Marquette Farmers Market begins Saturday

The Downtown Marquette Farmers Market at the Marquette Commons is set to open for the year on Saturday. (Journal photo by Justin Marietti)

MARQUETTE — With everything from fresh greens and plant starts to natural dog treats and henna tattoo art, the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market is back.

Beginning this weekend, the market will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Dec. 15 at the Marquette Commons, which is located at 112 S. Third St.

This weekend, people can expect fresh and local food directly from the farmers and producers.

“We are encouraged by the number of farmers that are located in the central Upper Peninsula. Eating is what we all have in common and farmers are who provide the food we eat,” said Market Manager Myra Zyburt in an email.

Maple syrup, one of the first harvests of the season, will be at the market, followed by asparagus, rhubarb, a variety of crunchy greens, young onions, turnips, carrots and more.

There will also be many plant starts for those wishing to grow some of their own food.

“The advantage of the plant starts from the farmers market is they are chosen specifically for our climate. Some farmer vendors have soil amendments for sale to further help with customer gardening success,” Zyburt said.

Several new vendors will also have items displayed throughout the season, including specialized bakers, henna artwork by Kristianna Harris-Pfaffle, authors and more.

“What a privilege we have to shop directly from over 60 independently-owned, Upper Peninsula businesses that grow or make the products they sell themselves,” Zyburt said. “There is an exciting line up of vendors for the 2018 season, (with) many returning vendors and 16 new vendors as well.”

End-Of-The-Road Winery from Germfask is one of the new vendors to be featured at the market. Jim and Robin Barker opened End-Of-The-Road Winery in 2016 and specialize in fruit and cold climate grape wines.

Another new vendor is Mary Shaw of Dafter Farms-Aunt Lillian’s Mustard. By using her aunt’s mustard recipe, Shaw, a retired nurse, will be selling the product at the market this season, Zyburt said.

Two new vendors will also provide dog treats for the “four-legged family members,” Zyburt said, adding that the vendors use different recipes and will be at the market at different times.

There will be a new program called Power of Produce introduced this season, as well. The Power of Produce, or PoP, Club, is a farmers market incentive program for children which are offered at markets throughout the nation.

Each week, children ages 4 to 12 receive a $2 token to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables.

The intent of the PoP Club is to engage children at farmers markets and empower them to make healthful food choices. It also aims to increase family participation at farmers markets, increase vendor revenue, and build healthier communities.

“We are thrilled to have received funding and community support from Upper Peninsula Health Plan, the Ishpeming Lions Club, the Negaunee Lions Clubs and Partridge Creek Farms to pilot Power of Produce from Aug. 4 to Sept. 22,” Zyburt said.

According to a study conducted by the Michigan Farmers Market Association, there were about 65,750 people who attended the local farmers market last year, with 78 percent of those customers partaking in additional activities in the surrounding area.

There was approximately $1,721,810 in market sales, with $2,583,590 spent on local businesses outside of the market.

The Downtown Marquette Farmers Market will be continue to participate in the pilot program with the Michigan Farmers Market Association and Farmers Market Coalition to create these standardized measurements of farmers markets economic impact on their communities.

For more information, visit www.mqtfarmersmarket.com or www.facebook.com/downtownmqtfarmersmarket.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.