Southgate Farmers Market hopes concerts, themes make it more ‘family friendly’

By SUE SUCHYTA Sunday Times Newspapers SOUTHGATE – Concerts, themes and strong produce offerings are components Parks and Recreation Director Dustin Lent said he hopes will enhance the family-friendly potential of the city's seasonal Farmers Market. Lent said he and Event Coordinator Julie Goddard are putting the finishing touches on plans for this season's Farmers Market, which will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursdays from June through September. He said the Tuesday Concerts in the Park will now be on Thursday during the Farmers Market. They currently have four concerts planned, but hope to get additional sponsors to increase the concert count to eight, which would be every other week. “None of this has been finalized yet, but one of our goals is to have each Farmers Market each week have a theme,” Lent said. He said the first week could be a craft beer special, with a food truck rally the second week. A wine and food event could be planned for week three, and the fourth week could be child-friendly, with bouncy houses. “Our goal would be to make each Farmers Market very family friendly and event-friendly,” he said. “Not just bring people there for the Farmers Market, but to bring people there from all over the Downriver area, which would then make our Farmers Market more successful, and that brings your higher quality farmers.” Lent said they are focusing on offering a strong selection of produce vendors. “A good Farmers Market has to have good produce,” Lent said. “We are not going to be a craft vendor like some of the other Farmers Markets. That is first and foremost.” He said last summer he and Goddard went to two dozen cities to see their Farmers Markets, from Northville to Pittsfield Township, with the goal of recruiting farmers. “We went to Brownstown, Taylor, Trenton,” he said. “They all struggled with produce. And that is where we are hoping to be successful.” Lent said he also would like to recruit Angelina's Salsa to be part of the Farmers Market. He said a downloadable calendar application for smart phones will be considered, and they will publish the upcoming events in the quarterly “Southgate Today” magazine, as well as “Today” magazines in Taylor and Wyandotte. He said they are working closely with Crystal Gardens Banquet Center, which are sponsoring many of the Farmers Market events. “We will be able to have actual marketing and advertising, which we currently don't have,” Lent said. (Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)