CADILLAC — National Farmers Market week starts Monday, and local markets are gearing up to celebrate with their communities.
The Cadillac Farmers Market is currently in the process of becoming an official member of the Michigan Farmers Market Association, a statewide supporter and promoter for National Farmers Market Week.
Market Manager and part owner of the Cadillac Farmers Market, LLC Mary Galvanek said they’re working to join the association to connect with other markets across the state, and bring local awareness to Cadillac’s market.
“It gets our name out there across the entire state, and maybe even the region or the northwest,” she said. “And, we get to reach a lot more people and let them know about what we have going on.”
There is always something new at Cadillac’s twice-weekly market, whether it be kids activities, live music or programming from an area nonprofit, but Galvanek said they have a few special additions for the week of Aug. 7-13.
Markets often close down as grow season comes to an end, and it can be difficult for people to get their hands on fresh produce. Galvanek said canning can be a major asset for those looking to make their locally grown foods last. She’s hoping to add a few educational opportunities into next week’s market programming, so the public can learn more about how to can and where to get canning supplies.
Michigan State University Extension Coordinator Kate King will also be paying a visit to market to share information on 4-H and the Northern District Fair with shoppers.
On Tuesday, Aug. 9, Galvanek said the market will be hosting a local healer who uses drums to balance others’ energy. Kids activities will also be available Tuesday and Friday, Aug. 12. The market is located at the Cadillac Farmers Market pavilion near City Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Right now, our sponsors are just kind of gathering what exactly they can do and what supplies they have to donate, and we’re putting it all together,” Galvanek said. “So we’re really excited, and it should be a great time.”
The Evart Farmers Market will be running business as usual, but Market Manager Angela Hunter said she will be participating in the celebration by offering some temporary tattoos and activities for kids on Saturday, Aug. 13. The market can be found on Main Street in downtown Evart from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Evart’s market has been a member of the Michigan Farmers Market Association for more than 12 years, and Hunter said the connection has been a great resource for promotion, and receiving any extra help with operations.
“They reach out and will give us any kind of help that we need,” she said. “We get to learn different things all the time, but at the end of each year, we all get together, and we go over our past year of marketing and do some brainstorming.”
As Market Manager, Hunter’s main goal is to bring in foot traffic for local farmers and artisans. She said having a designated Farmers Market Week is a great way to highlight local sellers and remind community members that fresh food is better.
Grow season is in full swing for Michigan farmers, and shoppers can find a variety of foods, including peaches, blueberries, corn and mushrooms, at both the Cadillac Farmers Market and Evart Farmers Market.
Michigan Farmers Market Association Communications Manager Hailey Lamb said National Farmers Market week is a great way for Michiganders to get out and get familiar with their market, if they haven’t already.
Lamb said farmers markets have become increasingly popular over the last decade, and they’re still continuing to grow. In 2001, MiFMA estimated that there were about 90 markets in operation across the state. Today, there are around 270.
Markets can be a great way for anyone to fill their fridge, but Lamb said they can be especially beneficial for those receiving assistance from food assistance benefits like SNAP and EBT. She said seniors on a fixed income can use farmers markets to maximize their budgets as well. Aside from their money-saving value, Lamb said farmers markets can also be a place to foster community connection.
“The last few years, grocery shopping in a supermarket looks a little bit different. It’s just all about coming in, getting out, getting what you need,” she said. “When you go to the farmers market, there’s food that’s fresher and was grown in your neighborhood, but you also get to know your neighbors.”
National Farmers Market Week starts Aug. 7 and ends Aug. 13. If people aren’t sure how to find their local market, Lamb said they can use the market search function offered on the MiFMA website.