Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation logo

Market History

Skip Navigation LinksHome » Departments » Parks and Recreation » Parks and Places » Farmers Market » Market History

1941-under construction.gif 


The market is 100 years old this year (1919 - 2019)! We will be posting weekly photos and memories from our history each week. Send us your old pictures and memories of the market to and we will share those too! In addition, we will be collecting interviews to add to our oral history collection.  *Thanks to the Ann Arbor District Library for their historical archive​



Photo: Mrs. Deterle, Bob's Mother (1968). 'Winter was an even more trying time. Bob Dieterle didn’t miss a Saturday for fifty-seven years. "People depended on us to bring eggs,” he says. “Once when there was a big snowstorm, when we still had horses, I knew my dad’s ’34 Ford couldn’t reach the corner [to the main road], so I had the horses pull it there. I met him there with the horses when he returned at three.' - The Farmers Market Bounces Back, Grace Shackman, 1998






1968-kittens.jpgPhoto: Free Kittens at the Farmers Market (1968) 
Caption: Mommie, Please?: Playful kittens, especially when they're homeless and free, are just too much for a little girl to pass by. Even though Mary Kay Lininger has kittens of her own at home, she made a noble attempt at trying to convince her mother that just one more wouldn't be too many. Mary Kay is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roger A. Lininger of Mt. Vernon Avenue
Ann Arbor News, October 20, 1968






Photo: 1951-winter
The Ann Arbor Farmers Market In Cold Weather, January 1951. Donated by the Ann Arbor News.

From its inception through the 1960s, market stalls were in great demand. “Quite a few [growers] would stay all night the night before to get a preferred spot,” Alex Nemeth remembers. Bob Dieterle, who still works the family farm near Saline, remembers that his mother used to go at 2 a.m. and park across from the armory to make sure she’d get a stall.

Once they had secured a spot, many stayed up all night, or close to it, getting ready for the market. Dieterle’s wife, Luella, used to spend the night picking flowers, a flashlight under her arm. Esther Kapp remembers harvesting until 1:30 a.m. and then rising again at 4 a.m. for the trip to town. Her three brothers stayed behind on the farm on Northfield Church Road to continue picking; while Kapp and her mother sold, her dad would drive back and forth all day to pick up fresh produce. (The Farmers Market Bounces Back, Grace Shackman, 1998)


Cindy Shake.jpg

Photo: Submitted by Cindy Shake
This is a photo of my mother, Olive Conant, arranging wild daisies bouquets. She and my father, Herbert, had a stall next to Alex Nemeth from 1952-1995. I spent many Saturdays at the market learning customer service and how to make change. My parents were also market managers in the late 60’s and early 70’s while still maintaining their stall. They sold vegetables, baked goods, flowers and crafts. My husband , Jim and I eventually took over the growing and selling. Cindi Conant Shake