Winter cant stop shopping scene at the Mercato
By Erin Crowell
Brick and stone shelter local shoppers from frigid temps at Building
50 of the Grand Traverse Commons. Nestled in the hills on the west
side of town, the old state asylum turned trendy condo/retail site is
now home to an indoor farmers market, happening every Saturday from 10
a.m. to 2 p.m. in The Village, a community of shops and restaurants
located on the garden level -- or Mercato -- of the building.
The farmers market is no longer just a summer destination. With so
much focus on buying local, its only a matter of accommodation
hosting vendors year-round in an accessible location, sans weather
The Village is reminiscent of an old-world marketplace where people
engage in meaningful human interactions a community gathering
place, says Mini Minervini, marketing director at the Commons.
The winter indoor market is simply an answer to what happens to The
Villages outdoor summer market once the weather turns south.
Youll find the same quality goods at this indoor market, along with
all the Village shops of the Commons, including Boutique A La Vie,
Premier Floral, Silver Fox Jewelry, Creation Farm, Gallery 50 and many
THE LOCAL MARKET
Its awesome, says vendor Katie Kearney of Naturally Nutty in
Traverse City. There needs to be more of this. It keeps the local
Naturally Nutty specializes in all types of nut and seed butters
including their butter toffee peanut butter, white chocolate cherry
almond butter, mocha peanut butter and organic sunflower and pumpkin
seed butters, among others.
Kearney is one of several vendors at the Village Farmers Market. Its
only the inaugural year, but this season has turned out big crowds and
The initial response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic and
three-fold, says Minervini.
She gives three reasons why.
One, market-goers demands for fresh and wholesome locally-grown and
locally-produced goods, and their enthusiasm in supporting local
farmers do not diminish because of the cold weather. Two, the growing
season isnt over simply because outdoor markets close at the end of
the summer; and three, the market generates a significant amount of
pedestrian traffic and sales for Village merchants.
Overall, its a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Local farms like First Fruits of Mancelona make the weekly market a priority.
Every Saturday, Ben and Jed Flynn of First Fruits make the hour-long
drive to Traverse City to sell their fruits, breads and jams.
They still have a few bushels of apples available, ranging from
Honeycrisp and Galas, to Fugis and Ida reds.
The indoor market allows farmers to extend their season, generate
income over the winter months, and (give customers) their exceptional
winter-variety of produce and products, says Minervini.
These include free-range chicken and emu, farm eggs, hormone-free and
grass-fed meats and dairy products, fresh baked goods, fruits,
vegetables and so much more, says Minervini.
Some vendors offer specialty products, like Dennetts Gluten Free
Creations in Buckley, who, along with their gluten-free foods, offer
almost completely dairy-free products.
Other vendors include Leelanau Cultured Veggies, Brimmers Honey, Herbs
and More, Ralph Humes Desserts, Natural Northern Foods; among multiple
Northern Michigan farms.
The Village Indoor Farmers Market runs every Saturday through May,
then will move outdoors for the summer season. It is located on the
grounds of the Grand Traverse Commons, 1200 West 11th St. in Traverse
City. For more information on the Village Farmers Market, visit
thevillagetc.com or call 941-1900.