Market open

The downtown farmers market kicked off its season Tuesday afternoon in Big Rapids. The market featured several flower and vegetable vendors. Sue Zehr, an asparagus vendor who is participating in her third year, says she likes to interact with new and returning customers. The market will be held again this Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Building from the bottom

Michigan’s home industry is rebuilding. Home builders say they're "cautiously optimistic" about their industry's outlook in the state. A new survey of home builders predicts single family building permits in the next six months will be 35-percent higher than the same period one year ago. Bob Filka of the Michigan Association of Home Builders says while they're not out of the woods in terms of home building, it appears the housing market in Michigan has "hit bottom," and Michigan is now looking at "modest" upward movement.

Farmers market returning

In less than a month, the Big Rapids farmers market will open for residents to get fresh produce. Market coordinator Mary Roush says this year, the farmers market will have different events such as lunch for attendees and an eye check for preschoolers held by the Lions Club of Big Rapids. The farmers market will open May 18.

Urban grocery

A year-round urban market in downtown Grand Rapidscould be coming soon. Organizers of the effort are planning to unveil their plans today at WesternMichiganUniversity’s campus in G.R. Those behind the urban market are the same people who helped to build both Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place. Urban markets have gained popularity as places for cities to foster small artisan food and craft businesses while also supporting local agriculture.

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