Winter no problem for Meridian farmers market
Christina Miller from Meridian Township’s Farmers Market sat smiling Saturday morning as she watched people bundled in winter wear trundle past her to the tables of 30 vendors hawking their wares in the Meridian Mall.
Across the way from her sat Santa Claus doing pictures with children.
Behind her to the right was a table piled high with fresh veggies. To her left was a new Farmers Market vendor, CurrAnt Mist Winery from Owosso.
“This is our first day here. I will be coming back every day until my boss — my brother — says otherwise,” said Sue Hickmott, an employee of the winery, with a laugh.
She said the indoor market was booming for their offerings. She stood offering tasting samples.
On the opposite end of the market, Adam Ulbin, bakery manager for Stonehearth Bakery of Brooklyn, Michigan, stood over an array of baked goods He chatted up customers as they viewed his bread, particularly when they looked at specialty breads like chocolate raspberry bread or cinnamon raisin bread.
He conspiratorially told each person that the specialty breads can be made into the best French toast without using eggs. He smiled as he told them to use melted ice cream rather than eggs.
“It saves you on the cholesterol,” he said to one shopper. “And it saves on the sugar. Because the ice cream carmelizes as you put it in the pan. There’s no need for syrup even.”
It’s a recipe a former employee of the bakery shared with him years ago. That former employee had been a garbage man but was laid off. So he took up baking. Ulbin said that employee was so good at the baking and cooking, the team at the Stone Hearth Bakery encouraged him to go to culinary school.
He did. And he returned with this French toast secret telling Ulbin and the team the ice cream concoction had create award-winning French toast in the northeastern U.S.
He said his business has been operating in the indoor market since it started up, seven years ago.
He originally wanted to have the market every weekend because of the heavy traffic in the mall. But organizers overruled that and are currently operating the market every two weeks.
The next market will be Jan. 6 in the JC Penney wing of the Meridian Mall.
“Being in the mall is great,” he said. “It gets us out of the cold weather.”