What to buy the graduate or birthday boy or girl: Farmers market edition

Hectic summer schedules can leave Michiganders scrambling to find gifts during a season known for graduations and family gatherings - local farmers markets can help!

In the midst of starting gardens, planning vacations and enjoying the nice weather, the special occasions that come along with summer can come up without warning for many. Even with the fast shipping times and incredible flexibility of online stores today offering overnight or next-day shipping, gifts can be hard to find and, when under a time crunch, difficult to get delivered in time. However, Michigan farmers’ markets can be an unexpected yet excellent resource for finding that perfect gift this year.

With many markets offering weekday and weekend hours, at least one market in your area is likely to match up with your schedule! A trip to the market with the graduate or birthday boy or girl is sure to make a great memory! Even gifting local food in a basket can be a great way of treating friends and family to fresh and healthy foods. Listed below are just a few ideas of what gifts a farmers market in Michigan could offer for special occasions this year, free of any shipping charges!

  • The gift of a green thumb. Transplants can be a great gift for anyone that enjoys the outdoors. Even if they do not have a food garden, transplants found at local farmers markets can make a great potted plant for the home or office. Because of the time of year and the weather of this particular season, herbs are popular at market now and can serve as an easy foray into growing plants.
  • Dinner date delight. Who doesn’t love the gift of food? Farmers markets can be an excellent place to find vegetables, meat and fruits for your festivities. Instead of heading to the bakery for a confection or the grocery store for some deli meat, Michiganders should consider buying fresh fish or chicken from market. A locally-themed mealtime prepared with love may be appreciated more than a rush-ordered, expensive gift! 
  • Make the most of a market stroll. There is nothing like the gift of a shared experience! For Michiganders that have markets with weekend hours, a trip to market can be a treat for everyone. With markets across the state offering prepared foods and baked goods, a trip could last hours and involve buying produce, having lunch and enjoying dessert!
  • Baked goods can be too good to be true. With the new Michigan Cottage Food Law, many markets now offer baked good vendors that carry everything from donuts to seasonal favorites like cherry pie. Showing up to a gathering with some of these goods or arranging them in a basket could be both thoughtful and unique!

The Michigan State University Extension supports local food systems and farmer’s markets. To find a market, visit the Michigan Farmer’s Market Association website and utilize their Find A Farmer’s Market tool.

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