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Market marks summer start

Steve Sanger tries some of Joe Sansonetti’s award winning mustard. (click for larger version)
June 23, 2010 - The parking lot was packed behind Clarkston Mills Mall, Saturday, as people from all over enjoyed the start of summer with Clarkston Farmers' Market.

"Today we have about 30 vendors, which is really good for this part of the season because there isn't a lot that's ready in Michigan now," said Market Manager Anissa Howard on Saturday.

Vendors sold fresh cut flowers and potted plants, strawberries, garlic tops, homemade sauces and noodles, Alpaca and Llama fibers, organic coffee eggs, and other items. The market also hosted professional photographers and a masseuse.

"An orchard came and they wanted to come back and do cider slushies, and in the cold months they'll bring hot cider and drinks," Howard said.

Market volunteer Joe Wauldron said they started off last year with around 12 vendors and had maxed out the summer with 45.

"Last year at the beginning of the market we tried to do a little flower show. It didn't excite anybody, so this year we just tried to just throw it out there and see what happens. Look what happened," he said. "We got a good, good turnout."

The market is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

Wauldron said they would have over 500 people come through the market, which is good for opening day. The average is around 1,200-1,500, but they have had a high of 2,000.

"If anyone wants to see what the market is like, we're running a CPAC PSA (Clarkston Public Access Center Public Service Announcement) on channel 10 and 20," he said. "It's short blurb about the market itself from last year.

Howard also said the "Radio Flyer" wagons are for shoppers to use especially when heavier items such as watermelons and cantaloupes come in. She also said dogs are allowed in the market, but farmers have asked the dogs not be brought in the booths or allowed near the food.

Wauldron noted it's a political season, too, but they are asking politicians to keep to the parking lot.

"If people want to come in and do their bit with their political signs and stuff like that they need to be off in the parking lot some place passing out the literature," he said. "They cannot come into the market trying to support themselves for votes."

At last year's market, they also collected over 430 bicycles to send to Ghana.

"They all got into that big shipping container and they made it to Ghana at the end of February," Howard said. "They went to six different villages and really provided farmers all kinds of access to their fields on Ghana, and also medical workers to be able to go back and forth."

Photos will be up on their new website, which they're hoping to redo soon, so they can put up farmer's profiles with pictures. This will provide shoppers with a list of who will be at the market.

Howard said she feels great the market is in its sixth season.

"I think it's difficult to run the market. All of us have other full-time jobs or other commitments in our lives, but we seem to get a lot of really good feedback. We see it when we get all the new people signing up and the people are returning each year," she said. "It's a good indication it's working. It feels good down here and we keep returning. We have a great core, really solid core of volunteers. We're always looking for people but we have a really solid core."

To volunteer, e-mail the market at info@clarkstonfarmersmarket.org or e-mail Joe Wauldron at joe3204@comcast.net. For more information, call 248-821-4769 or visit www.clarkstonfarmersmarket.org.

"There are people to thank like the Bob and Peggy Roth (Clarkston Mills owners ) who donate this property for us to use once a week during the summer time," Howard said. "That's really great and gives the farmers' market a home."

The 2010 season opened July 19 and runs through Oct. 9.

The market is closed July 3 for Fourth of July celebrations, and Sept. 18 for Historical Society's Art in the Village.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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