Downtown Rochester Farmers Market opens this weekend

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 27, 2021

 Summer Dreams Farm, a  fresh-cut flower farm in Oxford, will return to the market this year.

Summer Dreams Farm, a fresh-cut flower farm in Oxford, will return to the market this year.

Photo provided by the Rochester Downtown Development Authority

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ROCHESTER — After over a year of COVID-19, the importance of eating healthy and supporting local farmers by buying locally has never been more important.

“Growing and shopping locally is a huge benefit for the families that are local to our community and a great way to get better in touch with your food,” said Taylor Clayton, the marketing coordinator for the Rochester Downtown Development Authority.

The Downtown Rochester Farmers Market is opening for the season May 1, giving residents the chance to buy Michigan-grown produce while supporting locally owned small businesses.

“Having a better understanding of where your food comes from can greatly benefit you and your health. Making choices based upon seasonality is always best, in terms of getting those proper nutrients,” Clayton said. “Each of our farmers work very closely with their products, so they can talk at lengths about the best recipes or the best way to cook and prepare what you are shopping for here at the market.”

Held at the corner of East Third and Water streets, just one block east of Main Street, the outdoor market will run 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through October.

This year’s opening day festivities will include free tote bags filled with special offers from downtown merchants for the first 500 adult customers, live music and a chance to win a gift card for downtown Rochester businesses.

Patrons can also enjoy Michigan-grown and Michigan-made products at the market — including vegetables, fruits, flowers, container gardens, herbs, baked goods, gnocchi, jams and jellies, honey, maple syrup, tea blends, coffees, and various certified organic products, including eggs, beef and chicken.

New additions to the market this year include The Healthy Moose, Kutchey Family Farm and Oui Pastries and more.

Rochester resident Wendy May, who created The Healthy Moose, said she has always been conscious about what she eats because her identical twin sister was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 5.

“Within our family, we had to change the way we ate, and I always had to be careful to avoid sugar, because we’re identical twins, so the doctors were always worried that I was going to become diabetic,” she said.

Although May has not been diagnosed with diabetes, she continues to stay away from sugar and is always looking for desserts that taste as good as or better than ones with refined sugar.

That’s what inspired her to create The Healthy Moose, which she said helps deliver great-tasting, plant-based food, minus all the preservatives, additives and sugar. May will bring her vanilla and chocolate mousse to the market for the first time this year.

“There is no sugar. I only use stevia and monk fruit in it to make it sweet,” she said. “There are nuts in it, seeds, things that are really good for you. And it has quite a bit of protein, magnesium, iron, zinc and everything you need.”

Kutchey Family Farm is a fourth generation family farm in Macomb Township.

“We’ll be starting the season off with our hanging baskets, bedding plants, vegetable plants and herbs,” said Amanda Kutchey. “Once our strawberries are ready we’ll be having strawberries — usually mid-June. We are a vegetable farm, so we grow sweet corn, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, pickling cucumbers, peppers. You name it, we probably grow it.”

Due to COVID-19, the DDA will be monitoring capacity at the market and asks customers to be patient if they experience a wait prior to entering the market.

The DDA is also asking all market customers to wear a face covering, enter from the main gate entrance, be mindful of 6-feet of social distancing while shopping and to refrain from touching vendors’ products.

Clayton said the market will be following the most current state and county health and safety guidelines in response to COVID-19. For the most up-to-date requirements, visit downtown rochestermi.com/farmers-market.

The Downtown Rochester Farmers Market is presented by Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital. For more information, call (248) 656-0060.

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