We hope you enjoy this abbreviated version of the
Serving Frankenmuth Since 1906
Vol. 114 No. 46 - In our 114th year!
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
* * * * * * * * * *
Farmers Market prepares to open May 23 for 2020 season
On Saturday, May 23 at 9am the Frankenmuth Farmers Market will open for its 16th year for the 2020 season. In anticipation of a large crowd excited for the opener, the Market has prepared its outdoor grounds, staff, vendors and volunteers for what to expect under the new realities of a COVID-19 world.
“Things will be a little different this year,” says Christy Kuczynski, FFM Executive Director. “We have been following Saginaw County Health Department, CDC and the Michigan Farmers Market Association very closely for advice and guidance on setting up the safest Market possible. Our vendors and guests can be assured that every measure possible to provide safe essential food services for our communities will be taken. Markets like FFM help to bolster and protect the local food supply. In a time like this, we need safe Markets.”
One of the initial changes guests might notice is that due to the Stay-at-Home executive orders remaining in effect through May 30, the FFM opener will host only vendors that participate in the sales of “life-sustaining” products and services. The executive orders have led FFM to allow the vending of foods, plants, landscape supplies, pet foods, health and safety equipment, and hygiene products.
The season will open with 18 vendors and more to come as the season progresses. Additional vendors will come on board for the Wednesday markets that start in June. Returning food and farming vendors from 2019 have signed on to return for Market 2020 including Miller’s Orchard, Carigan Family Farm and Island Farms Organics. Local favorites including ButterCrust Bakery and Kernel Benny’s Kettle Corn will also be in attendance. For the May 23 market, noticeably not in attendance, will be FFM’s artisan vendors. “It will be disappointing not to have our entire vendor family with us on opening day but we look forward to the lifting of retail restrictions very soon and getting back to business as usual. It’s important to us that we provide a well rounded market, and our artisans are a big part of that,” says Christie Kilbourn, FFM Market Manager. Executive orders allowing for safer retailing of non-essential products are expected to be announced soon.
Kilbourn is responsible for vendor recruitment at the FFM and notes that five new vendors will join the mix increasing the selections of fresh produce and prepared foods for humans and pets alike as a new farm and two new bakeries specializing in confections and dog treats will be added to the lineup.
For the 2020 market guests are being asked to enter at the west end of the grounds. At this time, FFM officials do not expect to have to control admittance to the Market grounds but do note that strong social distancing and protective measures will be implemented for the safety and comfort of shoppers and vendors alike. FFMs guests will be required to wear a mask while onsite to prevent the spread of potential viruses to the foods and products for sale on the grounds.
The sidewalks around the Market are being marked with social distancing flowers and guests will be reminded to “plant” themselves six feet apart while waiting to purchase. “The flowers will be a bit of whimsy at a time when frankly, most necessary changes are disappointing. We could all use a smile,” quips Kuczynski “We have had to change a lot about our Market, but we think the flowers are special.”
This year the Market’s retail store will be closed. The small space that traditionally offered products for sale like Nightingale flour, pancake mix, sauces, and other Michigan-made products will be replaced with an outdoor stand operated by the Market. The FFM stand will offer food products that supplement what is available at the Market each week. Produce not currently in season or typically grown in Michigan will be a feature of the stand. When asked about competition with local farmers, Kuczynski explained that FFM is seeking practical and fitting ways to replace revenue loss from seasonal Market rentals for showers and weddings. “Without rentals, fundraising dinners, and store operations our NPO has lost the lion’s share of what we have come to depend on for sustaining funds that support staff incomes, building payments, and utilities for the year.”
The FFM market stand will be an avenue for shoppers to increase their healthy selections when making their weekly shopping trip. “Nothing we offer at our stand will compete with items found fresh from our farmer’s fields, but rather compliment it. Imagine ripe avocados available at FFM during tomato season. With our produce stand you will also know no one is touching your food but you versus grocery store shopping, where the likelihood that produce items have been handled by many is higher.” Kuczynski said. Revenue from the stand will be used to support market operations. Besides produce, the FFM stand will eventually be expanded to include fresh bottled milk, eggs, flours, and assorted prepared meals and mixes made by the Market.
When asked about drive through Markets or other delivery formats being tried by other Markets, Christy detailed FFM’s current Food Order service. The weekly program features a "basics box” of items selected by the Market to highlight their vendors and local businesses. Weekly features available for drive through pickup on Saturday nights from 6-8pm include meats, dairy, baked goods, and a selection of assorted fresh produce. Boxes and other items can be found for sale at https://ffmfarmstore.company.site.
The vendor line-up at this time includes: 81Maple, AB Swanny Catering, Buttercrust Bakery, Briggs Orchard, Carigan Family Farm, Dog Bites Bakery, Happy Little Treats, Island Farms, Jacqui Bs Greenhouse, Kernel Bennys, LaFattoria Hoophouse, Miller Family Farm meats, Miller Family Orchard, Norwex with Tamara Miller, Oily Life with Bailey Lowe, Sparkle Confections, Thumb Roast Coffee, Tomac Pumpkins, Tozy Tea ... and pizzas from the Market brick ovens by Dietrich Bronner and crew for $12.
The Market opens 9am this coming Saturday and the season will extend to October 17. Watch the Market Facebook page for regular updates and announcements.