The Rapidian

Fulton St. Farmer's Market opening day

Beautiful turnout, weather for farmers and marketgoers
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Fulton Street Farmers Market Hours

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday

8am-3pm

Winter is over: this is the message reverberating off sidewalks and garages surrounding the Midtown neighborhood as couples, families, dogs, cyclists and tons and tons of babies crowd the sidewalks. They came to the opening day at Fulton Street Farmer's Market clutching market baskets, reusable Meijer bags and all the spring cheer they can muster.

With the last frost only weeks away and weather creeping towards 60 degrees, strollers and bikes, SUVs and pedestrians travel towards the market tables that are overflowing with hanging baskets, perennial flowers and garden plants.  A busker at the front end of the market plays tunes on his guitar while a pair at the back end strum a banjo and scrape a washboard.

Vendors this week are varied as well, from those selling purely produce from Florida and North Carolina to those selling herbs picked from their own backyards.  Several of the farms sport "100% Homegrown" signs. Be encouraged, however, that local produce is present en masse, and its abundance will only increase in the coming weeks.

Rhubarb, parsnips, rutabagas, beets and leeks are all available now.  Asparagus will be coming in the next two weeks, according to farmer Jose from Meza Farm. In the coming weeks, market-goers can look forward to scallions, leaf crops such as salad greens and kale, and radishes.

Two customers, Chad Houseman and Jordan Skinner, were excited to check out what was available at the market today.  Skinner commented, "You don't have fun going to the grocery store, but you always have fun here."  "It's so colorful!" added Houseman.

Today they came in search of eggs, but they are looking forward to the Double Up Food Bucks program, which will grant two wooden one-dollar tokens for every food stamp dollar spent at the market, starting June 1. This program provides a great incentive for healthy, local eating among low-income residents.

Some of the more interesting vendors were Boetsma Produce Farms, offering pre-mixed salad bowls and herb gardens in attractive containers.  Remember When? Crafts & Things is a "100% locally sown & sewn" vendor offering herbs and sewn crafts.  Owner and Master Gardener Evonne Dudley Woodward says of her business, "There's not a lot of times in life when you can do what you love," and clearly for her this is a special opportunity.

Another innovative vendor is Trillium Haven Farm, today offering plants for containers and home gardens. The most popular sellers have been basil and cherry tomatoes.

This year they are eschewing plastic plant containers for more sustainable terra cotta pots.  "There's so much plastic involved in greenhouse work.  It troubles us, so we decided to look for alternatives," said greenhouse manager Greg Dunner.  The terra cotta pots are reusable, attractive, and allow air and moisture to get to the plants' roots.

As a spray-free greenhouse, Trillium is experimenting with beneficial predatory insects. To combat aphids the farm has introduced ladybugs, which are able to live sustainably in the greenhouse and keep the aphid population in check.

The farmers market is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8-3.  Check out their website for information on what's in season and more.

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