05-25-2017 Tri-City Area farm markets offer a wide variety of options; Hartford Lions Club takes ove
Tri-City Area farm markets offer a wide variety of options
By Christina Gelder
The Tri-City Area is rich in agriculture. There is a diverse base of farms ranging from dairy to grain to fruits and vegetables. The residents of this little corner of the world are accustom to fresh produce, it has been common place for years. They can appreciate the opportunity to buy local, from people they know, to feed their families.
Here is a quick overview of some of those options:
Krohne’s Last Stand is located at 65295 CR 342 on the edge of Hartford towards Sister Lakes. They have specialized in producing and selling plants for 40 years but also have a roadside stand. They are a good resource for asparagus and strawberries, so now is the time to visit them. Hours are on Saturday and Sundays during the months of April, May and June. Their website is www.krohneplantfarms.com.
OPEN FOR THE SEASON… This will be Courtney Stantz’s second season working at the J.W. Morlock and Girls Farm Market. She was there Sunday with fresh asparagus and rhu-barb. The market will be much fuller as the season gets rolling. (TCR photo by Christina Gelder)
Big Dan’s U-Pick’Em and Farm Market is open during the other end of the growing season. Beginning in late July with peaches the market is located at 65980 66th Avenue in Hartford. Big Dan’s offers a great opportunity for family memories with peach and apple picking. In the months of September and October they offer free wagon rides. Head to Big Dan’s for all your late summer and fall vegetable, fruit and decorating needs. They have a wide variety of pumpkins, squash, corn, tomatoes and more. For more details as the season approaches their website is www.bigdans.com.
The crew at J.W. Morlock & Girls is very busy this time of year as they are open with the first fruit of the year and making sure their other 41 commodities are planted and ready to grow. Their stand is located just north of Watervliet on M-140 and their claim to fame is growing everything they sell. They have started already with asparagus and rhubarb but will soon be full to the brim with strawberries.
In addition to the fresh produce offerings, Morlock’s opened a bakery in 2016 that makes small hand pies with whatever fruit is in season. They serve the pies with Sherman’s vanilla ice cream from South Haven making for a delicious homemade treat. Facebook is a good place to find information on this Watervliet treasure.
Coloma has a couple different options right off of exit 39 on I-94. Fruit Acres is one that has been there for the long haul. Established in 1846, Annette and Randy Bjorge are the 5th generation to run the 200-acre farm on Friday Road. The Fruit Acres Farm Market is scheduled to open this year on or around June 9 with delicious Michigan strawberries. The market offers a huge selection of fruits and vegetables throughout the season as well as frozen pies, jams, jellies, honey, salsa and more.
In addition to the market, Fruit Acres has a u-pick for cherries, peaches and apples. Cherry picking season for them will begin at the end of June with peaches starting in July and apples in September. Picking can be a wonderful experience and Fruit Acres has a playground and picnic area to make it even better. For dates, times and details you can visit them on Facebook or their website www.fruitacresfarms.com.
Right across Friday Road from the Fruit Acres Market is the Jollay Market. Open all year round this market goes several steps past the wonderful fruit and vegetables they sell. Jollay’s Market also has coffee and fresh donuts, authentic Mexican food, and hand dipped ice cream to curb your hunger with a quick snack or meal. They also sell a wide variety of meats, honey, jams, cider, and chocolates to name a few. Outside the market families can picnic and enjoy the Dinosaur Park with several dinosaur sculptures made by Coloma High School students.
WAITING TO TAKE A BITE… Caleb and Benson Weeson ages 4 and 7 were very pleased to get their fresh donuts from the Jollay Market recently after playing soccer nearby at the FOP Park. Local Tri-City farmer’s markets offer a wide variety of goodies extending beyond delicious fruits and veg-etables. (TCR photo by Christina Geld-er)
A little ways down the road the Jollay family also operates Jollay Orchards. At this location, they offer u-pick of cherries, peaches, apples, and pumpkins. It becomes a destination of choice for many families with fun kid friendly activities throughout the late summer and fall months. For more information such as harvest updates, hours and special events visit them on Facebook or at their website www.jollayorchards.com.
Another choice is the Molter Family Orchards on North Branch Road just east of the intersection of North Branch and Friday Roads. They are an organic farm that in previous years has run a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with shares. This year though they have decided to shift gears and will be offering a u-pick. For anyone looking to pick peaches, tomatoes or pickling cucumbers Molter’s might be the just the right fit. To find out more they are on Facebook and their website is www.molterfamilyorchards.com.
As you head out of Coloma towards Riverside there is another option for fresh produce as well as sweet treats. Bob’s Barn Farm Market and Bakery is located on Coloma Road and is open for the 2017 season. They offer fresh produce but also bake pies and other goodies. It is a great place to find gifts as well with their wide selection of specialty food items such as jams, jellies, salsa, apple butter, soup mixes and chocolates. Lyn and Ken Craig are the second generation to run this fun family business. For more information about their store they can be found on Facebook.
Hartford Lions Club takes over Concerts in the Park
The Hartford Lions Club has announced the schedule for 13 summer concerts to be held at the Chappell Pavilion in Ely Park downtown Hartford. The concerts have been held using volunteers since 1992 but a lack of volunteers threatened to end the program so the Lions Club stepped forward to take over.
The concerts, which start June 8, are held on Thursdays at 7 p.m. and people are urged to bring a lawn chair from which to enjoy the music. New to the series this year is free popcorn for each event. Concert Manager Pete Sinclair said, “We have booked some great talent with a big variety from week to week which we hope will help to enrich the lives of area citizens.”
In addition to the Lions Club, major sponsors of the concerts include The Pokagon Fund, City of Hartford, Medic1 Ambulance, Hartford DDA and Red Arrow Dairy. Sinclair said, “We could not do this without the support of our sponsors and I urge everyone to thank them.”
Close to the middle of the concert season, the Lions Club will sponsor a Community Picnic just prior to the concert on July 6. This will include free hot dogs, chips, popcorn and drink. This will be a great time to meet and socialize with fellow community members. The entertainment that night will be country with Jared Knox & Hagar Bombs.
Concerts in the Park will be the fifth major ongoing program the Hartford Lions Club has undertaken. The others are the annual Strawberry Run, Community Honors, Christmas in Hartford and Project HELP which provides food baskets to the needy at Christmas and has been an ongoing project since 1946. The Lions club also supports many local and state programs.
Here is the 2017 program schedule:
June 8 – Southwestern Michigan College Brass Band (traditional English band)
June 15 – Lighthouse Chorus (barbershop)
June 22 – Southshore Concert Band
June 29 – Sounds of Elvis – Steve Otto
July 6 – Jarod Knox (country) -COMMUNITY PICNIC
July 13 – Star & Char1ie (romantic favorites)
July 20 – Lake Effect Jazz Big Band (traditional & modern jazz)
July 27 – Joe Jason (Acoustic 70’s)
Aug. 3 – South Haven Men’s Chorus Aug. 10 – Mockingbird (Baby Boomer Class Reunion)
Aug. 17 – Wil Smaka’s MusiConnection (Polka)
Aug. 24 – Jimmy Phillips & Mortals 2 (Classic rock)
Aug. 31 – PastTime (Motown, early rock, surfer music and more)