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As the season changes, so does the Farmers Market!

As summer comes to an end, “Charlevoix the Beautiful” experiences one of the largest seasonal swings in population of any city in Michigan. From jam-packed sidewalks, parks and overcrowded streets June through August, our little town clears to about 2000 year-round residents in the fall.

As you can imagine, our Farmers Market thrives in summer! We’re right on the main road, downtown Charlevoix, overlooking tiers of thick grass on East Park and the picturesque marina on Round Lake below. Forty vendors in heart of the quaint, tourist town, plus live music and special events make Thursdays a buzz of activity and wholesome fun.

Then, the week before school in September, there’s a drop in traffic like sliding off a cliff. The key to prospering in late harvest is finding a way to get the locals out to shop. In the winter our town admittedly seems a little sleepy, but give us a break – the sun doesn’t even rise till after 8 A.M. in October! Mornings this far north, people are starting wood stoves, sipping hot coffee and (I hate to say it) will soon be shoveling snow.

So when ARE people moving? The only real convenient time for locals to shop in the fall is right after school or work. So we set a 3-6 P.M. timeframe and moved off the water, to our beautiful public Library. This touches several new groups:

1. Those who work til 5 P.M. can finally swing by for fresh goodies, as summer Market always closed by the time they let out. 

2. The school bus drops off children at the library after school anyway, so parents can meet there and shop together.

3. The nearby hospital has a shift-change at 3 P.M. and staff drives right by the library / market to get home.

We asked several people how they felt about the changes and many were relieved to finally have a chance to visit the Market, as they work weekdays. Other ‘faithfuls’ switched to afternoons just to support the farmers. 

We are still missing our large crowds, but recently added hot soups and hope to include more with hot dinner items to entice the after-work group.

Also new is adding tastings with recipes to bake. Now that the weather is cool, a warm oven with fresh market ingredients is a treat for any northern Michigander.

Like this one from last week: 

Sierra Bigham of Bear Earth Herbals shares her sumptuous Turmeric Tea Cookie recipe – used with coconut oil, find this tasty treat good for people combatting joint pain or arthritis.



recipe by Summer Ison

These cookies are so aromatic that making them is almost as much fun as eating them.  They come out of the oven with a reddish gold center.  Enjoy!

**Be aware! This batter will stain everything a golden color, so wear an apron and use bowls and utensils that will not stain or you don’t mind dyed!**

  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons Heart of Gold tea
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, ghee, coconut oil or a combination
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup organic light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • ½ cup sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place all measured oils (butter, etc) in top pan of a double boiler on medium heat or a pan on very low heat.  Add the tea and stir gently as the oils melt.  Infuse on low heat, stirring occasionally for at least 5 minutes.  Strain the warm oil into a large bowl to filter out the anise seeds and stars.  It will smell amazing!
  3. Add the honey and sugar and beat until smooth.
  4. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  5. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  6. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just combined.
  7. Roll out dough and cut into heart shapes 💛 or roll into balls and flatten gently with a spoon,  
  8. Drop dough onto a cookie sheet lightly greased with coconut oil, and sprinkle lightly with sugar
  9. Bake 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.

Bear Earth Herbal teas and ointments are a vital part of the Charlevoix Farmers Market on a weekly basis. Email [email protected] for more information.


Article and photo by M. Chris Leese , manager at Charlevoix Farmers Market

Contact her  231-330-0968 if you are a local vendor supplying: hummus, cracker varieties, fresh fish, lemonade, homemade pasta,  olives, olive oils, hot foods or other niche items in 2017.

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  in Chris Leese, Farmers Markets, Find Local Food, Guest Post, Recipes