By Madeline Carino
Meridian Times staff writer
Customers gathered in the Meridian Mall on Saturday, Feb. 15, for their weekend shopping. But instead of buying from big franchises, they stuck to local businesses during Meridian’s Winter Farmers Market.
The Winter Farmers Market takes place on the first and third Saturdays of the month from December to April. Tables are set up side by side throughout the JCPenney corridor. About 20-30 local vendors contribute to the market, attracting buyers with their handmade crafts, fresh grown produce and original dessert recipes.
“Today is a good day,” said Jayne Goeddeke, a local shopper. “People are getting social with the vendors and gaining information about different products and it seems like it’s a really good event for everyone that’s involved.”
One table belonged to Grandma’s Secret Peanut Brittle. Owner Jan Bayer makes an assortment of peanut brittles and was offering free samples. The original recipe, created by her grandmother, was peanut. Today she’s expanded to other nuts such as pistachio, pecans, cashews and more. She also sells her brittle in a gourmet dark chocolate coating. Bayer said that grandmother’s peanut brittle is still a best seller.
Further down the line, Titus Farms was selling produce. Rebecca Titus, Titus Farms’ greenhouse manager, said the Farmers Market is mutually beneficial between local business and the Meridian Mall.
“…To bring people into a mall where stores are moving around (and undergoing) construction is always great.”
Titus Farms was selling storage vegetables grown last summer as well as fresh vegetables from this season. Titus said it’s important for local families to have access to fresh food in the winter. The farm appreciates the warm facility to sell its products. It has been participating in the Farmers Market for three years.
“Anything Titus Farms has available I like to get my hands on,” said Goeddeke. “I hope that people start recognizing that a lot of Michigan farms, that even though it’s winter, can be operating if they have enough support.”