June 25, 2014 - By Meg Peters
Review Staff Writer
Although the first day of the Farmer's Market was momentarily rained out June 18, the spirit and camaraderie among vendors helped secure booths and goods before becoming drenched.
Market Manager Heather Muzzy reported 17 paying vendors were up and running for the first farmers market, two more than the previous year, with plans to further expand goods, services and activities.
The seven returning vendors included Frantz Honey, Love MI Seasons, Miller Pines & Savories (granola and cookies), certified organic farmers Raub-Rae (eggs and meat), Verace Pasta and Bigelow Berries.
New season-long vendors include the Great Harvest Bread Co., Autumns Rose Laundry Soap, Green Mitten Jam (and ketchup coming soon!), Bone Jour Bakery and Dog Bowl Risers with hand made dog treats, Dublin Farm Cheese offering chevre, brie and feta, and Kit's Garden.
A group of vendors will also sporadically pop into the market, including Z's Dipping & Sauces, I Heart Michigan, Jeni's Ugly Pies, Bald Mountain Mushrooms, and Fribbery selling tie-dye scarves and boxer shorts.
Local business Kae Kreation's constructed a wooden bell recycled from old pallets, which Muzzy will allow children to ring throughout the market every Wednesday until October 22 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.
"When we heard of the plan to expand the market, we knew we wanted to be part of it. Heather approached us with her ideas and we thought it would be a great way to support our hometown and the community which has been so supportive of us since we opened the bakery," Jim Westcott said, owner of Great Harvest Bread CO.
Westcott will be selling the favorites, including Dragon Bread and Extreme Cinnamon Swirl and several other treats.
Local entrepreneur Danielle Bellow will be selling hand made laundry soap every week too, and selected the LO Farmers Market "just to see if it works" and to provide extra income for her daughter Autumn.
Bellow currently operates her business out of her Lake Orion residence, and offers five-gallon laundry soap for $15 a jug, about as much as a two-gallon of detergent costs at the store, she said.
Her soap attracts "people who want to save money and people who want a little more of a natural way who don't want the dyes and such in their laundry," she said.
Bellow's recipe uses only five ingredients, including a scent. The main ingredients are boric acid and Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda. "It's made from the same soap that would have been made in the 1800s. Everything is all natural and mineral based."
Themes and activities
Each week vendors and nonprofit volunteers will participate in a weekly theme where different activities will be offered to families and shoppers.
Themes will be as follow: July 2 Picnics and BBQs; July 9 Fire, Police and Safety, July 16 Bicycles, July 23 Artistans, Crafts and Upcycling, July 30 Go Get Outdoors, August 6 Healthy Green and Living, August 13 Artisans, Crafts and Upcycling, August 20 Dog Days, with future themes to come.
Muzzy also qualified for an Oakland County Parks grant for the Go! Mobile program, and will offer a Go! Cache July 2 (modeled after the technology-based outdoor treasure hunt activity) and Go! Fish July 30.
An eight-week nutrition and fitness program will be offered starting July 2 with Chelise Sylva's course "Couch to 5k." Conversations with Sylva will begin at 5 p.m. July 2, July 23 and August 20 to help turn couch potatoes into 5k runners with runs departing from the farmers market along the Paint Creek Trail for eight weeks.
This year farmers' marketers can also purchase ready-to-eat food from healthy options food trucks at the market. The Mean Weenie offering gourmet toppings for hot dogs (including vegetarian dogs) will be on site July 2 and July 9, and the Shimmy Shack offering vegetarian foods including sweet potato fries will frequent the market as well.
"The downtown concert series begins July 9 at 7 p.m. so vendors will close at that time, so come early to get freshly prepared foods and bring a cooler and ice if you plan on staying," Muzzy said. "What other market can you think of that offers sweet potato fries?"
Muzzy is looking for other nonprofit organizations to participate in weekly activities, such as Basketball America who brought a volleyball net for the first market, and thanks season long sponsors Crittenton Hospital and University of Phoenix Detroit campus.
The Lake Orion Farmers Market is a rain or shine market and vendors will be prepared to stay open through most unruly weather.
Follow the Facebook page Downtown Lake Orion Farmers Market for up to date events, vendors and activity descriptions.