EVART — It’s still early in the season, but tables at the Evart Farmers Market are already buckling under the weight of good, locally grown produce and booths are colorfully displayed with a huge assortment of crafts and decorative plants.

There’s a lot to choose from, and there were a lot of people out this past weekend trying to make their choices.

The Evart market, located at the city’s airport facility and open on Saturdays throughout the summer, is one of an ever-growing number of farmer’s markets spreading throughout Osceola County.

Already well established are shoppers’ fairs in not only Evart, but also the Reed City, Hersey and LeRoy communities market operations.

Evart market-master Missy Morgan is pleased with the local turnout, and looking forward to a busy season.

“We only got going last year,” she pointed out. “2010 was a good ice-breaker for us and we got a lot of people interested in getting active in the market - both venders and buyers as well.

“This year, we have all of the venders from last year returning for another season, and we have quite a few new venders too.”

So far this year, there are 12 venders signed up for a regular spot at the airport on Saturday — from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m.

Anyone wishing to run a booth or set up a table can stop by and set up shop.

“So far, all of our venders are from this immediate area,” Morgan pointed out.

“That’s fine. Our idea is to give people who are self-motivated and creative a place to market their goods and produce — a place to show what they create, grow or produce and a good place to sell those items or goods.

“We want to keep things local - hand grown, hand made, hand produced locally.

“This gives folks from the area an outlet for the goods they grow and make; a way for local folks to make a little extra money; and a way for people out shopping to know who grew what they are buying and where it came from.”

All the fruits and vegetables at the Evart market are grown locally.

There are some exceptions - such as blueberries - but Morgan makes sure everything coming into the market is at the very least Michigan grown.

There are no tomatoes from Florida.

“Our market was set up as a way of encouraging local, sustainable farming. Buyers can generally talk to the people who have grown what they see on the stands,” she said.

“We won’t have venders bringing in produce from Grand Rapids to sell here.

Morgan said initial turnout at the market has been good and she expects things to get even busier.

As noted, the market will be open Saturdays, from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m.

There will be plenty of parking space, and plenty of browsing space as well.

“I really want people to feel welcome here — both buyers and sellers,” said the market master.

“It’s all about community and sustainability.”

There is always room for more local venders, and table fees are exceptionally “workable” — $10 per week, $20 per month.

For more information, contact Morgan at (231) 250-2620 or email her at mmorgan0608@yahoo.com.

In Reed City, the Crossroads Farmers’ Market is open on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is located next to Pompeii’s Pizza.

The market offers “...a wonderful variety of veggies, homemade jellies and jams, farm-fresh eggs and so much more.” reports RC Chamber director Suzie Williams.

The LeRoy Farmer’s Market is up and running strong as usual.

The market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. - May through October and is located on the corner of Kent Street and Mackinaw Trail at the west end of the Village of LeRoy.

According to organizers, “Our purpose is to provide consumers in LeRoy and surrounding communities with locally grown, fresh, high quality produce and products.

“To provide local farmers, producers, and artisans with an economic outlet within the LeRoy area.

“To provide the opportunity to preserve the connection between farmer and consumer, and to educate consumers about the benefits of preserving local agriculture and the benefits of using locally produced foods.”