Farmers market returns to Dowagiac Saturday

Published 8:00 am Friday, May 29, 2015

The sights, smells and tastes of some of Cass County’s finest products will on display downtown this weekend.

The Dowagiac Farm & Artisan Market opens its second season this Saturday on the lawn of the Dowagiac Area History Museum, on Railroad and Division streets. The farmer’s market, which features fresh produce, decorative plants and other fresh goods, will maintain the same hours as last year, open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday.

A mixture of returning vendors and some fresh faces comprise the vendors selling their merchandise this season. Returning from last season are Sprague’s Farms, The Baker’s Rhapsody and Creekside Greenhouse, all of Dowagiac, and Nick and Julie Fox of Fox Farms of Cassopolis. New sellers include Diatra Baker, Paula Cowsert and Louise Duffey of Dowagiac, and Ann Nelson of Elkhart.

The Farm & Artisan Market is again sponsored by the museum and The Dowagiac Downtown Development Authority, which teamed up last year to resurrect a farmer’s market in Dowagiac, which had been absent in the city for a number of years.

The collaboration has been a benefit to both organizations, with the lawn providing a great venue for the market, and the market providing a bump in summer visitations to the museum, said Museum Director Steve Arseneau.

“We expect to see a boost in foot traffic this season as well,” Arseneau said. “It’s great exposure for us. [The market] brings new people into town, who may have never seen the museum before.”

Overseeing the operation this year as market master will be Dale Pallas, who was appointed this week to the position by DDA Program Director Vickie Phillipson.

“Dale is a very familiar face within the community and an avid volunteer for the Cass County COA and other nonprofit organizations,” Phillipson said in a news release. “Having worked for a grower in Berrien County for several years, Dale is the perfect fit for the job.”

Among the locally grown produce customers can expect to see on Saturday includes asparagus, rhubarb and radishes. Throughout the rest of season, other crops will become available for purchase, including strawberries, cherries, peaches and an assortment of vegetables.

Some vendors will also have non-produce items for sale during the season, such as baked good or jams and jellies. Others will sell perennials, annuals and other types of decorative flowers and plants; lawn art and handmade crafts will also be available for purchase.

Local growers interested in joining the market can do so by contacting the Dowagiac DDA at (269) 782-8212 or by e-mail at Booth space is available for $10 per day, with overhead canopies available for rent in June for an additional $2.