Farmers market season has officially kicked off along The Pike. Now, more than ever, lakeshore residents are ready to grab their market baskets and hand-pick fresh, local produce. And this year, the City of Zeeland has added its own farmers market to the lakeshore roster.
“Zeeland City is surrounded by farmland and we are so excited to be able to offer some of the amazing goods that these farmers are able to offer,” said Kerri VanDorp, city events coordinator at City of Zeeland.
Held every Saturday in the summer from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Zeeland Farmers Market brings local farmers and residents together at Elm Street Park, rain or shine. Vendors will change throughout the summer, but each week customers will find produce, eggs and honey from Visser Farms; beef from Maple Hill Beef; baked goods from The Farmhouse Restaurant; cut flowers, seasonal berries and kettle corn.
The first market was held May 22. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, market organizers set guidelines and regulations to keep vendors and customers safe. Guidelines include one entrance and exit with one-way traffic flow, a hand-washing station, and surfaces that can be sanitized easily and frequently. The market asks that visitors wear masks and stay home if they have felt ill in the last 14 days.
“We saw a great response from our first market,” VandDorp said. “We had no idea when the planning began for this in late 2019 that we would find ourselves in a pandemic, and the Farmers Market has been such a well-received event to take place. People are able to come and shop outside and purchase locally grown and made items supporting small businesses.”
The new farmers market is a first for the City of Zeeland.
“We have hosted a bi-annual event called the Peddlers’ Market for a number of years, which is more of an open-air lifestyle market where furniture, clothing, flowers, home décor and some food has been sold,” VanDorp said. “That event happens in the spring and the fall and the community has loved it — asking if it could be every weekend.”
During that same time, a group of local farmers and makers started a weekly farmers market on the lawn of a local business, but they learned in fall 2019 that the space would no longer be available. One of the farmers, Tracee Geurink, approached the City of Zeeland about its interest in hosting the weekly market.
“Since this is something that had always been on the back burner for us, it was a natural fit,” VanDorp said.
Article written by Courtney Birchmeier, editor in chief