Farmington Farmers Market blooms with patriotic elements

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published May 16, 2017

 Miss Farmington contestants Sydney Huffmeyer, 15; Jillian Dutch, 17; and Maggie Bean, 13, help landscape around the Winter Market.

Miss Farmington contestants Sydney Huffmeyer, 15; Jillian Dutch, 17; and Maggie Bean, 13, help landscape around the Winter Market.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

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FARMINGTON — On April 29, the last day of the Winter Artisan Market, two Miss Farmington 2017 contestants dug up and chucked dirt to make way for potted purple and green coral bells.  

On that crisp morning, friends Taylor Terry, 16, and Jillian Dutch, 17, alongside Terry’s father, Mark Terry, helped spruce up the Farmington Masonic Lodge 151, 23715 Farmington Road. They did it to honor past and present veterans and to beautify the lodge. About seven Miss Farmington contestants helped out.

“Putting the plants in is the easiest part,” Dutch said, and Terry agreed: “Drop it in and make sure it is upright and covering the dirt with it.”

Ginny Morris, who organizes the Miss Farmington pageant community events, said the girls are not afraid to get dirty.

“I said, ‘Wear comfortable shoes and pants and be willing to sit down and get dirty,’” she said. “This is what it is all about, community stuff.” 

Dutch added that what they did was not lost on her.

“My grandpa, who I didn’t really know, he was in World War II. So that is important to me, but … I appreciate everything that they (soldiers) do.”

Mark Terry said his grandmother’s first cousin, Franklin Sousley, was one of several American soldiers in Iwo Jima to hold up the American flag — an action immortalized in the famous photograph.

His daughter said that what soldiers do is heroic.

“I think it is very brave and honorable of them,” she said.

Market master Penny Oglesby, of Farmington, said the lodge was a “blank slate,” and she thought that flowers could fill up the space nicely.

“When I suggested this to the (Masonic Lodge), they really liked the idea,” she said. “I just thought it would be a nice … contribution (from) the market.”

Oglesby said that the lodge is a “beautiful building” that she wants more people to know about. 

“We all want to get more attention shown on the Masonic Hall — that is why we are all involved. They (lodge members) try so hard to maintain a beautiful building, and nobody knows it is there.”

Oglesby added that through Memorial Day, veterans are welcome to drop off war-related memorabilia for a display 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May 29. The event is open to the public. Veterans will be treated to a hot dog and beer. The display items will be returned.

For more information on drop-off dates/times, call Oglesby at (248) 478-0078.

She added that the winter market picks up when the summer Farmington Farmers Market is over.

“It is a continuum, she said.

The 24th annual Farmington Farmers Market starts out 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 20 at the Walter E. Sundquist Pavilion in Riley Park.  

Opening day, which typically attracts over 2,500 people, includes a celebration to observe Armed Services Day and Flower Day at the market, Walt Gajewski, market manager, said recently. Attendees may purchase flowers from vendors.

“The opening of the market is always a tradition that we open the market with a grand celebration, and this year is no different,” Gajewski said. “We’re grateful to open the market observing Armed Services Day.”

At 9 a.m., local performing artist Bella Fucinari will sing the national anthem, according to a press release. The American Legion color guard and the Farmington High School drum line will perform. 

The Miss Farmington contestants will ring the bell to open up the season.

This year’s theme, in honor of Armed Services Day, is “swing into spring,” Gajewski said. 

Alexander Steward, president of the Swing Farmington group, said in a press release that Swing Farmington is proud to participate.  

“The swing era is forever immortalized by our armed service men and women. Against a backdrop of our farmers, I couldn’t think of any other place I’d rather be than downtown Farmington,” he said in the release.

Gajewski said swing dancing is “pure Americana” because it was created in America, and that is significant, considering that the farmers market is “all about grass-roots, American farmers.” 

“I think we got a real special day planned,” he said.

Caroline Schairer, health programs coordinator for Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills, said that this is Beaumont’s second year sponsoring the farmers market, and they will be integrated into the market with once-a-month health events. 

“We’re focusing this year on obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” she said, adding that the farmers market is “absolutely perfect” for getting exercise and finding healthy mealtime options.

From blood pressure and stroke screenings to preventative counseling and referrals, hospital representatives will be at the market 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 20, June 17, July 8 and Sept. 23.

For more information on market hospital events, call Schairer at (248) 442-1661.

Winter and summer market vendor Zehra Bhinderwala, president of Rose Best LLC, sold her soap and scented wares April 29 and said farmers markets are about community.

Bhinderwala started her line of products over 10 years ago and has sold at both markets for the past five years.

“There are more chances of education and more chances of really getting to know people, and I love that aspect,” she said.

The market has an average of 40 vendors per week and 85 vendors in total who are rotated weekly. 

The market runs 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 4.

For more information, go to www.farmingtonfarmersmarket.com.

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