HANCOCK -- The Hancock Tori (tori is "market" in Finnish) is bigger and better this year with an increased number of vendors and visitors. The new canopy provides shade on a hot day and allows the vendors to sell their goods rain or shine.
Angela Jaehnig and her children -- from left, Liz, James, Sarah and Mary -- choose their favorites among Gustavo Bourdieu's engraved and decorated rocks. Bourdieu, a beekeeper for 46 years, also sells his natural honey (background), veggies and potatoes.
"More people are interested in eating natural, fresh locally grown food," says Gustavo Bourdieu, beekeeper and gardener, who sells his natural honey as well as potatoes and vegetables at the Tori.
John Lennington of Lake Linden offers a variety of fresh vegetables for sale at the Tori.
Thanks to the State of Michigan, senior citizens who qualify can also benefit from Senior Project Fresh/Market Fresh, which offers a booklet of coupons worth $20 (10 coupons of $2 each) that can be used to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and honey -- not only at the Tori but at six other participating farm markets in the area: Gierke Blueberry Farm in Chassell (pick your own), Main Street Calumet Farmer's Market in Agassiz Park, the Wooden Spoon in Mohawk, Osma Acres Farm (Past Oscar on the Houghton Canal Road), Hughes Organic Farm in Calumet and the Lake Linden Farmer's Market at Village Park in Lake Linden.
Scott Smith of Wintergreen Farm in Ontonagon holds up one of his beautiful tomatoes and displays his vegetables at the Tori. Scott and his wife, Andrea Corpolongo Smith, participate in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Under this program, consumers can purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
The Project Fresh coupons can be used for unprocessed, Michigan-grown products from authorized farmer's markets and roadside stands throughout Michigan -- at any Michigan Farmer's Market that displays the sign "PROJECT FRESH ACCEPTED HERE." All coupons must be spent by Oct. 31, 2012.
Amy Rajala of Chassell sells cucumber salsa at the Aug. 1, 2012, Tori. The cucumbers are from a community garden in Milwaukee, where young people raise fresh vegetables.
UPDATE: The coupons are distributed from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays at the office of Michigan State Extension, located at the Houghton County Arena in Hancock. A staff person will assist you in filling out an application. To qualify, you must be 60 years of age or older, have a total household income of 185 percent of poverty or less, and live in the county where the coupons are issued. (A representative of Project Fresh is sometimes available to visit Keweenaw County to sign up applicants who request the coupons; otherwise, Keweenaw County residents can sign up in the Hancock office.) The number of coupons is limited and they are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.*
Senior Project FRESH/Market FRESH originates from US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) funding (from the federal Farm Bill).**
More photos ...
Tori vendors also sell their handicrafts and even books in Hancock's popular outdoor market. The Tori is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the summer.
Carol Williams sells her handmade jewelry at the Tori. Some of the delicate pieces, including beadwork, require many hours of work. This is her fifth year as a Tori vendor.
Jean Medlyn of Boston Location shows the Jaehnig family some of the wool she spins into yarn to make scarves, mittens and other woolen items.
Sarah and Mary Jaehnig watch intently as Jean Medlyn demonstrates spinning wool with her spinning wheel at the Tori.
Sandy Fluegge of Baraga sells lovely handmade baby clothes at her Tori booth.
Dorn Dyttmer of Hancock sells his photos, note cards and other items he designs or makes himself.
Teresa Palosaari of Chassell, left, displaying her jams and jellies, chats with Jean Medlyn and Sandy Soring, right, Tori manager, who sells her handmade baskets.
Author Tony Stauton of Lake Linden sells his own books and those of friends. "I come here because you get more tourists," he says of the Tori. "You see more new faces."
* Click here for income guidelines. You may also receive coupons if you are a participant in the MDCH Wisewoman program.
UPDATE: Click here for directions to the Houghton County MSU Extension office. Click here to find the MSU Extension offices in other Michigan counties.
** Click here for more information about Senior Project Fresh/Market Fresh 2012.