Local cities participate in MI Apple Trail

Residents encouraged to visit farmers markets, vote for favorite apple

By: Heidi Roman | Royal Oak Review | Published August 10, 2011

 South Oakland Art Association member Ken Hank and several other local artists helped design and paint a 4-foot apple that will be on display at the Royal Oak Farmers Market as part of the MI Apple Trail program. Residents are encouraged to visit different farmers markets and vote for their favorite apple.

South Oakland Art Association member Ken Hank and several other local artists helped design and paint a 4-foot apple that will be on display at the Royal Oak Farmers Market as part of the MI Apple Trail program. Residents are encouraged to visit different farmers markets and vote for their favorite apple.

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ROYAL OAK/CLAWSON — Nothing says Michigan like biting into a crisp apple on the first day of fall. It’s not quite time for that, but farmers markets across the state are creating art out of apples in the MI Apple Trail program.

The Clawson and Royal Oak farmers markets are among 20 in the state designing 4-foot, 75-pound, 3-D fiberglass apples, hoping visitors to their markets will like their artwork best and cast a vote in their favor.

The MI Apple Trail program, supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture secured by Detroit’s Eastern Market in conjunction with the Michigan Apple Committee, encourages residents to visit as many different markets as possible, getting a stamp from each inside a special passport for a chance at prizes.

At the Royal Oak Farmers Market, members of the South Oakland Art Association, including Royal Oak artist Mike Byrne and Berkley artist Ken Hank, worked to design the apple.

“We put our heads together and came up with what we have, which we love,” said Shelly Mazur, Royal Oak Farmers Market event planner.

The design features a “water wonderland” theme with Michigan landmarks and nautical elements, and took about three weeks to finish. Byrne said the apple expresses how Michigan residents use the Great Lakes for livelihood, business and recreation.

“We decided to go with a nice Michigan theme,” Mazur said. “It has lighthouses and the Mackinac Bridge and Big Red.”

It also shows the White Shoal Light, a freighter cruising behind the Menominee North Pier Light, a water skier and the Upper Peninsula Seul Choix Point Lighthouse.

The design was first penciled onto the apple and then painted with acrylic paint. Artists Janet Wharry, Alicia Duncan and Terry Hazlett also worked on the project.

“I’ve been so pleased; we’ve had the paint donated,” Mazur said. “I’ve gotten a lot of community involvement in it.”

The apple will be debuted at the Farmers Market at 316 E. 11 Mile Road, the same day as the annual Corn Roast and Country Fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 13. The market is normally open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Antiques and collectibles are sold 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. Call (248) 246-3276 for more information.

Travis Cochran, a volunteer who organizes the Clawson Farmers Market, likens the MI Apple Trail program to the public art displays in big cities.

“It’s a really neat idea,” Cochran said. “I love stuff like this.”

Cochran said he was pleasantly surprised that the apple was large enough to provide a good backdrop for creativity.

Clawson chose local artist Claudia Orville to design the apple. Her design is an interpretation of the apple within the city of Clawson.

“When I delivered the apple to her and told her about it, I told her she had free rein,” Cochran said. “We did not have any objectives; we just wanted her to express it however she wanted.”

Orville has volunteered in the community before and has helped out with the Farmers Market in the past.

Instead of keeping her design at the Farmers Market, the apple will be on display at City Hall on Main Street, which is several blocks from the market. The market is held outdoors at City Park, so it wouldn’t be protected from the elements there.

“I thought if we go back and forth between City Hall and the market, I’m afraid we might damage the thing,” Cochran said. “I’d rather have it at one spot, a very visible spot.”

The Clawson Farmers Market is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 18, excluding Labor Day weekend. It’s held at City Park on West Elmwood Avenue, between Crooks and Main Street.

For more information, visit www.clawsonfarmersmarket.info or call (248) 435-6500.

The contest runs through mid-September. At that point, all of the apples created by artists will be displayed and auctioned off at Detroit’s Eastern Market.

Passports will be available at participating markets, and once a person visits five different markets, they can submit their passport into a drawing for a prize. Entries must be received by Oct. 8.

Visit www.miappletrail.com for more information about the program or to vote for a market’s apple.
 

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