Plainfield’s Farm Market was a nice new township event last year. This year it is a smashing success at a new location at 4411 Plainfield in the parking lot of Frontline Church. Old-timers will remember the site as the former location of Meijer offices and once the Meijer discount outlet.
According to Plainfield Township Clerk Paul Harvey, the market has far exceeded expectations and passed the goal of 50 vendors. “We first marked out 35 spots [for vendors]. Then had to
increase it to 55 and on Thursday, July 16, there were 67 vendors, with many selling out during the 2 to 7 p.m. market hours.
Harvey said last year’s market, located across from the township hall in a vacant lot, cost the township some $5,500 dollars, much of that for signs to advertise the market. A fence surrounding the lot and improvements to a bathroom in a township-owned building at the site were also put on the market’s tab. “It was in a nice, quaint place, but it was land-locked and there were concerns about safety with people crossing from the hall parking to the market,” Scott said.
This year the market will be in the black with the costs paid for by vendor booth fees, which were dropped by half in order to entice more vendors to attend. Along with market master Katie Karnes, Harvey said he attended seminars offered by the Michigan State University extension in the winter to learn more about managing farm markets. They also visited other successful markets before opening up this year. Harvey said the education has been interesting, and he learned about Department of Agriculture rules for markets and Department of Health rules.
The vendors are as pleased as the township officials with this year’s market. Gavin Orchards planted more vegetables than in past years in anticipation of sales at the venue. Jamie Williams of Meant to Bead is a retired hairdresser who began making her own glass beads two years ago. She loves the action of farm markets and likes talking with the people who visit her booth. “Every day is different, that’s what I love about it,” she said. On that blustery day she had to figure out how to keep the wind from blowing down her booth, but had her best sales of the season so far.
Merril Post from Post Farms had a good day selling red and green gooseberries and currants, among other items. Post said he began selling at farm markets at age 15 and before that helped his father with booths.
Sisters Megan and Leah George, age 10 and 12, were counting change back to a customer from their family booth. The youngsters said they had some sales and enjoyed working at the market.
Harvey said he anticipates the market will continue to grow and the lot has a whopping 600 parking spaces—virtually limitless room for growth. The township contacted Frontline Church about the possibility of using their location and the church officials were thrilled to partner with the township and have a booth of their own each week. At the market there is Dallas Deli with pulled pork to eat there or buy to take home, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and other food items, such as kettle corn that has a line of five or six at any time. There are also non-food sales, crafts, such as the beads, and plenty of people to meet. The market is each Thursday through October 15 from 2 to 7 p.m.