Rochester expands farmers market season to winter

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 2, 2016

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ROCHESTER — Those who frequent the Downtown Rochester Farmers Market for locally grown produce don’t have to wait until next summer to snap up fresh, Michigan-made goods.

For the first time, the farmers market will have a new home for the winter at the Rochester Fire Department, 277 Second St.

Starting Saturday, Nov. 5, the community is invited to the city’s first Downtown Rochester Winter Farmers Market, which will be held inside the fire station 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays Nov. 5-Jan. 28, 2017 — with the exception of Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and the Fire & Ice Festival Jan. 21, 2017.

Kelly McMahon, market manager of the Downtown Rochester Farmers Market, said that throughout the summer, she had lots of inquiries about the possibility of a winter or year-round market.

“Over the summer, we had a lot of customers coming up to us asking if there was a possibility for a winter market, or a year-round market, and a lot of customers were also asking the vendors if there was anywhere they could purchase (their items) … because they have a lot of loyal followers,” she said. “The vendors were even asking if it was possible to do a winter market.”

McMahon said the Winter Farmers Market will feature a large variety of fresh produce and specialty foods — including gourmet coffee, hummus, gnocchi, jams and jellies, honey, dressings, sauces and more — from roughly 15 vendors.

“The products will vary a little bit week to week,” she said.

Summer and fall farmers market vendor Lauren Yacteen, of Bekka Valley Mediterranean Foods, plans to bring her popular hummus, pita chips, garlic spread, dressings and marinades.

“A lot of my customers, when it starts getting down to the fall, are trying to figure out how they will get their hummus in the winter. They start going through withdrawls … so I was so excited when they said they did a winter market,” she said. “We really have a following from the Rochester community, so we literally pretty much almost sell out every weekend.”

McMahon said that if the winter market is successful, the Downtown Development Authority hopes to continue it.

“Ultimately I think we would like to have a year-round market in Rochester, so this is almost a stepping stone in that path to see (if there is interest),” she said.

The Downtown Rochester Winter Farmers Market is presented by the Rochester DDA.

To stay up-to-date on which vendors will be at the market, special events and more, follow the Downtown Rochester Farmers Market Facebook page at facebook.com/DowntownRochesterFarmersMarket.

For more information, call the Rochester DDA at (248) 656-0060.

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