Farmers markets returning across the U.P.

What's happening: Farmers' markets, a key distribution method for local farmers and producers, will be starting their season in the upcoming week. More than 15 markets will open before next Wednesday --  with some 75 markets expected to run throughout the summer across the Upper Peninsula. The markets also provide a number of opportunities for Upper Peninsula craftspeople, who sell art, jewelry and other items at certain locations. 

Market opportunities: Some bigger areas like Marquette, Houghton and Escanaba bring in farmers from all around. Meanwhile, smaller markets, held on weekdays, continue to grow. Markets in Munising and Skandia are providing midweek sales opportunities for local farmers, who may sell out at bigger markets on the weekend. Rural markets in Grand Marais, Brimley and Newberry are providing learning opportunities for smaller and newer growers. 

What they're saying: “It’s been a long winter and we are excited to be back at the start of the market season,” said Sara Johnson, manager of the Marquette Farmers Market. “There’s a lot of new offerings this year that I think customers and shoppers will appreciate.”

What's next:  As markets open, customers will have multiple options for payments; purchasing plans differ at each market. Some take credit cards. Others in more rural cannot use common forms of payment. Most markets have some sort of voucher program such as double-up bucks, which will allow low-income individuals a chance to double their purchasing power to spend on local produce. These are usually regulated through local health programs or non-profit groups. Check with your local farmers market for availability. 
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