Mason Farmers Market
Looking for ways to make extra cash this summer? Did you plant extra vegetables or flowers? You can sell them at our Mason Farmers Market. All area residents are welcome to try their hand at the market, with booth spaces available for just one Saturday morning, if you wish. However, booth costs are much less if you sign up for longer terms.
This year, the market is scheduled to operate every Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from July 6 to October 5. The market will again be located in the 100 block of E. Maple Street, just north of the Ingham County Courthouse. It will relocate to the pavilion above Austin Park on August 24 only -- during the Sun Dried Music Fest.
If you have any questions, contact Elaine Ferris at (517) 676-4175. About sixteen different vendors participated last summer and approximately seven vendors were present each Saturday; additional vendors are wanted. The market is especially seeking locally-made bakery products (commercial kitchen) for sale in the market.
“The ninth year of the Mason Farmers Market is evidence that Mason is ‘rooted in the past and growing toward the future’ -- right here in Hometown U.S.A.,” says Doug Klein, executive director of the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce and board member of the Mason Farmers Market Association.
Vendors have been selling fresh produce on Saturday mornings in downtown Mason for the past eight summers. In 2005, Carol Sawyer and Elaine Ferris were “master gardeners” volunteering to better their community by bringing more shoppers to downtown Mason, enabling local growers to sell garden products, and providing more farm fresh food to the community. The nonprofit organization, “Mason Farmers Market Association” was organized; local businesses donated cash for seed funding; representatives from the Mason DDA, City of Mason, Mason Area Chamber of Commerce and a few other local volunteers made it happen. Elaine Ferris is the current “market master” and Barb Tornholm is secretary/treasurer.
Since the beginning, the market has grown each year. In addition to more vendors, more shoppers have been showing up. “One Saturday last August,” says Barb Tornholm, “I counted more than 500 individuals browsing the market.” Other local nonprofits have participated: the Mason Sycamore Creek Garden Club has provided information; Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops have welcomed visitors and helped set up and take down signs. The market has tried to schedule a different “featured” nonprofit each Saturday.
Ingham County Commissioner Don Vickers was part of the original organizing group asking local businesses for donations and now is supporting the group’s request for more volunteers. “The vendor fees support promotion and other costs without subsidy from government or other groups. However, more volunteers are needed,” he says.
Elaine Ferris still has dreams of retiring as market master, so Jeff Collar will be partnering with her this year. Other market volunteers and board members are needed to help in planning and organization, especially those with marketing skills. In addition, all of the street signs and traffic barriers are stored during the week; then set up in the early morning and taken down after 1:00 p.m. each Saturday. The market master has been doing most of this and volunteer help with this cumbersome task is always desperately needed. Individual volunteers or groups are invited to sign up for the Saturday of their choice.