By Abbie Newton
Mason Times staff writer
MASON — Local farmers, residents and visitors flock to Maple Street every Saturday to attend the Mason Area Farmers Market.
“To be frank, it is a street party. This is where everyone meets everybody and we get good stuff. We have an outlet for everybody who wants to get good, fresh vegetables and fruits and we all have fun.” -Elaine Ferris
Ferris was born and raised in Mason and helped start the farmers market in 2004. She said it has since gained popularity and loyal customers. “We used to have a lot more drop in for a day or two or for the corn season, or whatever,” Ferris said. “People are starting to grow specifically for the market.”
Marian Crowden and her husband live just south of Mason. They come to the market each Saturday to sell their vegetables, produce, crafts and flowers.
“We grow our tomatoes and they are mountain fresh,” Crowden said. “They are a heavy, meaty tomato. We grow our squash, which is the acorn and butternut. The onions are candy sweet. They are a very sweet onion and have a great flavor to them.”
Crowden said it takes a lot of work to bring items to the market each week, but said it is rewarding to be able to provide for local residents. Stanley Jordan was born in Mason and said he enjoys coming to the farmers market.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie and you get a good product. It is just a nice place to come.” -Stanley Jordan
Mason resident Joann Hoekzema has been coming to the farmers market since it opened.
“You get to meet all of the farmers in the area and you shop and look at everyone’s produce.” Hoekzema said. “Then you walk by and get the best deals.”
Hoekzema is popular among the farmers because she brings along her dog, Katie, each time she goes to the market.
“Oh, she has so many friends, all of the vendors,” Hoekzema said. “If I do not have her, everyone asks me where she is.”
One of the farmers who particularly enjoys Katie’s presence is Jeff Collar from Mason. Collar and his father sell herbs from their garden. He said the market has turned into a social event that he shares with his father.
“A lot of his cronies come by and sit down and talk,” Collar said. “We get to see a lot of people.”
Donna Craft is a farmer from Leslie, Mich., who sells her homemade honey, jams, beauty products, and soaps. Craft said she had a good season, but is sad to see the season come to a close.
“It is kind of winding down for all of us. It is kind of a happy, sad time.” -Donna Craft
The last Mason Area Farmers Market, or street party, of 2013 was on Oct. 5 on Maple Street.