By Kate Bolt, LivingLark.com
Growing up between fields of wheat and corn in East Saugatuck, farming and living close to the food we eat has always been an important part of my life. My parents always came home with local produce from our neighboring farms, and every year at the tractor pull down the street there was an energetic auction for fresh produce.
Bidding high for ears of sweet corn was something I thought everyone did in every part of the country, just like we did. When I moved to town (Holland!) after college, I watched as the Holland Farmers Market grew from 15 vendors to its current 96 vendors, and I knew that my new home valued fresh, locally grown food as much as I did.
If you’re looking for ways to support your local farmers and food businesses, you’re in luck. The lakeshore is bustling with opportunities to celebrate local food this fall. Check out two of my favorites:
1. The Holland Farmers Market. It’s open every Wednesday and Saturday until Dec. 22. It opens at 8 a.m. and you can shop until 4 p.m. at 150 W. 8th St. in Holland. Vendors carry everything from freshly picked produce and plants for your home and garden to baked goods, sweet treats, meats, eggs, cheese and much, much more. And take this tip from an insider: shop early in the day for the best product assortment. Vendors also accept Bridge Cards and participate in a number of other food assistance programs.
2. Local First Lakeshore Fork Fest. Slow down the fast September pace with this celebration of local food and drink, live art and music. Sip drinks from Coppercraft Distillery, Farmhaus Cider, Great Legs Winery, and New Holland Brewery. Watch a live art demo by Meridith Ridl, a chef demo by Justen Bowden of Just Enjoy, groove to live music and go home with a bag full of swag.
Our list of food vendors includes Coppercraft Distillery, Fustini’s of Holland, Just Enjoy, Lemonjello’s Coffee, Pereddies Restaurant & Deli, New Holland Brewing Company, Saunders Family Bakery, and Taquizas (tacos by Botanas Pa’ty). I’m making a signature non-alcoholic mocktail with a Livinglark.com recipe from the season’s final rhubarb and the freshest mint. There will be something there for everyone to imbibe and enjoy!
Lakeshore Fork Fest is 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at Warehouse 6, 136 E. 6th St. in Holland. Tickets are $40 presale at localfirst.com and will be $45 at the door. Tickets include one adult beverage plus free non-alcoholic drinks and all the food you can eat. Get your tickets and celebrate everything local with us at www.localfirst.com/events. Your ticket purchase supports the work of Local First of West Michigan, a non-profit that helps support locally-owned businesses.
Kate Bolt is the owner of Lark (www.livinglark.com) and a blogger who writes about her love of food, beverage, and how they bring together community. She also is the Local First Lakeshore Fork Fest Event Coordinator.
This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community & Neighborhood: The places we live and the individuals we interact with support the development of our personalities and perspectives on life. Encouraging vital and effective communities is essential.
ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.