Fridays 7 a.m.-1 p.m. (May through Christmas)
Saturdays 7 a.m.-1 p.m. (All year)
Sundays 8 a.m.-3 p.m. (Antiques and Collectibles Market)
I sat down with Robin Richardson, event planner for the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market, to chat about the market.
Q: How many vendors do you have at the market?
A: There are several hundred; the market not only has products from farms, but from greenhouses and orchards, as well as a huge number of specialty made items. On Sundays, the markets hosts an Antique and Collectible Market that over 200 vendors participate in. The Royal Oak Farmers Market is the largest in Michigan.
Q: What product do you sell the most of?
A: Produce, though it’s hard to say for certain. There are thousands of flats of flowers and perennials sold at the market each week as well. Trucks will arrive with their twenty feet of space filled with flats and leave completely empty. On many Saturdays, it is difficult for vendors to bring enough of their product, as they so often sell out.
Q: Have you seen an increase in customers? What do you attribute the increase to?
A: Absolutely, especially on Fridays, which used to draw almost no patrons, but has grown enormously. The market is also open year-round, only closing on major holidays. If you want fresh tomatoes in February, you can find them at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market. Though some seasonal products are brought in, all of them are farm grown. Some farmers are even working on developing hydroponics so that they’re able to continue to bring their own Michigan grown products year-round.
Q: Are your customers mostly local?
A: While many customers are local, it’s not uncommon to hear someone say that used to go elsewhere, but are thrilled to find that there is an even larger variety and selection here. Events on the weekends have also definitely helped to grow awareness and patronage.
A: Obviously the variety is a huge draw; whether you need produce, meat, cheese, gluten-free baked goods or even a new bird bath, customers can do all of their grocery shopping and more at the market. But what really sets the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market apart is the integrity of its vendors. The merchants there have a sort of love affair with their goods, not just taking pride in their product, but living, eating and breathing what they grow. The market also maintains a reasonably priced, family oriented environment. Parents can bring their children to one of the events held at the market, such as the upcoming Corn Roast (the market’s sort of anniversary celebration), and not only visit and enjoy the largest farmer’s market in Michigan, but the best.