“Once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher, but everyday, three times a day, you need a farmer.”
The Kalamazoo outdoor Farmer’s Market re-opened on Bank Street this past Saturday. I am still ‘green’ to this market, as this is only the third opening that I’ve counted down to diligently. I’ve seen a lot of changes in my short yet growing relationship with this market and the people in it. I think the biggest to note is being purchased by the People’s Food Co-Op, who really made vast improvements for shoppers, vendors and farmers last year; let alone the growth in the amount of all those people. It makes for a very exciting and anticipating season to follow. It felt comparable to if ‘Breaking Bad’ was going to air new episodes (I apologize if you’re not a fan of the show, replace with one of your favorite concluded television broadcasts.)
This time of year could be my favorite harvesting of Michigan vegetables. Maybe the winter was so…winter, that anything on the tail end seems to resemble truffles and caviar. Wild ramps, green garlic and the first bits of asparagus are here. Let alone ‘harder to find’ gems, like morels and fiddlehead ferns. The treasures of Michigan’s spring are plentiful, but late summer is unforgettable with its heirloom tomatoes, endings of sweet corn and beginnings of stone fruit. Fall has the promise of squash, stalks of brussel sprouts and the earthiness of root vegetables. Maybe I don’t have a favorite.
Either way, it was a pleasure to meet up with our friends again. Some we haven’t seen since last fall, some we have kept close over the frigid months. Pat Smith from Kirklin Gardens always greets with a smile on her face and a recommendation of her best ‘stuff’. Mitch and Lindsey from Crisp Country love to fill my bag full of produce and are always excited to help fill yours full of anything you need, as well as grow something new you’re interested in. Dave from Young Earth Farms has the best pork I’ve ever had, definitely ask him about his hogs and you will be fascinated in his process. Trent and Ruthie from Green Gardens always have welcoming faces and some of the best greens around. The Otto’s Poultry boys are always good for a solid laugh, and chicken that will make you skip the ‘supermarket’. Jon Templin from Butternut Farms has some of the most beautiful product I’ve ever seen. These are just a few of our friends, and maybe the beauty in it all is that we make more friends every season. I dare say it is not the food they grow, but relationships I’ve made with these farmers that keep me close.
Please stop by the market this summer and make some friends of your own, or come in to Webster’s Prime and see what we do with the jewels from Michigan’s prime.
Follow us on Instagram @websterprime to see what we’re picking up at the market this season!