Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization, has teamed up with our local farmers markets again. Every other Saturday, volunteers have collected fresh produce donated by the people taking advantage of all the wonderful locally grown food sold at the Rockford Farmers Market or by the farmers themselves. They helped collect 626 pounds of food on one Saturday! Volunteers are still needed for the October 9 and 23 Rockford Farmers Markets as well as other dates for the Plainfield and Fulton farmers markets. If anyone is interested, please call Nathan O’Connell at (616) 606-2151. According to Feeding America’s statistics, 49 million Americans are facing hunger and 96 billion pounds of food are wasted every year. Be part of the solution!
Rockford Farm Market
by Cliff and Nancy Hill The first Saturday of June means one thing in Rockford – the annual opening of the City sponsored Rockford Farm Market. We’ve never missed an opening and this Saturday will be no exception. We, along with many others, are so “geeked” on our Farm Market that you can find us in attendance on any given Saturday during the Market’s June through October run. The Market is all about quality, variety, abundance, and freshness along with having become a community social gathering place. Many of the Market’s vendors were present for the first Rockford Farm Market in 2001 and fell in love with the venue, the town, and the people’s of the greater Rockford community. Market customers have come to personally know the local West Michigan farm families that bring a cornucopia of fresh Michigan produce to market each week. From the powerhouse Visser Farms, to L & L Bull Farm, to Deimer Winter Gardens, to Ter Avest Farm, to Bob Alt Farm, to Krupka’s Blueberry Plantation, to Post Farms, to Earthkeeper Farm, along with others too numerous to mention, all will be returning this season. We frequent them all, filling our signature and colorful hand-woven wicker market basket to bursting. Freshly picked asparagus, strawberries and blueberries, tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches, cherries, salad greens galore, you get the picture, our mouths are watering already. The Market is not only about produce. There’s something for everyone including cheeses, jerky, honey, fruit pies, floral bouquets, garden plantings, and freshly baked artisan breads. We subscribe heartily to the “know your farmer, know your food” theory. Last Saturday, with that in mind, we set out on a field trip to the 20-acre Earthkeeper Farm located near 13-Mile Rd. and Fruit Ridge Avenue. Fearing we would be conscripted to do some weeding, we planned our surprise visit for late in the afternoon. We lucked out! Owner Rachelle Bostwick and 7-month-old son, Liam, had just finished the day’s chores and had time to show us around. Husband Andrew was in Colorado for the weekend attending the wedding of a close friend. This is Earthkeeper Farm’s third year at the Rockford Market and Andrew and Rachelle are now proud to say that all of the farm’s produce is […]
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are the symbol of Halloween and for the past month nowhere have pumpkins been more evident than at Rockford’s hugely popular Farm Market. The calendar has conspired this year to have Halloween fall on this season’s last Farm Market. This coming Saturday is your last chance to say good-bye to your favorite vendors and stock up on the abundant bounty of a successful fall harvest. Along with carving pumpkins their display tables will be heavily laden with late season crops that store well and can be bought in volume. Vendors are more than happy to share their knowledge of storage techniques—just ask. Many, but not all, of the produce items available will be: pie pumpkins, squash and potatoes of all varieties, late harvest greens including broccoli and multi-colored cauliflower, cider, and apples, apples, apples! The Michigan apple harvest this year was one of the largest and most successful on record. Many varieties of apples can be stored for months in a cool dry environment such as a basement or a garage that stays above freezing. Again, vendors can advise which varieties store the best. Farm Market vendors are in general agreement that this year’s Rockford Farm Market season was the most successful ever. Even on the few days of inclement weather, faithful market goers showed up in good numbers. This year brought the addition of the Market’s newest regular vendor, Earthkeeper Farms. Practicing strictly sustainable and organic farming methods, Andrew and Rachelle Bostwick, found their farm’s offerings so popular that at times they had to double the size of their stall. Not only were they busy harvesting their crops; Rachelle harvested their first child, a bouncing baby boy (future farmhand) Liam Isaac Bostwick. Toward the end of the season a vendor couple appeared sporting a huge copper kettle. Throughout the morning the kettle produced an instant Market success—Old Fashioned Kettle Corn. As they stirred the contents in the heated kettle, the aroma produced caused huge lines to form to sample and purchase the sweet treat. The Rockford Lions Market Masters were also busy popping theater popcorn in this year’s newly placed Market Master Mini-barn. Bags of popcorn were available for just a dollar to support the good works of […]
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL In future weeks, visitors to the Rockford Farm Market will find a Rockford Lions donated shed smack dab in the center of the popular Saturday morning marketplace. The shed will serve as headquarters for the Market Master as he oversees the Market’s vendors and morning’s activities. Head Market Master Bob Winegar, on behalf of the Rockford Lions Club, said, “We couldn’t have managed this move without the generous support of River Valley Auto. Owner Dan Williams sent two of his vehicles, one a specialized flat-bed truck, to transport the shed to the site and assist in lowering it into place. With the patience and skill of the two tow-truck drivers, Ryan Nielsen and John Frazine, the difficult task went off without a hitch.” Rockford Public Services Director Mike Bouwkamp was also on hand Tuesday morning to lend his expertise and the use of a City front-loader. As the Squire reported in their story of this season’s Market opening, the Lions will vend fresh and hot popcorn from an authentic popcorn machine. Proceeds of popcorn sales will go towards various Lions Club charitable service projects. Stop by Saturday morning to admire the Market Master headquarters and get yourself a bag of good old-fashioned popcorn. River Valley was also a good neighbor to the Squire the week of Start of Summer Celebration. We forgot to bring a tarp to cover our beautiful float. With rain in the night’s forcast, River Vally kindly let us store our float safely in their garage. Thanks, guys.