For the last 100 years farmers have been selling their produce directly to consumers in Saginaw, MI. Saginaw has had a number of different farmers' markets during this time. From 1910 to the end of the 1930s the Farmers' Market was near the Jacobson's store on Federal Avenue. In later years, the Market occupied different sites, including: near the former Montgomery Ward's building, the Saginaw Fairgrounds, and Hayden Street.
The current Downtown Saginaw Farmers' Market (DSFM) grew out of an effort by Saginaw's PRIDE in Saginaw, Inc. which saw the need and desire for a market. In 1992, PRIDE sought the assistance of the City of Saginaw and the Saginaw News to help having Market days in the downtown area. Early on the Market featured two to three vendors on two days per week from July through October. The Market moved to its current location, the the corner of Washington and Thompson, in 2002. Today the DSFM has more than 50 vendors and operates four days a week. An early season sees the Market open late in May and expands as the Michigan growing season brings more bounty into the city.
The customers a the Downtown Saginaw Farmers' Market represents every walk of life in the Saginaw area. Families with young children push strollers past Market tables while senior citizens carefully look over the produce under the blue and white striped tents. People from nearby offices -AT&T, Michigan Works, and St. Mary's Hospital among them- stop to buy lunch from our food vendors. Retirees look over fresh flowers, handcrafted soaps, fruit infused vinegars along with fruit syrups and wine, locally grown fruit, and vegetables displayed on market tables. Volunteers at community tables share information with anyone who stops by at their display space. Mothers and seniors who are eligible to receive WIC and Project/Market FRESH benefits meet up with local agencies to receive their coupons and purchase their fresh Michigan-grown produce at the Market. All of these people are drawn to the Market by the ability to purchase local food directly from the farmers/producers to get the freshest food and products in the area.
The Farmers and Vendors
Vendors arrive early on Market days to get their tables set up for the day. The vendors come to the Downtown Saginaw Farmers' Market from different locations throughout the region, including: Bay City, Munger, Wheeler, Middleton, Coleman, Kawkawlin, Chesaning, Hemlock, Vassar, and Saginaw. Some of our vendors have been bringing produce into Saginaw for more than 30 years and are second or third generation of farmers selling produce in Saginaw. Others are new to the market and just learning what a great community we have. Most bring fruits, vegetables, or flowers they have grown and harvested themselves. Other vendors sell freshly prepared food like baked goods, preserves, honey, maple syrup, fruit infused vinegars, fruit syrups, handcrafted soaps, handmade wooden cutting boards, jewelry, fruit wines, and hard ciders -- which vendors offer tastes for those 21 years and older! . Local food vendors offer Market customers snacks and lunch during the Market day with hot-to-go food to take home.