Farmer's Marketing: Wednesday, June 18th,2008

Pea season arrives - but who is selling pea shoots? asks Ed....  Goetz Farm has lovely English shelling peas and they are starting to have bouquets of their most beautiful flowers already too. Karlene Goetz has to be one of the friendliest of the people at the market.  I'm already making plans to buy her flowers for some upcoming events.  Here's how Eat Local America describes Goetz Farm in Riga, MI: 

"The 265-acre farm produces about every imaginable vegetable and is tilled in the spring by a team effort between the farm's three Clydesdale horses and the farmers' four sons. They supply a variety of users around the Detroit area."

Wow, I didn't realize that part about the Clydesdales. 

Wednesday is kids' day at the market it seems. But in addition to all the double strollers, moms with little toddlers, and lines of pre-schoolers, I've  noticed some new activity at the market on Wednesdays that's very exciting. 

For example, the new Beautiful Earth Farm CSA has started up and their distribution in Ann Arbor is at the Wednesday market. If I'm remembering right, Chandra said they have about 100 members this year.  For sale this week they had beautiful radishes, lettuces and spinach that looked pretty enough to eat straight out of the box. They have distributions also at the Chelsea Farmer's Market on Saturdays and Northville on Thursdays.

I'm also thrilled that there's a new knife sharpening guy. Not sure what his name is, but his sign says "Never Dull." Apparently, he has a very high-tech knife sharpener that grinds at different speeds and uses water for cooling so your knives don't lose their tempering by becoming too hot. He can also sharpen pruners and other garden tools (hooray!) and appeared to have the equipment to sharpen serrated knives  as well.  And he sharpens them while you wait or while you're shopping - but so far only on Wednesdays. Next week my well-used pruners are going to get a tune-up. 

Also new at the market this season, both Wednesdays and Saturdays,  John Roos, Ann Arbor's most surfalicious coffee roaster,  has a stand for his great Roos Roast coffees.  Buy the beans or a drink. He's making iced coffee too. And don't forget to sign up for his totally tubular coffee camp. 

I heard, though I did not see, there was a new vendor last Saturday with Michigan-grown heritage grains and flour - from dear old Nashville, MI!  Jennings Bros. Stone Ground Grains may or may not be back, depending on the traffic they got and the response they get at the other markets they're trying.  Their market calendar doesn't show another date for Ann Arbor so I'm going to have to email them to entreat them to return. Here's what their website says about them:

"Jennings Bros. Stone Ground Grains is based out of our family farm in Nashville, Michigan with some collaboration from the Jennings Brothers back in the hill country of West Virginia. 

Back in 2005, we got interested in old heritage grains and the addiction began...We took some locally grown buckwheat and corn to West Virginia to try out an early stone burr mill and were lucky enough to find another mill for sale.  We purchased and transported it up to Michigan, and started our small home operation.  After checking out seed catalogs, we chose seven varieties of heritage grains (ranging from 150 to 6000 years old) and made grain flours for a year and a half.  At the time, we gave flour out to friends, family, and neighbors....long enough for us to see the potential value in our products. 

To support our 'habit,' we decided to buy some more equipment and start offering our wares to local farmers markets.  Currently, we use the stone burr mill, an antique crank sheller and clipper cleaner and have a stainless steel bagger to make two pound bags of organic hard red spring wheat and spelt flours and all natural corn and buckwheat flours.  We grind flours twice per week and freeze the flour to maintain freshness and prevent deterioration of the grain's nutritional content."

Our beloved Westwind Milling has a worthy competitor already? 

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