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MSC Farmers Market looking to introduce new vendors for 2021

CALUMET — The Main Street Calumet Farmers Market is holding a special vendor outreach event on Saturday, April 17. The event is focused on introducing new vendors to selling at a market, providing continuing education for returning vendors and bringing all vendors up-to-date on changes for the 2021 season.

The event will take place from 1-3 p.m. at 17320 High Point Road, Hancock. RSVP, social distancing and masks are required.

Margaret Hanson, owner of Teach to Taste, is a baker and food educator who started attending the Calumet Farmers Market in 2020.

“I’ve talked with a lot of people over the past year, who make great products, and would like to make some money but are nervous to start selling at a market,” said Hanson. “I was nervous to get started too, but its turned out to be a great experience for me and I want to encourage others to try it out. I hope through this vendor outreach event, we’ll be able to allay some fears and ultimately introduce our customers to even more great local products.”

The initial jitters of handling cash and working with the public are in the past for Ashley TenHarmsel of North Harvest CSA, a farmer who has attended every year since the market’s inception but Ashley still acknowledges the need to keep improving.

“Every year we hope to grow our business, and create more value added products. Vendors are very supportive and share their secrets to great looking packaging or how to maximize a table display for a particular product,” said TenHarmsel.

The event will allow some sharing of tips and tricks ahead of the season as well as provide updates on market guidelines

Main Street Calumet has been hosting the market in downtown Calumet since 2016 and has been the source of increased interest in the downtown district on market days.

“The market checks a lot of boxes for our organization, not only does the market bring people to downtown Calumet, it provides an opportunity for emerging food and artisan crafters to test the market, allows existing businesses to reach what might be a different clientele and gives area farmers a dependable way to move produce,” said Main Street Calumet Executive Director Leah Polzien.

With an increase in customer attendance in 2020, the demand for fresh local food (and thus more vendors) is apparent. Encouraging more vendors to participate and pushing all vendors to the next level of performance is a win-win. Increased variety and a great consumer experience brings customers, and more customers mean more income for vendors.

While the market season is not scheduled to kick off until June 12, vendors should begin planning now. This year, anyone interested in attending the market must complete an application, contracts and training prior to May 31, 2021.

Vendors unable to attend this event, please reach out to marketmanager@mainstreetcalumet.com to make other arrangements.

Contact marketmanager@mainstreetcalumet.com or complete the RSVP form found at https://www.mainstreetcalumet.com/farmers-market.html to participate.

Graham Jaehnig can be reached at gjaehnig@mininggazette.com.

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