WRITER | LISA BECKER CAMPBELL
Like tomatoes in the summertime, Northern Michigan is bursting with farmers markets!
And each market is bursting with treasures of the season: fresh fruits and veggies, living greenery including flowers and herbs, and famous specialties like Michigan cherries and wild mushrooms. There’s also organic and local honey, jams, cheeses, meats, chicken and eggs – even jewelry, arts and crafts, herbal soaps, skin care products, and more!
The number of farmers markets across Michigan has grown from around 90 in 2001 to more than 400 today, according to the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MFMA). Our state is ranked third among the top six purveyors nationwide, and Northern Michigan alone is home to nearly 60 markets, according to the National Farmer’s Market Directory (NFMD).
The NFMD is a great online resource for farm market locations and details, listing hours of operation, whether the market accepts credit cards, and so on. The MFMA, whose mission is to create a thriving marketplace for local food and farm products, is also an informative resource.
From East to West, Northern Michigan farmers markets are bursting with fresh, organic products and beautiful views.
The Alpena Farmers market features wholesome delicacies from hard-working communities in Alpena, Alcona, Montmorency, Presque Isle, and Oscoda counties.
In Charlevoix, you’ll find the farmers market on Thursday mornings, right downtown along the waterfront in East Park. Who could ask for a more beautiful setting? They also hold events to educate the public about healthful options and encourage the entire family to participate.
Petoskey holds their market on Friday mornings, Gaylord has theirs on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Mackinaw City on Friday afternoon and Sunday morning.
Not only do you have the option of farm markets hosted by the cities of the region. There are also many farm stands scattered all over Northern Michigan, offering everything from produce to meat to fudge to landscaping plants. You may even find a farm stand that still operates on the honor system. Talk about novelty!
A search on farmers markets in (fill in the blank) will get you a listing of farm stands and city-sponsored events. Seems like a fun way to spend a couple of days!
A Guide to Selecting Produce
Refer to the following guidelines to purchase produce while it’s at its peak.
Expect a relatively limited selection in June as the season is ramping up: asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers, herbs, lettuce, mushrooms, peas, rhubarb, spinach, and strawberries. Be sure to grab the asparagus, rhubarb, spinach, and strawberries when you see them, as their season is short.
In July, a bounty of deliciousness becomes available! Everything from apricots to zucchini is in season through the fall. Take advantage of raspberries, blueberries, and turnips because their harvest season is a little shorter, completing in August, which is when the treasure of fall farmers markets become available: Apples!
Enjoy a visit to Northern Michigan farmers market today, before it’s time to grab a pumpkin spice latte and plan a color tour!
Michigan Farmers Market Association, MiFMA.org