Michigan vendors look forward to East Lansing Farmer’s Market

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By Richie Carni
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

EAST LANSING—The farmer’s market is still a few months away, but local farmers and vendors are excited nonetheless. Many of last year’s participants will be returning again this year to sell the fruits of their labor.

Jerry Goddard, owner of Lonesome Pines beef farm in Nashville, Mich., said he is excited about returning to the farmer’s market this summer to sell his all-natural, grass-fed beef. Goddard said he chose to grass feed his cows because does not like the way that manufacturers raise and process their beef.

“They use chemicals to extend the shelf life of the meat. The bright red color you see in the stores is not the natural color of the meat. That red color comes largely from a dye that is harmful to us,” Goddard said.

Goddard said he maintains the freshness of his meat without using any type of chemical.

“We use freezing as our preservative. When people are buying from us, they are buying out of a freezer. Our meat is flash frozen the same day that it is cut, and vacuum-sealed. That is the best way to preserve any kind of food, because you do not have to use chemicals,” Goddard said.

Goddard also said his beef isn’t just for dieters and health-conscious people.

“The people that we deal with, a lot of them have allergic reactions or cannot eat store-bought meat because of the preservatives and the ammonia injection process that they use,” Goddard said.

Kevin Cosgrove, baker and proprietor of Stone Circle Bakehouse in Holt, said he too looks forward to bringing his freshly baked breads to the market this summer.

“That’s just what it’s all about. It is fun for me, the baker, to look for new things to do and try to keep us motivated to try new products and create new things.”

Cosgrove also said his baking methods are different than many other bakers.

“The process of time and temperature is what we utilize to create great-tasting dough. We use a lot of pre-fermented flour, which brings the flavor into the dough, similar to beer or wine. We spend as much as 36 hours to develop some of these pre-fermented flours that go into our dough,” said Cosgrove, who studied with master bakers and educators at the King Arthur Flour baking education center in Norwich, Vermont.

Cosgrove said he prefers to bake his bread the way it was baked from the beginning.

“We built a rustic style brick oven. It’s an 8-feet-deep, 6-feet-wide 18,000-pound, masonry brick oven that is heated with firewood,” Cosgrove said.

 On any day of the week, Cosgrove said he has five to 10 breads available, including a selection of: sourdough bread, yeast-raised breads, whole-wheat bread, rye bread, and at least one selection of focaccia bread.

Diana Tennes’s family has owned and operated The Country Mill farm in Charlotte, since 1971. Tennes and her family serve much of the Greater Lansing area and are frequent contributors to the East Lansing farmer’s market.

Tennes says she enjoys showcasing at the farmer’s market because it gives customers a much more personalized shopping experience.

“I like the opportunity to actually meet and talk with customers. It gives them a much better opportunity to talk face to face with the person that is growing their food. Which is something that I think we are missing when we go to the grocery store.”

Tennes also said East Lansing farmer’s market customers can know what is being sold is grown right by the farmer.

“When people go to East Lansing, they can expect that everything they see is 100% homegrown by the farmers, and I can really appreciate that,” Tennes said.

Tennes said if the weather holds up she will have organic and non-organic apples, peaches, blueberries, donuts and freshly made cider. Tennes also said she plans to put a little twist on a classic summertime beverage.

“The other thing that we have that is a big draw for us is we make apple cider slushies, which is a huge hit during those hot summer days,” Tennes said.

Tennes said her family would never sell anything they wouldn’t eat themselves, and they make it a priority to use as minimal amount of pesticides as possible.

The farmer’s market will take place on Sundays from June 8 to Oct. 26. The market will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Valley Court Park.

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