There’s nothing better than a bustling farmers’ market at the peak of harvest season! Vendor booths spill over with a bountiful array of luscious fruits and vegetables and tables burst with vivid colors, fresh yellow and white sweet corn straight from the farm, deep purple beets, and ripe red tomatoes. Large watermelons tempt you to take them home and slice them open. The heavenly smell of baking bread mixes with the tantalizing aroma of smoked barbecue. There are rounds of cheese in every imaginable variety and fresh meats to choose from, including decadent bacon and sausage. Families walk together, stopping at the booths, pushing strollers and carrying bags of tasty treats. The Davison Farmers’ Market is just brimming with the sights, sounds, tastes and smell of fall. Located at the corner of Irish Road and Court Street, the newly opened market is home to over 70 vendors. My City Magazine stopped by to chat with Market Manager Sandy Coykendall.
The Davison Farmers’ Market opened on May 1, 2014 and is owned by brothers Mark and Dave Wood and their father, Don. “Don had dreamed of opening a farmers’ market for ten years,” says Sandy. She was approached by the family about two years ago to help them put a plan together. “I’ve worked at farmers’ markets all my life,” she explained, and was very glad to share her experience. Mark and Dave are longtime Davison businessmen: they co-own D&W Windows, which is located next to the new market. The goal was to keep the market community-oriented and to emphasize the local farming community and its small businesses. “We cater to the farmers’ needs and schedules,” says Sandy. The vendors are from all over, including 140-year-old Knickerbocker Farm in Mt. Morris, Penzien Produce in Imlay City, Wolvertons, and Coykendall Farms, to name just a few.
The market is open year round on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. In the works is an educational program to teach local students about farming and various crops, reports Sandy, adding that the Farm Bureau Association has selected the Davison Farmers’ Market as its official meeting place. Outdoors, you will find a hot dog stand and Da Red Wagon serving up some down-home barbecue and in the winter, Christmas trees will be available for purchase. There are various indoor restaurants to choose from, including The Olive Tree and the Chatter Box Café, and don’t forget Uncle Peter’s Pasties for a taste of up north. Looking for something sweet? Check out Karen Kiley’s Fudge, Granny Sandy’s, Patricia’s Homemade Ice Cream, or Cinnamom Famous Rolls. Jessica Coykendall owns The Egg Basket, where you’ll find all-natural, glass-bottled milk and free-range Michigan eggs. “I have a lot of regular customers,” Jessica said happily.
Many vendors are excited about their new home at the Davison Farmers’ Market. Brad Jordan and Bassam Abushakra, owners of The Olive Tree, serve up traditional Mediterranean dishes, including chicken shawarma and hummus-tabbouleh sandwiches. “It’s absolutely delicious!” exclaimed one satisfied customer. “We love it here,” says Tommy Alex, owner of Knob Hill Meats. At Hills’ Cheese you will find 160 different types, half domestic and half imported. “We got in on the ground floor and love it here,” says Glenn Hills.
According to Sandy, the market has already held several fundraisers to help people in need. “That’s what we want it to be all about – helping the community,” says Sandy. “The community has really gotten behind us; they are glad we’re here.” The market will also host special community events such as a breast cancer fundraiser on October 11, Trick or Treat at the Market on October 25, a canned food drive on November 8 and a chili cook-off on November 15.
Mark and Dave are happy with how the community has received their endeavor. “We’re very pleased and we’ve done better than we ever expected,” says Mark. “Dad is pleased to see the outcome – the fulfillment of a longtime dream.”
Photography by Mike Naddeo