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Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Epicurean Dream

West Michigan is blessed with three distinct agricultural seasons, each as delighting to our palate as the last, and the best way to experience these fresh flavors is to directly visit a local farm, u-pick or market. “But Shannon!” you exclaim. “It’s the end of October! How could we possibly go to the farm market?”

West Michigan readers, did you know that many of our markets are open through December or even year round?

This weekend, I took a journey to one such market: Grand Rapids’ Fulton Street Farmers Market, which has been treating GR foodies since 1922. At this time so late in the season, I was admittedly expecting options and vendors to be thinned out, but au contraire, it was utterly overflowing with fall produce and products. Imagine walking through a seemingly never-ending row of farm stands, each piled high with juicy pears, tart grapes, expressive pumpkins, shapely squash, crisp apples, fresh loaves of various breads… One can’t help but salivate, and judging from your responses to the Maple Valley giveaway question, I imagine your minds beginning to swirl with the endless harvest dish possibilities.

Arriving about an hour before closing like I did was a risky move, but there were still plenty of options to fill my basket and stock my fridge. Michigan apples, Halloween pumpkins, and hardy fall mums were definitely the stars of the day, but I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of products available, such as homemade wool caps and decorative berries for the upcoming holiday season.

At WMTA.org, we have a pretty handy map for finding the closest market, farm, or orchard near you. Whether you’re looking for pumpkins in Traverse City or pears in South Haven, it’s a snap. Check it out and start preparing for your West Michigan agricultural trip using my five farm market quick tips.

Five Farm Market Tips:
  1. Arrive a bit early for the best picks or a bit late for the best deals.
  2. Bring your bags and baskets and maybe even a cooler for the car.
  3. Cash is still king.
  4. Walk the entire market to see what’s available before you buy.
  5. Talk to your farmers! They’re proud of their produce and would love to tell you about it
The Fulton Street Farmers Market is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8 am – 3 pm, May to Christmas.

High five,

-Shannon

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

looking at all that yummy food made me hungry. nice posting, really raises awareness for healthy eating and fresh foods. a staple that the GR community should fully embrace given all of the wonderful farms surrounding the city.

Judy said...

I was just at the Fulton Street Farmers Market and found a lot of great things.

West Michigan Tourist Association said...

Anonymous, thanks for the comment. All of West Michigan is blessed to have such a rich agricultural heritage and more should certainly embrace their local options.

Judy, isn't it wonderful? My favorite find of the day was a delicious vegetable focaccia loaf. Amazing!

-Shannon