Farmers’ market prospers despite tough season

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By Dylan Sowle
Williamston Post staff writer

The Williamston Farmers’ Market suffered the effects of unfavorable weather this summer, but remains in full swing thanks to continued vendor and customer presence.

The farmers’ market, which was in McCormick Park this year, has been running every Thursday from 3-7 p.m. since June 7. It will be wrapping up a successful season on September 27, but its vendors have not been totally immune to the bad weather conditions of the summer.

The frost and then the drought have been bad for many farmers around Michigan. These conditions have led to significant crop loss and decreased production for farms in some areas.

Vendors at the Williamston Farmers’ Market, like Sandy Humphrey, have noticed this trend. Humphrey says that she lost almost all her peaches, and nearly 80 percent of her apple crop.

Another vendor, Sarah Galloway from Chesaning, explained that fruit crops were especially susceptible to the early frost.

“The frost lost a lot of fruit this year,” Galloway said. “It will kill the blossoms, which kills the fruit. Ninety five percent of apples and peaches were lost this season.”

These statements were echoed by Michigan State University professor of Community, Food and Agriculture, Jim Bingen.

“Farmers that suffered the most were those with tree crops,” said Bingen. “They aren’t in charge of when to plant because the trees are already there.”

With such significant losses by farmers, the effects are bound to show up in markets like the one in Williamston.

“There isn’t the supply that there has been,” said Humphrey. “Vendors are coming in with four times less than usual.”

While acknowledging this low yield, Christine Miller, manager of the farmers’ market, confirmed that the vendors have been coming out as usual.

“There {are} typically 9-14 vendors at market {this year}, similar to previous years,” Miller reported.

Not all vendors at the market have suffered such great losses. Some farmers irrigate, and others simply planted at the right time. Galloway, whose farm grows 130 varieties of squash, corn and other crops, says she simply got lucky:

“This year was quite bad for drought. But we planted later on … and got just enough rain at the right time.”

Vendors said they are thankful for the market. “It gives us an income,” Humphrey said. “We depend on it quite a bit.”

Both Humphrey and Galloway said that they have continued to see their loyal customers all year and that there has been plenty of support from the market.

The Williamston Farmers’ Market concluded for the season on Thursday, Sept. 27.

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