I’ve been going to the Holland Farmers’ Market for over 20 years and it’s still one of my favorite activities from May through December. A couple of years ago, the city added a permanent canopy complex along the east end of 8th Street, where the market is set up so now the vendors don’t have to stand in the hot summer sun, or get drenched by rain (unless, of course, it’s coming in sideways from the northwest!).
Since then, and probably due to some successful marketing campaigns, the market seems to have grown exponentially. (I hope it’s because more people are getting the message to buy locally!) Not only are there veggies (such as lacinato kale), fruits (love the raspberries), flowers, jams and syrups, but there’s also popcorn, sweets, metal sculptures, jewelry, birdhouses, and a coffee bar. And, since the recent approval of street performers, we even have live music on Saturdays.
Which is why Wednesday is my favorite day to go. Really, that’s my ritual market day because there are generally fewer people especially once the vacationers are back home and the kids are in school. Since the market opens by 8 a.m., I can either stop on my way to work or go at lunchtime, getting a bite to eat at Ray the Tamale King.
The market offers both organic and nonorganic produce, as well as cheese and eggs from Grassfields. I suppose I have my favorite vendors depending on the crop, but one thing’s for sure–buying local is the theme. It’s the best way–besides picking right from the garden–to get the freshest produce around and eat what’s in season.