Farmers market coming July 26

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 13, 2015

 Van Assche grows spinach, swiss chard, beans, tomatoes, and bell and chile peppers for the market.

Van Assche grows spinach, swiss chard, beans, tomatoes, and bell and chile peppers for the market.

Photo provided by Laura Van Assche

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Years in the making, a farmers market will soon be a reality in St. Clair Shores, thanks to the work of a resident and her team of volunteers.


Susan Bunte, her husband and four children moved to St. Clair Shores four years ago, although she grew up with family in the city.


“The first thing that I did was try to figure out what kind of community things” there were in the city, she said.


Having already converted her family over to an organic lifestyle, she was intrigued when she came upon a Facebook page for a farmers market in St. Clair Shores. And when she talked with her friend about the fact that it had not yet come to fruition, her friend dared her to go to the mayor and propose establishing one this year.


“So I did,” Bunte said. “I want to make this a priority for my family.”


She proposed to start the market at Blossom Heath Park on three Sundays this summer, a proposal accepted by the city and agreed to by Kosch Catering, which has the contract to run Blossom Heath Inn from the city.


“We live close to Blossom Heath and we feel it’s beautiful,” Bunte said. “It’s underused and underappreciated. We would like our city to embrace it.”


The market will be open from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of the remaining summer months: July 26, Aug. 23 and Sept. 27. It will be located in the parking lot of Blossom Heath, 24800 Jefferson Ave.


Bunte and her group of volunteers are working to round out the list of vendors that will be present at the market, but the two major growers and produce providers are Kutchey Farms in Macomb Township and Van Houtte Farms in Romeo. There is also a St. Clair Shores woman, Laura Van Assche, who will be bringing her own produce to the market.


“For years, I had been planting in my own backyard,” Van Assche said. “My tomatoes were nearly as high as I was.”


But nine years ago, she said, she and her husband bought a second home in Yale, and she moved her garden up there. It has now expanded to 2,400 square feet.


“I would bring a lot of my stuff back home, and I am a barber, so a lot of times I would just bring food in to the customers. I would just give it away,” she said. “They would often say, ‘Why wouldn’t you do a market?’


“I never thought of it until this year.”


Van Assche keeps her seeds year after year, so some of her seeds are three to four generations old.


“No matter where I garden, I always bring it back home,” she said. “When they said Blossom Heath, I said that’s great. Whatever’s in season will be coming in.”


“She is my star,” Bunte said. “She is the one that I feel that’s who this market is for.”


Bunte said they will have vendors with gluten-free baked goods, jams, jellies, syrups, honey, cut flowers, pasta and cannolis. Caffé Far Bella will be bringing coffee and other treats to sell, as well.


While the market will be in the parking lot west of Blossom Heath Inn, there will also be activities in the park, with children’s crafts from Macaroni Kid of Grosse Pointe, yoga, Zumba and displays from local nonprofit organizations.


“I do think that the time was right,” Bunte said. “I really feel like our mayor is really embracing and helping our city to really look at the needs of the people and really respond to what people are asking for, and really embracing the volunteer support mentality.”


For more information, look for the St. Clair Shores Farmers Market on Facebook.

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