The City of Hudsonville, just south west of Grand Rapids, is trying to break the world record for the longest continuous salad bar.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Hudsonville's geographic position in proximity to Grand Rapids.
Last week, Hudsonville farmer Scott Lubber was in a hurry. About 20 of his workers were trying to harvest a huge lettuce crop before it wilts in the summer heat. On Saturday, about 2,500 pounds of Lubber’s lettuce will go into the salad bar. Michelle Fare is the Executive Director of the Hudsonville Area Chamber of Commerce, one of the brains behind the operation.
“Nola Mayonnaise out of South Africa is actually the current record holder. And the current record is actually 660.1 feet long and they had four vegetables on their salad," she says. "So the current record is those four vegetables plus…it’s really based on length is what we’re going for. It’s the longest salad bar, but you have to have at least four vegetables and dressing to go after the record.”
The city is planning to make their salad bar 680 feet, about 20 feet longer than Nola’s. Fare says the idea for the world record came out of plans for the city’s first Salad Bowl Bash.
“We’ve got a strong agricultural history in Hudsonville," says Fare. "And so, when we were kind of looking at, you know, ‘What do we want to do this summer?’ We thought you know let’s try and celebrate what we have here, what is the history of Hudsonville. And so kind of went, ‘Well we’re the Salad Bowl City. So Salad Bowl Bash sounds like a perfect festival for us.”
So they decided to start the festival off with bang, by making a huge salad bar with all local veggies.
“We’ve got Miedema Produce and they are providing the radishes, the celery, and the carrots,” Fare says. “Lubber Brothers Farms is providing the romaine lettuce, the red leaf lettuce, and the green leaf lettuce. Superior produce is doing zucchini, cucumber, red and green cabbages, and peppers. And then Crown Produce and Bosgraaf are both doing onions for us.”
Dan Jensen is one of the newest members of the Hudsonville Chamber of Commerce. If the city makes the world record, his jewelry store, Jensen Jewelers, will be world record holder—at least on paper.
“My son who’s 14 loves the Guinness Book of World Records," says Jensen. "So I had a slight motivation there to impress my son.”
Jensen says the world record attempt has really helped put Hudsonville on the map.
“It’s really been cool because a lot of people picked up the story—The Grand Rapids Press, certainly the local media but also The Detroit Free Press and a newspaper in San Francisco actually picked up the stories," he says. "It’s kind of cool that I thought this would be a great, bigger-than-life event and that it’s actually kind of panning out.”
Fare says the chamber is expecting a big turnout for the Salad Bowl Bash, they’ve already given away thousands of free tickets. Farmer Scott Lubber says he just hopes he can keep up.