By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – From honey to herbs, entrepreneurs offer tasty, locally grown and small batch products 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays at the Farmers Market at the southeast corner of Southfield Road and Fort Street.
Thom Ouellette, manager of the Taylor Farmers Market, is now managing the Lincoln Park Farmers Market as well. He said he is trying to get some new vendors to bring products to the Lincoln Park market, including a homemade ice cream vendor that has been at the Taylor market.
“It’s delicious,” Ouellette said. “She’ll take blueberries from our blueberry farmer and bring blueberry ice cream the next week.”
He said the vendor even created a pepper ice cream.
“It wasn’t hot, but you could taste what it was,” Ouellette said. “It was quite good, the things that she can do with the ingredients.”
Norman Catering is also new to the Lincoln Park Farmers Market, and was offering pot roast with green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a chicken salad.
“It’s good to have a reliable, good foody here,” Ouellette said. “Every week they will come up with something different. It’s very delicious, and it is good to know you have somewhere to eat here,” he said.
Ouellette said the Power of Produce Club, sponsored by the Farmers Market Coalition, has been popular in the past, and is continuing this year. He said Emily Schipman actively introduces children at the market to the program.
“It’s really advancing kids’ minds on a better way of eating,” Ouellette said. “They have the Two Bite Club, where if they take two bites of a certain thing – last week it was strawberries – they get tokens.”
He said the tokens can be used to buy items from the Farmers Market at a reduced price.
“It is good to know they are being educated about better diet things,” Ouellette said.
Schipman said she hopes the Power of Produce Club encourages children to try foods that they haven’t tasted before.
“A lot of kids today get in a rut, so I get them to experience a fruit that they have never had, or be more curious about new foods,” Schipman said.
She said radishes or okra might be the next items in the Two Bite Club, which will introduce two foods a month.
Schipman said people are surprised to learn that pumpkin, cucumber, peas and eggplant are fruits.
“Anything that produces seeds inside of it and has an edible outer side is a fruit,” Schipman said. “A lot of them have no clue. It is really funny to see the shocked look on their face. Even the parents learn something sometimes.”
She said children enjoy passing on new and unexpected information to their friends, too.
Susan Martin of Fancie That Candles, which offers all-natural soy candles she makes herself, has interesting information, as well as products, to share.
She said the candles smell nice when lit inside a house, and she has a citronella candle to keep away mosquitoes.
Martin said she started making candles in April when she was between jobs, and she is working to establish her brand and get her name out to the public. She plans to go to the Wyandotte Farmers Market once a month as well.
Next to the candles, Karen Robert of Carleton had garlic scapes, which taste like garlic bulbs, and are the flower bud of the plant. They are removed in late June to encourage the garlic bulbs to thicken.
“They are considered a delicacy,” Robert said. “You cook with them the way you would regular garlic.”
Leilani Norman of Romulus is excited that Norman’s Catering will be offering new meals at the Farmers Market each week. She said her personnel favorite food is her meatloaf. She is at the Romulus Farmers Market on Wednesdays, and the Taylor Farmers Market on Fridays.
Norris Stephens of Milan had flowers and herbs, including basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage and lavender. His herb plants can be put on a windowsill, and sprigs broken off fresh when needed for cooking. He also had popcorn kernels from a neighbor’s farm.
Stephens said he grew up learning farming and many other skills from his father. He said as the season progresses he will offer tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, watermelons and green leafy vegetables. He said customers are very anxious to buy his tomatoes this season.
“People have been bugging me about my tomatoes all the time,” Stephens said. “Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. Most dishes require tomatoes, so that’s what people want.”
He said his tomatoes are late this year because it was too wet to plant them earlier. Last week he had some of his neighbor’s green house tomatoes available, but they have sold out. He said he plans to bring produce to the market every Sunday throughout the growing season.
Frank Martin of Happy Harvest, of Gibraltar, had pumpkin seeds with flavors that included barbecue, Cajun, cinnamon, garlic, hot, Parmesan, pumpkin pie, ranch, salted and zesty Italian, plus honey, jams and jellies.
Martin said customers have fun discovering the different flavors of pumpkin seeds. He said garlic is the most popular, with salted second, and they are enjoyed as a snack food. He said customers often remember a relative flavoring pumpkin seeds when they were growing up. He goes to farmers markets in Melvindale on Wednesdays and Taylor on Fridays.
Lindsay Gretka’s baked goods, which included a praline apple bread, puppy chow rice crispy treats – which are people, not pet food – and thick chocolate chip cookies, which are made with six ounces of dough and are a customer favorite, and her toffee chip cookies, which had already sold out for the day. She also sells baked goods through Frank’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, 3144 Biddle, in Wyandotte.
For more information about the Lincoln Park Farmers Market, go to mifma.org/farmers-markets/lincoln-park-farmers-market/ or facebook.com/pages/Lincoln-Park-Farmers-Market/208206362528258?sk=info
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])