Farmers market opens to chilly start, warm reception

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 22, 2013

 Eastpointe resident Jerry Garrett purchases fresh produce from Blake Farms at the Eastpointe Farmers Market opening day May 11.

Eastpointe resident Jerry Garrett purchases fresh produce from Blake Farms at the Eastpointe Farmers Market opening day May 11.

Photo by Sara Kandel

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EASTPOINTE — Despite an unseasonable chill in the air that kept many would-be shoppers indoors, the Eastpointe Farmers Market received a warm community welcome when it kicked off its 2013 season May 11.

Opening day brought out 27 vendors from around the metro Detroit area to East Brooke Plaza in Eastpointe to sell classic market staples — produce, flowers and all sorts of packaged edibles — and a variety of garden and home décor items.

“I’m pretty impressed with the selection,” said Roseville resident Leona Niedoliwka. “We came to get some fresh produce and flowers, but I saw the homemade bread and had to pick up a loaf.”

The selection of items available at the market, wide as it was, is still growing. Danielle Bare, the executive director of the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce, which runs the market, is planning on the market hitting its full capacity of 40 vendors in the next month.

“Some of the produce vendors’ … drops aren’t in yet,” Bare said. “By June, we will be at full-capacity.”

Many of the vendors participated in the market last year — Give and Grow Mushrooms, Ziehm Greenhouse, Macomb Fresh and Blake Farms, to name a few.

“There are a lot of return vendors, which is a good sign,” said Mayor Pro Tem Bill Sweeney. “It didn’t have the same ‘bing pop’ as opening day did last year because the weather is cold and cloudy, but I think it will as the season goes on.”

Many of the return vendors, who have already signed up for all or a portion of the season, are confident it will be every bit as profitable and enjoyable as last year.

“I’ve done very well here in the past,” said Center Line resident Dave Vyland, of Brave Dave’s Salsa Detroit. “Today is the first day, but despite the less-than-friendly weather, it’s been good.”

Other vendors say the market is a means of connecting with fellow business owners and potential clients.

“I was here last season and we got some good business from it,” said Annie Wejrandt, a Center Line resident and Pampered Chef seller. “I did good in sales outright, but also in parties that did good from people I met here, and it’s a good way to meet business contacts, too. The best thing about it, though, is you get to work outside and meet new people.”

From birdhouses and garden décor, plants and flowers, kitchenware and crafts, to produce and good-eats, most visitors seemed to find something worth bringing home. Sweeney, who admittedly hasn’t always been a supporter of the market, was one of them.

“I have to give everyone credit who made this happen,” he said. “I’ve never hid from the fact that I was a critic, but they did it and they did it without costing the city any money. I won’t be a Johnny-come-lately, but I have to say they did it and it’s great for the city of Eastpointe.”

The market is held at East Brooke Commons, located on the southwest corner of Nine Mile and Gratiot, on the second and fourth Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Upcoming market dates are May 25, June 8 and 22, July 13 and 27, Aug. 10 and 24, Sept. 14 and 28 and Oct. 12 and 26.

For more information, call the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce at (586) 776-5520 or email director@epchamber.com.

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