Ann Arbor Weather:
Saturday July 20, 2019
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed

Farmers Market Trends

In the 1970s, Bessie Gracia spotted hanging baskets. Now she's keeping a close eye on herbs.

by Micheline Maynard

From the June, 2019 issue

Walk into the Gracia family's sprawling four-booth stand at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, and you'll see herb varieties from around the world: Thai basil, Lebanese mint, Mexican tarragon.

They're a far cry from the parsley and Italian basil that Bessie Gracia convinced her parents, Dolores and Jack, to stock back in the 1980s.

"People were watching all these cooking shows and came in asking for them," Gracia recalls.

She already had a proven record as a trend spotter. In the 1970s, she noticed hanging baskets appearing around Ann Arbor and got her parents' permission to make up fifty. Today, the Gracias sell up to 5,000 a year at markets around metro Detroit.

Gracia still keeps a close eye on what people are buying. She says that geraniums are fading in popularity, because they require so much upkeep, from deadheading spent flowers to constant watering. Instead, they're growing more coleus, known for their colorful foliage, and drought-tolerant succulents.

Herbs now fill half a greenhouse at the Gracias' Belleville farm. Many of the specialty plants will sell out by the end of June, but for the moment these include six types of basil--two red-leafed varieties, two Italian varieties, Thai basil, and a bushy kind called spicy globe--and multiple varieties of thyme, oregano, and mint.

This summer, Gracia is gauging basil sales, wondering whether market shoppers really want all the varieties they're selling. "I'm watching spicy globe," she says, a bit ominously.     (end of article)

[Originally published in June, 2019.]

 



 
Bookmark and Share
Print Comment E-mail

You might also like:

Music: Pop, Rock, Jazz, Blues, & Traditional
Photo: Indigo Blue Bunting Says Hello in Style
Deaths in the Crosswalks
Despite a decade of efforts, the number of pedestrians injured and killed locally is climbing.
James Leonard
Goodbye to Launch Board Shop, Great Lakes Cycling
Marketplace Closings: May 2019
Sabine Bickford
Better Billboards
"You'll get 18,000 emails today but only drive by so many billboards," says Ernie Perich
Jeff Mortimer
Restaurants with Wi-Fi
A clickable zoomable map
The Many Lives of Burns Park
Olivia Hall's savvy land swap created a park, a school, and a neighborhood.
Grace Shackman
Subscribe to the Ann Arbor Observer
The Yams Arrive
They're opening a bakery at Packard and Platt.
Sabine Bickford
Welcome To The Ann Arbor Skatepark, by David Swain
Arbor Hospice
Delux Drapery offers window treatments in Ann Arbor, Michigan like draperies, curtains, shutters & H
spark ann arbor