Thursday, 28 May 2020 00:15

Merry Markets

Written by  Josh Veal
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Fulton Street Farmers Market. Fulton Street Farmers Market. Courtesy Photo

In times like these, almost nothing’s more essential than a farmers market.

Finding fresh food in an open-air setting is a huge gift to people who don’t have easy access to a grocery store or would rather not enter one right now. Plus, with a farmers market, you know you’re supporting local.

This month, markets across West Michigan are open, albeit with some restrictions in place. You’ll see an established flow of traffic and handwashing/sanitizer stations set up. 

No matter which market you’re going to, you should expect the same rules:

  • Always wear a mask! We promise, no one will think you’re a sissy.
  • If possible, only have one member per household go through the market.
  • Make your trip quick and efficient.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other people.
  • Don’t try to touch or sample the products before buying.
  • Thoroughly wash everything you buy when you get home.

To make the process easier, many markets offer the ability to place orders ahead of time with vendors — then you simply have to pick it up! 

Even if it’s not the same as it used to be, getting outside and shopping for food in the open air can still be fun, refreshing, and easy.

Fulton Street Farmers Market
Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
1145 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids

Fulton Street Farmers Market is one of the best-known farmers markets in the region, with a lovely permanent structure designed for hosting 40-plus vendors on Saturdays in the summer.

You can buy most everything you need here, with a wide range of vendors selling produce, flowers, garden supplies, meat, dairy, eggs, food and beverage products, baked goods, body care products, and more. 

If you’re looking for something special, you’ll find excellent jams from Cellar Door Preservers, local kombucha from Sacred Springs, Mike’s Famous Bean Dip, Hubberts Kettle Corn and more.

Head there Saturday if you want it all but expect a decent line. Some Saturdays also feature a food truck, where you can place an order online and pick up your breakfast or lunch on the way out. 

Fridays, the vendor count slims down to about 15 — ideal if you’re looking for those specialty products such as cheese, maple syrup, bakery bread, homemade tortillas, et cetera. Wednesdays, you’ll see only a handful of vendors. Check the market’s website or Facebook page to see the list of vendors for each day.

Rockford Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
27 S. Squires St. Square, Rockford

For the most up-to-date information, head to Rockford MI Farmers Market on Facebook. This market — located right off the White Pine Trail — hosts more than 20 vendors offering jerky, pierogi, chips, veggies, meat, honey, wine, hard cider and more. You can order ahead from many of the vendors and some vendors only allow preorders, so be sure to check online before you go. 

Holland Farmers Market
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
150 W. 8th St., Holland

At Holland Farmers Market, the first hour, from 8 to 9 a.m. is strictly reserved for those who are immunocompromised, ages 60-plus and pregnant women. Vendors include vegetables, bread and baked goods, honey, maple syrup, dairy, meat, eggs, plants, and much more. Once again, a number of vendors allow people to preorder, so look online before you go. Currently, Holland plans to open up a Monday Night Market every week, from 5 – 8 p.m. 

Muskegon Farmers Market
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
242 W. Western Ave., Muskegon

Muskegon Farmers Market has flowers, meat, cheeses, vegetables, bakery items, and many more.
Saturdays host approximately 40 vendors as well as food trucks providing food completely packaged, no utensils. 

Kalamazoo Farmers Market
1204 Bank St., Kalamazoo

For the month of May, Kalamazoo Farmers Market was exclusively drive-through, with customers ordering everything ahead of time. But June 6 is scheduled as the opening day of the outdoor walkaround market, open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will focus on “necessary” grocery items, including fresh produce, bread, meat, cheese, pre-packaged foods meant for at-home consumption, personal hygiene items and pet food.

REKO Markets
Ada and Holland

REKO is short for the Swedish words Rejäl konsumtion, meaning fair consumption. It’s a Facebook-based sales model that connects consumers directly to producers. Vendors post what they have into the Facebook group and buyers talk to them to order what they need ahead of time. Once a week, everyone meets up at a predetermined time and location to pick up their orders. Right now, the groups exist in Ada and Holland. Head to the website for more information!

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