Farmers Market kicks off the 2023 season

Farmers market season is back, and that means Midland area residents have the opportunity to browse and shop from local farmers, producers, makers and artisans weekly. The 2023 season of the Midland Area Farmers Market kicked off May 6, and continues through fall at the Dow Diamond East parking lot. 
Emily Lyons is the director of the Midland Area Farmers Market.
Emily Lyons, director of the Midland Area Farmers Market, says the market has been around for nearly seven decades. Although the location has moved a few times, the goal remains the same. “It’s always been a place where local producers have been able to sell their wares and get fresh product and produce to their friends and neighbors from nearby,” Lyons says.

At the height of COVID in 2020, the market was offered in a drive-thru near The Tridge, for safety purposes. It later moved to Dow Diamond following the flood. In 2021 and 2022, the market returned to ‘business as usual,’ in its original format. This year, Lyons says there are a few new changes happening behind-the-scenes.

“We have all new staff, so people will meet the new Market Manager Becca Pleiman, we have two interns that people will see, and some new and fresh things on social media that we’ll share,” she says. “We also have a new, recent grad who is starting this week. She’s a dietician and will be our Food Navigator for this year, and has a lot of great personal experience for all different ages. We’ll see a lot more as far as samples, and different ideas and suggestions on ways to use products from the market and healthy ways to cook those products.”

Asparagus is one of the early crops on sale at the market.
The market’s rotating list of local, regional, daily and seasonal vendors includes small Michigan businesses selling farm fresh produce, handmade candies, healthy juices, colorful flowers and plants, dog treats, and more. Typically, most of the vendors are based out of the Saginaw, Midland, Bay, Isabella, Gladwin, and Clare counties, says Lyons. 

Part of the farmers market’s mission is to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, helping them grow their customer base, and launching successful brick and mortar stores or expanding business operations. 
The market is located in the Dow Diamond East parking lot.
“We’re here to support local agriculture and provide them a great place to do some commerce,” Lyons says. “We’re really happy to be able to promote those small businesses in our community. We have thousands of people who come to the market every week and weekend, and we’re happy to be able to lift up those businesses in the hours we’re open.”

This year, the market has a few new vendors, including a request from many customers. “I have heard for years that people want to see some Amish vendors. I did have two Amish vendors apply this year, and they’re both at the market. One is all baked goods, and the other does flowers, plants, and produce,” Lyons says. Other new vendors include Rooted Juice Bar, a few new food trucks, and two new locally-grown and processed meat vendors.

New this year, shoppers can preview the lineup of vendors for each market in advance to help prepare their shopping lists. “We have new software, and an interactive map for every market day. If you go online, you’ll be able to look that up, and see what products and vendors are going to be at the market. It’s new, so it’s still a work in progress,” Lyons says.
Food trucks serve breakfast and lunch at the market.
For Lyons, her favorite aspect of the market is the community aspect and getting to know the people who grow and make your food. “You can ask them questions, and if they’re open to it, you can even take a trip to their farm and see how they’re raising their animals or their crops,” she says.

The Midland Area Farmers Market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 6 through October 28, located at Dow Diamond East parking lot. They also have season extenders on the first three Saturdays in November from 9 a.m. to noon.

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Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at