From Michigan’s Great Fruit Belt
For 160 years, (since 1860), the Benton Harbor Fruit Market has been the hub for fresh produce in the Midwest. For years, the Market was the largest open air, straight from the farm, market in the United States. Still to this day, during the growing season local farmers bring in their harvested produce. Every day during the season, thousands of bushels of fresh vegetables come to the market and are re-distributed throughout the United States in 3 specific ways:
- Large Commercial Wholesale shipments shipping quantities from 1 – 24 tons at a time to large supermarket chains and foodservice distributors nationwide.
- 50 – 1000 pound quantities shipped to restaurants, produce stands, and small wholesale produce operators within 100 miles.
- Half bushel to bushel quantities shipped to the public, churches, caterers, and other small produce stands locally. Did someone say, “canning time”?!
We have farms of all sizes coming into the market, from large 1,000 acre operators, to small 5-acre hobby farms. Growers of all sizes are welcome!
Fresh means picked today!
Outside of certain tropicals, Southwest Michigan has the ability to grow almost anything. Cool summer breezes off Lake Michigan, along with a very temperate growing season, good soils, and ample water, make Southwest Michigan an excellent location to access the best fresh produce. Why? We can pick it fresh, ripe, and ready to eat. You know the difference when you bite into a fresh Michigan peach. You bite into that peach, and immediately you know you have just tried something special, as you grab a napkin to wipe the juice from your mouth.
The variety of produce coming through the market during season is staggering. Did you know there are over 500 varieties of apples? Squash of all kinds, tomatoes, cucumbers, raspberries, strawberries are just a few of the local offerings. The local growers invest their time and resources to growing what they feel will best answer the demand from the local community.
“Support your local everything.” For more information, please contact Market Director, Lee LaVanway.