Local products, fresh food, and wine. These are the many benefits of the Meridian Winter Farmers’ Market. Benefits township residents may want to take advantage of.
Meridian Township keeps its farmers’ market schedule active during the cold months from December through April. The township hosts its indoor winter farmers’ market on the first and third Saturdays of each month in meridian mall. With this unique setup, this indoor market brings some wonderful benefits.
Lauri Lundquist is a regular customer of the market and said she loves that she can continue her shopping when it’s cold.
“I like still being able to come in the winter and get what’s grown in the winter,” Lundquist said. “They’re still growing stuff, chickens are still laying eggs and if I needed meat I could get some also.”
Lindquist went on to show appreciation for the relationships the farmers’ market has to offer.
“You get to know who has what, and I could go to Meijer and get it but this is more personal,” Lundquist said. “I like knowing who I’m buying from, and [I know] they’re getting the direct product.”
Sue Hickmott of Currant Mist Winery and Tasting Room is in her first year selling at this market and gave positive reviews about the indoor setup.
“It’s nice to be in the mall,” Hickmott said. “You get a lot of people who don’t know there is a farmer’s market. You get a different kind of clientele than you would otherwise. A lot of people who discover that we’re here are interested in coming back to the summer market.”
Titus Farms sells fresh produce and is one of the many sellers at the market. Owner and Manager Rebecca Titus said the winter market is still great when comparing it to the summer.
“It’s a different vibe obviously,” Titus said. “It’s interesting to come see all the stores and all of a sudden you have fresh veggies and quality meats and breads and things. The selection is a lot more stable. It’s still a great vibe.”
Titus is here every week the market is held and has been doing so for a long time. She said she loves the market.
“We come to every market. I’ve been coming here since I was a young child since 1993-1994,” Titus said. “My parents had a booth here. They started doing it because we have a small vegetable farm just outside of Lansing near Dansville. We grow vegetables and this is a great market to go to. [There are] a lot of people from MSU and also people from the Okemos area.”
Titus has also served on the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MFMA), which strives to increase farmers’ markets in number and popularity, she said. One way the Meridian Winter Farmers’ Market is helping customers is through SNAP cards.
Michigan’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offers nutrition assistance to many low-income families, according to their website. Titus said the farmers’ market has added this program to its market to benefit those in the community.
“People use their SNAP card and they can use this thing called double-up food bucks which is like free money that doesn’t come off of your SNAP so you get money just for vegetables because [MFMA] worked with legislators to do that,” Titus said.
This option at the Meridian market allows for a reliable place in which residents can get healthy food options to eat at little-to-no cost, Titus said.
Another new feature to the winter market is its ability to sell wine.
“There’s also things like wine sales that we can now do at a farmer’s market which weren’t allowed previously, because MFMA rallied and influenced our local state government,” Titus said.
Titus and Hickmott said, selling wine at farmers markets was not allowed previously due to rules against selling alcoholic beverages and offering samples for tasting. However, now with licensing, wine is now free to be sold at the market.
“We have to have a special license and we have to get a separate license from each place we sell,” Hickmott said. “With this we are able to sell.”
Current Mist started selling at this farmers’ market in December 2017 and is doing well at the Meridian market, Hickmott said.
“It’s a really good market,” Hickmott said. “This is my second farmers’ market, but [the other is] not nearly as busy. This one is a lot busier. Because of the college crowd, I do better. Not just the students, but faculty.”
Hickmott said she fully expects to continue selling during the summer market this year.
The Meridian Winter Farmers’ Market is hosted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the JC Penney corridor between center court and JC Penney.