by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL
Newspaper, television and radio coverage of Rockford’s weekly standings in the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest has caused a strong up-tick in Saturday morning attendance at the downtown Rockford Farm Market.
After reading and hearing of our improbable current first-place standings in the nationwide contest, farm market lovers from throughout West Michigan appear to be checking us out. First-time visitors are arriving from as far away as Traverse City and Ludington to the north, the entire Greater Grand Rapids metropolitan area, and Saugatuck and Holland to the south.
Rockford area residents have always known in their hearts that we have the “world’s” greatest farm market, and now it’s no longer a secret. First-timers quickly fall in love with our market because it is a pure farm market and the essence of “Pure Michigan.” They eagerly seek out the market’s voting site and flock to add their votes for Rockford Farm Market in the annual nationwide contest.
Many of these first-time visitors to Rockford Farm Market load their purchases in coolers in their vehicles and then spill over into the downtown shopping district seeking to enjoy a meal, grab an ice cream cone, and then browse through the shops. Rockford’s popular morning breakfast/lunch eatery, The Peppermill Grill, reports consecutive Saturday all-time highs. After discovering the charms of Rockford, hopefully many will return again and again.
Now to current contest standings. Rockford still enjoys, as of 11 p.m. Monday evening, a respectable lead in the nation in all market size categories. Voting tallies
are as follows:
• Rockford Farm
• Venice, Fla.—1,404
• Snellville, Ga.—1,306
• Fayetteville, Ark.—1,128
• Las Cruces, N.M.—863
If you have not as yet cast your vote for Rockford Farm Market, you may do so at www.farmland.org/vote, or easier still you may do so by stopping by the Lion’s Market Master booth any Saturday morning during the farm market hours of 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the remaining five Saturdays of the contest. The contest ends August 31.
And remember, the farm market appeals to everyone—young and old alike! Youth especially love the market for its secret recipe freshly popped kettle corn, honey sticks, and the decadent and the ever popular Extreme Cinnamon Swirl bread. But maybe the best part for the pre-teens and teens is, for the first time in their lives, they can vote in a strictly popular vote nationwide election with no political strings attached. With no age restrictions, the only requirement is that they must possess an e-mail address. One has only to witness, first-hand, the huge smile that spreads across the kids’ faces when they learn that they, too, can cast a vote!