Fulton Street Farmers Market Evening Hours
Fulton Street Farmers Market, 1147 East Fulton, with its $3 million spectacular renovation, is onto the next big bite: a Wednesday evening market for homeward-bound workers and low-key home cooks who want to skip Saturday's crush. The evening market also plans to dedicate space for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) distribution site, all rolled into one marketplace.
Starting June 6, 2012 the Wednesday evening market will run 4:00pm to 7:30pm through September. "We're hoping that this market will attract a new customer base of people who don't want to fight the crowds on a Saturday, but due to a job or other reasons, cannot make it to the market on the weekdays," says Melissa Harrington, market manager at Fulton Street Farmers Market. "Also, this market will allow us to include farmers looking for a central spot for their CSA distribution, and to include vendors who otherwise cannot get into our market due to our limited capacity."
Pierre and Sharon Schierbeek of S&S Lamb out of McBain, will spread out their pasture- raised, grain finished lamb, free-range chickens and eggs, pork and rabbits. The third- generational farmers on her grandparents' spread in Missaukee County are delighted to offer their products to a whole new clientele.
"About 12 years ago, our oldest daughter did a lamb for 4-H and all of us fell in love," says Sharon Schierbeek. "The shepherd who we purchased the lamb from said to us at the time, 'Once you get sheep in your blood, it never goes away.' Well, I didn't think anything of it at the time, but he was right. Just this morning, we went out to the barn and discovered three sets of twins. We call that old-fashioned farming."
Craig Patterson of Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters intends to pile his stall high with fresh roasted coffee, whole beans and/or ground, loose leaf tea and hand-crafted artisan chocolates by Awesome Chocolates, located within the Daily Brews Coffee Café in downtown Wayland. Don't miss Patterson's repurposed burlap coffee sacks that are hand-crafted into one-of-a-kind market bags. "I roast everything by hand. It's a manual-controlled roaster and I do that right here in Grand Rapids at Hall and Godfrey – since September 2007," says Patterson who knows the Fulton Street Farmers Market brings out the best in West Michigan producers. "The Wednesday evening market will give me an opportunity to meet new people that I might not have a chance to really talk to on Friday and Saturday because it's busy," Patterson says. "And, it's my chance tointroduce people to my great products. The evening market is a really new thing, in terms of farmers market. The word has to get out that this is really good."
The Fulton Street Farmers Market is remaking the traditional market scene with its year- round Saturday market and Sunday artisan market during the prime season. The Wednesday evening market provides yet another local option, in a different time-frame.
"This is a big year for all of us at the market. There's so much excitement down here," says Case Visser of Visser Farm, established in 1902 by his great-grandfather. The Visser Farm vends four days a week at Fulton Street Farmers Market during the growing and harvesting season, and on Saturday only during January through April.
Two years ago, the Holland centennial farm started a CSA scheme in which a group of people ("community") pay the farmer upfront for his produce ("agriculture") for a certain period of time. That way, the CSA members are part of the hope (great growing season!) and heartbreak (no-so-great growing season) of a local farm. The Vissers, then, deliver 22 weeks of produce, including more than 45 kinds of goodies, from strawberries and raspberries to nine varieties of potatoes. With the Fulton Street evening market becoming a designated CSA distribution site, the vendors can also entice the CSA members who are picking up their farm-fresh vegetable boxes to shop the evening market. "I'm sure the Wednesday evening market will have a different personality than the Saturday market because a whole new class of people, the eight-to- fivers, who used to stop at a grocery store on the way home from work, will come here," Visser says. "We're all about getting people more interested in buying local food."