Local Farmers' Market Season Kicks Off

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It's like mother nature knew Saturday was the opening day for several local farmers' markets, but many people are wishing she would have cooperated a little earlier.

Right now the usual specialty items aren't hard to find.

"From kettle corn to beef jerky, egg rolls, you name it, we got it," Holt Farmers Market Manager Chuck Grinnell said.

There's a plethora of items you can't always find on the shelves, like 8-year-old Riley Smith's pick: apple-flavored honey.

But when it comes to fresh basics, like lettuce, the pickins' are slimmer than usual.

"Last year we had more items, and things were further along, so we had more volume of everything, too," vegetable farmer Dennis Greenman said.

This year the April showers delayed some crops by several weeks, making the start of the farmers' market season pretty tough, and the selection less than ideal.

"We learn to live with it, but we know we gotta stack what we got for our supplies here and have enough to make the people want to come," Greenman said.

Even though there might be more empty boxes and shelves than they'd prefer right now, customers and vendors are optimistic for the rest of the season.

"There's so much variety here, that whatever somebody doesn't have, someone else does," farmer Sandy Stone said.

Stone's family has been selling fresh produce at the Meridian Township Farmers' Market since it began 40 years ago. She's seen the ups and downs, and said if asparagus sales are a sign, this season will be one for the books.

"It just sold out, and then, I sent our for a little bit more, and that was gone in like a half hour," Stone said.

The sales don't just help the dozens of vendors, but the entire community.

"It also helps the local economy," Grinnell said. "Everything from people stopping to get gas to stopping at the local store."

Whether you make a purchase or not, there's at least one thing that will keep people coming back.

"It's just fun going here and having the free samples," Smith said.

Farmers said the fruit will be high quality and plentiful in the next month or so.

The farmers' markets are open Saturday through the fall.

Many accept bridge cards.

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