Farmer’s premium | Food | Northern Express

From sweet cherries to quail eggs, Cherry Street Market, Myrtle & Maude’s and Groleau’s offer fresh food
By Al-Parker | August 13, 2022

August is a busy time for stalls and farmers’ markets across Northern Michigan, where wares include fresh fruits and vegetables, artisan cheeses, eggs, meats, condiments, pastries, jams , chocolates, bath and beauty products, honey, popcorn, maple syrup and more.

“No Michigan summer is complete without a visit to the Farmers Market,” says Amanda Shreve, executive director of the Michigan Farmers Market Association. “With over 250 farmers’ markets across our state, there are many opportunities to connect with Michigan farmers, boost the local economy by purchasing local food and farm products.”

Today, we’re going beyond once-a-week pop-up markets (like the popular Sara Hardy Farmers’ Market in downtown TC) to look at some of the agriculture-focused businesses that operate daily throughout of the growing season to bring you the best flavors Northern Michigan has to offer.

cherry market

303 West Mile Road NW, Kalkaska |

One of Northern Michigan’s most diverse markets, this bustling business was started by Randall and Kellie Ryan in 1993, just around the corner from US-131 and M-72. It is now run by their daughter Evann who, as General Manager, leads a team of around 45 friendly assistants.

“I really grew up here in the market,” recalls Evann. “I remember rolling my big wheel around all the products [displays].”

And the displays are impressive. Inside are pastries, jams, jellies and other stock, while the outside tables are stocked with fresh locally grown produce, including apples and cherries from Altonen Orchards, cherries from King’s Orchards, cider from Friske’s Orchards, etc.

Root vegetables, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and potatoes are popular with visitors, but cherries top the must-have list for many shoppers, especially tourists. “We sell a lot of cherry products,” says Evann. “Anything cherry is very popular. Cherry-raspberry jam is our best-selling jam. We sell over 300 jars per month. We ship jam nationwide.

Although much of their selection is locally sourced, one of Cherry Street Market’s most unusual tasty bites is imported from the Lone Star State. “We offer pickled quail eggs from Texas,” says Evann. “They come in a jar, and they’re really popular.”

2023 should be a big year for the market. Evann envisions a 30-year celebration, and there are preliminary plans to build a warehouse that would provide more storage and upgrade and expand the kitchen and food preparation area.

Evann is quick to credit his staff for the store’s continued success. “We couldn’t do this without our amazing team, especially our long-serving workers,” she says. That being said, like just about everyone else, the market is accepting applications. “We are always looking for more help. We have lots of teenagers, but we need more adults. We need managers, especially in products.

Cherry Street Market is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the exception of Tuesday when the hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The market will close for the winter, probably in November, and reopen the last weekend in April. This is when eager customers pick up vegetable seedlings, like tomatoes, to prepare their spring gardens.

At Myrtle and Maude

10937 Elk Lake Road, Williamsburg |

Located about five miles north of M-72, this eclectic farmers market is a family business in its own right. First of all, you should know that there is no real Myrtle or Maude on site. These are cute nicknames from the mother-daughter team of Sue Hubbell and Sadie Merchant, both nurses in their “real career”.

“We’re a fourth-generation cherry and apple farm,” says Merchant. “I have always loved the farm and we wanted to raise our four children there.

The Farmer’s Market opened in September 2021 and is an eye-catching reflection of Hubbell and Merchant’s combined passions for farming and antiques. Plenty of farm equipment, ladders, buckets, signboards, salvaged furniture and more are available for farming enthusiasts.

Throughout the summer they bring in local produce including strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and more. (Zenner Farms in Kingsley supplies many of their items.) There’s also an impressive collection of Michigan-made items, ranging from books and puzzles to lotions, soaps, candies, drinks, jams, and salsas. T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts offer casual clothing choices.

The store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the family market hosts monthly events on the third weekend of each month. (Coming soon: August 18-21 there’s an end-of-summer sale.) From September 15-October 30, you can enjoy apple season, with tours of the farm by tractor-drawn wagon , picking pumpkins , and more fall fun. In November there will be a Christmas weekend on the farm to wrap up the calendar year.

Groleau Farm Market

2100 E. Hammond Road, Traverse City |

The Groleau family has farmed over 90 acres in Grand Traverse County for over 150 years after receiving land grants from Presidents James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln.

The market has been operating since 2000, according to Lynn Groleau, who owns the store with her husband Louis. “Ten years ago we added the kitchen,” Lynn recalls, taking time to make blueberry muffins to talk with Northern Express.

The market offers zucchini, squash, tomatoes and more from the family farm. For fruits and other produce, the market depends on a group of reliable local farmers. Sweet corn, canned tomatoes, pickles, peaches and apples are staples for their customers.

“We get our honey from Sleeping Bear Farms [in Beulah] and from Hilbert [in Traverse City]says Lynn. “Our sweet corn, as well as our maple syrup, comes from the Olds Brothers farm in Kingsley. Our salsas are also all local. We try to get as locally as possible.

Soft-serve, hand-dipped ice creams are popular on hot summer days, while fall jams, jellies, salsa, pumpkins and corn will keep the store busy until the end of October, says Lynn . Last year, she baked 80 homemade pies for Thanksgiving Day customers.

“But our most popular pie is my Triple Cherry Pie,” she explains. “It contains Montmorency, Danube and Balaton cherries. It’s something different.

As you might expect, the market is busiest during major local events, such as the Cherry Festival, Traverse City Film Festival, and Traverse City Horse Shows. “The tourists are nice, but the locals keep us going,” says Lynn.

Six employees, plus the Groleaus’ son, Andrew, keep the place running smoothly, although traffic to the store has been a little disrupted over the past year as a new roundabout has been built there. at the intersection of Hammond and Four Mile Roads, steps from the market. front door.

“We were open for the duration of the project, but it was confusing for some clients,” recalls Lynn. “It was great to work with Elmer’s, but the work caused a drop in sales, absolutely. We just keep hooking up.

For the summer, the Groleau is open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

About Marco C. Nichols

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