the tuesday farmers market

I just got home from a meeting with Amanda Edmonds, the President of the non-profit, pro-gardening group Growing Hope. At some point during the course of our long, extremely unfocused discussion (on the future of, either I, or someone else in our group, asked her how things were going at the Tuesday afternoon Michigan Avenue farmers market, which she and her organization are responsible for. Always one prepared for such questions, Amanda was quick to pull out a spreadsheet and tell us that, over the course of the past 10 weeks, the Tuesday afternoon vendors had reported sales in excess of $11,000… While that’s only a little over $1,000 a week changing hands, divided between approximately ten vendors, it’s still a significant amount, given the fact that the venue is just getting off the ground and several days were impacted by rain.

Amanda also mentioned that on July 5th alone, 425 people made their way through the market. While not in any way conclusive, this indicates to me at least that there’s at least potential for this project to be successful. And, as Amanda pointed out, with over 30,000 cars traveling down Hamilton each weekday, there’s still a lot of room for growth.

So, if you don’t mind my asking, what’s your experience been at the Tuesday afternoon farmers market? And what kinds of vendors would you like to see there that aren’t there already?

On a related note, Amanda mentioned that one of the big signs that Linette had designed for the farmers market (the one featuring the large asparagus spears) was missing. If you know where the sign is, please let me know so that we can hunt down the evil-doer responsible and bring him or her to justice. (My guess is that it’s on Ebay, but I can’t bring myself to check.)

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  1. clownpuncher
    Posted August 25, 2006 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I took the sign. The market sucked out loud.

  2. murph
    Posted August 25, 2006 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    “If you know where the sign is”

    Sorry. It was delicious.

    “what’s your experience been?”

    I dig it. I like it better than the Saturday market, I think. A big part of that is that I can stop by on the way home from work. I also think it’s generally in a better location than tucked behind some buildings in Depot Town.

    I think it would be ideal if they could negotiate for the front section of the parking lot, at Mich & Hamilton, for maximum visibility, but, hey, it’s cool enough of the lot owners to welcome them in at all.

    The produce all looks (and tastes) good, and is cheap for someone who’s grown accustomed to the A2 market.

    I talked to the woman with the tally sheet this past week and urged that the attendance data be trumpeted at some point. I think it’s pretty cool that they can get up to 100 people / hour in their first season.

  3. Suzie
    Posted August 25, 2006 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Ummm…. nearly everything that Murph said, esp. about front section of the pkg lot.
    I love that it goes into the evening, because that’s when I’m alert enough to go shopping. (Going before work in the morning is just not an option for a non-morning person.)
    In a dream world, there’d be local-ish milk and cheese and meats in addition to the veggies.

  4. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted August 25, 2006 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I’d like to see more data, especially on the buyer’s end of the equation. Let’s say that 400 people came on a given day and spent $1,200, that would mean that they spent $3 on average, which isn’t much. (Either that or a significant number of people didn’t buy anything, and were just scouting things out.) I’d want to ask the people that did shop what else they would have bought.

    I also wonder if maybe things would improve considerably if we could attract one big, anchor participant. I’m not sure who that vendor would be, but maybe it’s someone like Zingerman’s selling day-old bread at deeply discounted prices. That might get people to turn out on a regular basis. Or, how about getting a local organic farm to distribute their CSA shares at the market? That might draw a dozen regulars each week. Or, what about a local sustainable meat producer? How about someone selling tamales? Somosas? This could get really good.

  5. kayt
    Posted August 25, 2006 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I love the Tuesday Farmer’s Market, it’s more convenient for me since it’s a bit closer to home + I tend to be gone on weekends. I like the idea of moving it to the front of the lot.

    Suzie – no milk, but this week there was a guy from what I know as Big 10 party store (in A2, think it’s Morgan & York or something now) selling fresh mozzarella. It was fantastic.

    Buttons – I wonder if we could get Pilar’s in A2 to bring down their tamale cart on Tuesdays. They’d be great because they already have the whole cart rig, but I’m sure that there are also Ypsi restaurants that could set up a booth with tamales if Ypsi-centric vendors were more desired.

  6. kayt
    Posted August 25, 2006 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Also, everyone in A2 I tell about the Tuesday market is jealous that we Ypsi-ites have a weekday farmers market that goes into the evening. I think the market definitely has tapped into something good.

  7. mark
    Posted August 26, 2006 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Call off the dogs… the sign has been returned.

    No charges are being filed.

  8. scott
    Posted August 30, 2006 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    you can tell your A2 friends that Ann Arbor does have an evening market.
    The westside farmers market runs from 3-7pm on Thursdays in the parking lot of Zingerman’s Roadhouse on the corner of Stadium and Jackson.
    Not downtown, but a nice resource for those living and commuting through the west side of town.

  9. kayt
    Posted August 31, 2006 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip, Scott. I may have to head out there if I’m ever in a fix for fresh produce between Tuesday and Saturday. I’ll definitely give the heads up to Ann Arbor pals too.

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