Kalamazoo Farmers Market opening day set for Saturday, May 7 at Bank Street

Back on Bank 2022 has been the rallying cry of the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, which operated last season at a temporary location while the historical market site in the 1200 block of Bank Street underwent renovation.

The Kalamazoo Farmers Market will open its 2022 summer season May 7 back at its Bank Street location with new restrooms, upgraded market stalls, new access to the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and new office space, Phase One of a multimillion dollar upgrade that began last year.

Katelyn Bekken, market manager of the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, says visitors will be wowed by the increased accessibility and ease of navigating the new market.

In the past, many people weren't able to access the site because of curbs, and cracked sidewalks were an obstacle, too, Bekken says. With the renovations, she says, “I think that we're going to have a lot more people with accessibility needs that are going to be shopping with us now.”

Vendors will be delighted with the upgrades, too, Bekken predicts.

Vendors will enjoy new new tables, roofs and electrical upgrades, shoppers will notice better accessibility, when the Kalamazoo Farmers Market unveils upgrades to its site on the 1200 block of Bank Street May 7.“I think they'll definitely be happy with the electrical upgrades,” for scales, coolers, food trucks, fryers, and cash registers, Bekken says. New tables replace those that had served since the 1960s. 

No longer will vendors need to contend with leaky roofs or tripping circuit breakers and overhead lighting upgrades will help vendors display their products. 

The spacious new market will allow room for 40 additional vendors, and Bekken says applications are accepted year-round; some spots still remain for Saturday and night markets.

Saturday markets run from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning May 7; in June, Tuesday and Thursday markets will begin, and monthly night markets are slated for June 16, July 21, Aug. 18, and Sept. 15.

Vendors will enjoy new new tables, roofs and electrical upgrades, shoppers will notice better accessibility, when the Kalamazoo Farmers Market unveils upgrades to its site on the 1200 block of Bank Street May 7.Still to come, is the construction of an 8,865-square-foot Events Building for year-round use, and a playground at the market site, Phase 2 of the project funded by a $1 million grant from the Irving S Gilmore Foundation.

Last year the market operated at Mayors’ Riverfront Park on Mills Street while the $4.2 million Phase One work was done.

The Kalamazoo Farmers Market has operated on the 1200 block of Bank Street since 1947, with locally grown fruits and vegetables and meat — commodities that make up about half of the markets’ more than 100 offerings.

Now back to its spot in the heart of the Edison Neighborhood, the market brings not only fresh food into the area, but also acts as a venue for culture, art, music, and events to residents from across the city of Kalamazoo. 

Double Up Food Bucks will once again be accepted at the Kalamazoo Farmers MarketIn addition to many returning vendors, “we have a lot of new artists, which is great,” Bekken says.

In fact, every part of returning to the original market site should be good, she says.

“I think it's going to be awesome. I think that people are ready to be back — customers, vendors, market staff, even if we have to work around some (lingering) construction at the beginning.”

The open air market has no COVID restrictions, and still accepts SNAP and Double-up Food Bucks through the Bridge Card program.

Read more articles by Rosemary Parker.

Rosemary Parker has worked as a writer and editor for more than 40 years, most of that time in Southwest Michigan.