GAYLORD — Farmers’ markets are becoming economic and community hubs in cities and towns across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The downtown Gaylord Farmer’s Market was scheduled to open May 28 at the Court Avenue Pavilion. It will operate from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through October, according to market manager Mike Burzynski.
Wednesday markets will come later this summer, he added.
About 20 vendors are currently lined up for the Gaylord market.
“I want people to know that vendors come here to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy locally grown and raised produce,” Burzynski said. “Obviously some of the vendors will be from outside (Gaylord County and Otsego) but the majority are local.”
After:The Farmers Market will reopen on Saturday with a tribute to Duffield
The theme for the opening of the market was maple and honey. Baked goods and other items made with maple and honey or with maple were featured.
In addition to produce, Burzynski said the market will include new items like hot corn as well as poultry, meat products and even flower arrangements.
“We want to increase the options available to buyers,” Burzynski said.
Some of the vendors have been involved in farmers’ markets for more than 40 years “so they bring a wealth of experience” to Gaylord Market, Burzynski noted.
Burzynski encourages nonprofits to come into the market and fundraise.
“They don’t have to pay big fees,” he said. “We made it reasonable for (nonprofits and vendors) to be here.”
Burzynski hopes he can bring a seller of fresh fish to the market and he is looking for a fruit grower.
“It’s difficult for fruit growers because in some cases they just don’t have the staff,” he said.
Bobby McNamara of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), which leases the lodge to Burzynski, said the farmers’ market is key to bringing people downtown in the summer.
“A lot of communities have a market, and I think residents and visitors almost expect them to have somewhere to pick up local produce. Anything we can do to get people downtown is It’s also important for local farmers who need an outlet to sell their crops,” McNamara said.
Farmers’ markets offer small farmers and businesses the opportunity to sell their produce directly to the consumer and help meet the demand for locally produced food. According to the Department of Agriculture, being able to market quickly and directly to the consumer provides farmers with significant income opportunities without the added costs of shipping, storage and inventory control.