Farmers’ markets are a mainstay of summer in the Fox Valley. The variety, the, well, localitythe joy of strolling through an open-air market on a hot summer day is just a delight.
So here’s a look at some of the best of these markets here in Fox Valley.
Downtown Elgin Farmer’s Market
Bringing over 40 vendors and live entertainment to downtown Elgin every Friday starting June 3
Mark your calendar for Friday, June 3 to celebrate the opening day of the Downtown Elgin Farmers Market. Now in his 22’sn/a year round, the market brings a wide variety of fresh, local food and handmade goods to the heart of downtown Elgin. Shopping at the market is a wonderful opportunity to hang out with friends and family, meet community members, and support local farmers, artisans, and small entrepreneurs. Every Friday, from June 3 through October 14, market vendors will set up shop along Spring Street in downtown Elgin between Chicago Street and Fulton Street. Weekly hours will be 3-7pm, with the market open an additional hour until 8pm for the first Friday of June 3, July 1 and August 5.
This year, over 40 vendors are confirmed to participate in the marketplace, including some crowd favorites from years past, as well as some exciting new vendors. Sarah Michaels, Farmers Market Manager, Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin, said: “We are delighted with the variety of vendors we have in the market this year, especially the new produce vendors. We listened to feedback from our buyers, and they specifically asked for more fresh produce. This year, we are responding to this demand with the participation of six farms, which is more than ever!”
Shoppers this year can expect more consistent product availability that will vary weekly depending on availability. The first vegetables to hit the market will include items such as spinach, snow peas, lettuce, green onions, kale, radishes, turnips, microgreens, arugula, basil, beets, peppers, carrots, mushrooms, asparagus and more. . As the season progresses, even more fresh produce will be available including strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, peaches, corn, squash, apples and pumpkins. Besides fresh fruits and vegetables, market shoppers will also find meat and eggs, local honey, baked goods and sweets, sauces and jams, olives and nuts, spices, produce for pets, body care and personal items, jewelry, art and more.
FULL SEASON SELLERS
Acrylic Abstractions – Art
Banford Road Farm – Products
Bridge N Sweets Bakery – Baked Goods
Chef Heatley – Sauces
Diggity Dawg Bakery – Pet Products
Emmy & J Gourmet – Dips, Breads & Nuts
Farmers Nicks – Meat and Eggs
First Star Art – Art
Fulbuschel Farm – Products
Gigawatt Coffee – Coffee
Blessing from head to toe – Body care
Heritage Prairie Farm – Products
Jentil Zero Waste – Body Care & Cleansing
Jerry’s Jerky – Meats
Powerful Minerals – Rocks
Gelato Mozzafiato – Candies
Feed – Breads
Primordia Foods – Mushrooms & Microgreens
Red Flower Organics – Products, jams and eggs
Spartan Gourmet Foods – Olives
The Irie Cup – Tea
Three Bees Honey – Local Honey
Umland’s – Cheese Snacks
Wild Cherry Spoon Co. – Wood Products
Wunberg Produce – Produce
Xochi Star Market Farm – Produce and Flowers
SELECT VENDOR DATE
Albaik Tahini – Tahini
Bida Baking – Bakery products
Birdflower Farm – Flowers
Chaski’s Fruit Creations – Candy
Corspice – Spices
Cabane de Ferdie – Baked Goods
Gramma Golden Books – Children’s Books
K&S Supper Club – Vegan food
Mac’s Mighty Paws – Pet Products
Myra Handmades – Jewelry
Nal’s Kitchen – Sauces
Poetically beautiful – Body care
Prairie Pure Cheese – Fresh cheese
Puffy Houzz – Snacks
Quill Lane – Accessories
Stewarts Cheesecakes – Baked Goods
Teshuva Fields – Flowers
For a full list of vendors and dates, please visit www.DowntownElgin.com/FarmersMarket.
Market activities to include themed days and expanded entertainment for First Fridays
New this year, the market will be open for an additional hour until 8 p.m. on Friday, June 3, July 1 and August 5. On these special “First Friday” dates, visitors can expect to enjoy enhanced live entertainment, specialty food trucks, chef demonstrations with Chef Greg Shannon of Elgin Public House, and special presentations from community partners. To celebrate the start of the market season on June 3, Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain will be on hand for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. Another exciting element of First Fridays at the Market will be ‘After Hours’ activities at participating local businesses such as Vern’s Tavern, Martini Room, Elgin Public House, BeaUnique Latin Kitchen, Dream Hall, Kubo Sushi and more. Watch for specialty beverages, foods, entertainment, discounts and offers to be announced soon.
Each week this season, the Farmers Market will focus on a unique theme. Some themed days to look forward to are Children’s Day, Health and Wellness Day, Art at the Market, Local History and more. Theme days will incorporate partnerships with local non-profit organizations who will be on hand to engage with the community through educational programs. Another popular market attraction is the live music! This year, market entertainment is planned to satisfy a variety of musical tastes. Watch for performances from local community partners and sponsors, such as the Judson University Steel Pan Group, Elgin Symphony Orchestra and Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. There will also be a nice variety of local bands and talented musicians playing upbeat tunes to add to the festive atmosphere.
Come for the market. Stay to explore downtown Elgin.
After shopping at the Elgin Town Center Farmer’s Market, visitors are encouraged to stay a while and explore all that Elgin Town Center has to offer. Stroll along the Fox River and Riverside Drive, explore public art and stroll through the new Civic Center Plaza, enjoy some game time at Festival Park, visit the Wizard of Oz exhibit at the Gail Borden Public Library, learn all about local history at the Elgin History Museum, or explore the Elgin Public Museum, the only natural history museum in the Fox Valley area.
Downtown Elgin is also filled with unique retail stores like Meraki Market Hub, ABLE Shoppe, Whatnots & Whimsies, Elgin Antiques, Steep N’ Clay, Elgin Knit Works, Cooks Sweet Boutique, Rediscover Records and MADE by Side Street. There are also plenty of tasty dining options to explore including BeaUnique Latin Kitchen, Kubo Sushi & Sake Lounge, Elgin Public House, Al’s Café and many more. For happy hour, head to the Martini Room, Vern’s Tavern or Lounge 51. All the shops, restaurants and bars are located within walking distance of the market. For a full list of dining and drinking options in downtown Elgin, see www.DowntownElgin.com/ElginEats.
Link card users can triple their market advantages
The Downtown Elgin Farmers Market is made possible through the generous support of many sponsors. Presented by Ascension, the market strives to increase the accessibility of fresh, local food to the greater community in the Elgin area. Individuals on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are eligible to triple their benefits in the market. For example, with a $20 purchase of Downtown Elgin Farmers’ Market Tokens made using an Illinois EBT LINK card, the purchaser will receive a consideration of up to $20 in Tokens from the market through the Link Match program sponsored by the Elgin branch of BMO Harris Bank. Additionally, the buyer will also receive another $20 in Farmer’s Market Vouchers thanks to a grant received from Experimental Station.
Sarah Michaels, Farmers Market Manager, notes, “We are thrilled to be able to offer this very generous matchmaking program in our market. Where else can you spend $20 and get $60 worth to spend on fresh food? It’s incredible! This program really sets us apart from other markets and we are proud to be able to give back to those who need it most. Simply stop by the information tent with your LINK card to learn more.
Market Shoppers using this program should keep in mind that Market “Tokens” can be used on everything except Prepared Foods, while Market “Coupons” are exclusive to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. Tokens and vouchers can be used throughout the season. If you have leftovers, save them for another trip to the market. Vouchers are accepted at all Farmers’ Markets in the State of Illinois.
The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) of Elgin is proud to host the Farmers’ Market which began 22 years ago in 2000. DNA’s Executive Director, Jennifer Fukala notes, “The market is a major driver of the economic value of the city centre. Visitors shop in the market and also frequent our local retail stores, restaurants and bars. It’s a great way to start the weekend and it’s a great community event where people hang out with friends and family to enjoy all that downtown Elgin has to offer.
For people who really love the market and want to get more involved, volunteers, community partners and sponsors are always welcome. To learn more about the market, visit www.DowntownElgin.com/FarmersMarket. Free parking is available throughout downtown Elgin at nearby parking garages on Chicago Street and Fulton Street. The public should be aware that Spring Street between Chicago Street and Fulton Street is closed to vehicles on market days from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.