The students are back, and autumn has hit its stride. And at the Kerrytown Market, programs are in the works to bring fun activities to students, adults and families between now and the holidays.
What most people think of as Kerrytown is in fact several organizations. There is the Kerrytown District that helps support business across the wider neighborhood and the privately owned Kerrytown Shops, a winding collection of enclosed shops within three buildings adjacent to the covered market.
“The district goes down Fourth Avenue and has galleries and shows. What we’re mostly known for is the concentration of locally owned stores, restaurants and music venues. It becomes particularly wonderful during the holiday time because there’s a particularly festive atmosphere. It’s a little bit more intimate and neighbors than shopping at the big box stores or at the mall,” Mary Cambruzzi, Found Gallery owner, said. “All of us carry just a unique variety of gifts…The farmer’s market is another wonderful thing in this neighborhood that, during the holidays, is special because you can get your food, tree and wreathes. And then on Sunday, there’s an artisan’s market in the farmers market space and that makes the neighborhood really special too.”
The century-old farmer’s market is run by the Ann Arbor Parks Department and will be open all year on Saturdays. The City of Ann Arbor found that Saturday markets averaged 13,000 people per week summer last year, and 3,000 people over the summer, supporting 115 small businesses.
The farmer’s market is also a vital link for U of M students and other Ann Arborites on low incomes. According to the city, food assistance programs like Double Up Food Bucks, WIC Project Fresh and SNAP (food stamps) collectively provided $119,079 of locally grown, healthy food from December 2021 to December 2022.
The year-to-year calculation is not an accident. You see, most people mistakenly think that it ends when winter comes, but in fact, it is only the secondary Wednesday Market that shuts down on December 20 until next year. The Saturday market runs all year, with vendors keeping vegetables going through grows in greenhouses.
The shops just north of the covered market are entirely privately run, with numerous independent local businesses providing everything from cooked food and groceries to toys, yarn, home goods and clothing. The Sweetwater’s inside the doors by Fifth Avenue and Detroit Street recently became the only one in the chain to obtain a liquor license, selling beer, wine and select cocktails.
The market portion is planning on working with Give 365, a volunteering organization run by the City of Ann Arbor, to provide candy for kids during the market just before Halloween.
Thanksgiving at the farmer’s market will be brought in through a massive harvest market on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day.
“It’s sort of our last minute ‘oh no, I forgot all of these ingredients’,” for Thanksgiving, said Farmers Market Manager Stefanie Staufer.
New food trucks are also in the works. Mayrose Angelo, the owner of the Italian vegan food truck Vegano Italiano, is in the process of adding Saturdays to her usual Wednesday market stays. She will also be bringing back pizza to her menu late this October.
“As of right now we are the only Italian vegan food truck in Michigan,” Angelo described her business. “We specialize in authentic Italian food that’s been veganized. We do aracini, which is very traditional. It is a risotto ball that has been stuffed with our almond ricotta. We do stuffed meatballs, subs, all sorts of pasta dishes and all of our sauce is made from scratch.”
Sixteen food trucks will also be participating in a food truck rally from 5-8 p.m. on October. 18. According to the City of Ann Arbor, the participating food trucks are:
- Vegano Italiano (vegan)
- Craveable (vegan)
- The Treat Truck (vegan)
- Fork in Nigeria
- Tacos El Mariachi Loco
- Jamaican Spice
- Simply Spanish
- Hero or Villain
- Cousins Maine Lobster
- Rite Spice Kitchen pop-up
- Mustard’s Last Stand
- The Missing Link
- PB&J’s BBQ
- The Grill Father Ribs & BBQ
- The Coffee Grind Coffee Truck
The market will have its last Wednesday market on December 20, just in time to get the last things you’ve forgotten before Christmas. The Kerrytown District will be hosting its Kindlefest Market from 5-10 p.m, December 1. This German-style Christmas festival will bring artisan markets for the holidays alongside mulled wine.