Fresh produce abounds at the Downtown Rochester Farmers Market, held at the corner of East Third and Water Street.

Fresh produce abounds at the Downtown Rochester Farmers Market, held at the corner of East Third and Water Street.

Photo provided by the Rochester Downtown Development Authority

New vendors to highlight farmers market opening

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published May 1, 2018


ROCHESTER — Rochester-area residents will soon have another option for picking up locally grown fresh fruits, veggies and specialty goods.

The Downtown Rochester Farmers Market will open Saturday, May 5, at the corner of East Third and Water streets, just one block east of Main Street. The outdoor market will run 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 27.

Taylor Clayton, the marketing coordinator for the Rochester Downtown Development Authority, said the market has been a staple in the Rochester area for 19 years.

“What’s great about the market is that it provides a community meeting place. It offers an opportunity for a family to get out on a Saturday afternoon or morning and enjoy our downtown and really see what’s happening on the streets while building relationships,” she said.

Patrons can enjoy a wide variety of Michigan-grown or -made products at the market — including vegetables, fruits, flowers, container gardens, herbs, baked goods, jams and jellies, honey, maple syrup, tea blends, coffee, fish, and various certified organic products, including eggs, beef and chicken.

People will see 30-40 vendors each Saturday, Clayton said.

New additions to the market this year include Lavender Lane, Dutton Farm, Ze French Lady, Harold’s Italian Ice, Stella Rose Creamery and Simple Supple Foods.

Joe Pusta, of Lavender Lane, will bring organically grown lavender and lavender products to the market.

“Living in an agricultural area here in Milan, I decided that with fertile lands, I would be a speciality crop grower. And that’s how I got started,” he said.

Pusta and his wife, Courtney, now have over 3 acres of lavender, with 15 different varieties in four colors. They will supply fresh lavender flowers, dried lavender bundles, essential oils and lavender products — including hand and body lotions, soaps, linen and body mists, and more.

“It’s definitely a labor of love,” he said.

Dutton Farm — a nonprofit organization that teaches vocational and living skills to adults with mental, physical and emotional impairments — is another new vendor this year. Heather Mingle, market outreach coordinator and medical consultant for Dutton Farm, said they will bring honey, eggs, produce and a variety of handmade products, including soaps and candles.

“We are also going to be bringing in our bunnies so that the kids can have fun petting them,” she said.

After shopping, marketgoers can participate in children’s programming and listen to live entertainment, which will change each week.

Children between the ages of 3 and 12 can join the the Marketeers’ Club, which allows them to participate in market activities and receive monthly notices of all upcoming children’s programs. The Marketeers’ Club is free to join. Kids can also participate in a weekly scavenger hunt for Pete the Pineapple to win a prize.

This year’s opening day festivities will also include free tote bags filled with special offers from downtown merchants for the first 500 adult customers, live music by Alfie Jean and a magic show performed by magician Gordon Russ. There will be a chance to win gift certificates donated by Rochester merchants and a chance to enter the weekly harvest basket drawing to win a collection of products donated by market vendors.

The Downtown Rochester Farmers Market will once again be participating in the Double Up Food Bucks program, a seasonal program offered through the Fair Food Network that provides customers who use their federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits to shop at the market with a one-to-one match to purchase Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables. The market also participates in the supplemental nutrition program for women, Infants and Children, or WIC, a government-based nutrition program. The market is presented by the Rochester DDA and Ascension-Crittenton Hospital.

For more information, visit or call (248) 656-0060.