City of Rokford

Rockford’s Farm Market voted best in national contest

September 8, 2011 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL When the online polling site closed last Wednesday evening at midnight, the Rockford Farm Market found itself atop the leader board in ALL market size categories in the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. The online contest is an annual nationwide challenge, sponsored by the American Farmland Trust, a pro-agriculture organization with headquarters in Washington D.C. More information and complete rankings across the country can be found at With 6,083 votes Rockford found itself in first place nationwide in the small market size category (16-30 vendors), followed by the Venice Farmers Market of Venice, FL some 475 votes behind. Our little sister, the Manistique, MI farmers market (up in the U.P., eh) finished second nationwide, with 3,208 votes, in the boutique market category (2-15 vendors) to another Florida farm market in North Port, FL. All Michiganders have much to be proud of with two small-town farm markets, strictly vending locally harvested and fresh from the field Michigan produce, rising (as cream does) to top rankings. The Rockford Farm Market has actually pulled off a trifecta in this contest. First, our Farm Market claims the prize as Michigan’s Favorite Farm Market. Second, our Farm Market claims the prize as America’s Favorite Farm Market in the small market category. And third, market categories aside, having polled higher vote totals than any market nationwide, our Farm Market has earned the right to claim it is truly, “America’s Favorite Farm Market”. Was any of this an easy task – you bet it wasn’t! Many readers are aware that your reporters have acted as volunteer campaign managers during the 13-week contest (June – August). Every Saturday morning we found ourselves at Farm Market harvesting votes from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. In the 5th week, we set up a polling site and began asking market-goers for their names and email addresses allowing us to cast their votes online. Most, if not all, willingly did so. They readily admitted they had read or seen media coverage of the contest and intended to vote but just never found the time to do so. To say that we were successful in this manner of vote gathering would be a gross understatement. Two Saturday mornings later we had […]