Holt Farmers Market hosting monthly winter markets

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By Sophie Smith
Holt Journal staff writer

Farm fresh, in the winter?

The Holt Farmers Market at 2150 Cedar St. is holding Saturday markets once a month through the winter.

Typically a summer market, the Holt Farmers Market has been providing a variety of fresh products from local vendors to the community every Saturday from May until November.

According to market manager Chuck Grinnell, this upcoming May will mark the market’s seventh year.

Due to large success in the summer months, Grinnell said the idea of hosting a few opportunities in the winter would be a good thought as well. The markets will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“It’s our first winter giving the Saturday markets a go,” said Grinnell. “So far they’ve gone very well.”

Grinnell said most vendors who signed up are his regular vendors through the normal season, also.

“We have picked up a couple of extras that were elsewhere, and they chose to come to us because we’re an indoor facility,” said Grinnell.

The indoor building makes for a convenient market for both vendors and shoppers, especially in Michigan weather.

“As a vendor, I like that the market is indoors where I don’t have to deal with snow, rain, wind or sunburn,” said Corinne Carpenter of Break O’ Day Farm, a vendor at the market since 2012.

Carpenter said that after being a shopper at the Holt Farmers Market for a few years, she enjoyed it so much and decided to jump aboard and be a vendor.

“I had great success at the market, our meat is already sold out until June,” said Carpenter. “Holt is definitely a friendly market to vendor at – all shoppers are welcomed with free samples and a community atmosphere.”

To become a vendor, there is an application process. The application is reviewed by Grinnell and the market board.

“If we like what we see after, they come in to the market and if they fit, they have a trial period and we see how they do,” said Grinnell. “We do this to make sure our vendors are a good fit for our market and that’s very important to us.”

To get the word out to Holt residents and surrounding communities, the Holt Farmers Market uses different forms of social media.

Rob Kates, social media coordinator for the market, controls both the Facebook and Twitter accounts and posts promotional statuses and tweets to draw in customers.

“A (market) volunteer manages our blog that we have as another form of connecting with our shoppers,” said Kates. “We also use some print media in the local news, but no TV or radio.”

Social media is a great help in getting the word out about the market, especially in winter. Simple word of mouth helps residents hear of what’s going on, too.

Holt resident and Michigan State University student Moriah Lynn said she heard from a family friend about the winter markets.

“I go to the market almost every Saturday in the summer and love the events and entertainment,” said Lynn. “I was so excited to hear about the new winter dates.”

Lynn said her family’s favorite product to buy at the market is Michigan maple syrup sold by a business named Country Products.

“The atmosphere of the market is always so great, which is something else I love about visiting,” said Lynn. “There’s people of all ages, everyone is friendly, and it’s a great place to shop for a variety of things.”

In summer, Grinnell said, the Holt Farmers Market has some sort of event or entertainment every Saturday. A popular attraction are the outdoor vendors like kettle corn and hot dogs that draw people in who are passing by.

Grinnell said there have been around 25 vendors present at the winter markets this  season, with a large amount of products.

“We have a pretty good variety of vendors. Some popular ones are those who provide beef, chicken and eggs,” said Grinnell.

Because it’s winter, there are not a lot of fresh produce options on the vendors’ tables such as fruits and veggies, but there are a few exceptions.

“A couple of farmers actually grow some winter greens in greenhouses,” said Grinnell. “We also have some ethnic bakeries come here. A favorite of mine is a gal from Switzerland that sells baked goods.”

Grinnell said there’s a lot of uniqueness and variety when it comes to the winter markets.

The Holt Farmers Market has just received a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and they now have a demonstration kitchen right at the market.

“We just did our first cooking demonstration a few Saturdays ago at a winter market and we’re now in the process for setting things up for summer,” said Grinnell. “These will be the main events – everything from demonstrations to nutrition education. It’ll be a great asset to the market.”

Hours of Operation

Summer Saturday Markets

May 4 – Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Winter Saturday Markets

Dec. 14, Jan. 11, Feb. 8, Mar. 8 and April 12 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

2150 Cedar St. Holt, MI

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