Meridian farmers market thriving through challenges

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By Justin Polk
Meridian Times staff writer

The Meridian Township farmers market in the Central Park Pavilion, now has 40 years of experience and allows people to get fresh Michigan made products. The market is a food and plant based farmers market that attracts between 20-25 vendors on Wednesdays and 40-45 vendors on Saturday. It is located next to the municipal building on Marsh Road.

“On Saturdays, we have to place some of our vendors near the historical park” said Christine Miller, Meridian Township farmers market manager.

Christine, who is entering her sixth season as farmers market manager, explained that the market allows people on Bridge cards to come and pay using that method. Yet, she is afraid that if the federal government shutdown continues, there is a possibility that the market may take a hit.

“There is not an issue this month with the Bridge cards,” said Miller. “But, if the shutdown lasts longer than this month, people may not get their Bridge card payments which will cost us some business.”

Dan McMaster of Mac’s Market, out of Laingsburg, Mich, has been a vendor for 20 years and understands that business could be effected with the government shutdown.

“The market here participates in the EBT program, product fresh and farm fresh program.” Said McMaster. “If people rely on those programs and cannot get funding, it can be an issue.”

With the market being a food and plant based market, vendors sell a variety of products. Marjorie Johns of Stone Cloud Gardens Ltd. out of St. Johns, MI is one of the few who sells honey. While the government shutdown does not affect her business directly, she worries about her bees.

“I expect to lose about half of my bees over the winter season.” Said Johns. “Malnutrition and verola mites are still going to affect my bees even though I am relatively small.”

Johns always tries to leave enough honey in her hives to avoid malnutrition but knows that the verola mites are still a big issue.

“Even though I am not certified organic,” explained Johns. “I do not use pesticides. Even though that is how to get rid of verola mites, the pesticide still harms the bees.”

There are hard times now, Miller said she feels that the market continue to thrive through the winter.

“We have a winter market that was asked by our members via a survey.” Said Miller. “This is something that helps keep our markets name circulating around the community.”

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