Farmers Market at the Capitol returns to Lansing

By Monica Drake
The Office of Performance and Transformation

The Farmers Market at the Capitol returns to Lansing July 26, August 23, and September 20. It runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is hosted by the Michigan Farmers Market Association and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Hickory Knoll Farms Creamery, a small artisan creamery located in South Western Ingham County, is one of the vendors at the Farmers Market. The creamery is owned by Mike Metzger and Rusty Plummer and has been a licensed creamery since 2010 – although Plummer has been making cheese himself for nearly 40 years.

Metzger and Plummer hold five licenses/permits with the MDARD Dairy Division. They make farmstead cheese from both cow and goat milk and currently milk about 100 does and four cows. The goat herd is made up of mainly Alpine and Saanen and the cows are all Brown Swiss. 

"We use sustainable practices on the farm and no antibiotics or hormones are ever fed to our animals," said Metzger.

At the Farmer's Market, they will be selling 10 different types of goat cheese, 16 different types of cow cheese, and one cheese that is made with half cow and half goat milk.

Guiding Light Garlic Farm will have a booth at the market in August and September. The business is owned by the Kostecke Family and is a certified organic garlic farm located in Mason. The family donates a portion of all proceeds to churches, shelters, and families in need.

"We specialize in growing unique garlic varieties ranging from mild to hot/spicy, in terms of taste. We also grow various herbs, peppers and more. In addition to growing our crops, we also create numerous artisanal goodies like hand-ground powders, pestos and more in our licensed kitchen we built on our farm," said Dan and Rachel Kostecke.

The Kostecke Family has more than 125 years of farming in their blood and always knew they wanted to continue the legacy. When, a few years ago, they found a home with workable land, they jumped at the opportunity.

At the Farmers Market, the Kostecke Family will be selling six to eight different specialty garlic varieties in bulb form; original, jalapeño and lemon garlic powders; their famous garlic pesto and garlic flakes; dried herbs; fresh salsa; and made-to-order roasted garlic bulbs.

"We love garlic and wanted a way to share that love with others," they said.

Hillcrest Farms, located in Eaton Rapids, will be selling all kinds of produce in July, August, and September – sungold tomatoes, purple haze carrots, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and more. Last year, Hillcrest Farms was environmentally verified by 

the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance 

Program.

Mark Kastner, owner of the farm, said, "We started the farm for a little additional income, but mainly to ensure a steady supply of nutritional and chemical free food supply. Now we are a four-season grower using unseated hoop houses in addition to our field crops."

Laura and Paul Weiss of Frankenmuth are bringing two of their businesses to the Farmers Market – KaCHOMP Dog Treats and Kapow Soap.​

Laura said Kapow Soap star​ted as an experiment back in 1994 when she handed out her first batch to friends. "We were all pleasantly surprised at how good this naturally moisturizing oatmeal soap was for our outdoor alligator skin," she said. "Today, the base recipe is the same, but I now have 13 varieties with ingredients like organic spearmint leaf, paprika, citrus peel, madder root and essential oils." 

The husband and wife duo started KaCHOMP Dog Treats more than 13 years ago and all the ingredients used in the dog treats are purchased locally. The chicken eggs are from their neighbor, the meat scraps from their local butcher, the flour from the local mill, and the organic oatmeal from their neighborhood health food store. 

"On Fridays, when I start baking, all the farm dogs magically appear on the stoop and do not leave until their owners come look for them," said Laura. "My treats are howling good."

They will be selling handmade soaps made with coconut, olive, and soybean oils, soap gift boxes, and KaCHOMP dog treats at the Farmers Market.

"We love the Capitol Markets run by the Michigan Farmers Market Association. We have loads of loyal, excited happy customers. Also, there are so many other amazing vendors and so much delicious food to eat. These markets are our favorite markets of the season.  We strongly believe in small local commerce," said Laura.

For a list of the rest of the vendors that will be at the Farmers Market at the Capitol, visit http://mifma.org/fmatthecapitol/​.