Grayling Farmer’s Market brings in a variety of vendors to provide a bounty of products
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
From mixed greens to purple potatoes and unique crafts, the Grayling Farmer’s Market has a little bit of everything to offer area residents and visitors to the community this year.
The Grayling Farmer’s Market kicked off for the season on Thursday, June 6.
The market is again being held under the pavilion at the Grayling City Park, 213 North James St. The hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The Thursday hours were expanded for people coming into town in the mid-morning, and for those getting out of work.
“We extended both days to reach more people,” said Farm Market Manager Therese Kaiser.
The farm market has 15 vendors signed up this year, compared to eight last year.
“We have a lot of new stuff this year,” Kaiser said. “It’s the biggest farm market we’ve had since I’ve been part of it.”
New vendors offering mixed greens, starter plants, and wood crafts are on board this year.
“We’re very friendly and we offer a variety of things and we’re becoming more and more of a true farmer’s market,” Kaiser said.
Another vendor is bringing specialty vegetables such micro greens, purple beans, ugly beans, purple carrots and purple potatoes to the market to offer a different spin on food staples and to get youngsters more interested in eating vegetables.
“It’s stuff that tastes the same, but doesn’t look the same, so it kind of pretties up your plate,” Kaiser said. “Kids seem to like color, so I think it kind of works well.”
Fruit and vegetable vendors will be at the market soon to bring food fresh from the fields to the table.
The market draws a steady stream of area residents, people passing through the community, and those in the region on vacations.
“We have our locals. We have people that just drive by and see us and pull in and stop. We have people that are on their way for vacations and stop to pick up pies and bread and stuff,” Kaiser said. “We get it all. We’re just a one-stop-shop.”
The farm market is participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program and the Double up Food Bucks program, offered through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Bridge Card food assistance initiative. The Double Up Food Bucks program supplies customers with tokens to buy fruits and vegetables for every dollar spent from their Bridge Card monthly allotment. The program is part of the federal Farm Bill to assist local farmers and producers and to boost people consuming nutritious meals.
“I think more people need to take advantage of that,” Kaiser said. “I think it is an unknown gem.”
The farm market will remain in the city park until future plans for the Northern Market, located at 2059 South I-75 Business Loop, can be determined.
“I think everybody likes this because of the ambiance of the park and you’re on the riverside,” Kaiser said “How much better can you get?”
The building on site for the Northern Market has been deemed unsafe and is slated for demolition. City officials and planners are putting together a proposal to present to state officials regarding the market and food hub, and should know more about the project this fall.
“We did hire a pre-construction manager, so we are moving forward,” Kaiser said.
Stacy Jo Schiller, who operates Home Comfort Farms in Johannesburg, is a first-year vendor at the Grayling Farmer’s Market. She is encouraged by the plans for the Northern Market.
“There is the possibility that the big farm market is going to get built here. If that happens, I want to get in on the ground floor,” she said. “That’s my goal.”
Schiller brought starter plants to the market last week for people to plant in their home gardens. The plants are grown with organic seeds and soils.
“I’ve nurtured them since February, when I started planting,” Schiller said.
Schiller, who will mark 22 years hosting the popular Farm Fest music festival on her property this year, will bring mixed greens, vegetables, and spinach to the market as the season progresses.
Anita Kruschinska, from Kruschinska Farms based in Lake City, focuses on raising rabbits and poultry and also offers rubs, sauces, and baked products.
Turkey, duck, and chicken eggs are among the items Kruschinska Farms offers.
“The turkey eggs are my best seller right now because it’s just something different,” Anita said.
Anita works a farm market circuit from Traverse City to Grand Rapids seven days a week. She looks forward to being at the Grayling Farmer’s Market on Thursday.
“It just a friendly nice atmosphere being here,” she said. ‘“All the vendors are nice and the customers are nice.”
Jodie Whitney, the owner of Them n’ Us Ranch based in Frederic, has beef, pork, chicken, and lamb meat available at the farm market.
“I’m looking forward to meeting the customers and getting everything going for the new year,” she said.
Curley LaMotte, from Grayling, will be at the farm market on Thursday to provide Petoskey stones, beaded bracelets, earrings, wine glasses with a piece of Petoskey stone embedded in them, and coasters.
LaMotte sells his goods at the Gaylord Farm Market, which is held on Wednesday and Saturday.
“It will take a little while to get it going after we just start up right here, but we’ll have a real good market here again this year,” he said.