ROCHESTER — The Downtown Rochester Farmers Market has settled into its winter home at the Rochester Fire Department, 277 Second St.
The market officially opened for its second winter season Nov. 4 and will run 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Jan. 27 — with the exception of Jan. 20, which is the date of the Fire and Ice Festival.
Taylor Clayton, market manager of the Downtown Rochester Farmers Market, said the Rochester Downtown Development Authority launched the winter market last year based on interest from the public.
“It started based on need, because the community wanted it. People are continually there each week, with lines out the doors, so we couldn’t pass on (the) opportunity to do it again this year and provide a sense of community and access to all these foods,” said Clayton.
The winter market features fresh produce and specialty foods — including gourmet coffees, hummus, gnocchi, jams and jellies, honey, dressings, sauces, baked goods and more — from a number of different vendors.
Vendor Jennifer Plumer, of The Allergy Table, is bringing her allergy-friendly baked goods to the winter market for the first time this year.
Plumer, of Rochester Hills, opened The Allergy Table a year ago in honor of her 8-year-old son, who has over 20 food allergies.
“The business actually started about a year ago, when he wanted to find a safe doughnut to eat because we were going on a field trip, and there just was not a safe option anywhere. So as a mom and a warrior for food allergies, I decided to come up with a way to make sure he could participate,” Plumer said. “He sits at the allergy table at school, and kids sitting with him noticed he was eating a safe doughnut — free of the top eight allergens — and then they decided they wanted it. So word spread and people started ordering, and the next thing I know it turned into a full business in honor of my son.”
Plumer supplies allergy-friendly doughnuts, cupcakes, cookies, bagels, sandwich breads, pies and more to marketgoers each week. All of her food items — which are handmade from scratch — are free of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame seeds. She said she makes every effort to ensure cross-contamination is eliminated, adding that she can even create custom baked good orders, since food allergies vary.
“The whole idea is that kids with food allergies or food restrictions can eat the same things as other kids and not feel left out. It’s inclusion for all when it comes to food,” she said. “And we sell out every week. Every week consistently we are completely sold out at least an hour before the market even closes.”
Plumer said her customers say her food is delicious and a hit with everyone, including those without allergies.
“The best thing about the business, and it’s what I have been told, is that it’s not only safe for food allergies, but it tastes good, and people without allergies are ordering it and eating it because it tastes like a regular, mainstream treat,” she said.
The Downtown Rochester Farmers Market is presented by the Rochester DDA.
To stay up to date on which vendors will be at the market, to get information on special events and more, follow the Downtown Rochester Farmers Market Facebook page at facebook.com/DowntownRochesterFarmersMarket.
For more information, call the Rochester DDA at (248) 656-0060.