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Farmers weather bad year

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:47 AM

“We actually did OK,” said Alan Jones of Conklin-based Greenrock Farms. “This market is good for apples, peaches and squash and stuff — and in Grand Rapids they’re more pear people.”

Despite having a good turnout at local farm markets, Jones said his crop was impacted by the weather earlier this year.

“We got wasted,” he said. “We went right from frost, and whatever survived the frost went into drought. So it was a hard summer for us.”

Jones said he was able to have a good selection at the markets, but not a whole lot of quantity this year.

“I had a little bit of everything, but not a whole lot of anything,” he said. “What we had went fast.”

J.P. DeLass of Spring Lake-based DeLass Garden Market said this year’s market supply was impacted by the poor weather.

“I think it was probably a down year,” he said. “There wasn’t as much of a fruit crop as last year, so that definitely had an impact.”

DeLass, who also participates in the Spring Lake Farmers Market and has a market business in Spring Lake, said he was looking forward to what next season brings.

“We’re always hoping for better luck next year,” he said.

Michigan State University Extension educator Curtis Talley said growers of fruit, asparagus, corn and soybean were hit hard by the hot and dry summer weather.

“For the fruit growers, it was extremely significant,” he said.

Kristen Klempel, service coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Ferrysburg, said the local Chamber of Commerce-sponsored farmers markets went well this year in spite of the crop issues.

“People love the market and we have had a great response,” she said. “... During the best part of the season, we had a great turnout. The farmers definitely could have used more rain and gone without the warm temperatures in March.”

The Grand Haven Farmers Market has 22 permanent vendors and as many as five or six daily vendors who come on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

“We have a number of them that come consistently,” Klempel said. “The daily vendors are on a waiting list to get in permanently.”

According to Klempel, the chamber tries to keep a variety of vendors on its roster of merchants, from kettle corn cooks to produce sellers.

The Grand Haven Farmers Market is the result of a relationship between the city and the local chamber.

“The city owns the property (Chinook Pier) and we have an event permit to have the market Thursdays and Saturdays,” Klempel said.

Vendors pay a fee to have a stall at the market. Klempel said proceeds fund marketing, promotions and staff time to make the market possible.

“We use it for our advertising and my hours managing the market,” she said.

You only have until next week to visit the Grand Haven Farmers Market. Its last day is Oct. 31.

The Spring Lake Farmers Market's season ends today.

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