By Lonnie Huhman,
The Agricole Farm Stop is taking healthy, fresh food from the vibrant local agricultural and artisan scene and mixing it in with the feel of a community hub.
This recipe has produced a local market that’s brought new life to the corner of Jackson and Main streets in downtown Chelsea.
It opened its doors around a month ago and has become a popular destination for many seeking a wide range of produce, meats, eggs, dairy, bread, dry goods and a variety of prepared foods as well as a coffee shop with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating space.
The team at the market is led by Abby Hurst, Kathy Kennedy, Sharon Norton and Patrick Zieske, who all say the mission is to encourage and improve small farm viability, increase community access to locally grown food and educate the public about maintaining local small farming as a community resource.
Kennedy describes the market in part as a year-round farmers market with a great coffee shop.
“We felt there was a need for this, so we’re excited to be here in this great spot,” Kennedy said.
The management team said their inspiration was the Argus Farm Stop in Ann Arbor, which played a helpful role.
The building the Agricole is in had various uses in the past, including as an auto dealership, but it sat vacant for a long time and needed a good idea. In stepped Hurst and her husband Joe Ziolkowski, who renovated the location while preserving the historic aspects to it.
Hurst re-emphasized that they felt there was a missing piece in the community and they feel the market fits perfectly, and only adds to the vibrancy and desirability of Chelsea.
“The community has been super supportive,” Hurst said.
Agricole is a low profit liability company or L3C, so it’s more about providing a service than making a big profit. It aims to give farmers and producers a good connection to those who want to buy locally grown/made items while also ensuring the farmer/producer sees the fruits of their labor. Agricole pays 75 percent of the gross sales to producers/farmers on a twice per month payment schedule.
So in other words, it returns 75 cents of every dollar back to the local farmer or producer.
The market’s leadership team said they are dedicated to growing the local food economy.
Another locally grown idea calling the market home is Stone House Oven. Company owner Tiffany Rouech has gone from her home to now baking her custom designed shortbreads and other tasty treats at the market. Rouech said she loves being part of the Agricole team.
There’s much more to see and taste, so go to 118 N Main St. to check out what it’s all about or go to its Facebook or webpage at www.agricolefarmstop.com. The market is opened from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekend.