I’ve had a few conversations lately about the idea of a local farmer’s market here on the Old Mission Peninsula, and I’m curious what you all think about the idea. Imagine going to a spot here in our local community and buying fresh tomatoes, maple syrup, cherries and flowers.
Yes, there’s the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market in Traverse City. They not only do an amazing job each summer, but they really stepped up during the pandemic, pivoting to online sales to ensure that both customers and farmers had a way to buy and sell fresh produce. (By the way, they are opening for in-person sales this Saturday, June 13, with social distancing measures in place, as noted in this Ticker story. They are also continuing the virtual farmer’s market.)
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While I know there are OMP farmers who sell their produce at the Downtown Farmer’s Market, I’ve always thought we needed our own farmer’s market here on the OMP. Here are five reasons why:
- Support OMP Farmers. An OMP farmer’s market would help support the farmers right here in our own community. Yes, we love all farmers, but especially our OMP farmers. A farmer’s market would not only help to support our local farmers, but also ensure that we will always have an agricultural community here on the OMP.
- Stock Up With Local Produce. It would be a great way to stock up on large amounts of local produce for canning and freezing. And let’s face it, buying local gets more important with each passing year. Knowing where your produce comes from and who grows it is essential in this day and age.
- See Friends and Neighbors. It would be fun to catch up with friends and neighbors while you’re shopping for local fresh produce.
- Avoid Crowds. While I love the Downtown Farmer’s Market, it’s often crowded – which is a good thing for the farmers! Still, I’ve found myself avoiding it for that reason. (Although, as The Ticker story mentions, right now they are currently limiting customers to 300 at a time for social distancing reasons.)
- Space to Park. Parking is often a problem with the Downtown Farmer’s Market. It can be tough to find a spot nearby so you don’t have to haul your purchases a ways to get back to your car.
Sure, we have a variety of lovely farm stands here on the OMP, and I love promoting them here on the Gazette. I also buy lots of fresh produce from them. But it would also be great to have a space where all our local farmers could gather on a certain day, and all the residents could buy from them collectively.
I’m curious what the farmers think of this idea. Does this seem like a good idea? Or would it mean lots of extra work for you when you’re already pressed for time during the growing season?
I know the folks at Old Mission Peninsula School organized a Friday farmer’s market a couple of years ago, so maybe someone could take that concept and run with it. The idea has also come up at the Master Plan Committee meetings, perhaps holding a weekly farmer’s market at Bowers Harbor Park or another township property. So the idea is definitely swirling around out there.
Also, I bet if someone spearheaded something for the OMP like what they’re doing in town – having people order things ahead of time from various farmers – people out here would probably love that.
Thoughts? Would you support a local OMP farmer’s market? Why or why not?