Wednesday, June 29, 2022

EL Farmer's Market opening day provides shopping, live music and storytelling

June 6, 2022
Jess Phillips of Mycophile's Garden grabs mushrooms for an order at the East Lansing farmer's market on June 5, 2022.
Jess Phillips of Mycophile's Garden grabs mushrooms for an order at the East Lansing farmer's market on June 5, 2022. —
Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

Summertime in East Lansing means the return of the city’s farmer's market.

Opening day of The East Lansing Farmer's Market, or ELFM, 2022 season was June 5. The market takes place every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Valley Court Park and runs through Oct. 30.  

Opening day brought shopping, live music and activities to the park for visitors to enjoy. East Lansing Mayor Ron Bacon performed a ceremonial ringing of the market bell to commence the season's opening. The first 100 customers also received a free ELFM tote bag. 

Before opening day, market manager Karla Forrest-Hewitt said she looked forward to the new season.

“We want to encourage people to explore, engage and enjoy the market – so those are the three E’s for the East Lansing Farmer's Market this year,” Forrest-Hewitt said. “I really hope that people will feel comfortable coming and exploring, and we want to welcome everyone from within and without our community to the market.”

Market visitors can expect new and returning vendors, all of whom make their own products, Forrest-Hewitt said.

There are around 25 vendors who will showcase their products throughout the season. 


One of the vendors is Mycophile's Garden, a Grand Rapids-based business that sells gourmet mushrooms and other products including mushroom grow-kits. 

According to the business’ website, a mycophine is a mushroom(myco-) lover(-phile), or a devotee of mushrooms, especially one whose hobby is hunting wild edible mushrooms.

Jessica Phillips was one mycophile who worked Mycophile's Garden’s booth at the market. 

Mycophile's Garden owner, manager and state of Michigan certified mushroom expert Chris Swinson started the business in 2014, Phillips said. 

“I have been with (Swinson) for the last two years and it has grown from our basement and one car garage to now a warehouse on the southwest side of Grand Rapids,” she said.

Phillips said the business’ main focus is farmers' markets, attending 16 weekly in the summer. In addition to the ELFM, Phillips attends other markets in the area including the Meridian Farmers Market in Okemos. 

“I've personally done this market for the last two years, and it always is a pretty decent flow of traffic, and compared to usual, I think that's a pretty busy day today,” Phillips said. “It's been steady, nice, I've seen a lot of people. Just making new connections and talking about fungi – a market is my favorite day of the week.”

The East Lansing Public Library held two story times during the market to promote its summer reading program, which kicks off on June 6. 


Youth Services Librarian Gillian Streeter said the morning story time had a good turnout despite some light rain throughout the day.

“We had a lull in the drizzle, so we had a pretty good turnout and we had a lot of eager participation,” Streeter said. “I’m a firm believer in having story times where you get to shout and be loud because otherwise really, what's the story for? We did a lot of dancing and we shared a couple of stories, so it was a lot of fun.”

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