When Michele Fecht returned to shop at the Northville Farmers’ Market after COVID-19 delayed the first market of the season, she noticed that the parking lots and the booths were still full of people eager to buy produce. Because of this, she doesn’t think the recent pandemic will affect the longevity of the farmers’ market.
“I think the market is a mainstay,” Fecht said. “People really value the market, and it’s such an asset to our community.”
The Northville farmers’ market is held every Thursday from May to October every year. The market is located in a private parking lot owned by Northville Downs, which is at the corner of Seven Mile Road and Sheldon Road.
Lindsey Butzin, an events manager for the Northville Chamber of Commerce, said the first Northville farmers’ market dates back to around 1920. Because of that history and tradition, she said it is an easy event to run.
“It is an event that has been going on for years, so it has been perfected,” Butzin said. “There’s not a whole lot of switch-ups.”
Vendors from all over the state make the long drive to Northville to take part in this market. However, Butzin said that the vendor list changed due to COVID-19, only vendors selling essential items were allowed.
David Grothause, a cheese vendor, still makes the two-hour drive to Northville from Grand Rapids every Thursday despite the pandemic.
“Driving is the easy part,” Grothause said.
Why are vendors like Grothause so eager to make the drive to Northville’s farmers’ market? He and Abbi Marsh a Thursday market is not a typical opportunity that no other market in the area offers, because most markets are held on weekends.
It is a long day for vendors at the Northville farmers’ market because it is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Especially for a vendor like Adam Prielipp, a vendor for Mark Prielipp Greenhouse and Mohr, who said he has been working 40-hour weeks since he was 12.
“The Northville farmers’ market is a tough market,” Prielipp said. “It is a long day and it takes a lot out of you. I probably go to bed at 8 p.m. and then get up for work the next day.”
Prielipp also said that his clientele in Northville are some of his most important, and that’s why they keep going.
Abbi Marsh is a vendor for Stahl’s Greenhouse, and has been working for them since she was in high school. She said the greenhouse has good sales in Northville, and that is why it keep coming back.
“Northville is very close-knit,” said Marsh. “There are many clienteles there, and it’s in a good location.”