News

MP Farmers Market open for 2019 season

Veteran vendors and newcomers sell fresh produce, flowers and more

GTNS photo by Grace King

Gerald Freyenberger chats with a customer at the Mt. Pleasant Farmer’s Market on Saturday, May 18. Freyenberger has been selling plants at the market since it started in the 1980s.
GTNS photo by Grace King Gerald Freyenberger chats with a customer at the Mt. Pleasant Farmer’s Market on Saturday, May 18. Freyenberger has been selling plants at the market since it started in the 1980s.
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Helen Schnicker, 11, takes pride in selling her homegrown vegetables and farm fresh eggs at her family’s produce stand Schnicker Specialties during the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market.

The Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market opened for the 2019 season on Saturday, May 11, at McMillan Park Wright Family Pavilion. They will continue on Saturdays from now until October from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m.

“I’m very good at selling and helping count back change,” Helen said. “Sometimes I get to see people I know and help them pick out what they want.”

Helen enjoys helping customers at the farmers market, almost as much as she enjoys helping her dad plant and harvest produce. The only thing she doesn’t like about gardening is weeding, she said.

Mary Schnicker, Helen’s mother, said Helen is her “best sales girl,” and when Helen works at the market, she gets a percentage of the profits to put in her savings account.

Mary said that working at the stand teaches her children how to count back change and the importance of having a job. She said the entire family enjoys working with customers and providing fresh food to the community.

Her six-year-old son loves to talk to customers too when he helps at the market. He asks customers, “Would you like to buy my radishes?”

“I say he’s either going to be a preacher or a salesman,” Mary said with a smile.

While Helen and her siblings might be the youngest vendors at the market, Gerald Freyenberger has been with the market longer than anyone. Freyenberger has been selling plants at the market ever since it started in the 1980s. He started by selling strawberry plants, then grew it to vegetables.

“I just enjoy working with plants,” he said. “It’s kind of my hobby. It’s more than a hobby.”

Freyenberger said he thinks a lot of customers appreciate the market and the vendors appreciate their customers.

“It’s more than a place to buy something. It’s a social event too,” Freyenberger said.

Jo Sankey, who sells homemade cookies at the market, says she’s been doing it for more than 10 years because she enjoys the people.

“I think it’s a gathering place. I think it’s fun. You’re not in this business to get rich,” Sankey said.

She sells cookies because why not?

“I enjoy baking. Morgan Hoenig used to manage the market, we were friends, and she talked me into it,” Sankey said.

Everything made at Cindy Chambers’ and Carol Rose’s Relay for Life stand goes to the American Cancer Society. Last year, they donated over $3,000 to the American Cancer Society. Everything is hand crafted, from fairy solar lights for the garden, to towels, slippers, bags and more.

Megan Liechty is new to the market this year. She sells cookies at her stand Megan’s Confections. She also sells cakes and cheesecakes made to order.

Liechty started her business in 2015 and was looking to branch out when she thought of the market as a good place to grow her customer base.

“Baking is my passion,” she said.

Ashley Krogmeier sells flowers at her stand Home Grown Greenery. She is also new to the market this year.

“We’re trying to get our name out there. We’ve had quite a few people stop by,” Krogmeier said.

Krogmeier grows her flowers in a small greenhouse near Salem.