COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Jan Carter of Three Rivers checks out some of the vegetables for sale at the Huss Project Farmer’s Market Saturday morning. The market, located at 1008 Eighth St. in Three Rivers, opened Saturday for its third season of operation.

Huss Project Farmer’s Market opens for third season

THREE RIVERS — A popular Three Rivers farmer’s market is back open again for its third season of operation on the south side of town.

The Huss Project Farmers Market, located at 1008 Eighth St., held its first market of their third season Saturday morning. Dozens of market goers attended the first day, picking up everything from fruits and vegetables to meat and milk.

“We’re really excited to be doing our third season of the market,” the Huss Project’s Rob Vander Giessen-Reitsma said. “We’ve had a steady flow of neighbors coming through, which is really great.”

Running every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of September, the market features produce vendors, baked-goods vendors, local products sold through World Fare, local dairy and meat products, and other food items for sale. Products come from the Huss Project’s own urban farm at the site of the former Huss School, Corey Lake Orchards, Full Circle Farm, Bentley’s Eggs, and Bluebird Bakery and GG’s Cookies. Later in the season, they plan to have vegetables from Wendy’s Farm Fresh Vegetables. Some of the vendors this year will be on-site.

Each Saturday at the market will also include activities as the summer goes along, including a kids’ area, the Fresh Food Initiative on the third Saturday of each month, and a new event called “Second Saturdays,” which starts this Saturday.

“The second Saturday of every month we’ll have art vendors and live music and some other special activities,” Vander Giessen-Reitsma said. “Part of that is trying to incorporate some of the elements of Future Festival, which we did for 10 years but cancelled during COVID and earlier this year made the decision whether we would do a full-blown festival or not. We came to the realization we were doing big chunks of the festival every week for the farmer’s market and if we added some components in along the way we didn’t have to do the festival, we’d be doing it all summer.”

The market was originally created when the City of Three Rivers decided to not do their own farmer’s market at Scidmore Park due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Coincidentally, for the third year in a row, the city will not be doing theirs, with the Huss Project’s being the only farmer’s market in the city limits.

Vander Giessen-Reitsma said seeing the market evolve from its roots in the pandemic has been great to see.

Local food and connecting to where our food comes from has been a big driver of the Huss Project since we started, so now to be running the farmer’s market here in the city has been gratifying because it’s the embodiment of so much of our work,” Vander Giessen-Reitsma said. “To see it grow and be supported by the community has been lovely.”

He said every year the market undergoes changes to adapt, especially considering its roots with the pandemic, and said the market is moving in the direction of becoming a social market and community gathering place on Saturday mornings, something he envisioned for the market at the start.

“The whole purpose of that social element for us as an organization was to become a bit of a neighborhood hub of activity on Saturday mornings, to have kids events, music, some other things, really trying to weave the connections of community on a Saturday morning at this corner of town, so we’re really happy to finally be able to do that kind of programming,” Vander Giessen-Reitsma said. “I’d love eventually for this place to be a place for people to come and hang out for a couple hours on a Saturday morning and have lunch, play with their kids, drink some coffee in the Imaginarium and make a morning of it. We’re moving in that direction, so that’s exciting.”

However, one aspect of the market from last year that won’t be returning is online ordering, which Vander Giessen-Reitsma said was a “significant amount of additional work” that they don’t have the “people power” for this year. He said there were a few customers with mobility issues that used the service regularly. The market has given alternate ways for them to still connect with the market’s products.

Overall, Vander Giessen-Reitsma said people can expect high-quality produce and products every Saturday at the market, and have a great place to hang out for a morning.

“Neighbors are always welcome to walk through our farm and check it out, and it’s a lovely spot to be in,” Vander Giessen-Reitsma said. “I think, at the end of the day, we’re trying to create a beautiful place for people to spend time and be together, and I think that’s what people are finding.”

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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