We’re more than a month into 2017, and even though temperatures are icy, the warmth of community collaboration keeps Crooked Tree Arts Center’s Artisans & Farmers Market a toasty place.
Each Friday morning, the Carnegie Building at CTAC-Petoskey is abuzz with activity. Beginning at 9:00 a.m., vendors unload and set up their booths before shoppers arrive. Sometimes our patrons do arrive a tad early though, but our vendors – farmers, bakers, jewelers, potters, chocolatiers, woodworkers, and mushroom gatherers – don’t mind. It’s a friendly and welcoming bunch that participates, and they are only too happy to introduce you to what it is they make or do.
“We have a great group of regulars that attend market each week, along with new faces and tourists alike,” said Emily Stuchell, CTAC Market Liaison. “The weekly customers have made it part of their routine and come back each week for the quality produce, baked goods and artisan products.”
And in case you didn’t already know, the Artisans & Farmers Market isn’t just a market. CTAC, along with Blissfest Music Organization and the Petoskey District Library, have been working together since October 2015 to create a communal gathering space and experience for Northern Michigan locals and visitors. The Petoskey District Library collaborates with CTAC to coordinate the First Fridays for Foodies culinary demonstrations that occur in CTAC’s kitchen on the first Friday of each month, and Blissfest sponsors live musical entertainment from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., creating a fun atmosphere for all.
The market has become a place to meet friends, pick up groceries, and to learn something new. A strong sense of community already exists in Petoskey, and the market encapsulates the feelings of camaraderie and the desire to shop local, supporting small businesses.
“[CTAC’s Artisans & Farmers Market] is a hub for what’s happening in the local food and art movement. Customers and vendors love talking and sharing ideas. It is a wonderful weekly community gathering and the success continues to grow,” added Stuchell.
Even if a person only enters CTAC with the intention of viewing artwork, the delicious aromas, heartfelt music, and happy commotion in the next building are too enticing to not check out! New to the Friday scene, market vendor, Pea & Compagnie cooks sweet and savory crêpes on site. Who can resist that smell wafting through the halls? Their ham, egg, and cheese buckwheat crêpes make for a perfect lunch!
“The first word that I think of when I think of the Farmers Market is ‘community,’” said Gildas Berrou, proprietor of Pea & Compagnie. “We feel an instant connection to our fellow vendors, knowing that we all share the same philosophy about healthy living and integrity.”
By working together, local organizations and individuals have created a Friday destination that early-risers, those on lunch breaks, and visitors can all enjoy.
After all, what’s more important than bolstering our local community’s economy and supporting our neighboring farmers, bakers, and artists? Because when our community flourishes, we all benefit, making Northern Michigan that much stronger.
So, what are your plans for this coming Friday?
Pea & Compagnie kindly shared the recipe for one of their most popular crêpes:
The Buckwheat crêpe with a Spinach and Mushroom Sautée
– 12oz fresh or frozen, chopped spinach
– 4oz sliced mushrooms
– 1/2 onion (diced)
– 1 Tbsp minced garlic
– 2 tsp dried oregano
– 3 Tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
– 1/4 tsp fresh-ground pepper
In a pot on medium-high heat, sautée onions in olive oil until soft, but not brown. Add mushrooms, continue to sautée until mushrooms and onions are caramelized. Add salt, pepper, garlic and oregano. Mix well. Add fresh or thawed spinach and cook on low heat until warm. Taste and add salt if necessary to cut bitterness the spinach may have.
This sautée is great on savory crêpes, in pasta dishes, and in omelettes. Served with Swiss cheese, it will impart a French flavor; served with Feta cheese (and tomatoes) it will impart an Italian flavor.
*The CTAC Artisans & Farmers Market takes place each Friday from now until June 9. The CTAC Summer Artisans Market will run from June 16 through October 6.
*Pea & Compagnie participates weekly in the CTAC Artisans & Farmers Market and can be found on Facebook.