Voted “America’s Favorite Farmers Market” in 2011, the Rockford Farm Market is not content to rest on its laurels. Bowing to vendor and customer demand the Market’s sponsor, the City of Rockford, has decided to open the 2013 Farm Market Season three weeks early.
So, mark your calendars. This year the Rockford Farm Market will open its 2013 season on Saturday, May 11 (previous seasons, the Market opened on the first Saturday of June) and will close, as usual, on the last Saturday of October.
Begun in 2001, the Rockford Farm Market has become a wildly popular Saturday morning destination for “foodies”, both local and from all over West Michigan. Weekly, they arrive by the thousands in search of the wide assortment of flavors and cuisines offered up by “America’s Favorite Farmers Market”.
Great cooking starts with great ingredients and there is no better way to celebrate food than to create a dish that utilizes ingredients straight from a local farm. Also keep in mind when you Market shop in Rockford, whom ever is behind the stall’s counter is an expert. Don’t hesitate to ask the merchant questions. They all are happy to share what they know with you and the fact is, they know a lot!
So as we look forward (hopefully) to a beautiful May 11 bluebird Michigan Saturday morning, here are a few tips for a rewarding Farm Market experience as harvested from the Reader’s Digest.
It’s best to get there early. But it’s all right if you can’t get there until later. What you’ll get is still fresher and healthier than any that’s been shipped (oftentimes from out-of-state) to a supermarket. Most every farmer harvests the produce they offer the day before it is sold.
Farmers depend on you to survive. Farmers depend on the income from markets to get by. Nearly all run very small operations and the profit margin is slim.
Where do you want your money to go? If you spend $100 at a Farmer’s Market, $62 goes directly back into the local economy and $99 stays in the state.
If you’re not sure, ask to taste before buying. Almost all vendors are happy to provide a taste and offer preparation ideas.
Farmers don’t do deals. With the very thin margins, the prices are often incredibly fair and there’s no room for bargaining. The best way to get a good deal is to be a consistent customer. You’ll know their names and they’ll make certain to know yours. Market vendors understand it’s all about cultivating a relationship with people who are willing to spend a little bit more for something a whole lot better.
Bringing farm produce to market is not an easy task. Nothing is worse than having bad weather cause customers to stay away. Up in the darkness of early morning, farm market vendors load their heavily laden trucks. Mindful of money, they set up their stalls rain or shine, ever hopeful to sell out. They finally return home late in the day, totally exhausted.
For the uninitiated, the Rockford Farm Market is located White Pine Trailside in the South Squires Street parking lot (access Main St. or Bridge St.). Every Saturday morning, rain or shine, May 11 thru October 26 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.