Farmers market to open Saturday

MARQUETTE – Offering a wide selection of goods and entertainment, the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market will begin its 15th season Saturday at the Marquette Commons.

What can the public anticipate?

“Hopefully, nice weather, but we’re open regardless,” said Myra Zyburt, market manager. “It will be a nice, dynamic market.”

The market – which will be open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. – will showcase many of the usual vendors, with new additions. The event will include a total of 43 season vendors, 36 of which are returning from last year.

“Shoppers at the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market can find the freshest produce available, a wide selection of produce, and other farm products-meat & eggs, plant starts, soil amenities, fresh cut flowers, variety of body care products, jewelry, baked goods, locally produced wine (available for tasting), household goods, childrens toys, yarn and knitted goods – from wool from the sheep the producer raised, woven rugs, leather goods, locally produced candy and more,” Zyburt said.

The wine-tasting booth will be operated by the Marquette-based St. Charles Brewhaus & Winery, LLC.

According to the Marquette Downtown Development Authority, which operates the market, opening day will also include live music by Troy Graham, while Michigan State University Extension will conduct Smart Gardening workshops. There will be two sessions: one at 10 a.m., “Introduction to Smart Gardening,” and another at noon, “Smart Veggie Container Gardening.”

Zyburt said there are several reasons to visit the market if you’ve never gone:

  • Shopping at the market allows the customer to talk directly with the producer of the product they are purchasing, whether it is farm goods, bakery goods, body care products or artisan works.
  • The market accepts a variety of “alternative payment types”; most which are only accepted at farmers markets, Bridge card, Double Up Food Bucks, Project FRESH, Market FRESH, Hoophouses for Health Vouchers. This makes the market accessible to everyone.
  • The market is comprised of small business owners, offering products that they have produced.
  • It is a great place to socialize. There is live music scheduled each week from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Chairs are set out to relax and enjoy the music and visit. There are a variety of programs offered throughout the season.
  • The market varies each week as there are some different vendors that attend at different times, so come often and see who is at the market.

Last year, a controversy developed over what type of vendors should be allowed to sell their wares in the market.

Earlier this year, following a series of three January public-input sessions and recommendations from an ad hoc committee, the DDA approved new policies for the market, one of which was increasing vendor fees from $60 to $125 for the season. Zyburt pointed out at the time the DDA subsidizes 75 percent of market costs, and the fee increases will help defray those costs.

The policies also will allow vendors within Michigan to have a booth at the market as long as they grow or produce their goods to comply with Michigan Department of Agriculture guidelines. Zyburt also explained the DDA can’t legally limit produce and goods sold at the market to just those made in the Upper Peninsula.

“The result of the revised policies is the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market has become a ‘producer only’ market, meaning what is offered at the market are products grown, made or gathered and refashioned by the person selling them,” Zyburt said.

The Downtown Marquette Farmers Market accepts credit and debit cards as well as SNAP Benefits/Bridge Cards, which will be taken starting opening day. Project FRESH, Market Fresh and Double Up Food Bucks will be accepted beginning June 1.

The farmers market will run every Saturday, rain or shine, at the Marquette Commons, located at 112 S. Third St.

For more information, visit tmqtfarmersmarket.com.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net. John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is jpepin@miningjournal.net.