May 26 03:20 AM

Fresh food, friends at Almont market

Visitors enjoy Customer Appreciation Day

Vendors Len and Emily Mott of Dryden and Roxanne Pierce of Imlay City offer freshest food around at Customer Appreciation Day at Almont Farmers Market on Saturday. photo by Catherine Minolli.

August 27, 2008
ALMONT — Daisy was enjoying the local cuisine at the Farmers Market on Saturday. Fresh corn, sunflower seeds, and just about anything else in sight seemed to satisfy her appetite.

A goat, Daisy was in the perfect place—as were all the other two-legged visitors on Customer Appreciation Day.

With a variety of fresh produce and fruit, home-grown meat items, honey, flowers, plants, herbs, jams and jellies and more, the market was alive with the bounty of the season. As an added bonus, folk and easy listening music from performer Larry Stevens of Romeo wafted through the air.

"It's a great day," market co-master Jill Hough says. "What could be better, we have farmers and musicians—it's lovely."

For a couple of bucks visitors could get their hands on the freshest food around while enjoying the live music.

"This is a wonderful atmosphere, the people here are so nice," says Kathleen Thompson of Clifford. Thompson was selling Roma tomatoes she'd grown as a hobby.

Hobby farmer Roxanne Pierce of Imlay City was enjoying the activity at the market as well. Offering her tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peppers, corn and cabbage, Pierce says she enjoys selling at the Almont Farmers Market.

"It's a great way to spend the day outside," she says. "Business has been pretty good."

While Daisy the goat wasn't too worried about business, her owners—siblings Rachel, Jack, Claire and Sarah Hoyt like the opportunity to earn a few extra bucks through their handmade items.

The Hoyts make the trip to Almont from Leonard to sell handmade mittens and caps—their mom's handiwork—jewelry (made by Rachel) and small purses made of recycled blue jeans by Claire.

"We have fun here, even if it's a little slow sometimes," big sister Sarah says.

As for the money they earn, each sibling does their own thing—some save, some spend.

"It goes right back into more beads for jewelry," Rachel says.

For vendor Charlene Delisi of Delisi Farms just north of Capac, it was her first visit to the Almont market.

She and her husband have 18 greenhouses on their farm, and they generally sell produce and herbs at the Eastern Market in Detroit.

On Saturday, Delisi was offering huge bundles of golden sunflowers for five bucks, and potted herbs at discount prices.

"We'd like to get into retail someday but we're not there yet," Delisi says.

This year's vegetable crop sold out in late May, she noted, adding that the cut flowers are unfortunately a luxury item in today's tough economic times.

"If it comes down to spending $5 on flowers or on food, for many people it's going to be food," Delisi says. "And locally grown is so good that you've just gotta buy it. People just have to know that it's here."

Newcomer Karen Ann found the market just fine. It's yet another thing the former Arizona resident likes about her new hometown.

"This market is just great," Ann says. "I love this town."

And that's a good thing, since Ann will take on her new position as a special Education teacher at the Almont Middle School within the next week or so.

Hough says she was pleased with the turnout for Customer Appreciation Day, and hopes more and more visitors will come to the market through the fall.

"It's hot, but people are still coming out," Hough says of the weather. "We're so glad it didn't storm and that we had a nice day to thank our customers," Hough says.

The Almont Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the corner of Main (Van Dyke) and School Streets.

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