Flint Farmers Market highlights non-traditional farmers - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flint Farmers Market highlights non-traditional farmers

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(08/07/12) - For years, the Flint Farmers Market has been a source of pride for the Vehicle City.

This year is nothing new, despite a set back from mother nature.

As the market vendors celebrate national farmers market week, they're also highlighting a growing number of non-traditional farmers.

For example, a hoop house on court street in Flint is one of many in Mid-Michigan.

"There's a lot more happening and I think it's basically because people are starting to realize that foods you buy from the supermarket or get from fast food, they're not necessarily that good for you," said Carlton Scott Ruiz, Hoop House farmer.

This year there is a record number of hoop house and hydroponic farmers at the market. At least eight. Two years ago, there was just one or two.

"We were one of the first in Michigan. It started in Florida," said Christina Fowler of Fowler's Hydroponic Farm.

The increased presence of non-traditional farmers has allowed the market to thrive in this unusually dry summer.

While most growers depend on rain from mothers nature, hydroponic environments and hoop houses are more controlled. The growing season is also much longer.

"We have a system that times it and waters it three times a day so we don't have to depend on if it's going to rain everyday or not," Fowler said.

Strawberries grown the traditional way can only be harvested in June - these hydroponic strawberries can be picked from July through November.

"We're the only ones right now that have Michigan strawberries," Fowler said.

The Flint Farmers Market is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday.

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