The Downtown Rochester Farmers’ Market is celebrating its 20th year of operation this May.

The Downtown Rochester Farmers’ Market is celebrating its 20th year of operation this May.

Photo provided by the Rochester Downtown Development Authority

Farmers market celebrates 20th anniversary

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published May 1, 2019


ROCHESTER — Sharon Ostrowski, from Sharkar Farm — the Downtown Rochester Farmers’ Market’s longest-participating vendor — will return for the market’s 20th anniversary season May 4.

She said Rochester’s was her very first market when she started Sharkar Farm in China Township, Michigan, 20 years ago, and she’s never missed a day, even showing up on the first market opening day to help customers mere days after having her daughter.

Ostrowski said she has stayed all these years because of the feeling of belonging that the Rochester community has given her family and the business.

“We used to live out in Rochester. My kids grew up there, so it’s like family to us,” Ostrowski said. “Although my kids are all grown up now, they still see their old teachers there and friends, so it’s like home.”

The market has been bringing the best of southeast Michigan’s growing season to Rochester for two decades.

“2019 marks our 20th anniversary, so it’s a big milestone year for us,” said Taylor Clayton, the marketing coordinator for the Rochester Downtown Development Authority.

The market will open for the season May 4 at the corner of East Third and Water streets, just one block east of Main Street, and will continue 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 26.

Patrons can enjoy a wide variety of Michigan-grown or -made products at the market — including vegetables, fruits, flowers, container gardens, fresh-cut flowers, herbs, homemade baked goods, gnocchi, jams and jellies, honey, maple syrup, tea blends, locally roasted coffee, and various certified organic products, including eggs, beef and chicken.

“We’re a little over 40 vendors at this time,” Clayton said.

For opening day this year, Sharkar Farm will have herb and vegetable plants, a variety of succulents, and a host of vegetables for sale.

“The atmosphere is great. It’s a place where you meet up with friends and family, and you can get fresh vegetables and homemade coffees. They have such a great variety at the market. … It’s just a fun experience,” she said.

After shopping, 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 free Marketeers’ Club, which allows them to participate in market activities and receive monthly notices of all upcoming children’s programs. Kids can also participate in a weekly scavenger hunt for Pete the Pineapple to win a prize.

This year’s opening day festivities will include free tote bags filled with special offers from downtown merchants for the first 500 adult customers, a giveaway for kids and live music by local singer Lia Catallo. Children can partake in a craft and enjoy a magic show performed by magician Gordon Russ. 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.

For more information about the market, visit or call (248) 656-0060.