On Saturday, May 4, the new $30 million Downtown Market
opened its 80-stall outdoor vendors area for the first time, welcoming an estimated 8,000 – 10,000 visitors, says market spokesperson Brian Burch.
The outdoor vending area is part of the larger Downtown Market (435 Ionia Ave. SW), which will offer restaurants, pubs, a coffee shop, bakeries, food boutiques, culinary kitchens, greenhouses, and more when it opens later this year. The market, whose focus is on locally produced foods, will also offer a culinary classroom and other educational endeavors.
Pots and hanging baskets of brightly colored flowers dotted the market where vendors like Visser Farms offered them for sale. Crane Dance Farms offered their grass-fed beef products, other farmers and growers had tables filled with potted herbs and tomato plants ready for planting. Gammy's Artisan Pies offered deep-dish fruit and savory pies.
Simpatico Coffee, which will have a shop in the indoor Market Hall, offered samples of freshly brewed coffee and tea. Go Nuts filled the air with the smell of fresh mini fried cakes prepared hot on the spot for a long line of customers anxious to try them. Breads, focaccia, and fresh vegetables filled other tables, as well as a variety of jams, jellies, salsas, and dried herb mixes from Frozen Creek Farms.
Non-food offerings included cedar birdhouses and garden ornaments.
One of the most colorful vendors was Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm Market with its eye-catching hot pink John Deere tractor and matching aprons. The Dunnebacks offered samples of donuts, and had several varieties for sale.
The outdoor market will be open Tuesdays and Saturdays, 8 to 1 p.m.; Thursdays, 4 to 7 p.m.
Source: Brian Burch, Downtown Market
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor