Hazel Park Growers and Makers Market opening soon

Affordable market opens July 9, and vendor spaces are still available

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published July 5, 2017

 The market provides healthy produce at affordable prices. The market supports the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as the Double Up Food Bucks program, which doubles the amount of money a SNAP shopper can use to purchase food.

The market provides healthy produce at affordable prices. The market supports the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as the Double Up Food Bucks program, which doubles the amount of money a SNAP shopper can use to purchase food.

Photo provided by Leigh McLaughlin.

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HAZEL PARK — A variety of goods will be available for sale when the Hazel Park Growers and Makers Market reopens to the public.

The market will be at Green Acres Park, located at Woodward Heights Boulevard and Lenox Avenue, on the border of Hazel Park and Ferndale. It will be open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting July 9 and running through Oct. 22.

“A lot of consideration was put into the location for the market,” said Leigh McLaughlin, one of the market organizers. “We wanted to be close to Ferndale, to attract their business, but still located in our hometown. The park is well-known, and it’s the same place that the Memorial (Weekend) festival and Art Fair are located. It has amenities like public bathrooms, covered pavilions and parking in close proximity to our booths. And because the park is full of beautiful trees, vendors and patrons can stay cool in the shade.”

Local farmers and artisans from Hazel Park and beyond will be vendors in the market. For this year’s market, there will be vendors such as Jentzen Farms, from Monroe; Ain’t No Sunshine Farm, from Ferndale; and Mulberry Hill Farm and Garden, from Hazel Park. Pink Robin Bake Shop will bring tasty treats, including frosted character- and holiday-themed cookies, and Sinfully Sweet will bring its own character marshmallows and push-up cake pops.

New this year is a bakery and a kombucha tea maker.

“This year we’re open to all crafters in the area,” McLaughlin said. “We’re hoping to have artists who sell all kinds of wonderful things: hand-thrown pottery, decorative wreaths, handmade jewelry, blankets, and more. We’d love to have these artists participate in the market again.”

Prices vary from vendor to vendor. A shopper can get a decent amount of produce or a nifty craft item for about $15-$20, McLaughlin said.

As for those who want to be vendors, they can email hpgmmarket@gmail.com or find the market on Facebook at www.facebook/com/hazelparkgrowersandmakersmarket. The cost is the same as last year: $10 per booth, per week.

“This year we’ll be accepting applications up until the Wednesday before the market (July 5). So if you have a product that you make and wish to sell, and maybe don’t have enough product to rent a booth for the whole season, or just want to try the market out, contact us,” McLaughlin said.

The market was started in June last year by McLaughlin and Jennifer Jackson after they both became certified market managers. It took nearly a year of combined schooling, planning and searching for vendors. The Hazel Park Parks and Recreation Department has also been helpful, McLaughlin said.

This year the market is starting later in the season so farmers will have more produce available. Jantzen Farms told McLaughlin that it will have a few herb plants available this year. The 2017 season will also run a month longer, so there will be fall favorites like apples and pumpkins.

“Vendor response has been good,” McLaughlin said. “One of our vendors was so excited that she contacted us at the close of last year’s market. We’re happy she’s joining us this year.”

The best way to support the market, she said, is by shopping there. Last year saw residents helping out in other ways as well. Robbie Webb, the wife of Hazel Park Mayor Pro Tem Mike Webb, sewed several tote bags that were donated to the market to sell. The money made from them went right back into running the market. Hazel Park City Councilwoman Bethany Holland grew, picked and donated vegetables from her own garden to exchange for donations, and organized a microchipping event with the animal shelter. And Dorothy Bell, one of the animal shelter workers, helped out at the market every day last year. In addition, Alissa Sullivan and Amy Aubry, of the Hazel Park Arts Council, organized several art projects with the kids at the market. 

“The market would not be what it is without the support of our volunteers, customers and City Hall, who gave us the proverbial ball and told us to run,” McLaughlin said.

The market was first conceived when Jackson and McLaughlin identified a need in the community for healthy and affordable food. One of the main goals was to include programs like SNAP — the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program — which was implemented from the start.

“We’re excited to announce the Double Up Food Bucks program, which will double the amount of money a SNAP benefits shopper can use to purchase market foods and produce,” McLaughlin said. “The market was inspected last summer by the (Michigan Farmers Market Association), and that was the final hurdle to being able to implement the program.”

Organizers also see value in the market as a place for residents to mingle with neighbors. Last year’s weather was mild, and the park’s shade made it the perfect place to gather, McLaughlin said. There’s also plenty of parking, bathrooms and a cement walkway that makes the market accessible to all people.

City Manager Ed Klobucher said he’s pleased to see the market continue.

“We’re looking forward to another successful farmers market season in Hazel Park,” Klobucher said. “I want to thank Jennifer (Jackson) and Leigh (McLaughlin) for their efforts to get this important program started. The market grew throughout the season last year, and we’re looking forward to it being even bigger and better this year.”

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