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Farmer’s market wrapping up a busy year

By Bob Gross

There’s a chill in the air indicative of autumn mornings, and with the cold comes the harvest.

Add the end of the farmer market season to the list.

Liz Mathews said the popular Vantage Point Farmers Market will wrap up on Oct. 26. That means the market will be open two more Saturdays as well as Tuesday, Oct. 22.

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Mathews, who is the market manager, thinks the attraction of farmer’s markets is “mostly to get stuff fresh – fruits and vegetables that are locally grown.”

The end of harvest brings more squash and pumpkins and fewer veggies such as tomatoes. As growers scale back, so do the market offerings.

“On Saturdays during the full season, we probably get 34 vendors,” Mathews said. “We’re getting toward the end of the year.

“Because we had a later season, I’m pretty sure people can still buy boxes of tomatoes to can.”

On Saturday mornings during July and August, Mathews said, “There’s so many people you can’t see down the sidewalk.”

Elizabeth Anderson of East China Township still had plenty of tomatoes and other garden produce at the Sharkar Farms tent at the market.

“We should have a full selection of everything,” she said.

She said the market location south of the Great Lakes Maritime Center along the St. Clair River is one of its attractions.

“The view is right here on the water, and we love coming here because it’s close to home for us,” she said.

“Buying from farmer’s markets helps local producers,” Anderson said.

“Buy from the farmer’s daughter, or son, and you’re supporting our family,” she said. “We strive to have the best produce for everybody.”

Mathews said locally grown produce tops what’s available elsewhere.

“These guys are family owned and operated,” she said. “It’s like shopping local.”

Julie Reed, of Port Huron, started selling micro-greens at the farmer’s market two years ago and has since leafed out.

“I sell teas, herbs, tinctures, and we have our own brand of skincare called Zino,” she said.

She said she moved from Detroit with her minister husband several years ago to pastor a church in Port Huron. Reed was seriously ill, and she found benefit from micro-greens.

“They helped me so much,” Reed said. “My husband said we need to find a market for the micro-greens.”

They were able to find a market close by at Vantage Point.

“I love the river in terms of physical location,” she said.

“It’s a real community here,” Reed said. “You get to know people, and they don’t mind spending time talking with you.

“In terms of vendors, it’s definitely a family.”

The market has several nutrition programs including free fruits and vegetables through the Council on Aging and the state’s Women, Infants and Children programs. People with Bridge Cards who spend $20 at the market also can get a free additional $20 worth of fruits and vegetables.

The market is on Facebook.

Bob Gross has been a journalist for 40 years in Michigan and Wyoming. He has covered subjects ranging from agriculture to zoology. He most recently covered courts and police for the Port Huron Times Herald.

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