‘Fresh and local’ produce returns to GV

Anya Zentmeyer

In its fifth season for operation, the Grand Valley State University Farmer’s Market is now open for business.

University President Thomas J. Haas, Provost Gayle Davis among other members of the senior management team at GVSU kicked off the Farmer’s Market this morning, striding alongside community members in a campus wide walk.

Weighing in with 15 regular season and 2 seasonal vendors, market manager Kay Hart said the market typically attracts about 125 customers each week, a number she hopes to keep boosting.

“We are hoping for more this year, as every year it grows,” Hart said. “Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of students at the beginning because the market runs during the summer. We do pick up a lot of students the end of August and the month of September.

The market is stationed in Lot F and will run from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday through Sept. 28.

Hart said this year the GVSU Farmer’s Market is stepping it up with the addition of a cheese vendor and granola bars to the regular array of fruits and veggies for sale. A GVSU alumnus, Holli Ward, will join the team of vendors with a Michigan Butterflies stand.

Hart said on July 13, Lot F will play host to Kid’s Day, which will feature musicians and a lunch prepared by Campus Dining that utilizes the vendor produce.

“It’s fresh off the farm, picked by our local farmers and it leaves out the middle-man,” Hart said. “I believe it is definitely worth it. We need to support our local farmers and be active in promoting sustainability. Fresh and local, what more could you ask for?”

For Allendale community members who won’t be around the GVSU campus this summer, tomorrow marks the start of the Allendale Farmer’s Market located on 6101 Lake Michigan Drive. The first 25 customers will receive free market bags from Goen’s Market; True Value will provide balloons for kids, and Metro Health will be running free blood pressure checks.

In its ninth season, this pint-sized market typically plays host to 6 steady vendors, said Amy Millard, executive director of the Allendale Area Chamber of Commerce, but some days there maybe be more in attendance.

And for what the market lacks in size, Millard said it certainly makes up for in strength.

“The vendors that participate year after year are very happy with the turnout and feel that although it is not a large market like some neighboring communities; the customer base is loyal and strong,” she said.

The Allendale Farmers Market will run through September every Tuesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“I would say that perception is a myth when shopping the Allendale Farmers Market,” Millard said. “The produce is fresh and locally grown; it’s not travelling far to get to your kitchen. The price point tends to be equivalent or better than the same product that you can find in the grocery store. By shopping your local Farmers Market you definitely are supporting your local farmers and eating fresh produce that is in season that tastes great and encourages healthy eating habits for families in the community.”

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