Saturday, August 25, 2007

Traverse City - Farmer's Market Heaven

After securing the lines and setting up, Bernie headed over to the Traverse City Tourism Office, located right by the marina, for maps and information. There, she learned of a small farmer's market that was taking place that afternoon. It had been almost 5 days since she last hit a Farmer's Market! (She was getting the Farmers Market Withdrawal Crankies.) Phil skipped his usual nap to venture along. He's figured out that in addition to fruit and vegetables (and sometimes cheese and meat), farmer's markets also have BAKED GOODS!

This is a new market. It is small (about ten farmers) compared to the big downtown market. But it doesn't have the same fees as the downtown market so it attracts small growers. It has an interesting location: the grounds of the old Northern Michigan Asylum. It's a major project, known as The Village, and the buildings are being redeveloped as residential and commercial space.

It was nice to get to a market to re-stock tomatoes, greens, nut butters, apricots, and of course baked goods (a chocolate cherry oatmeal cookie that was about 5 inches in diameter!) Plus, Bernie would get another chance to hit the "big downtown market" on Wednesday.

On the way back to the boat, we walked down the Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART) Trail, a paved biking/running/walking path that runs through Traverse City and connects to two other trails. We started making plans for our bike excursion over dinner (vegetarian lasagna and a small salad using greens and tomatoes from this market).

There is a larger market in downtown Traverse City - right across from the Marina - on Wednesdays and Saturdays. They have two rows of pavilions that the farmers set up under. Planning to make a pizza - and have some more vegetables around - Bernie bought zucchini blossoms, eggplant, broccoli and peppers. She also picked up melons, peaches, and some blueberry scones with a lime glaze (BAKED GOODS!)

This area of Michigan has a definite "local foods" orientation. You don't get confused looks when you ask about local beers and wine. The grocery stores tend to list the farm where the produce was grown and there are a lot of farm stands along the major highways. There is also a group - Learn Great Foods - that sponsors tours of farms so you can learn more about where your food comes from.

Phil wanted to write something cute about Traverse City being local, organic, sustainable, etc. heaven. But Bernie kept correcting his improper use of terminology. Something about verification and certification. So, he had to settle for . . .

The End.

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