New vendors, social media spur market success
Posted on 11/06/2022
Booths line the walkway at the Farmers' Market.The Farmers’ Market in 2022 proved to be a steady success with plenty of fresh produce, specialty foods, crafters and new vendors. A strong social media presence on Facebook and Instagram prompted regulars and new visitors to attend Thursday market days in high numbers from May 5 to Oct. 27.

An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 visitors attended each market day, according to Chamber Director Doug Wallace. Former Market Manager Char Watkins has a formula to gauge attendance by the number of vehicles parked, walkers and average visitor turn-over. At present, there’s plenty of parking, with 141 on-site parking spaces, extra parking at the Downs, and street parking on Fairbrook.

Four new vendors expanded the market variety: Le Petit Macron; Abigal Leigh, who creates nature-based cards; Nuritz Gluten-free; and Vera’s Kountry Kitchen. Next year, Wallace wants to bring back local chefs, who can do a food preparation using food from the market and then offer samples to guests.

In mid-August, a fresh offering of salmon by MI Great Lakes Fish Co. brought in “tons of people during a typically slow time for the market,” Wallace noted. At that time, the market was changing over from summer berries but not quite supplied with apples and fall vegetables.

The ending day, Oct. 27, was busier than normal despite cool temperatures.

“The market ended the way it started – it was packed,” said Wallace. Many farmers told him that the first day was three times better than they had done in the last seven years. That assessment could have been due a pent-up demand for returning to the new normal after two seasons of COVID-19. Or people may have discovered a newfound appreciation for the market, which is slated to move from its present location in the next few years.

Wallace envisions a more robust venue for market-goers at the former MacDonald Ford property, which is in the process of being purchased by the city for the new marketplace.

“People are excited to see that transition. We would like to see the changes that it can bring. I believe we will continue to see really good crowds. Our market offers fresh produce and unique art and household items to Northville and nearby communities. It attracts people of all ages,” he noted.

Once the new site becomes a reality, Wallace plans to put more programs in place. He envisions people walking over the bridge from the site to Hines Park, and having a picnic with food they bought at the market. He plans to have music from local performers and kid-friendly musicians.

“There’s a lot of interest from the community for events that combine music, food and being in a beautiful park setting that extends the market day,” Wallace said.

Photos by Liz Cezat.

Painted shed at Farmers' Market