by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL “Boomer” Johnson, 2, loves summer Saturday mornings. The Rockford resident awakens early and sits anxiously at the front door in anticipation of a visit to his very favorite place, the Rockford Farm Market. Soon he is leading his mistress along the White Pine Trail en route to Rockford Farm Market. Occasionally, when it is extremely warm as it was last Saturday, he takes a refreshing dip in the cool trailside waters of the Rogue River. Shaking himself dry, he continued on to his favorite market vendor, Great Harvest Bread Co., for his long-awaited weekly dog treat. Boomer loves the Rockford Farm Market and is ever so glad humans feel the same way. “He thinks this market is all for him. There are people to see, dog treats to eat, and sometimes even a dessert of kettle corn!” said his mistress. There was a dog whisperer present last Saturday morning, who said that Boomer was thinking, “Doggone it, if only dogs could vote.”
Rockford Farm Market
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 Market—1,603 • 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 […]
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL As of 6 p.m. Monday evening, Rockford still led all farm markets in the nationwide America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest. But the race to the finish line (Aug. 31) is tightening up with farm markets in four states narrowing Rockford’s lead. The top five markets in vote tally are as follows: • Rockford’s: 1,185 • Venice, Fla.: 1,135 • Fayetteville, Ark.: 987 • Snellville, Ga.: 914 • Las Cruces, N.M.: 809 Just a week ago, the Venice, Fla. Farm Market was almost 300 votes behind Rockford. Apparently, they’ve figured out who they were up against (Rockford) and narrowed the gap to 50 votes as of the writing of this article. Venice, Fla. has a population of 22,000 and its farm market is open year-round. Seems like David versus Goliath, right? So, let’s show the nation why our little hometown Rockford (pop. 5,700) is the envy of the entire state of Michigan when it comes to competition and excellence! If you haven’t yet cast your vote, there’s still five weeks of voting left. We need to keep the pressure on the competition until they throw up their hands in defeat. Cast your e-mail vote(s) at www.farmland.org/vote or, easier still, simply stop by the Market Masters booth any Saturday during the Rockford Farm Market hours of 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and register your vote on site.
With eight weeks left in the contest, surging voting totals show the Rockford Farm Market currently holding a strong lead over all farm markets entered in the state of Michigan. With 723 votes, our hometown farm market’s closest state competitor is Grand Rapids Fulton Street Market with 125 votes. On the nationwide level, where there will be four winners based upon market size category, Rockford is currently in first place in the small market category. Amazingly, Rockford Farm Market finds itself, at this time, a scant 27 votes short of also holding first place in the ENTIRE nation regardless of market size. All voting numbers reflect votes cast as of 8 p.m. Friday, July 8, 2011. Quote of the week from a Rockford Farm Market fan: “The Rockford farmers market is tiny but mighty, and showcases the bounty of fruits, vegetables, plants and locally produced foods grown and made right here in West Michigan. Unlike other local markets, the Rockford market focuses on food and plants exclusively. This makes the Rockford market a must-do destination for local foodies, from novices to gourmands!” If you haven’t voted already, there’s no time like the present. Remember, Rockford is a community of winners! Go online to www.farmland.org/vote.