Ann Arbor Area Community News
For most people, a trip to the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market is a Saturday (or Wednesday) morning ritual. A place to pick up local produce, crafts, or baked goods and meet up with neighbors, friends, and relatives. It inspires food writing, poetry, and cooking classes. It even has a MySpace page. If all goes well, the Market will soon be the site of a large solar project. More and more vendors want to participate and on summer Saturdays the Market spills out along the sidewalk extensions. It seems that everyone loves the Farmer’s Market.
But is success spoiling the Market?
A few years ago, plans to expand the site were met with a storm of criticism from many of the vendors and eventually the plans were tabled. The Market Manager left and a new Manager was hired. Rumors began flying about unhappy vendors, preferential treatment, and “resold” produce from big box stores and baked goods from grocery stores resold as homemade. City Council meetings and Market Commission meetings are often contentious. Now there are competing blogs discussing the good and bad aspects; videos extolling the virtues and vices ; and an interesting discussion on localharvest.com.
Unfortunately, it is hard to find out if there is truth to the rumors or if it is all just sour grapes from vendors who aren’t on the preferred list (probably some of both). The City Market Commission is in flux and the Farmer’s Market web site has disappointingly little information.
Fortunately, many of the vendors themselves have good informational web sites so everyone can do their own research. Even though there are many changes that could and probably should be made, it is still the place to be on Saturday mornings, especially this time of year.
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