Vantage Point market will open on May 12
MARYSVILLE – Shannon Anders made a quick grab to keep the wind from blowing a tray of baked goods off a table.
When you sell at a farmers market, you have to deal with whatever the weather throws at you.
Anders, her husband, Mike, and their daughter, Carmen, 4, were at Marysville City Park on Friday for the opening day of the Knights of Columbus 10th annual Farmers Market.
“I just started last year,” Anders said. “I love it. I really enjoy the experience.
“It’s nice to get out into the community and share the stuff that I make.”
The Knights of Columbus got the farmers market season off to an early start. It had more of a flea market feel on Friday, but there were a couple of vendors selling plants and flowers.
While most of the plants were basic marigolds and geraniums in hanging pots, Shawn Michael Drewek’s offerings were on the exotic side. He calls himself “The Orchid Man,” and that’s what he was selling.
“They call this the chocolate orchid, because it gives off a scent like chocolate,” he said. “I think it smells like vanilla.”
He also sells jams, jellies and barbecue sauce — all homemade.
The Marysville market is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday through Oct. 26, said Matt Koss, of Knights of Columbus Council 9526. The market is on the east side of the park, across from the former boat launch and the Marysville Water Treatment Plant
“Right now we’re just doing plants because the vegetables aren’t in yet,” Koss said, noting that the produce season starts in June with strawberries, but doesn’t really get rolling until July.
“(People) like fresh, homegrown stuff,” he said.
Thomas Graf said that’s why people come to the Marine City Farmers Market.
“We get quite a few people in there,” he said. “… Marine City is smaller, it’s not that big, and we do pretty good with it.”
The market is in its second season at the Marine City Lions Club, 545 Ward St., said Terry Filo, club president. It opens July 5 and is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 18.
“A lot of people like the fresh produce and the baked goods,” she said.
The St. Clair Garden Club will have its farmers market in the north parking lot of the Riverview Plaza.
“We are opening up earlier than ever before,” said Linda Missana, St. Clair Garden Club. “It will be open next Wednesday, May 9.
“One of our farmers called and said, ‘Can we do it earlier?’ They have a lot of plants and sure, why not?”
The market hours are 7-11:30 a.m. and it will run through the end of October.
“We have some really good vendors there, but it’s also a gathering place to see people, to say hi and to talk,” Missana said.
The market will feature a food truck that will start serving breakfast at 7 a.m. in a few weeks, Missana said, and the garden club is working on getting a permit so the Green Barn Winery in Smiths Creek can start selling wines at the market.
“We have some exciting things lined up,” she said. “Everything is Michigan made. We have very nice vendors and a wonderful spot to have it. The river is right across the street.”
The Vantage Point Farmers Market will be open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays starting May 12 at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron, said Liz Mathews, market manager. The market also will be open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays beginning July 3 and will continue that twice weekly schedule through the end of October.
Mathews said the market will have close to 40 vendors.
“This is our 12th year, and we’ve had like the same farmers and we keep adding different things,” she said. “People establish a relationship with that farmer and it’s nice to see.
“You have a relationship with somebody you’re buying your food from.”
She said the early markets focus on plants more than produce.
“We have a lot of vegetable plants, flowers, hanging baskets and we will have the staples like the baked goods,” she said. “We have a beef and pork and chicken farm this year, so we will get straight-from-the-farm meat as well as the bison meat.”
She said the produce starts showing up at the end of June when Michigan farmers start harvesting.
“We’re pretty much a Michigan market down here,” she said. “Pretty much everything down here is Michigan grown or produced.”
Mathews said people like to stroll along the St. Clair River in the morning sunshine, watching the freighters and waterfowl as they shop for tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables.
“I think you get to know your farmer and where the food is coming from,” she said. “You can ask a farmer what his practices are — does he use a fertilizer, does he use a pesticide — and it’s fresh. It was picked the day before.”