Civic Center work may affect Holland farmer’s market

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — They’re turning the dirt at Visser Farms in Zeeland, getting the field ready for potatoes. Some of those potatoes will end up at the annual Holland Farmer’s Market in the Civic Center parking lot.

“It’s a good percentage. Farmers markets will always be our bread and butter,” says Case Visser of Visser Farms, near Zeeland.

But the Holland Farmer’s Market will look different this summer. Crews are already working on the Civic Center.

The Holland Civic Center on April 7, 2017.

As construction ramps up in June, some of that work will cut into the farmer’s market area in the parking lot.

“Construction fencing will impact about 20 percent of our vendor stall spaces,” said Downtown Holland’s Marketing Director Kara de Alvare. “We’re working on plenty of signage so people know where to walk, where to park, where vendors are. We’ll have maps so people can find their favorite vendors. So we don’t anticipate it being that difficult. ”

But even with the market expanding up 8th Street to make up for some of the lost space this summer,  there’s concerns parking and other changes could drive customers away, especially considering what they often carry away from the market.

“Watermelons or flowers, things like that get pretty heavy, you know. The big potted plants and baskets of apples, peaches, whatever it might be,” said Phil Visser of Visser Farms.

Visser came up with what could be a simple solution to help customers in the form of a dozen little red wagons.

“We tried to find something that’s crowd friendly with rounded corners,” Phil Visser said, showing off the wagons that were purchased by local businesses.

No taxpayer dollars are involved. There’s talk of mounting a collection box to the wagon for donations to area charities.

“We’ve had wonderful sponsors from local businesses that paid for them,” said Phil Visser. “Hopefully it will raise money for different nonprofits.”

So while there may be some obstacles to the farmer’s market this summer, the farmers aren’t letting them get in the way.

“Yup,” said Phil Visser. “Make lemonade out of lemons, right?”