Saturday, December 27, 2014

Wilbo Scores Honeycrisp Apples and Frozen Blueberries at the Muskegon Farmer's Market.

Thankfully, November arrived like a Lion and December might part like a Lamb. It's comfortable in the indoor market, sipping a pour-over coffee made by the young entrepreneurs who source and roast Aldea coffee. On Sunday, the two person team works; however, it's brewing coffee and selling fresh roasted beans at a church in Holland. The parishioners love to purchase coffee after services from Aldea because the coffee is grown where the church supports missionaries. One of the fruits of the church's good works is really superb coffee beans. Aldea is here on Saturday for the duration, until Spring. The market has about an hour to run and the display of bagged coffee is looking decimated. It might look like a slow day at the market and yet fudge and apples and coffee and Brussels Sprouts are moving.

The farmer's market has always had room for artists, and a maker of custom jewelry and his pregnant girlfriend have packed up after making sales. Jeremy Church is the last artist standing, editing his Lake Michigan sundown pictures he's taken every day. Visitors have bought several of his larger framed pieces, making the day worth his while. The market enabled Church the chance to become a full time photographer, so he light chases by day and goes kayaking with his camera handy. He drops by Hodgepodge Bakery to start his day, and the bakery keeps a stack of his business cards on the counter. I am disappointed to see photographer Bill Peek missing today. However, his work is on display at Radium Photography five minutes away, joining long time veteran photographers such as Joe Gee andFrederic A Reinecke on the walls of the hundred year old photography shop. So Peek made a leap from market stall to prestigious wall, thanks to the market.

It's a good day when honey and pure maple syrup are found under the same roof, and I bought five maple leaf candies made from pure syrup from the Kasza Sugar Bush of Shelby Michigan, popping the treats into my mouth and melting them with a swig of Aldea coffee. I'm like those Rabbis described by Isaac Bashevis Singer, who melted sugar cubes on the tongue with sips of tea served up from a samovar. I am not saying I am as wise as those Rabbis, however.

I had the choice of three farm vendors when picking out a supply of Honeycrisp Apples, and I picked a vendor who sells them for a farmer in Sparta. Eight dollars gave me a bag almost too heavy to carry to my car. I should be able to keep crunching for at least a week. Jean of Jean's produce has a plan to stock up at her Sparta farmer's root cellar each weekend, so my Honeycrisp supply issue seems hardly an issue at all.

Doug Krause of Blue Horizon Farms has leaned on a cooler full of frozen blueberries all morning, reading a study of Pontius Pilate, the man who washed his hands and sealed Jesus Christ's fate in the Bible. He wears a black cowboy hat. He is keeping frozen for me three pounds of fat blueberries. He offered me pages of recipes that required baking. These blueberries are never going to see any food combination more complex than vanilla ice cream.

The maple sugar candy has run out and I have a swig of coffee left. All the vendors are lifting bushel baskets into their trucks. I probably should rush home and get those blueberries in the freezer before they melt. The ambient temperature is too warm to keep them frozen in my car; the apples will keep.

Will Juntunen

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