Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT Sprague Farms was busy selling strawberries and tomatoes on the opening day of the Niles French Market Thursday.

French Market begins season

Published 11:07pm Thursday, May 24, 2012

For Nancy Fehlner, there is nothing quite like the taste of fresh local produce.

That’s why the Buchanan woman made sure she was present for the opening day of the French Market in downtown Niles Thursday morning.

Fehlner left the Sprague Farms vendor with a quart of strawberries and a smile on her face.

“Local produce tastes different, and you always get the best at the market,” she said.

Sprague Farms, of Dowagiac, has been a vendor at the French Market the past four years. They were selling melons, rhubarb, tomatoes, asparagus, potatoes and strawberries Thursday.

A couple booths down, people were sampling unique baked goods from first-time French Market vendor Stephanie DeBlase, of Stevie’s Unique Treats.

The La Paz bakery offers nontraditional items, such as a cookie made with dark chocolate, cashews and curry.

“It has a little kick,” DeBlase said.

The French Market, on the corner of Front and Main streets, is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday and Saturday through August.

In addition to fresh local produce, the open-air market offers gourmet foods, flowers, fragrances and handcrafted jewelry, artwork and pottery.

Fourteen vendors were present Thursday, but that number will vary each week,  Mark Whitfield, of Niles Main Street, said.

New vendors this year include Stevie’s Unique Treats, Keefer Plants & Produce, Tia Tina Pottery and Cate’s Sweet Creations.

For more information, visit the website uncoverniles.com and click on the French Market link.

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