Farmers markets in Michigan’s Copper Country will have a new look and feel to them for the 2021 season thanks to more than $33,000 in grant funding from Portage Health Foundation (PHF).
“We’re really trying to create a more robust farmers market system within our area,” PHF Community Health Educator Meghan Jaszczak, RD, said during a February episode of the PHF Podcast. “We want to be a change agent.”
The grants will pay for new tables and tents, upgrade marketing efforts, provide a better experience for visitors with music and cooking demos, and aid in increasing vendors with fresh produce. This is the second year in a row PHF has funded farmers market improvements.
2021 Farmers Market Investments by PHF
Main Street Calumet Farmers Market ($14,966.60)
After incredible growth in 2020, the Main Street Calumet Farmers Market is off to a great start in 2021 with a record number of vendors applying to participate in the market. That was in part due to improved outreach and a training event hosted early this spring. The market will also be adding tents, tent weights, tables, chairs, an upgraded trailer and a generator for meat and fish providers to be able to increase their offerings. The market is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 300 block of 5th Street in downtown Calumet. The market enjoyed its opening day last week.
Hancock Tori and Farmers Market ($8,000)
This year the City of Hancock is blending the historic Tori Market with the newly formed outdoor Farmers Market with a once-a-week “Tori and Farmers Market” on Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at Quincy Green. The newly formed market will have all new supplies for vendors including tables, chairs and tents. They will also be receiving a new trailer to keep things organized. Market Manager Deb Mann completed a statewide training session this spring with funding from PHF. Maybe most importantly, this year the Hancock Tori and Farmers Market will be adding electronic benefits food assistance programs for SNAP and other programs when it welcomes customers starting June 17.
Downtown Houghton Farmers Market ($6,700)
The bustling Downtown Houghton Farmers Market is upping its game in 2021 with cooking demonstrations, food labels and live music during the market. The extra events should add to the overall experience for the market, and management will also be working on a new website over the summer to help promote it. The market started last week and is open every Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m. at 56 Huron Street in downtown Houghton.
Lake Linden Farmers Market ($3,692)
A mix of marketing and vendor resources will help improve offerings on the shore of Torch Lake as the Lake Linden Farmers Market is adding tents, table tent weights and tables. Each of those will offer a better experience for vendors, while radio ads and revamped printed materials will help the market attract more visitors on a weekly basis. This market gets started on Saturday, July 10 and will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday at the Village Park in Lake Linden.
Portage Health Foundation Food Initiative
The investments in area farmers markets fit perfectly into the Portage Health Foundation Food Initiative, which aims to first improve access to locally grown and healthful foods within our community. Second, it provides educational resources and tools to promote sustainable changes to eating and lifestyle habits for all. Learn more about the Portage Health Food Initiative at phfgive.org/food.
If you’re heading to the markets, be sure to stop by the event organizer’s table to pick up Keweenaw Grown Foods printed materials from Portage Health Foundation that will help you better understand the health benefits of, and how to cook, the produce you are picking up. There are also recipe cards that focus on items you’ll find at area local farmers markets.
If cooking intimidates you, Portage Health Foundation has an answer. The Foundation has worked with the Portage Lake District Library to make a web-based cooking show called Biblio Bistro. Each episode highlights one of the recipes mentioned above and lays out how to cook it in simple terms anyone can replicate with basic cooking tools. A full archive of that can be found at pldl.org/biblio-bistro. New episodes are released the last Saturday of every month.
To learn more about the Farmers Markets of the Western Upper Peninsula, check out the Farmers Market guide put together by the Western U.P. Food Systems Collaborative.