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Categorized | Bloomin' Summer, Featured

Rockford’s lead evaporates in Farm Market contest

Let’s win 1 for Rockford and 2 for Michigan

Cradled on his father’s chest, 3-month old Brady Cronkright, assists his father Tom as Dad votes for the Rockford Farm Market.

by Cliff and Nancy Hill, Rockford Squire

The America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest voting website shows that the Rockford Farm Market is not alone in Michigan in trying to win a title as America’s Favorite Farmers Market. There will be four winners named, one for each of four market size categories: boutique (15 or less vendors), small (16 – 30), medium (31 – 55), and large (56 + vendors).  Currently Rockford leads the entire nation in all market size categories.  Winning overall would be like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

With three weeks remaining in the contest, we find this is no easy task. Every time Rockford (pop. 5,700) builds up a comfortable lead in the small market size category our chief competitor, Venice, FL (pop. 22,000), comes charging right back. In a 36-hour period over the weekend, Venice voters cast a whopping 400 new votes that cut deeply into our once comfortable lead.

This smiling lass, Hannah Ott (9), greets visitors as they enter the Manistique, Mich. Farmers Market.

Manistique, Mich. (pop. 3,050), in the boutique size category, finds itself in the same position in an even more hotly contested race. They find themselves with a weekly flip-flopping lead against another Florida market in Punta Gorda (pop. 17,100).

What we have here, in essence, are two Davids vs. two Goliaths. Somewhat even more ironic is that, at this time in the growing season of Florida, much of their farm market produce is shipped down from the north.

So, in an effort to assist one another in this contest, the Manistique Farmers Market, with the strong support of the Manistique newspaper, The Pioneer Tribune, have joined forces with the Rockford Squire Newspaper in promoting our respective markets in the remaining weeks of the contest. The Cedar Springs Post is also joining in and we welcome their support.

This would be a great way to bring some positive national attention, for a change, to Michigan.  “And to think we are only the little guys,” says Kerry Ott, Market Master of the Manistique Farmers Market. “We will promote this to our supporters as: Let’s win 1 for Manistique and 2 for Michigan.”

Making a strong connection with Rockford, Manistique Market Master Ott tells us his mother, Doris (Andrews) Ott, graduated from Rockford High School in 1942 and after marriage raised her family in Greenville. “If she were still alive, she would be so excited to see a connection between Manistique and Rockford!” said Ott.

So wherever you reside, if you’ve already cast your vote for Rockford in this nationwide contest consider casting an additional vote for our “little sister” the Manistique Michigan Farmers Market. Contest rules permit voting for one farm market in each market size category. Manistique voters will attempt to return the favor by voting for Rockford’s Farm Market. A vote for these 2 farm markets is a vote for Michigan and all Michiganders, regardless of where they reside, are encouraged to support both markets in this endeavor.

If you have not as yet voted for Rockford’s Farm Market you may do so online at: www.farmland.org/vote or better and easier still pay a visit to Rockford’s “Pure” Farm Market on Saturday morning (8 a.m.—1 p.m.) and cast a live vote on site.

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