Holland Farmers Market opens 2013 season


More than 50 vendors visit Holland Farmers Market twice each week during the season. Photo via fb.com

The Holland Farmers Market will open for the season on Wednesday at the Eighth Street Market Place.

More than 50 local farmers and vendors will be selling a variety of locally produced products including fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, baked goods, floral arrangements and dairy products.

The market also will feature a food court with dining options for breakfast and lunch, as well as street performers who will entertain the crowds with music, magic and more.

“Last spring's unseasonably warm temperatures in West Michigan wreaked havoc on the crops, so this season I'm especially excited that the weather has been cooperating for all of our farmers,” said Kara de Alvare, interim marketing coordinator for Downtown Holland. “Unlike last year, patrons can expect a great cherry and apple crop this summer and fall.”

The Holland Farmers Market has grown in popularity and de Alvare expects that trend to continue.

“I am always in awe when I drive down Eighth Street on a Saturday morning and, from the top of the hill, catch a glance at the sea of people shopping at the market,” de Alvare said. “I think it’s growing popularity is due to a number of factors. For starters, there is a growing interest in West Michigan in shopping locally and eating locally grown foods.”

De Alvare also noted that social media has helped enhance the Market experience and the connection between farmers and patrons.

“Our organization has worked hard to help build relationships between patrons at the market and the farmers that grow their food,” de Alvare said. “With social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, we're able to share with thousands of followers what's fresh at the market each week and provide recipes and other ideas for using market products.”

The market also hosts weekly Chef Series demonstrations, which feature a local chef or caterer who will demonstrate how to use fresh produce, herbs and other ingredients from the market to create a healthy, fast and delicious meal. The Chef Series takes place Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. from May 18 through Sept. 14, and is free to attend.

There also will be plenty of free activities for kindergarten through fifth grade children at the market. The kids’ activities take place on Wednesday mornings from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. from June 5to Aug. 28, and begin with a Market Story Time hosted by the Herrick District Library. An adult must accompany children.

Two special events also are planned for the market this summer. The fifth annual Salsa Showdown, which includes both a salsa-making contest and a jalapeno-eating contest, will take place on Saturday, Aug. 17. The Carve, a professional pumpkin carving competition and fall family event, will be held Saturday, Oct. 12.

“I'm also excited that we will once again be accepting Bridge Cards at the Holland Farmers Market this season,” de Alvare said. “It's important to us that everyone feels welcome at the Farmers Market and can benefit from the healthy, locally-grown fruits and vegetables sold there.”

The market will be open every Wednesday and Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. It will run through mid December.

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