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Winter farmers market opens inside Oaklawn's entrance lobby

Farmers market 4-2016

Feb. 3, 2016

Winter farmers market opens inside Oaklawn’s entrance lobby

MARSHALL – The atmosphere was festive and the mood was upbeat Wednesday morning as the Marshall Area Farmers Market launched its new winter hours in Oaklawn Hospital’s front entrance lobby.

“It’s ideal,” said a pleased Janette Ansorge of Nashville, who sells flour, corn meal and organic beef. “I’ve already had people tell me that they’ll be coming back.”

Thirteen vendors were on hand for the indoor market’s first outing, although the market’s manager, Lynne Meservey, said there’s plenty of room to grow.

“This first day was very good,” Meservey said, adding that good planning ahead of time meant there were no problems with the first day’s setup and execution.

Meservey said the Oaklawn site will permit the number of vendors to reach 20 or more, depending on the configuration inside the building.

“This is a great thing,” said Patricia Herman of Marshall, a volunteer with the market since its inception in May 2015. She described the indoor market as “a good opportunity for our vendors and our customers.”

Vendor representative Nicole Grothause of The Cheese People of Grand Rapids was all smiles, offering a variety of customized and unique cheeses including jack, cheddar, parmesan, gouda and gruyere.

“Farmer’s markets definitely should be available to every city, not just the bigger ones,” Grothause said. “It’s really great that people come and join in, even though they might not be from this area.”

The winter market, which the Marshall City Council approved in January, will operate from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays inside the hospital lobby at 200 N. Madison St. Oaklawn is providing the space free of charge to the market’s organizers.

The market operates in the lobby adjacent to the hospital’s Ella’s Cafe and Gift Shop. The fact that Oaklawn Hospital Auxiliary also sells popcorn during the event enhances the festive atmosphere.

The agreement between Oaklawn and the farmers market will permit the market to operate at the hospital through mid-May, after which the summer market will begin on Green Street. The eventual goal is to create a year-round weekly farmers market in the community, Meservey said.

While the winter market is in operation, market customers may take advantage of Oaklawn’s valet parking service, said Bill DeSmet, Oaklawn’s executive director of support services.

Oaklawn also plans to set up a weekly booth where market customers may obtain free blood-pressure screenings as well as information about Oaklawn’s array of health services.

The Marshall Area Farmers Market was begun in 2003 as a way for Michigan vendors to find local customers for their fresh, locally grown produce. The market ran on Saturdays from May to October in the parking lot in the 100 block of West Green Street beginning last year.