Farm markets CelebratedPublished 9:31am Tuesday, August 4, 2009
By KATHIE HEMPEL
Niles Daily Star
THREE OAKS – Organizers of the third Annual Support Local Agriculture Celebration of Farm Markets could not be happier. The sun shone brightly as local farmers were honored and attendees from as far away as Arizona enjoyed a day at Middlebrook Farm in Three Oaks.
Farmers like Ron Fink of Niles and Genevieve Shuh of Buchanan brought produce much of which was picked early that day. Crafters showed off beautifully turned wooden bowls, handcrafted doll clothes and Jon Hook of Hook Pottery and Paper made his wonderful, wood-fired pottery onsite.
Coming in the drive of the historic farm, owned by Bob and Janet Schuttler, one was greeted by Eric the Alpaca owned by Carey Brown, who took time away from his restoration construction work to display some of his rustic handcrafted barn-wood furniture. Behind the barn Obama the Llama, Middlebrook’s vigilant “watchdog” posed for pictures with visiting children.
There were sunflowers for bouquets and herbs to plant. Samples of locally produced cheeses, offered by David Blum, were a big hit as were the preserves and baked goods from Chef Judy Kite-Gosh’s kitchen.
About 500 visitors came, some in trucks and cars, on motorcycles and 10-speed bikes or walking the family dog. They came from Niles, Buchanan, Berrien Springs, South Bend, Chicago and Gilbert, Ariz.
Vendors and visitors alike agreed this was the place to be Sunday. Suzanne Kraus of Countryside, Ill. is newly retired and was discussing beekeeping as a hobby. “We called our friends who were out digging fence post holes and told them to drop everything and get over here. They don’t want to miss this.”
Her feelings were shared by the hundreds of visitors who left with a new appreciation for sustainable, chemical-free agriculture and what can by discovered all the culinary delights to be had by buying locally grown produce.
Support Local Agriculture is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness of, advocate on behalf of and promote sustainable, local agriculture. Their goal is to ensure that local produce and other agricultural products are available to individuals and organizations now and in the future.
They have recently completed a documentary “Farm Fresh to You” produced by and aired on WNIT, Michiana’s premier PBS station. The story celebrates the incredible resources we have right here in our own backyard.
The group’s signature fundraiser will be held at Springcreek Farm in Three Oaks on Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. The 3rd Annual Harvest Feast Celebration features a five-course gourmet dinner of local produce prepared by local chefs and matched with wines from our local wineries.
Tickets are available for a $150 donation and can be reserved in person at the Retro Café in New Buffalo, at Burnison Galleries in Lakeside, or by writing P.O. Box 224, New Buffalo, MI 49117.