Birmingham Farmers Market celebrates 20 seasons of fruit, food, flowers and fun

Kaitlyn Luckoff
The Detroit News

Every Sunday morning since 2002, rows of fresh produce, locally made baked-goods, flourishing flowers and unique items have created a sense of community through downtown Birmingham. 

The Birmingham Farmers Market has brought fresh Michigan produce, as well as food trucks, entertainment and activities to Metro Detroit every May through October and will be celebrating its 20th season this Sunday.

The city of Birmingham will honor this achievement with a day of live music performed by Fox and the Fiddle, children's activities, local produce and more than 45 vendors and food trucks. 

Fresh produce available for purchase at the Birmingham Farmers Market.

The Birmingham Farmers Market was brought to the community by Stephanie Freedman and Julie Plotnik, who continue to help the market blossom each season.

Kicking off the anniversary event will be a special ceremony at 10 a.m., with speeches from local officials and community members, such as  Birmingham Mayor Therese Longe and Birmingham Shopping District operations and events manager Jaimi Brook.

Brook said that for the past two decades the market has not only been a great place to purchase fresh produce but is a community activity.

"It's really grown and it's great to see the community support the market the way that it has," Brook said. "It's an outing for a Sunday morning, somewhere you want to bring the family, meet up with friends, we have live music, kid's activities, a great view by the river, so you can hang out and enjoy your Sunday."

Young customer purchases blueberries from a vendor at the Birmingham Farmers Market.

Kathy Fusilier has been bringing flowers and produce from she and her husband's farm in Manchester since the market's opening. For 20 years, the couple has traveled to Birmingham each week from Fusilier Family Farms to sell their products, having rarely ever missed a week.

While the couple sells their produce at other stores and markets, Fusilier said the Birmingham Farmers Market has a great atmosphere that has made an impressive comeback after the pandemic in comparison to other markets. 

"It's just got great people there," Fusilier said. "The market family gets along really good and I feel like we support each other even though we're all out doing our own thing."

Resident Dick Lilley has also been attending the Birmingham Farmers Market since it opened. He and his wife come to the market most weeks of the season to purchase produce. 

"My wife likes to cook, so we try to do as fresh stuff as we can," Lilley said. "We shop at both the Birmingham and Royal Oak markets."

As most customers, like Lilley, come to the market to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, Fusilier said the most popular produce items vary depending on what is in season. She said sweet corn and tomatoes are some of the most favored items.

And while the market has bounced back from the challenges of the pandemic, Brook said there will be additional activities for the 20th anniversary celebration.

"We've enhanced our kid's activities, we're going to have a petting zoo and airbrush tattoos," Brook said. "We have live music, there will be food trucks and more vendors than we've had any other week at the market yet this season."

Fusilier noted that there have been very few changes to the market over the past two decades aside from the renovation of the parking lot. 

"I had to move from where I was for the first 10 years or so to where I am now, which wasn't a huge deal but it's always scary when you move," Fusilier said. "It changed the configuration of the market, and farmers have come and gone... it's kind of the same but it's evolved somewhat."

The Birmingham Farmers market is sponsored by the Bank of Ann Arbor – Birmingham, Caruso Caruso, Dogtopia, Forest and Phoenicia Restaurants, Luxe Bar & Grill, Salvatore Scallopini (Sal’s), AT&T, Ascension MyHealth Urgent Care, Move as a Human and Restore Hyper Wellness + Cryotherapy. 

Birmingham Farmers Market

660 N. Old Woodward Ave. in Public Parking Lot 6

9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sundays now through October. 

Parking is free.

Upcoming events:

 Aug. 14: Second Sunday, featuring Born Yoga

Sept. 11: Harvest Festival & Second Sunday, featuring Rorë Method

Oct. 9: Second Sunday, featuring Gazelle Sports

Oct. 30: End of Season Celebration