By Sue Moore
The “open for business” sign goes up for a second year at the new pavilion on Richardson Street for the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market from 2:30-6:30 p.m., May 22. It’s the market’s sixth year as a purveyor of locally grown fruits and vegetables along with specialty items such as baked goods, coffee beans, granola bars, handmade soaps, and mushrooms.
There are some new vendors for market visitors to inspect, along with many who have been with the market since its inception located at the former Bobby’s drive-in restaurant. Carol Meyer-Niedzwiecki has been recruited to become the co-market manager, taking Stella Shearer’s place for the 2015 season.
The market has been graced with area musicians each week, coming to play for the customers as the browse. They are from the Kalamazoo Folk Life Society and offer their services for free, but do put the hat out for contributions. June Kucks, a Vicksburg member of the society, is handling all the arrangements. Charlie Burgstahler will do the honors on May 22. He plays guitar and Harmonica. Jim Jager will be holding forth on May 29, playing guitar and singing in his easy listening style.
Kids Plate, organized by Carol LaFrance and Penny Allen will be back again on the third Friday of June, July and August. She is also planning a presentation in partnership with Rise and Dine entitled “Eating Healthy on a Budget.” LaFrance is president of the nonprofit market.
A new parking arrangement has been drawn up by Don Wiertella and John Polacek, former MDOT engineers. It was approved by the village, the Market Board, and the Lions Club in April. Customers will continue to enter from Spruce Street, though at a new entrance stretching directly east and west close to the Heritage Garden. Parking will be off the newly graveled road and on Spruce St., with the hope that grass will take hold on the east side of the pavilion where the Lions Club usually conducts its volleyball tournament in July. Over 225 cubic yards of donated top soil has been trucked in from the Allen Edwin building development to cover the east side, replacing gravel and broken glass shards following construction of the pavilion.
The first year in the pavilion saw a large increase in the number of customers and vendors who liked to be under cover in the pavilion. The Vicksburg market is one of the largest in the area and has gained a stellar reputation among those who love fresh vegetables and fruit each week. The variety of offerings has been a big draw, with the market hitting over 950 customers on a warm day in August of 2014. It is a nonprofit organization, run by volunteers who have put in countless hours to help make it run efficiently. SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks, Senior Fresh, Project Fresh, WIC, and Generous Hands coupons will be honored again in 2015.