Construction on the Fulton Street Farmers Market
(1147 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids) is nearing completion. The last phase of the $3 million renovation project began in December with the erection of a 2,000-square-foot, year-round building that will house 8 to 10 indoor stalls, as well as the market manager's office.
Other features include improved traffic flow, ADA-compliant restrooms at both ends of the market, and updated electrical outlets in each stall to accommodate vendors' own heaters and freezers.
So far, the new facelift has yielded impressive results. After construction of the massive market shed (roof structure) ended last year, farmers saw their sales increase. Hard stats are not yet in, but Project Leader Christine Helms-Maletic says, "By the end of April, anecdotally, we had about a 25 percent increase in sales, which is astounding since we had a killing frost last spring. We also had a fairly severe, dry summer, but in spite of that, the farmers were doing more business."
Part of the reason for the boost in business is that the new market is more efficient, allowing farmers to keep produce refrigerated and significantly reducing set-up and breakdown times. Farmers have more time to work in the fields to produce more, well, produce.
In January, the year-round market expanded its hours to include Saturdays from 10 a. m. to 1 p.m. until April 27.
"The winter market is even better with the (shed) roof," says Helms-Maletic. "Farmers sell meats, cheeses, eggs, baked goods, and root vegetables."
So far, Rakowski Family Farm
, offering Moo-ville dairy items, eggs, and poultry, and Fantabulous Fudge
have spots in the year-round building. Real Food Farm
, which sells veggies, and August's Kitchen
, which offers baked goods, will occupy time-sharing a spot.
Regular market hours return on Saturday, May 4 until Christmas: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening.
Stay current on events at the market via its Facebook page here
Source: Christine Helms-Maletic, Project Leader, Fulton Street Farmers Market
Writer: Victoria Mullen, Do Good Editor