The Dexter Farmers’ Market opened Saturday to good weather and a healthy crowd attending the market on one of the finest weather days of the season so far.
The number of customers patronizing the Saturday market was the highest its ever been in 2014, an average of 300 customers in the early months and an average of 500 customers each week during produce time starting in July.
Vendors reported it was the best season they’ve had money wise. According to Jane Fink, a vendor and coordinator of the KIDZ BIDZ initiative, the combination of initiatives and the growing popularity of the location are key reasons for the market’s growing popularity.
“Warrior Park is becoming the scene of more and more organized activities and we are making stronger links with activities at the library,” said Fink. “More activities in the area enhance our market and make it a place to go.”
Fink sites such initiatives as KIDZ BIDZ, which gives kids ages 6 to 18 a chance to sell something at the market that they’ve grown, produced or made, weekly music performances, and more organized outreach to nonprofits in the area to set up booths, as helping to draw more people to the market.
“This year is our tenth anniversary,” said Brenda Tuscano, manager of the Dexter Farmers’ Market. “The market started out with just a handful of vendors and now we have grown into a flourishing destination for area residents and visitors to shop for local products.”
Even before the existing farmers’ market opened, a pavilion was built nearby on Alpine Street in 1968 where a farmers’ market was held. The market featured produce, jams and jellies, baked goods, ceramics, antiques and artwork.
From 2002-2004, the farmers’ market relocated to the parking lot of the Dexter Knights of Columbus on Dexter-Chelsea Road. The number of vendors then ranged between 8 and 15.
In 2004, the Village of Dexter and the Downtown Development Authority got together to redesign Alpine Street and the existing pavilion was built. The market opened there on May 6, 2006.
The tenth season market days are Saturdays at 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., with Tuesday market hours being 2 to 6 p.m. for those who would rather get their locally grown produce and goods during the week.
Hotel Hickman biscuits and gravy were offered to the first ten customers who showed up this Saturday.
In addition, children received a free packet of pumpkin seeds which they can plant and bring back when they’re fully grown pumpkins on October 24. Those pumpkins will be weighed in on that market day.