Early last Thursday morning, local market popped up on Hannah Street. Local and established farmers were selling their fresh produce, meats and plants alongside others selling homemade snacks, pastries and even pickles. Inspired by the Year of Sustainability, Albion College recruited local Albion and Great Lakes regional vendors to sell as well as talk and interact with the college community.
From Albion professors to South African B&B owners, the farmer’s market created an environment ripe for not just purchasing but for learning and exploring.
Alyssa Kulczycki, Clinton Township senior, and Ruhi Ahluwalia, Grand Blanc senior, peruse the table at Sweet Seasons Orchards. Run by Ed and Nan Jasinowski, their family has a strong connection to Albion College because of their son, Alex Jasinowski, ’13 alumnus. Along with running the orchard during the fall season, the family also works at the Lansing City Market five days a week where they sell homemade healthy alternatives like dried green beans, sesame sticks and other wholesome snacks.
Among the fresh produce and flowers, Ian McInnes, professor of English, takes his turn at selling some products of his own. Offering some fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden, McInnes also has experience with artisan soaps made from his very own goats’ milk where he lives in Albion. “A former customer’s skin condition went away after she used this soap,” McInnes said. “Her husband actually drove to our house after we stopped selling downtown to get more.”
Allured by the scent of fresh baked goods, many gather around the pasty stand, a classic Michigan pastry. Originally from South Africa, Gerald and Cheryl Clarke ran a bed and breakfast in Richmond, Mich. before retiring several years ago. Gerald, a former professional chef, works out of a rented commercial kitchen where they make all the pasties from scratch every day.
Students De’Onna Brown and Daizha Johnson from the Albion High School sell some of their large harvest to interested customers. Started three years ago with the help of Albion professor Trisha Franzen, the quarter-acre farm has been maintained and kept-up through Albion High School students as well as students from Franzen’s Women’s Studies classes. This year is the first that the garden produced enough to sell, and the profits will go back into keeping up the land.
With a cooler full of brightly colored produce, students Heidi Keller, Bryon, Ohio, senior, and Jimmy Gass, Dearborn sophomore, collect change for their customers. In Sept., most of the work is focused on harvesting what they have been growing all summer. Last year, they raised a hoop house–a sort of greenhouse that keeps the ground from freezing. Soon they will be clearing out the hoop house to plant heartier crops that can handle cooler temperatures.
Photos by Lauren Ridenour