Monday, May 20, 2024

The Allen Farmers Market: A source of year-round local produce

November 8, 2023
<p>A wide range of vegetables is set up for the Corrion Farm &amp; Greenhouse stand at the East Lansing Farmers Market on Sept. 18, 2022. </p>

A wide range of vegetables is set up for the Corrion Farm & Greenhouse stand at the East Lansing Farmers Market on Sept. 18, 2022.

These semi-chilly, colorful months present all things autumn-themed not just in nature trails and outdoor events but also in businesses around Lansing. 

For some businesses, the seasons have much to do with the establishments' popularity.

Farmers markets seem to be a trend within the fall months, selling festive products like pumpkins and hay bales. 

In local terms, the Allen Farmers Market of Lansing serves to be a source of autumn commerce.

"(The) most popular product people buy in the fall is Stone Circle Bakehouse's fresh, baked artisan breads and baked goods, gluten-free baked breads, pizzas and sweets from G3Food4All of Michigan, chevre and cheese from Hickory Knoll Farms Creamery, LLC, and squash varieties from Tomac Pumpkins," manager of Allen Farmers Market Jenny Wagemann said.

At its start in 2004, the market's lineup included only four farmers in its entirety. The next year, the market became the first in Michigan to welcome electronic payment methods. Since then, they have increased payment options to a multitude: Double Up Food Bucks, which matches the price of fruits and vegetables to give back to the buyer, and WIC, a program that aims to safeguard low-income women, infants and children at nutrition risk by providing to nutritious foods to their diets, to name two.

The main suppliers for the market are Hillcrest Farms in Eaton Rapids and Mycophile's Garden in Ionia, accompanied by Grazing Fields in Charlotte, which produces eggs, pork, lamb, maple syrup and honey.

Despite the fall trends of visiting farmers markets, this Lansing-based market is open not year-round and finds peak popularity in the summer.

"Like most farmers markets, they are more popular in the Summer because most people enjoy the fruits and veggies that are grown in the warmer months, plus shopping outdoors is a bonus," Wagemann said. "However, the Allen Farmers Market is one of the very few that are held year-round in the Lansing region, so we find our attendance still stays strong in the colder months as well.” 

The more popular products at Allen Farmers Market in the summer include strawberries, peaches, apples and blueberries, all of which are produced from Hillcrest Farms. Other popular products include tomatoes, mixed greens, peppers, and flowers from Magnolia Avenue Farms are popular products. For a DIY garden approach, the farmers market sells ready-to-plant greenery from Bendy Stem Farm.

In addition to buying goods, the Allen Farmers Market gives opportunities for new vendors to set up shop in a communal outreach. The Allen Neighborhood Center website features applications for new vendors, farmers, and entertainers to share their specialties with the market. 

This market is open every Wednesday from 3:00-6:30 p.m. for visitors within and outside the community to join in building a source of local produce.

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