In Kerrytown, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market is a hub for local shopping

On a chilly Saturday morning, stalls filled with fresh produce, artisan bread, handmade jewelry and scented candles line the sidewalk in Kerrytown. Customers cling to their reusable grocery bags overflowing with goods as they catch up with the sellers. Children balance on tiptoe as they reach for the largest pumpkin. For 102 years, the historic Ann Arbor Farmers Market has served as a staple food for members of the Ann Arbor community and local farmers.

Every Wednesday and Saturday mornings, 120 vendors from various parts of Michigan and Ohio travel to set up their stalls and prepare for another busy day at Ann Arbor Farmers Market. During the day, the sellers replenish their depleted stocks from their trucks loaded with goods. From seasonal vegetables to apple cider donuts to warm falafel wraps, there is no shortage of variety on the market. This has been routine for some providers for 80 years. The unique relationship between local farmers and the Ann Arbor community has existed for decades through rain, sunshine, and even a global pandemic. While each vendor’s timeline in the market is different, one thing applies to all of them: the importance of buying locally and helping small businesses.

Ann Arbor Farmers Market has served hundreds of Michigandans and Ohioans opportunities. There may be only one person managing a booth in the market. But behind this person is a whole network of people who work together to get their wares on the table and into the hands of eager customers.

Each provider has their own personal experience in the market. Here are the stories of some dedicated regulars at Ann Arbor Farmers Market.

VogueBooge Candles’ Jeb Booger manages his Saturday morning booth at Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Allison Engkvist / Daily.

Jeb Booge, owner of VogueBooge Candles, has been at his booth every week since 2018.

From 2016, Booge began making biodegradable soy-based candles. According to Booge, soy candles allow for a more controlled scent. Customers are encouraged to return the vintage glass jars after the candles have burned in order to exchange them for a new candle at a cheaper price.

Booges candles are no ordinary candles.

“There’s no petrochemical product in it that you don’t want to breathe. As a craftsman, I like being able to really control the scent. You really have to cover up the petrochemical smell of paraffin with a paraffin candle. “

Raterman’s Jillian Stichler picks up a fresh pretzel for a customer at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market on Saturday morning. Allison Engkvist / Daily.

Right next to VogueBooge is Raterman, a German bakery in Ann Arbor. Baker Jillian Stichler has been on the market for almost a year. The bakery sells a wide range of sourdough breads and other snacks.

“My boss is very German, so everything is somehow inspired by it. We only sell sourdough, with the exception of our snack bars, which we make for gluten-free options for people. They are a pretty good breakfast. “

Every Friday, Stichler works in the bakery to prepare the twists and bag all the bread. Brightly early on Saturday morning, she helps set up the stand for another full day. There was no lack of excitement with Raterman. Customer after customer, everyone wanted to get their hands on a fresh twist.

If you are looking for a festive plant to liven up your home, the farmers market has plenty of options.

Tina Koski has been a resident seller on the market for 62 years. Every Wednesday and Saturday she presents her wide variety of herbs, seedlings, products and plants. Whether it’s a tiny succulent plant or a meter tall tropical plant, Koski’s stand adds a natural touch to the market.

Tina Koski will make her crops available for customers to buy at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market on Saturday morning. Allison Engkvist / Daily.

“In spring we make flowers, beds, and plant herbs. During the summer we started our (holiday plant arrangements) with vegetables and then from today (November 6th). “

Koski adds that she likes the farmers market and its people. Her family also opens a shop at the Royal Oak Farmers Market.

Many buyers get an appetite while in the market. Don’t worry, Ferial Rewoldt’s Mediterranean food stand serves hot falafel sandwiches, Turkish grape leaves, baklava and more.

“My place here is Mediterranean food, from spinach pie, which is Italian, to herb pizza, which is popular from Turkey to Egypt. We have Turkish grape leaves, the classic hummus and falafel sandwiches that are popular with students. “

Rewoldt has has been in the market for five years and has appreciated every moment of it. She values ​​all of the customer and friend interactions that she has with other vendors.

Ferial Rewoldt serves falafel wraps to shoppers at Ann Arbor Farmers Market on Saturday morning. Allison Engkvist / Daily.

While many vendors have been in the market for several years, few have lasted as long as Kapnick Orchards. Family owned and run Kapnick Orchards is the second oldest vendor at Ann Arbor Farmers Market and has been selling fruit and vegetables to residents and students for eighty years.

The stand is primarily a fruit stand, but sells all kinds of vegetables, from asparagus to green beans to sweet peas. They also have a full bakery and cider mill that makes bread, donuts, cookies and of course fresh cider.

“Sweet cherries, plums, apples, peaches, pears, sour cherries. As for fruit in the state of Michigan, we’re going to try to grow and sell it, ”says Jason Sutherland, one of Kapnick Orchards’ employees. “We also sell a lot of baked goods here. You have the healthy fruits and then maybe the not so healthy options, but you have to eat, you have to live. “

For many traders, the farmers’ market is more than just a sales market. It is an important community that affects hundreds of people and families.

“The farmers’ market is important to us because you don’t just support the local people. This range goes far beyond the people you meet here in the market, ”comments Sutherland. “We all have families and children, and it affects large parts of the community as well. The farmers’ market is of crucial importance for the preservation of our society in general. “

Jason Sutherland works at the Kapnick Orchards booth at Ann Arbor Farmers Market on Saturday morning. Allison Engkvist / Daily.

With every apple or candle bought at the farmers’ market, a greater contribution is made. Every purchase continues to support these small businesses and the families who support them.

So the next time you’re out of products or just bored on a Saturday morning, head downtown to check out the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.

Managing Photo Editor Allison Engkvist can be reached at [email protected]

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