Beautiful Beginning for Birmingham Farmers Market Season

essentialTOPtempBeautiful Beginning for Judy_Palmer30yearsBirmingham Farmers Market Season

(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 7, 2015)

 

“It’s a beautiful day to enjoy the weather,” said Stacey Conover of West Bloomfield as she and her family perused the booths of vendors at the opening day of the Birmingham Farmers Market. “We’ve picked up some local honey to help with our seasonal allergies. And the kids have been talking to all the farmers, learning to say thank you and interact with people.”

CFSEM-123-OaklandCounty115-digital-ad_v2Little ones Caden and Kellan, along with parents Stacey and Scott, listened eagerly as Mario Arredondo, creator of Juanita’s Salsa, told them about his locally-made product. “Juanita is my mother,” the man said. “Maybe one day you can make something that you are proud of and name it after your mother too,” he said. He told the kids about how he worked for years in a children’s hospital before his boss, who he would bring home made salsa too, convinced him to start packaging and selling it. Now the Allen Park based business is flourishing and he is able to sell salsa full time.

The zesty tomato and spice concoction appealed to the Conovers both because of the personal aspect of meeting the maker, but also because it is just plain good. “We’re from Texas so we’re serious about salsa. This is the real deal,” Stacey said.sidebar016grow

Other vendors shared their pride as well. Dianne Stewart of Troy runs Three Chicks and a Coup, where she raises chickens on organic food and sells the eggs for $7-10 a dozen. The eggs are available at the Roya Oak Farmers Market on Saturdays and the Birmingham one on Sundays. Plus there is a delivery service for people and businesses who want to buy in bulk. “This is a women-owned business with a lot of care to get the best eggs possible. There is a difference between farm eggs and eggs you buy in a store. You’ll notice nice rich orange yolks and a better taste,” she said.

Joe Wujclak is a senior at Seaholm High School. For him volunteering at the Birmingham Farmers Market is a great way to earn community service hours for National Honor Society. “I Candlewickshop_May2014picked this because it’s a nice, relaxing day and I get to meet lots of people,” he said. Wujclak spent the day helping vendors like Ulinck Farms from Armada keep their plants well-watered.

Though it may be several weeks before the market fills with fruits and veggies, there are plenty of delicious things to enjoy, including locally-raised meats, handmade pierogis and pasta, locally roasted coffee, and fresh-squeezed lemonaide. There are also crafts for the kids, live musicians, people playing games, those enjoying the river, and items for the home and garden.

There is even an advice stand, manned by the Master Gardeners of MSU extension. On Sunday Kent Klepachek of Royal Oak stopped by to ask Vanessa Schultz and Dani Connolly about what vegetables he can plant in the newly dirt-filled area of his party shady backyard. As part of their community service, Master Gardeners are there to give answers.nicholas-schrock-allstate

“It’s still too early to plant,” Connolly said. “It seems nice now but this is unseasonably warm weather. You need to wait until Mothers’ Day or later. You could start with some plants that like cooler weather, like lettuces or radishes. Or start your hot weather plants indoors, like your tomatoes and your peppers.”

MSU Extension’s Master Gardener program has an office in Pontiac and information online for people with questions.

“Sometimes people will bring in leaves, or insects they’ve got in a jar and ask for our help figuring out what they are,” Schultz said. “A lot of times you start looking around on the internet and you get all kinds of options, and there is a lot of misinformation. Being Master Gardeners we’re always learning, taking classes to hold our certification. And we are here to help.”

The Birmingham Farmers Market is held every Sunday, May 3 thru October 18, 9am – 2pm at Public Parking Lot 6 on the east side of N. Old Woodward (across from Salvatore Scallopini Restaurant and Booth Park). Learn more at http://www.birminghamfarmersmarket.org/.

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