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Friday October 24, 2014
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continued

Like many farmers, Stech's family goes to multiple markets, and sees them from a grower's point of view. He grouses about the "price pressure" at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market--which gets especially cutthroat with hanging baskets. "We don't even bother selling them in Ann Arbor. The guys there are just giving them away. Oh, come on, don't write that!" he says, eyeing the colorful baskets of trailing flowers at his feet, $13 or two for $25. "These are premium hanging baskets!" he adds.

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Like Chelsea, Saline is a pickup affair. The city simply gives a downtown parking lot to farmers on Saturday mornings, and the vendors decide whether to brave the elements or set up canopies for shelter.

May 25 was Barbara Dial's very first day at any farmers market, selling her labor-intensive end-grain cutting boards that go for as much as $150. Also a nature photographer, she couldn't believe the bargain farmers markets offer to a small-time vendor: "it costs nothing!" Well, not literally nothing--it costs $15 a day, and "even Ann Arbor is only $25 a day," she notes. "I've paid as much as $1,500 for a booth at a high-end art fair with my photography."

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