Downtown Rochester to kick off farmers market May 7

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published May 3, 2016

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ROCHESTER — The 17th season of the Downtown Rochester Farmers Market comes to town May 7, bringing fresh Michigan fruits, plants and vegetables to the corner of East Third and Water Street.

The outdoor market will continue from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 29.

Downtown Development Authority Marketing Coordinator Kelly McMahon said the market is a place for the community to shop for fresh, locally grown foods and spend time with friends and family.

“The farmers market is just a really good way to bring people downtown. They can get a coffee, go to the market, and either get lunch at the market or downtown and do a little shopping afterward. It’s a really nice way to spend time with your family in a really relaxing environment,” said McMahon.

Patrons can enjoy a wide variety of Michigan-grown or made products at the market — including vegetables, fruits, container gardens, fresh cut flowers, herbs, homemade baked goods, gnocchi, jams and jellies, honey, maple syrup, tea blends, locally roasted coffee, as well as various certified organic products, including eggs, beef and chicken. The market also features specialty food products, such as seasoned meat rubs, baked goods, sauces and salsas.

Rochester resident Sandy Slomzenski, of Zen Islands, will bring a variety of loose leaf tea blends to the market for the first time this year.

“When I go to buy my ingredients, I’m particular about what I want to put in my tea, so I only put authentic ingredients in there — there are no chemicals and things like that,” she said.

Additional first-time market vendors include downtown Rochester merchant Olive Vinegar and newcomer Jar Head Salsa — which offers tortilla chips, salsa and queso dip.

After shopping the vendors, marketgoers can listen to live entertainment and participate in children’s crafts and activities, which will change each week. Children between the ages of 3 and 12 can join the The Marketeers’ Club, which allows them to participate in market activities and receive monthly notices of all upcoming children’s programs. The Marketeers’ Club is free to join. Kids can also participate in a weekly scavenger hunt for Pete the Pineapple to win a prize.

The Downtown Rochester Farmers Market will once again be participating in the Double Up Food Bucks program, a seasonal program offered through the Fair Food Network that provides customers who use their federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits to shop at the market with a one-to-one match to purchase Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables.

The Double Up Food Bucks program, McMahon said, gives recipients of public assistance access to fresh, healthy food while supporting the local farm economy.

“It’s usually for just part of the season, but this year they extended it throughout the whole year,” she explained.

As always, the DDA is expecting a great turnout at the market this year — especially for the opening May 7.

“We are expecting over 2,000 people,” McMahon said.

This year’s opening day festivities will include free tote bags filled with special offers from downtown merchants for the first 500 adult customers, and live music by blues artist Paul Miles. Children can partake in a Mother’s Day activity and interact with live small animals from Upland Hills Farm. There will also be a chance to win a variety of gift certificates donated by downtown Rochester merchants, and a chance to enter the weekly harvest basket drawing to win a collection of products donated by market vendors.

The Downtown Rochester Farmers Market is presented by the Rochester DDA and Crittenton Hospital Medical Center.

For more information, call the DDA at (248) 656-0060 or visit www.DowntownRochesterMI.com.

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