Spring into freshness at farmers market

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published May 17, 2016

 Eleanor Rzepecki purchases tulips sold by Springbrook Garden Florist in Farmington.

Eleanor Rzepecki purchases tulips sold by Springbrook Garden Florist in Farmington.

Photo by Donna Agusti


FARMINGTON — The organizers of the Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market hope you have a fresh time during the market’s 23rd season, which kicked off May 14.  

“It is a unique lighthouse for public gatherings,” Walt Gajewski, market manager, said recently. “We bring an experiential element to providing fresh produce in that we have cooking demonstrations, children’s activities, workshops (and) special events.”

The market is held at the Walter E. Sundquist Pavilion in George F. Riley Park, 33314 Grand River Ave.

This year’s market celebrated opening day with a color guard and a drumline march, along with the singing of the national anthem. The event also featured the traditional ringing of the market bell by Miss Farmington Sydney Schrand and local officials. 

Opening day also featured Swing Farmington, a weekly swing dance group.

Gajewski said he is looking forward to collaborating with sponsor Fresh Thyme — a market opening up shop in Farmington’s downtown shopping center — during the summer.

“Fresh Thyme is the new incoming specialty grocer … and we have formed a partnership because they are all about supporting Michigan farms,” Gajewski said. “Buy local, buy fresh, which is what the farmers market is built upon.”

Fresh Thyme will provide produce that the farmers market does not carry, including fruits and vegetables that don’t grow in Michigan — such as pineapples and papayas.

“People are going to have the best of both worlds,” he said.

With live music from The Normandies, followed by Swing Farmington, attendees could dance to burn off the calories from tasting dishes prepared by Zach Peterlin, owner and chef of Farmington-based Peterlin’s.

“Every year I do the opening day market demo, and usually, this year I’m probably going to do a summer fresh salad and tomato bruschetta with almond and balsamic glaze to kick off the market,” he said. 

Peterlin added that over the years, he has seen a shift in gastronomical trends.

“I think with TV and the Food Network, people’s palates have drastically changed,” he said, adding that the public is more interested in fresh food options.

“Bringing new things to the farmers market is what we are doing,” he said. 

Children’s activities at the Little Sprouts Activity Corner, hosted by Farmington’s Our Lady of Sorrows parish, will be available, along with hot dogs, hot doughnuts and more.

Gajewski said a partnership with Beaumont Hospital will bring local health care providers for the market’s second annual health fair day, Fit as a Fiddle, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. June 11. The event will include fitness experts, nurses, dietitians, and a 1-mile fitness walk and talk, Walk with a Superhero, at 10:30 a.m. through downtown Farmington. The talk will focus on everything from allergies to strokes. Naturally, a fiddle will be playing. A chance to win eight weeks of groceries will be offered. A senior grocery-based program will also be discussed.

“We are an ideal outlet for community health care providers to get in touch with what the community’s health needs are,” Gajewski said. 

Market mainstays include a chef cooking series, live music 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, and a children’s activity corner.

The market has an average of 40 vendors per week and 85 vendors in total who are rotated on a weekly basis.

The market runs 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 5.

New to this year’s market is a 10-minute customer pickup loading zone just outside the west entrance to the market. This is to help with parking in the downtown area.

For more information, go to www.farmingtonfarmersmarket.com or call (248) 971-5882.