89.1 WEMU

A Bit Of Comfort & Joy At Ann Arbor Farmers Market During The Pandemic

Aug 19, 2020

Dennis Sparr at his booth at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market which his family has operated there for around a hundred years.
Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU
So many things are different in our daily lives because of the global health crisis we are currently experiencing.  One thing that has been able to stay operational, with certain public health modifications, is the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.  WEMU’s Lisa Barry has found a bit of comfort and joy in weekly visits to a long-time, farmers market vendor she calls “her flower guy.”

Bouquet of flowers from the Ann Arbor Farmers Market
Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

With very little sense of normalcy in our lives right now due to the global health crisis, it takes some effort to find a sense of comfort or routine.  Interrupted by the pandemic for a while, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market is now operational with certain public health restrictions in place.

Dennis Sparr of Sparr's Greenhouse in Plymouth has been selling flowers at the market since he was a small boy.  Now 78 years old, he recalls loading plants into a Model T parked at the Ann Arbor market.  He says, when the pandemic first began and many businesses were shut down, they were concerned they might have to file for bankruptcy.  But he soon began contactless pick-up at the greenhouse and returned to sales once the farmers market reopened.

Dennis Sparr at his booth at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.
Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

Sparr shares a health scare he had about ten years ago and how that impacted his view of life.  He talks about the friendships he's made and sustained at the farmers market and how selling plants and flowers can bring "a little bit of joy" into people's lives.

Dennis Sparr is wrapping up a bouquet of “Floribundas” small colorful roses they sell there.
Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu