Downtown fixture Farmer Q’s closing
MARQUETTE – Farmer Q’s Market, a downtown presence for more than eight years, no longer will be one, with its last day Saturday.
The store, located at 219 W. Washington St., sold produce as well as kitchen-related goods such as hand soap and timers.
The owners were Tom and Susan Brian.
“I have an opportunity I’m going to take advantage of,” he said, but declined to elaborate.
Tom Brian said jams and jellies created in the state and Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables were sold at the store.
“We sold a lot of made-in-Michigan products,” he said.
He also said customers were informed of the products’ origins and where they were grown.
“That is very satisfying,” he said. “We’re thankful.”
Tom Brian said six employees worked full-time year-round at Farmer Q’s, with four more added for the summer months.
However, he also expressed some hard feelings about why the store closed, saying he was “tired of being bullied.”
Some of those feelings stemmed from the possibility being raised in 2013 about food from beyond the Upper Peninsula being sold at the weekly Downtown Marquette Farmers Market.
Under current market regulations, vendors must be U.P. residents and all food and items sold at the farmers market must be grown or made in the U.P.
An exception to that rule – based on its past participation in helping to grow the farmers market – pertained to Farmer Q’s, whose products were not required to come from the U.P., although the regulations stipulated the business had to provide information to the customer as to which farm or farms produced the products and the location of each farm.
At a July 2013 Marquette City Commission meeting, Marquette Township resident and farmer Mike Hainstock read a letter written by fellow farmer Jeff Hatfield, on behalf of the Marquette Area Farmers Guild, which said local farmers should not be forced to compete with wholesalers and resellers at the market.
Tom Brian mentioned that letter and “outside protests” as factors in Farmer Q’s closing.
However, more than a few people expressed sadness at the store’s closing, with comments on its Facebook page, which has 414 “likes,” ranging from “a grave loss for our community” to “one of my favorite stores.”
Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is email@example.com.