Farmers’ markets are a way of life in our part of Michigan. It seems every town, no matter the size, has a market day at least once a week from Memorial Day until Labor Day. This is a marvelous way for local farmers to sell their produce to their neighbors. It’s also a wonderful way for us all to learn a little more about what grows well in our area and to get to know each other. In some cases, people are welcome to bring their dogs (well-behaved ones on leashes). It can be a real treat to watch our very friendly, white German Shepherd Dog (Chief) reacting to the squeals of delight and lavish attention from little children.
We’ve lived in the Brighton/Ann Arbor area for almost seven years and finally got the opportunity to go to the Ann Arbor farmers’ market. I had heard that Ann Arbor’s farmers’ market was “the best” in the area. We finally got an opportunity to check it out.
My initial impression was that there were a great number of sellers there. I was pleasantly surprised that there was a covering over the entire market. The flip side of that, though, can make it difficult to maneuver. I worried for those who had children in strollers. It also made getting to the vendors difficult. Twice, I was wanting to purchase cherries only to have someone slide in ahead of me and purchase the entire supply. (In my best ‘Soup Nazi’ voice)…no cherry pie for us.
The variety of produce and merchandise is good. It’s early in the season for Michigan, so most of the the vegetables hadn’t come in well yet. However, there were lots of flower vendors, craftspeople, bakers, and cheese/meat purveyors. One of the highlights was the pickle vendor! He had set up an awning right outside the main portion of the market, and was selling the famous (even made it onto the Food Network) McClure’s Pickles. Let me tell you something about those pickles – they’re AMAZING! He had two varieties there and we chose the crisp dills. The hot and spicy pickles were also excellent, but I figured that they would go with fewer things.
Other stand-out vendors included the maple products (syrup, candy, sugar) from Mason, Michigan, Zingermann’s cheeses, and a lady from Milan, Michigan who baked some outstanding doughnuts and fritters.
We will definitely go back to the Ann Arbor farmers’ market, but I doubt we’d make it our “regular” stop. Too much traffic, paying to park, and awfully crowded. It’s definitely worth all of the previous to make a special occasion, but for the beans and ‘maters, I think I’ll stick to the smaller, more laid-back markets of Brighton or Howell. (And, yes, I’ll be talking about both of them, soon!)