By Monica Reida, Staff Writer
It’s a rainy Thursday in April and people are entering the Bath Community Center for the farmers market. In a corner near the door sits a volunteer band, present at every market, and throughout the community center are tables where vendors have set up items including baked goods, eggs and produce.
The Bath Farmers Market started in July 2010 and occurs every Thursday from 3-6 p.m. year-round. From the first Thursday in November until the last Thursday in April it is held in the Bath Community Center. Market Manager Ruby Grimes said the farmers market will move to James Couzens Park on May 2 where the market will run until October 31.
Laughing Crane Farms, a vendor at every farmers market, sells baked goods and produce and has been a present fixture since the start of the market. Jeff Garrity runs Laughing Crane Farms of Bath with his wife Sue, and Garrity’s mother Shirley.
Garritty was also on a taskforce to develop the market. He said, “We’ve got a rural character to the community. It’s nice to have farmers around.”
Garritty said that buying food from a farmers market is healthier and the purchases help the farmers stay in business.
Jato Davis of Jato’s Produce is another vendor who sells year-round at the market. Davis sells eggs from “free-range happy chickens,” produce in the summer, and baked goods in the winter. Although Davis enjoys selling the items she produces, she also appreciates the community atmosphere of the farmers market.
“I like meeting all the people,” Davis said. “I like having a product I can be proud of.”
Grimes said the communal aspect of the farmers market has been something that has drawn people to the market.
“I think for some people it’s a community gathering place,” Grimes said.
The farmers market being year-round has also led to vendors using unique methods to grow produce year-round. Both Garritty and Adam Montri of Ten Hens Farm use hoophouses, a polyurethane semi-circle that encloses the plants and gives an interior temperatures warmer than outside, allowing the plants to grow when a typical Michigan winter is occurring.
Montri, who only sells produce at the time, said he sold out of produce in January and has been trying to add production capacity every year for the past three years.
Montri is a season extension outreach specialist for the Michigan State University Department of Horticulture and said he likes the personal connection at the farmers market.
The Bath Farmers Market accepts donations to help keep the market running.