America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest enters final month

Rockford Farm Market still leads entire nation

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL

Farm market vendor tables are laden with the very first of the season Michigan apples and peaches. Photo by CLIFF HILL

Let’s Rockford Farm Market still leads entire nation

color this as an athletic event. We are about to enter the 10th week of a 13-week contest:  America’s Favorite Farmers Markets. One might say we are entering the ninth inning of a ballgame.

Rockford is holding the lead, however slim, and it’s time to bring in the “closers” to protect our lead. Our opponent is tenacious (Venice, Fla.) and has been dogging us in the vote tallies for the past five weeks. Time to put the Venice Farmers Market away and raise our hands in victory on August 31!

Now just who are these “closers”? It turns out that they are the ones who have, as yet, not voted and have been holding themselves in reserve for this very moment in time. It’s their time to step to the plate and hit one out of the ballpark.

Are you a closer? Then go online to www.farmland.org/vote to cast your vote for Rockford Farm Market or, easier still, visit Saturday morning’s farm market and cast your vote in person at the voting booth in front of the Lions Market Master stall.

Those of you who have already voted, thanks ever so much—you have played a part in the storied history of Rockford—but you, also, can be a closer. You can use all of your social networking skills to spread the word and encourage the vote. (We all know the residents of West Michigan are the most social and technically proficient people in the U.S.)

Vote totals as of 11 p.m. Monday, August 1, 2011 for top five in all market size categories:

•            Rockford Farm Market (small market)—1,886

•            Venice, Fla. (small)—1,697

•            Snellville, Ga. (medium)—1,550

•            Fayetteville, Ark. (large)—1,252

•            New Braunfels, Texas (large)—1,133

•            Las Cruces, N.M. (large)—1,014

If you have been following this contest online, you may have noticed that Michigan has another player in this contest. The Manistique Farm Market is no threat to Rockford’s standings, but nevertheless is leading the nation in the boutique market size category with 271 votes.

Imagine the possibility of Michigan, the doormat of the nation for the last 10 years, having two small city farm markets being declared America’s Favorite Farmers Markets in their market size categories with Rockford Farm Market number one overall in the entire United States.

It’s not that improbable a scenario when you consider the fact that Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation and nowhere is that locally grown and freshly harvested bounty more apparent than every Saturday morning at Rockford’s “Pure Michigan” farm market.

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