Here it is, the middle of May—a run of days with sunshine and warming temperatures and we are optimists again. All up and down this side of Antrim County the farm markets are opening for The Season, flags flying.
There is asparagus. There are eggs. There is pie. Rose King was a blur at the King Orchards Creswell market. I stopped to say hello and came away with one of her famous honeycrisp apple pies and a good story or three. That Rose is a wily one.
I can’t show you the pie because it’s long gone, but the stories are still fresh.
- In case you haven’t heard, Rose’s husband Jim and his brother John, not ones to sit around and mope over the way this year’s cherry and apricot crops are shaping up, about which the less said the better, went fishing one night. I don’t know what John caught, but Jim landed a 29-inch walleye. He was feeling pretty good about it. Rose opined that if you’re going to go fishing you should bring home something to eat, not something to hang on the wall. But she was laughing when she said it. (I will tell you exactly where Jim caught that trophy fish: just offshore from where he finds morel mushrooms.)
- Rose had been off gallivanting herself, taking Boy Scouts from Troop 46 up to Mill Creek Discovery Park to do some trail rebuilding. There hasn’t been a lot of money for park maintenance in Michigan’s budget—don’t get me started—and such volunteer efforts make a huge difference. The park rangers told the Scouts that they had finished as much work as had been done in the whole previous year. The boys really earned their badges. There ought to be a badge for the community volunteers who make scouting possible but I don’t think there is. Next time you see Rose, tell her thank you.
I know, I digress. Back to your US-31 May Tour. Let’s stop at Altonen Orchards in Elk Rapids, where blooming baskets and lush tomato plants fill the hoophouses.
There was plenty of tender asparagus by the register the day I was there, and best of all, there was rhubarb. I am very, very fond of rhubarb.
Just up the road the Guntzviller market has its own special character. This week you’ll find asparagus and eggs in the self-serve coolers, right next to the honor system cashbox and the sign inviting you to Find us on Facebook. How’s that for blending tradition and the ever-moving target of Now?
Just in case you were wondering whether the eggs are from free-range chickens: Yes.
So off we went home, where we ate asparagus and scrambled eggs for supper—with pie for dessert. And it’s just beginning. I will try to help you keep up with the embarrassment of riches.