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Since 2008 the Hillsdale Farmers Market has been a Sat­urday tra­dition. COLLEGIAN | Carmel Kookogey

For local farmers, res­i­dents, and college stu­dents, the Sat­urday morning farmers’ market in downtown Hillsdale is a beloved tra­dition.

The Hillsdale farmers’ market, which began in 2008, brings a variety of vendors from the sur­rounding town­ships to set up shop every Sat­urday morning from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Hillsdale County Cour­t­house Square. Vendors sell any­thing from produce, to flowers, to homemade pre­serves and handspun yarn.

“We’ve been doing the farmer’s market since it started, so this is our tenth year,” Magda’s Produce co-owner Cindy Magda said. “We always try some­thing new every year, so we have a new variety of melon, or new variety of pumpkins, there’s always some­thing new we try every year. Everything’s grown on our farm, seven miles north of Jonesville,” Magda said.

In addition to veg­etables, Magda’s Produce also sells fruit from a cousin’s farm.

Magda and her husband, Kevin, are the second-gen­er­ation of produce vendors, with their friend, Kristin, helping them maintain the stand during market season. The husband-and-wife team explained that they inherited the produce business from Kevin Magda’s parents, who were also Hillsdale farmers.

“Kevin parents have grown veg­etables and produce and sold them for like 40 years, before we started this,” Cindy Magda said. “They always sold at the fair­grounds, there used to be a big farmers’ market there. Since Kevin and I married, we’ve just sort of taken it over.”

Though many sell produce, vendors bring an eclectic mix of wares to the farmers’ market. Hor­ti­cul­tur­alist and vendor Molly Covert said she started her stand four years ago, because she “enjoys her plants and and sharing them with others.”

“Every­thing is grown in my own gardens, and I find the con­tainers at dif­ferent garage sales and thrift stores, antique stores,” Covert said. “I just enjoy the repur­posing and finding some­thing new out of some­thing old.”

Covert explained how she cross­breeds some of her own plants to “produce new vari­eties.”

“I have a pretty good fol­lowing,” she said, “and every year a few of them in par­ticular come and look for new varieties…The people that are hor­ti­cul­tur­alists come and enjoy seeing what’s new.”

Covert, who brings her flowers from Hudson, Michigan, added that vendors are “always glad when the stu­dents come back,” though she also has several regular local cus­tomers.

Some of the market reg­ulars include Hillsdale College faculty and their fam­ilies.

Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of Psy­chology Collin Barnes and his family have been vis­iting the farmers’ market for three years. Though Barnes pointed out that his wife attends more fre­quently than he, the market holds appeal for the whole family.

Barnes’ daughter Paige and son Drew called the cake pop and pie stands their favorites.

“They have miniature pies that I like to look at, that are really yummy,” Drew Barnes said.

Collin Barnes said he has been eying a certain chess set for a while.

“There’s actually a wood­worker, who is not here today, but he has this chess set that he makes, they’re rather large pieces. I’ve always wanted it, but it’s also very expensive. So, I look with longing,” he said.

Senior Grace Houghton, exploring the market for the first time Sat­urday, said she “liked it a lot.”

“They have a variety of food, home decor, homemade pre­serves: it’s cool,” Houghton said, adding that she would “def­i­nitely be back.”

A common draw to the market are the health ben­efits of eating local produce and using simply-made products, a sen­timent which Houghton echoed.

“I bought a shampoo bar, from the Lady Bee stall, and it’s an avocado con­di­tioning shampoo bar. I like that I know all the ingre­dients: I feel very hippie and very healthy,” she said.

But most people come to the market because of the “com­munity spirit.”

“It’s a great group of people, between little kids that come, and older folks that come at 8:00 in the morning to get their produce,” Covert said. “It’s a really nice, eclectic mix.”

Cindy Magda echoed her sen­timent.

“We love it, it’s fun, coming back and seeing people you haven’t seen in a year,” she said. “It’s like a home­coming, almost, every year.”