The Rapidian

YMCA Farmers Market: supporting local growers, local businesses, local families

The YMCA Farmers Market continuing to educate consumers, build community and improve food access every Thursday from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the downtown YMCA.
Underwriting support from:

YMCA Farmers Market Feature Recipes

Each week our shoppers enjoy a taste of the season at our food demo tent that features healthy recipes that spotlight fresh, simple, local ingredients that burst with flavor. Check out our weekly recipes at http://www.pinterest.com/grymca/healthy-recipes/.

A child enjoys a fresh slice of orange at the YMCA Farmers Market

A child enjoys a fresh slice of orange at the YMCA Farmers Market /YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

Children enjoy games, music, and more at the YMCA Farmers Market.

Children enjoy games, music, and more at the YMCA Farmers Market. /YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

Fresh fruit, like the peaches here, are favorite among children at the YMCA Farmers Market.

Fresh fruit, like the peaches here, are favorite among children at the YMCA Farmers Market. /YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

As it approaches its fourth season, the YMCA Farmers Market is continuing to educate consumers, build community and improve food access in Grand Rapids. Along with an array of locally produced food, the market offers its shoppers fun children’s activities, a cooking demonstration that promotes the use of farm fresh ingredients and healthy recipes, live local music, and an opportunity to shop in a welcoming environment. The market is located in downtown Grand Rapids at the David D. Hunting YMCA and is open every Thursday from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. from June through September.

The market focuses on providing urbanites with access to Michigan grown produce and locally crafted food products such as bread, cheese, jam, and kombucha. With a wide variety of vendors, the market provides consumers with options that satisfy most shopping needs.

This season, market vendors include Goen’s Produce, Cooked to Perfection, Grand Valley State University’s Sustainable Agriculture Project, Funny Farm, Grassfields Cheese, Sweet Si Bon, as well as products from Bloom Ferments and Wealthy Street Bakery.

Vendors make up the heart of the operation at the YMCA Farmer’s Market. Every Thursday they bring their stories, passions, and of course their delicious food to create a vibrant, unique and positive community experience. They see market days as a time to share their work with shoppers while building lasting relationships.

Robin and Ed of Goen’s Produce exude this sense of pride and community. Returning for their fourth season at the market, they have been farming in Allendale since 1979 and claim that farming is a part of their identity. Beginning as a hobby, their passion has become a business and provided them with many new learning opportunities and adventures. In addition to produce they have begun to sell prepared products such as jam and baked goods. This past season they built a hoop house to extend their growing season, offering them the opportunity to provide even more vegetables. They love the work that they do and enjoy making it a family affair. Together Robin and Ed plant, weed, harvest, and maintain their farm, putting in long hours every day. As far as the market goes, Robin and Ed are excited to be a part of the community. When asked what their favorite part of the market is they replied, “We love to see little kids pick out vegetables they like.”

Grassfields Organic Cheese is a fifth generation family owned and operated farm. Since 1882 the Meerman family have been stewards of the same land, working to give customers the best product possible while treating their animals in a humane manner. The entire family plays a role in their business, from the actual farming to making the cheese and marketing. The family feels that by teaching their children how to farm they are helping them to grow in spirit and maturity. Working with animals allows them to feel a connection to the earth and understand the role that animals should play in the food system. Luke Meerman, a fifth generation farmer, encourages people to come and visit the farm, to see the animals, and to meet his family. This transparency allows people to gain an understanding of where their food comes from and how it is made. When asked what he loves about the market Meerman explained that, “I love connecting with people who care where their food comes from.”

With many returning vendors such as the Goen’s and Grassfields as well as several new products from places like Bloom Ferments and Wealthy Street Bakery, the YMCA Farmers Market is sure to provide a wide range of quality products while building community around both local food and local business.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.

Browse