Story by Ken DeLaat
Photos by Ramona Deters and Ken DeLaat
Last year the Newaygo Farmer’s Market shut down in late August due to dwindling interest as fewer vendors led to fewer customers resulting in fewer vendors and so on. The decision was also made at the time to not reopen for 2020, given the diminished participation the market had been experiencing.
Enter Ramona Deters who was determined to breathe life back into this long standing Friday afternoon event.
“Revitalizing the Newaygo Farmers Market was already tricky in the beginning because we had to gain trust from farmers and artisans, then throw a pandemic in on top of it all,” said Ms. Deters. “ Many thought we were crazy and should just wait a year but I felt the market already seemed forgotten.
“There was some convincing that I had to do to my friends, the city, the Chamber, the farmers and basically anyone who would listen to me that we needed to get our market back up and running again. This is Newaygo County for goodness sake, vegetable and fruit farms are abundant.”
And last Friday the market returned to Brooks Park with 8 vendors, a food truck and over 200 visitors to an early season opening with many of the home grown goodies yet to make an appearance.
The folks from Happy Hog Farm were on hand (we bought the brats) and there were baked goods, pierogies, annuals, asparagus, rhubarb as well as some craft items all welcoming in a steady stream of customers on a gorgeous Friday afternoon.
Given the positive response to last Friday’s Opening Day the Newaygo City Council gave the ok for the market to continue to hold court in the park every Friday throughout the summer and early fall.
“I have two friends who have supported my vision and helped make it a reality,” Deters added. ““Renee Finkbeiner and Danya VanderLugt. We each play a role to make sure the market provides a positive experience for all the farmers, artisans and anyone who participates in the market.”
So come on down each Friday from 2-6pm and support the efforts toward keeping a farmer’s market in the downtown area. And hey, you can save a little gas with the convenience of gaining access to some of our area’s home grown goods with a few surprises tossed in as well.
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