Farmers market canceled for rest of season

Market to return if new farmer can be found

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published July 17, 2015


EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe Farmers Market has been canceled for the rest of the year due to issues getting vendors.

Amanda Hughes, recreation office assistant with the Recreation Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe, RARE, said the farmers market was originally scheduled to resume July 11 after two weeks off — but the market’s committee chose to end it prematurely for the season after having trouble getting a new farmer.

“We had (a low number of) vendors, and we couldn’t really get with a farmer,” Hughes said. “Our farmer had dropped, and being so late in the season, we couldn’t find another one.”

She did not know why the farmer — really, a farm vendor — decided to leave the market. Hughes said she only had been physically at the market the first day, and he seemed to be doing well at the time.

John Marion, president of the committee, said that the man was a vendor of the Armada-based Blake Farms’ products, though he declined to specify who.

Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley said the vendor insisted on being the sole supplier for the market’s produce this year, and told the market committee that he could make Saturdays for the year. She said she was wary since he had worked the market before and quit with short notice, but due to his assurances and a recommendation, they went ahead.

“Once again, in the middle of the farmers market year, he said that he could no longer work a Saturday market,” Pixley wrote in an email. “It’s a sad day when the trust we placed in one individual could destroy the whole market — hopefully temporarily. We have names of other possible farmers and additional vendors, and hope to reopen the market.”

Marion said the vendor said he chose to drop out because of “issues at home” with his wife being in poor health.

“It just kind of made his time more precious,” Marion said. “And part of it is the volume of traffic being generated at the market was so-so. He’s gone to some other markets where there is obviously a lot more traffic and it’s more economical for him.”

Blake Farms declined to comment, but a representative said the vendor is not an employee — he simply gets produce from them to sell.

Pixley said the vendor gave his notice July 8 — scant days before the July 11 market date. Since then, the market committee has been trying to find other farmers and vendors interested in taking those spots so that the market can reopen.

Hughes said that farmers markets in Warren and Mount Clemens — taking place on Sundays and Saturdays, respectively — are still running for local residents to go get fresh produce. She added that next year’s Eastpointe market may move to a weekday to make it easier to attract farmers selling their produce.

Pixley said she would prefer to see the farmers market stay on Saturdays, due to the number of residents in Eastpointe and Roseville who work on weekdays.

The farmers market had moved to the city’s Memorial Park, off 10 Mile Road and Flower Avenue, this year after previously being located at the East Brooke Commons. Hughes said the new location seemed to be working out well in terms of foot traffic, since the park is located within a residential area.

“We had a lot of walk-up people,” she said. “It is in a community, and a lot of people stopped in and walked by.”

The market was also supposed to utilize federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, but Pixley said their application has gotten held up in bureaucracy.