Final farmers market of the season Sept. 27

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 23, 2015

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — With the turnout in its inaugural year exceeding organizers’ expectations, plans are already in place to continue the St. Clair Shores Farmers Market in 2016.


“The turnout has been phenomenal and has way exceeded our expectations,” said market founder Susan Bunte, of St. Clair Shores.


About 5,000 shoppers turned out for the first market at the end of July, and nearly 4,000 people came to the August market, she said.


But in response to vendors’ suggestions, the market has been moved from the parking lot of Blossom Heath Inn to Blossom Heath Park and the parking area behind the banquet center to allow for more parking for market patrons.


The market — which will be open for its last session of the season from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 27 at Blossom Heath, 24800 Jefferson Ave. — now has a dozen different farmers and many different vendors selling “something for everyone,” Bunte said.


“It’s been like wildfire, and farmers are talking to each other ... networking with each other to choose this location,” she said.


Vendors in Blossom Heath Park offer salmon, organic ice cream, Piedmont beef, maple syrup, honey, baked goods and ethnic fare, as well as boutique hair bows and skirts, woodworking items, essential oils and other products to support a healthy lifestyle. Bunte estimates that 70 percent of the vendors deal in food products and the rest are non-food items.


“The July market was bigger and more popular than we could have imagined,” said market manager Renee Atkins, of St. Clair Shores, in an email. “We were more prepared for August ... For August and September, we added more produce and food-related vendors.”


Blake’s Orchard will be bringing cider and donuts to the September market, and she said there is now a waiting list for vendors for the market.


There’s also a full lineup of activities for the Sept. 27 market, with PKSA Karate offering board-breaking demonstrations, Hummingbirds Music Group bringing a preschool music program, the Lakeshore Family YMCA bringing a health table and Bricks for Kids bringing Legos and patterns for children to use.


“It’s a neat melding of how people in the community are willing to come together,” Bunte said.


New Edge Karate will also offer a self-defense class and Dance Expressions studio will perform. There will also be a craft table for children.


This year, Bunte said, they’ve been able to partner with 35 local sponsors, plus major sponsors Landscape Services and the Tax-Increment Financing Authority (TIFA), which gave them a major donation to help with marketing.


In 2016, Bunte said, they hope to open the market up in May and run again into the fall.


“It’s far exceeded my expectations for how it has been,” she said. “We have offered a unique marketplace setting with high-quality food, high-quality vendors who care about their customers. My team has worked so hard all summer long and given hours and hours to make sure it is the best it can be.”


Bunte said they plan to work through the winter to bring different vendors on board and refine the market’s look for 2016.


“I think for next year, to really look at sustainability, we’re going to do one featured event per market,” she said. “It really was a large undertaking for us.”


Atkins said they hope to continue to build the momentum that’s started this year into 2016.


“We hope that the market will continue to grow in popularity,” she said. “Planning for 2016 will commence after Sept. 27.”


Volunteers are still needed to help set up and take down the Sept. 27 market. Anyone interested can email scsfmvolunteers@gmail.com.


For more information, visit scsfarmersmarket.weebly.com or find the St. Clair Shores Farmers Market on Facebook.

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