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May 1, 2013

Downtown Rochester Farmers Market to open May 4

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

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Downtown Rochester Farmers Market to open May 4
Kris Majkowski and Sue Hastings, both of Rochester, look at baskets sold by the Downtown Development Authority.

ROCHESTER — Kicking off May 4, the 14th season of the Downtown Rochester Farmers Market will bring fresh Michigan flowers, fruit and vegetables to the city once again.

Sponsored by the Rochester Downtown Development Authority and C & G Newspapers, the outdoor market, which runs 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays May 4-Oct. 26, is held on the corner of East Third and Water streets, just one block east of Main Street, in downtown Rochester.

Shopping at the Downtown Rochester Farmers’ Market is a great way to access fresh, locally grown products, strengthen the local economy and connect with the community, according to DDA Marketing Coordinator Nancy Voges.

“You can support local farmers and vendors and come into the beautiful downtown and visit with your neighbors and get fresh produce and flowers,” she said.

Patrons can enjoy a wide variety of Michigan-grown or -made products at the market — including vegetables, fruits, container gardens, fresh cut flowers, herbs, homemade baked goods, gnocchi, jams and jellies, honey, maple syrup, and locally roasted coffee, as well as various certified organic products, including eggs, beef and chicken. The market also features specialty food products, such as seasoned meat rubs, salsas, roasted red pepper mustard and candy.

At the beginning of the market season, Voges said, market-goers will primarily see flowers and early local vegetables.

“There’s pretty much anything you can imagine — perennials, annuals, hanging baskets, bedding flowers and plants. There will also be some hothouse tomatoes, lettuces, some asparagus, and all of the first things that come up in Michigan for the season,” Voges said.

Along with the old favorites, four new vendors will participate in the market this year, including James Creek Sutlery with meat rubs, gourmet salts, naturally grown spices and aged and raw cane sugars; Kan-Dee-Barn with homemade candy and roasted nuts; Stephensons Group with roasted beans; and Khom Fai with Thai food.

Isaiah Sonjeow, owner of Khom Fai in Shelby Township, will serve up freshly prepared, made-to-order Thai food at the market for the first time this year.

“We at the restaurant just acquired two portable woks … and we thought it would be a great combination to do some live cooking outdoors and utilize those woks. And we thought the venue would be perfect for what we do,” he said.

Market-goers can also listen to live entertainment and participate in children’s crafts and activities, which will both change the first Saturday of each month.

As always, Voges said, she is expecting great crowds at the Farmers Market this year — especially for the opening May 4.

“We typically get 500-1,000 people every Saturday,” she said. “People will be down there once the weather changes, and people are ready to do their plantings and are ready for the first crops of Michigan.”

This year’s opening-day festivities will include free canvas tote bags — sponsored by Kidz 1st Pediatrics — filled with special offers from downtown merchants for the first 500 adult customers, as well as live music by blues artist Paul Miles and free children’s activities — including a pot-a-plant children’s activity and a scavenger hunt for Pete the Pineapple.

There will also be a chance to win one of more than 20 $25 gift certificates donated by downtown Rochester merchants, and the chance to enter the weekly harvest basket drawing to win a collection of products donated by market vendors.

For more information about the market, call the DDA at (248) 656-0060 or visit www.downtown-rochestermi.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.