Downtown Farmington farmers’ market on track for May opening

And now for some good news.

As the Michigan shelter-in-place orders wear on, little seems certain.

But as businesses and events are further classified as either essential or non-essential, Michiganders have at least one more thing to look forward to: Farmers markets have been deemed essential by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

What may seem like a small victory to some can be a vital economic lifeline for others.

Walt Gajewski manages the Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market. Tasked with scheduling out the vendors for the entire year, Gajewski says he’s a little behind, though it’s completely understandable.

Gajewski himself is currently recovering from the coronavirus.

Currently under quarantine and speaking by telephone, Gajewski says that his temperature is below 100 degrees for the second straight day, a measurement of successfully fighting off the virus. If he makes it through two consecutive days below 100 degrees, and without the aid of aspirin, he’s allowed to emerge from quarantine.

That doesn’t mean that Gajewski has been resting on his duties, as understandable though that may be. No, Gajewski has been fielding conference calls with other area farmers market managers, working to ensure that farmers markets are included as essential businesses.

"Now we can go to the city with the confidence that we’ll be considered vital,” Gajewski says. “We’re moving forward to open the season as planned."

The scheduled opening date for the Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market is Saturday, May 16. Gajewski anticipates that social distancing will alter the market, especially in the early weeks. There will be fewer vendors, allowing them to spread out, and additional measures will be put in place to, as Gajewski says it, “secure public trust while protecting public welfare.”

"No one we’re working with is cutting back. They’ve already bought the seeds and they’re out there in the fields planting them now. It’s been a good season for the farms," Gajewski says.

"Mother nature is going to help us fight back."

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.