Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wilbo Visits the Fulton Street Market and is Offered a Baptism, Buys Raw Honeycomb and Fails to Find Rick Beerhorst, Busker and Painter

August 20th, 2016

I arrived at Fulton Street Farmer's Market and felt a moment's disappointment. Rick Beerhorst and his Wonder Wagon had stayed at home apparently, and I had long wanted to hear the family of artists busking. A good alternative, Kaitlin Zittel on guitar and a friend on beat box greeted shoppers at the entrance, singing all original music. I was missing Saturday at the Muskegon Farmers Market. When it comes to Farmers Markets, love the one you're with, to borrow from a Simon and Garfunkel tune. Grand Rapids painters made a showing today. Robyn Bonhof, a prize winning painter, greeted me at the entrance. About two years ago, she embraced the Last Reformation movement and began leading lay ministers in outreach. Today, she was cultivating five lay ministers, each one willing to say a healing prayer with any who asked. Near the market, in the parking lot in fact, a tank of water pulled here by her truck awaits any who request baptism by immersion. Bomhof's faith has helped grow the disciples from a small group into a much larger group soon to move to the Grand Valley Artist Association space. Robyn took the time to share her two year journey into faith, which limits her painting time and yet, puts her work into a new phase.

A man arrived with a sign declaring a Bible verse. "All Sinners Will be Destroyed". "Robyn?", I asked. "We prayed together for his wife. She is fighting cancer. His message is divergent".

A old sign for Turtle Island Farms fascinated and soon I was talking to a woman who went back to the land to organic farm in 1976. My mother persuaded my father to purchase a homestead in 1971, where we farmed without chemicals. She had me to pull the weeds and pluck off aphids and pests. Which I threw on the waters of Euler Lake for bream to surface and gulp. The woman who started Turtle Island Farms worked with her husband, her son and his wife, to fill the orders of customers. She promised to look up the book of poems by Gary Snyder entitled, "Turtle Island", but it wasn't her inspiration.

I have driven several times between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo this month, and around Gun Lake, I've noticed two or four Sandhill Cranes foraging in the fields, pecking at the worm-filled dirt. Check for Sandhill Cranes the next time you visit the Gun Lake Casino. The cafe is named for the Sandhill Cranes and many Native American paintings celebrate the birds.

Crane Dance Farms raises beef, lamb, poultry and swine free of genetically modified feed. The two families of Sandies who return each February, no later than March, tend to stay close to the pig sty, where pigs share their water and feed. It appears to Laura Crabtree-Hollenback that the same couple has returned to the farm every year, and mate in their marsh. The family has promised to protect the marsh and fields that draw back the cranes each year. She couldn't say if she knew the location where the Middleville tribe of families gathered at night. Thousands gather at an Audubon refuge with a marsh in Jackson County. At a park in Pulaski County, Indiana, bleachers have been erected for crane lovers who gather to watch thousands landing at dusk. There has to be a place like it near Middleville. I discovered the Crane resurgence in 2005 when I stumbled onto Sandhill Crane Winery near the Jackson preserve. Pleased to see that another business celebrates the Sandy in their branding.

The question hit me after we talked. Isn't Laura Crabtree-Hollenback a perfect painter of watercolors represented by Richard App Gallery? If so, I've seen her exceptional paintings on exhibit on Richard App's walls.

Across from the stall for Lubbers Family Farm awaits goat cheese made by Dancing Goat Creamery. Dancing Goat has operations on the Lubbers Farm. Wondering about the whereabouts of Suzanne, who wrote a guide to cooking food from Michigan Farmers markets, sharing recipes and shopping techniques. Karen Lubbers came to Suzanne's reading at the Bookman in Grand Haven and shared her story. Her daughter had been diagnosed with brain cancer and Lubbers responded by taking control of her daughter's diet. She insisted upon raw milk, so she started a dairy. Her daughter is now a cancer survivor and yet, Lubbers can't sell raw milk from her greatly expanded dairy. But Cowslip Creamery and and Dancing Goat can use the milk to make cheese right by where the cows are milked. That's a victory, if a partial one.

White Irish Goat Photograph by Michael Palmer Borrowed from Wikipedia

No comments: