provides transportation to the Shelby Farmers Market in a pickup truck and 18-foot trailer, since the Amish themselves travel by horse and buggy and refrain from using technology.

“It’s an old order of Amish, among the most conservative. They have a community of approximately 100 families (and seven farms),” he said. “It’s a three-hour drive straight north of Shelby Township.”

Chef Kendall Mitchell, a longtime Shelby Farmers Market staple, will reduce his appearances to once a month due to a rising demand for his cooking services, Demo said.

In his stead, she said a local chef known for her healthy living recipes will join the market this season.

“One of the things she had talked with the Amish guys about doing is some samples of their products, so (shoppers) can taste products before they buy them, such as a leg of lamb, which is expensive,” Demo said.

New vendors this season include B&M Natural Foods, Detroit Essentials, Uncle Calvin’s Sweet Potato Pies, Pretzelations, Olivo Catering, Amazing Grain Popcorn Factory, It’s All About That Jam, Grandma’s Secret and Norwex Products.

Returning vendors include Wildtree Herbs, Avita Bella Essentials, Divine Crystals and longtime vendor Ginn Farms.

Ginn Farms will sell plants, flowers, jams, jellies, syrups, handmade baskets, rhubarb, sprouts and lettuce at the market kickoff. Further into the season, a wider variety of produce will be available.

A musical duo called A Man Named Hooper will open the season May 14.

A walking group called The Saturday Strollers will walk the boulevard at 9 a.m. each Saturday, and volunteers will offer free tours of the historic site at 11 a.m. each Saturday.

“We’ve got a lot of new volunteers too, so we’re hoping it will be a big, exciting year,” Demo said.

On Saturday, July 30, Demo said a holistic health and wellness fair will take place in conjunction with the regular farmers market.

“The farmers market will be out front, and the holistic health market will be inside the repair garage, with workshops in the lodge and space for vendors behind and in front of the gates,” she said. “We’re still looking for vendors.”

Half of the proceeds from the farmers market will help support the nonprofit Packard Motor Car Foundation and its volunteers with ongoing renovation and restoration of the site.

The Packard Proving Grounds are located at 49965 Van Dyke Ave., between 22 Mile and 23 Mile roads.

For more information about the Shelby Farmers Market, call (586) 739-4800 or visit its newly redesigned website at www.shelbyfarmersmarket.com.

For more information about the Amish group, visit www.ourfarms2you.com.

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