Farmers market enthusiasm grows, officials say

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 15, 2015

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STERLING HEIGHTS — The inaugural Sterling Heights farmers market will be sprouting up soon, according to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The farmers market will be held on Thursdays June 4-Oct. 29 at Dodge Park.

According to Recreation Manager Kyle Langlois, the farmers market’s buildup has been exceeding expectations since the idea was unveiled earlier this year at a strategic planning session.

“The word of mouth is amazing,” Langlois said. “Anywhere, essentially, I go in the community, the conversation is about the farmers market.”

In addition to the buzz among residents, the enthusiasm for the event has extended to vendors. Although the vendor setup will not take place until just before the event begins, residents who wish to shop for fresh food and hand-crafted products are bound to be impressed, Langlois said.

He said event organizers initially expected anywhere between 15 and 20 vendors, in order to have a successful first year.

“I think we’re going to be pushing 30-plus,” he said. “We can attribute that (to) our event ... being held on Thursdays instead of Saturdays and Sundays, when other farmers markets are being held.”

Langlois said visitors may expect to see the three largest produce growers in the area, as well as vendors who sell products such as flowers, honey, beef jerky, spices and essential oils. Alcoholic beverages will not be sold this year, but activities like beer and wine tastings might be considered for future years, he said.

Visitors who expect to drive to the event should be aware that parking will be at a premium, especially during the weeks in June and July when the Music in the Park concert series will be occurring simultaneously, Langlois said.

“The senior lot and the Recreation Center lot will be filled most weeks,” he said. “We have overflow parking at City Hall, which is just a short walk across the street. There’s a lot (used) for Sterlingfest across Utica Road, south of the Senior Center.”

Langlois added that the Sterling Heights Community Foundation is an event sponsor, and the farmers market will be equipped to accept electronic benefits transfers, or EBT cards.

“It’s a real big perk for our market,” he said. “Not all farmers markets are equipped to take those benefits.”

At a May 6 City Council meeting, Mayor Michael Taylor said he attended a local dance recital the previous night, and the audience applauded when Councilwoman Maria Schmidt announced that there would be a farmers market on Thursdays this summer.

“I know some people have said nobody wants it, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to the 700 people applauding at the dance recital last night,” Taylor said.

The Sterling Heights farmers market will take place 3-8 p.m. Thursdays June 4-Oct. 29 in Dodge Park, 40620 Utica Road in Sterling Heights.

Learn more by visiting www.myshpr.net or by calling (586) 446-2700.

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