Kingsley Market gets a makeover; More Farmers Market News

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Kingsley Market is undergoing a major overhaul in 2022, with two new market managers, a significantly expanded roster of farmers and vendors, and plans to offer weekly live music, themes, speakers and workshops. The ticker contains details of the upcoming Kingsley Markets season, as well as updates on other farmers’ markets in the area.

Kingsley Market
In a decade of selling at farmers’ markets, Bear Earth Herbals founder Sierra Bigham said she often dreamed of the improvements she could make at the markets. Now she will have the opportunity to put those ideas into practice: Bigham, 32, and Jesy Greilick, 26, take over as new managers of Kingsley Market this year, with big ambitions to revamp the event and to make it a weekly event. destination for residents of Kingsley and surrounding communities.

Bigham, who has sold at Kingsley Market in the past, says the event was stuck in a frustrating cycle: a handful of vendors only attracted a handful of customers, making it difficult to attract more vendors, which made it difficult to attract more customers. Building a strong vendor list was the first step in revamping the event. “All my years in all the markets in the area have paid off there,” laughs Bigham. “Basically, I got a group of my friends to trust me. We started spreading the word and emailing local farmers and members of the Kingsley community.”

Bigham and Greilick (pictured together, left) plan to have at least 20 vendors at Kingsley Market this summer. They note that Brownson Memorial Park — where the event takes place every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. from June 1 to September 28 — could eventually accommodate double that number. The 2022 list so far includes well-known local vendors like Boss Mouse Cheese, Ken’s Fresh Fish and Covered Wagon Farms, as well as at least four members of the Kingsley community who are first-time vendors and farmers.” bringing a range of edibles,” Bigham says. She goes through the list of products that will be available this summer: vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy, fish, baked goods, canned goods, value-added products, greens, micro-vegetables, mushrooms and garlic, as well as a handful stalls selling handicrafts. .

Bigham and Greilick also want to make Kingsley Market a community event that attracts shoppers not just for the produce but also for the market experience itself. Kingsley Market will have live music every week this year, with artists ranging from a brass quintet to singer-songwriter Seth Bernard to Dr. Souza, a project by some former Steppin’ In It members. . Each week will have a theme with a corresponding speaker and a free community workshop; sample themes include pollinator week, farm animal week, and water week. Workshop topics will range from seed germination to cooking techniques such as canning, fermenting and pickling; the market will also offer a free herbal clinic once a month.

With Kingsley’s library and paddling pool nearby, as well as a new online brewery, Bigham and Greilick hope the market will be the center of a vibrant community atmosphere in the village this summer. “Kingsley is a growing community, and there are also so many communities connected to Kingsley that don’t have farmers’ markets,” Greilick notes. After returning from a Farmers’ Market conference in San Diego this spring — Bigham and Greilick were one of only three executive teams selected across the country to receive scholarships to attend — the duo were brimming with inspiration. for the future of the event. They are working to be able to accept SNAP benefits and offer other incentive programs for low-income customers, expand the list of providers, add more programming, and potentially host a smaller covered market out of season. Bigham and Greilick also hope to network with other market managers in the area and have a community emergency preparedness plan for access to food, such as in the event of a natural disaster.

“I feel like there are a lot of missed opportunities to build community in the markets,” says Bigham. “Sometimes it’s nice to go in and out, but people also like to come together. They want to see their friends, chat and connect. And that’s something I want to provide here. It’s about creating more of a community event, rather than just having a farmers market. »

Other farmer’s market news…
> Sara Hardy’s Downtown Farmers’ Market will return to Downtown Traverse City Lot B this year beginning Saturday, May 7 from 7:30 a.m. to noon. The Wednesday market, which takes place from 8 a.m. to noon, begins on June 1. Both markets run until October. Traverse City Downtown Development Authority (DDA) communications and outreach director Art Bukowski estimates the market will have more than 75 vendors on peak Saturdays this year. Online ordering, a new feature introduced during the pandemic, remains available weekly with local pickup. Bukowski says food trucks and shows are in the works this year, with more details to come. A word of warning for buyers: construction is expected to begin on the North Cass Street Bridge near Traverse Connect in mid to late summer, which will impact market access from the is. Access will still be available from Union Street, as well as the Front Street Alley pedestrian bridge, when construction begins.

> The Interlochen Farmer’s Market will also be back this year from Sunday 1 May. The event will run every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October at Interlochen Corners (US-31 and J. Maddy Parkway/M-137). “We are in a huge parking lot with easy access,” says organizer Hannelore Frederick. “Bring the kids, bring the dogs and go out and have a good time.” The market has about 60 vendors, half of whom are food vendors and the other half are artisans. Several new vendors will be on deck this year in addition to returning regulars, according to Frederick.

> The Township of East Bay is exploring the possibility of starting a Farmers’ Market, although Township Supervisor Beth Friend is unsure of an exact start date. Friend, who recently became a certified farmers market manager through MSU, says the township wanted to launch last year but ran into time constraints. “Unfortunately, we’re only busier this year!” she says. “So while I’d like to get it off the ground, we’ll see.” The township is also moving forward with the launch of a community garden. “The community garden, a farmers’ market, the food aid distribution done here every month is part of our little effort to help with food security and sustainability,” says Friend.

> Finally, The Village at Grand Traverse Commons will continue to host its weekly covered market in the Mercato Corridor until the end of April on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In May the market will move outdoors and take place every Monday afternoon from 2-6pm in the Piazza between Cottageview Drive and Red Drive. The Market – which offers farm-fresh eggs, meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, homemade breads, cookies, honey, preserves, maple syrup, and more. – will stay outdoors until the end of October before returning indoors in November.

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