CARO — It may seem natural that a farmers’ market operates every Saturday in downtown Caro, in the heart of Michigan’s agricultural Thumb area.
And starting today from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – and continuing at that time every Saturday through Oct. 30 – it’s a reality.
The Caro Farmers’ Market at State Street Square, a $1.25 million project, opens today, welcoming visi-tors – and vendors – to the complex at 238 S. State St.
The development at South State Street (M-81) and Adams Street “is going to be a landmark for Caro in the years to come,” said Caro Mayor Joe Greene, addressing about 50 people at Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the facility.
Trish Hollingsworth, of the Caro Chamber of Commerce, presented a “Your First Dollar” plaque to Caro city employee Lauren Amellal honoring the opening of the Caro Farmers’ Market at State Street Square.
More than 25 vendors are scheduled to greet the public today at the farmers’ market, with musicians performing, children’s craft-making activities planned and other fun on tap for kids, according to Amellal, Caro Farmers’ Market manager and event specialist.
“We’ll have eggs, meat and cheese, along with produce that’s coming up already this early,” Amellal said. “We do have people with asparagus, rhubarb, lettuces. We have plants. We have honey, maple syrup.
“We’re working on a meat vendor. We know Tuscola County is big on meat production, so we’d love to have someone come out with chicken, pork and beef as well.”
The venue also will feature “multiple local crafters and artists as well,” Amellal said.
Vendors won’t park in the 40 parking spots at the farmers’ market, Amellal said.
“We also have a lot of municipal parking, so when you’re here at the market, we do have maps,” Amellal said. “I also have them available on the (Caro Farmers Market) Facebook page and the web-site.
“Let’s utilize what Caro has already provided for us with the beautiful municipal parking.”
Heather Edginton, owner of Dragonfly Boutique of Caro, will sell eclectic jewelry, including necklaces containing parts of circuit boards, at the farmers’ market.
“I also use eyeglass lenses to do memory lenses, so I can get lenses (from eyeglasses) from people who have had loved ones pass on, or friends or family members.
“I can place a picture on the lens and make it into a keychain or a necklace, or some kind of a piece of jewelry.”
Amellal said today’s crop of vendors will be “more than Caro’s ever seen,” noting the lineup features Malburg Family Farm of Mayville and City Girl City Boy Farm of Clifford.
“My vision is to have an authentic farm and arts market here in Caro, and that’s just going to build our economy,” Amellal said. “It’s going to help people establish their businesses.
“Our hope is that some of them will move into brick-and-mortar businesses as well, and stay here in Caro.”
Cole Wood, agriculture field representative for U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain, predicts the farmers’ market will “do great things for the community as well, and anything you can do to support agriculture – whether it’s on a smaller scale, like a farmers’ market, or a larger scale at the federal level – is always great.”
McClain, a Republican, represents the 10th congressional district including part of Tuscola County, along with all of Huron and Sanilac counties, among other areas.
Amellal seeks food trucks to set up at the Caro Farmers’ Market. Vendors or food truck operators may contact Amellal via the Caro Farmers Market Facebook page, or by calling her at the Caro Municipal Building at 989-673-7671, ext. 5229.
“We put in specific pedestals just for the food trucks so they have potable water and full electric with the 220-watt (service) and everything there,” Amellal said. “We have the ability to house up to three food trucks.”
Greene said Mike Bauerschmidt, Caro Downtown Development Authority board chairman, “spear-headed” creation of the State Street Square complex, financed in large part by a $920,000 Michigan Economic Development Corp. grant.
Audience members applauded Bauerschmidt when Greene thanked him for his efforts through the years.
Bauerschmidt estimated the total cost of the State Street Square project at $1.25 million.
“I don’t know if you could duplicate it for $1.5 million now,” said Bauerschmidt, noting the recent spike in costs of building materials during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The price of copper and electrical supplies has almost tripled, and lumber’s nonexistent. We didn’t think we could build last year, but we pulled it off.”
Three Rivers Corp. of Midland was the general contractor for the State Street Square complex. Beams and trusses for the facility’s pavilion are made of Douglas fir, and supplied by Northern Log Supply of Mayville, said Bauerschmidt, calling the wooden ceiling beneath the State Street Square pavilion “art work.”