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Lansing-area farmers markets thrived in 2020. Now they're back.

Green Eagle Farms of Onondaga at the Allen Neighborhood Center farmers market
Posted at 7:20 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 23:19:52-04

LANSING, Mich. —

Mid-Michigan's outdoor farmers market season has begun.

Last year, uncertainties about COVID risks boosted sales at outdoor markets.

Markets were allowed and even encouraged to remain open during the 'stay home, stay safe' orders

“Markets were allowed and even encouraged to remain open during the 'stay home, stay safe' orders, and that’s because of the critical role they play in the food system,” Michigan Farmers Market Association Communications Manager Hailey Lamb said.

Steve Grose of Green Eagle Farm in Onondaga said their 2020 farmers market season was their “best sales year ever, really.”

Steve Grose, Green Eagle Farm

Allen Neighborhood Center Market Manager Julia Kramer saw this firsthand.

We ended up seeing really, really high attendance, really high sales

“We ended up seeing really, really high attendance, really high sales. Part of that was a lot of media coverage. There were a lot of questions about the local food supply and demand and how the meat supply around the country was failing and all these sorts of different things. So, people were really, really looking for local food, they were looking for ways to shop outside,” Kramer said.

Allen Neighborhood Center farmers market 2021 season

But non-essential aspects of the farmers markets had to go.

“Live music and children’s activities were canceled to focus on getting food and essential items to shoppers in a safe and efficient manner,” Lamb said.

Magnolia Farms at the Allen Neighborhood Center farmers market

This year, however, some of those extras will return, including live music at the Allen Farmers Market on Michigan Avenue.

“It will be a little bit more lively, aside from just the vendors. Which last year it was really just like, ‘Come and shop and then leave.’ Like, that’s all you get,” Kramer laughed.

Rhubarb, please

But, will the 2021 season be as successful as last year’s?

"I don't know for sure," Grose said. "A lot more things are opening up, so we know we’ve got people going back into the stores for their spring plants and things. But we’ve got a lot of things if people are ready to come to the market and look.”

A lot more things are opening up

He added that, when you shop your local markets, "Your money is probably staying local instead of going off to a corporation or out to somebody in another state. You’re going to get the freshest food, you’re going to get to meet the people who grew it...”

If you would like to get to know more about the markets in your community, click here.

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