Farmers Markets are a pillar of summertime in the Fox Valley. The variety, the, well, localness, the joy of meandering through an outdoor market on a warm summer’s day, it’s just a delight.
So, here’s a run-down of the best of these markets here in the Fox Valley.
Downtown Elgin Farmers Market
Bringing 40+ Vendors and Live Entertainment to Downtown Elgin Every Friday Beginning June 3
Mark your calendar for Friday, June 3 to celebrate opening day at the Downtown Elgin Farmers Market. Now in its 22nd year, the market brings a wide variety of fresh, locally sourced foods and handmade goods to the heart of Downtown Elgin. Shopping the market is a wonderful opportunity to get outdoors with friends and family, meet members of the community, and support local farmers, artisan makers, and small business entrepreneurs. Every Friday beginning June 3 and running 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 from 3pm to 7pm, with the market open an extra hour to 8pm for First Friday on June 3, July 1, and August 5.
This year over 40 vendors are confirmed to participate in the market including some crowd favorites from years past, and some exciting new vendors as well. Farmers Market Manager Sarah Michaels with the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin said, “We are thrilled with the variety of vendors we have for the market this year, especially the new produce vendors. We listened to feedback from our shoppers, and they specifically requested more fresh produce. This year we’re delivering on that request with six farms participating, which is more than ever before!”
Shoppers this year can expect a more consistent availability of produce which will vary each week based on availability. The first vegetables to make an appearance at the market will include items such as spinach, sugar snap peas, lettuce, green onions, kale, radishes, turnips, microgreens, arugula, basil, beets, bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, asparagus and more. As the season progresses an even bigger bounty of fresh produce will be available including items such as strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, peaches, corn, squash, apples, and pumpkins. Aside from fresh fruits and vegetables market shoppers will also find meat and eggs, local honey, baked goods and sweets, sauces and jams, olive and nuts, spices, pet products, body care and personal items, jewelry, art and more.
FULL SEASON VENDORS
Acrylic Abstractions – Art
Banford Road Farm – Produce
Bridge N Sweets Bakery – Baked Goods
Chef Heatley’s – Sauces
Diggity Dawg Bakery – Pet Products
Emmy & J Gourmet – Dips, Breads & Nuts
Farmers Nicks – Meats & Eggs
First Star Art – Art
Fulbuschel Farm – Produce
Gigawatt Coffee – Coffee
Head to Toe Blessing – Body Care
Heritage Prairie Farm – Produce
Jentil Zero Waste – Body Care & Cleaning
Jerry’s Jerky – Meats
Mighty Minerals – Rocks
Mozzafiato Gelato – Sweets
Nourish – Breads
Primordia Foods – Mushrooms & Microgreens
Red Flower Organics – Produce, Jams & 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 & Flowers
SELECT DATE VENDORS
Albaik Tahini – Tahini
Bida Baking – Baked Goods
Birdflower Farm – Flowers
Chaski’s Fruit Creations – Sweets
Corspice – Spices
Ferdie’s Cabin – Baked Goods
Gramma Golden Books – Kids Books
K&S Supper Club – Vegan Food
Mac’s Mighty Paws – Pets 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 complete list of vendors and dates please visit www.DowntownElgin.com/FarmersMarket.
Market Activities to Include Theme Days and Expanded Entertainment for First Fridays
New this year the market will be open an extra hour until 8pm 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 demos with Chef Greg Shannon of Elgin Public House, and special presentations from community partners. To celebrate the start of market season on June 3, Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain will be on hand for a special ribbon cutting ceremony at 3pm. Another exciting component 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 drinks, foods, entertainment, discounts, and deals to be announced soon.
Every week this season the Farmers Market will focus on a unique theme. Some theme days to look forward to are Kids Day, Health & Wellness Day, Art at the Market, Local History and more. Theme days will incorporate partnerships with local non-profits who will be on-site to engage with the community through educational programming. Another popular market attraction is live music! This year market entertainment is being 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, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. There will also be a nice variety of local bands and talented musicians playing lively tunes to add to the festive atmosphere.
Come for the Market. Stay to Explore Downtown Elgin.
After shopping the Downtown Elgin Farmers Market, visitors are encouraged to stay awhile and explore all that Downtown Elgin has to offer. Take a walk along the Fox River and Riverside Promenade, explore public art and walk through the new Civic Center Plaza, enjoy some play 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 which is the only natural history museum in the Fox Valley area.
Downtown Elgin is also full of unique retail shops 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. When it’s cocktail time head over to Martini Room, Vern’s Tavern or Lounge 51. All shops, restaurants and bars are located within walking distance of the market. For a complete list of options to dine and drink in Downtown Elgin check out www.DowntownElgin.com/ElginEats.
Link Card Users Can Triple Their Benefits at the Market
The Downtown Elgin Farmers Market is made possible thanks to the generous support of numerous sponsors. Presented by Ascension, the market strives to increase accessibility of fresh, local foods to the greater Elgin area community. Individuals under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are eligible to triple their benefits at 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 match of up to $20 in market tokens thanks to the Link Match Program sponsored by the Elgin branch of BMO Harris Bank. In addition, the purchaser will also receive another match of to $20 in Farmers Market Vouchers thanks to a grant received from Experimental Station.
Farmers Market Manager Sarah Michaels notes, “We are thrilled to be able to offer this very generous matching program at our market. Where else can you spend $20 and get $60 in value to spend on fresh foods? It’s amazing! 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. Just stop by the info tent with your LINK card to learn more.”
Market shoppers utilizing this program should keep in mind that Market “Tokens” can be used on everything except prepared foods while Market “Vouchers” are exclusive to fresh fruits and vegetables. Both tokens and vouchers can be used throughout the entire season so 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 in 22 years ago in 2000. DNA Executive Director Jennifer Fukala notes, “The market is a major driver of economic value for the downtown. Visitors do their market shopping and then also patronize our local retail stores, restaurants, and bars. It’s a great way to kick off the weekend and it’s a great feel-good community event where folks come out with their friends and family to enjoy everything Downtown Elgin has to offer.”
For folks who really love the market and want to get more involved, volunteers, community partners and sponsors are still being accepted. To learn more about the market visit www.DowntownElgin.com/FarmersMarket. Free parking is available throughout Downtown Elgin, within 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 day from 1pm to 9pm.