Look for a festive, safe Farmington Farmers Market opener

Coming off a safe and record-breaking year, the Farmington Farmers Market will host a season opening celebration May 8 at the Walter E. Sundquist Pavilion and Riley Park in downtown Farmington.

Staying COVID-safe

The road to another six months of “Saturday life in a small Michigan town” has not been easy, market manager Walt Gajewski said. Organizing still includes COVID-19 safety measures, although guidelines have relaxed a bit with greater vaccine distribution.

“We have lost sleep over what is the best way to open the market while keeping everyone safe,” he said. “We really work hard to understand and apply the latest protocols to make sure our customers are feeling as safe as they were last year.”

Farmington Farmers Market Market Street
Moving to Market Street provides additional space for social distancing during the Farmington Farmers Market.

That means requiring masks, at least initially. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still recommends masks in crowded settings like the market. Volunteer Peggy Castine said market-goers will see posters asking them to help the market stay safe and open.

Volunteers will have masks on hand, and the market will continue pre-ordering and curbside pickup for those who aren’t ready to brave the crowds. Gajewski said he’ll keep a close eye on guidelines throughout the season and make adjustments as needed.

(Find tips for staying safe here: farmingtonfarmersmarket.com/COVID-19-Updates/Staying-safe-at-the-market.aspx.)

Opening day lineup

The 28th opening day will look more lively than last year’s, Gajewski said, with a full Farmington High drum line and American Legion color guard. Farmington area resident and WDIV-TV meteorologist Paul Gross serves as emcee for this line-up:

  • 8:55 a.m. Groves-Walker American Legion Post Color Guard and Farmington High Drumline.
  • 9 a.m. National Anthem performed by Andrew Neer, composer, orchestral conductor, and University of Michigan doctoral student; speakers Mayor Sara Bowman, Robb Harper of edible WOW magazine, CARES of Farmington Hills director Todd Lipa, and Friend of the Market volunteer Henry Francis; Miss Farmington Emma Hahn rings the market bell.
  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Music at the Market with Fox & The Fiddle.

Gajewski expects a full complement of vendors and said the footprint will expand again to Market Street (in front of Starbucks). Among them will be a knife sharpener, who can tend to knives and gardening tools while you shop.

Farmers say they’re running ahead of schedule, so expect to see plenty of produce, Gajewski added.

Farmington Farmers Market bag
You can “Turnip the Beet” with a market bag by presenting $20 in market-day receipts from downtown Farmington businesses.

‘Here to keep you healthy’

Also returning:

  • The weekly market basket give-away. Sign up at the brand new information tent for a chance to win bounty from market vendors, valued at up to $125.
  • Market bag give-away. Collect $20 in receipts from downtown merchants and exchange them for a reusable, jute bag. New this year: You must make purchases on market Saturdays.
  • Weekly Walkabouts. Stroll 1-1.5 miles with a group of walkers and special guests. Learn about Farmington and its history while getting some exercise. Walks start at 10 a.m., from the information tent.

Also at the information tent, Castine said, pick up a weekly market recipe created by market volunteer Julie Stevens. She will incorporate items you can buy at the market and neighboring Fresh Thyme Farmers Market.

“It’s another fun thing to do at the market, where you can learn and experience healthy alternatives,” Castine said.

Gajewski said the market launched a new tag line last year: “We’re here to keep you healthy.”

“That’s our message to the community again on May 8,” he said. “This market is here to keep you healthy, and we’re going to find new, fun, delicious, nutritious ways to do that, while getting fit.”

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