Illinois Road Trip Round-Up – Farmers Markets
By Katie Arvia published June 23, 2020
We’ve been “All In for Illinois” during the pandemic, but as we hit the unofficial start of summer, we’re ready to enjoy our state safely. Check-in every Tuesday for an Illinois Road Trip Round-Up on themed topics showcasing eighteen destinations across Illinois. This week, we’re touring some of the state's farmers markets! So pack up the family, bring your masks and get ready for a road trip!
Chicago Southland is home to several fantastic farmers markets. The Homewood Farmers Market is one of Illinois’ oldest farmers markets in continuous operation. Shoppers can find fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, honey, baked goods and more, all produced by local vendors. Another long-standing local farmers market can be found in Park Forest. Since 1974, the Park Forest Main Street Market has been connecting residents with local farmers, food vendors and businesses offering a variety of flowers, fruits and veggies, baked goods, herbs and dairy products. For more farmers markets throughout Chicago Southland, click here. Shop small this summer and support your local farmers market!
Fresh produce, innovation and a proud history are the signature features of Aurora Area Farmers Markets. In Aurora, the second-largest city in Illinois, you can find the state’s oldest farmers market at its new riverside location on Water Street Square. Now in its 108th season, the Aurora Farmers Market offers the best of local fare from vendor stalls to food trucks, including Aurora’s own Modest Coffee and #IllinoisMade destination, Wurst Kitchen. Just a few miles north, visit Batavia’s Farmers Market, where you can pair your visit with shopping at the brand new Batavia Boardwalk Shops and a monthly Artisan Collective maker fare. Plan your visit at EnjoyAurora.com.
Take a Saturday morning drive and come #VisitBN to check out our amazing Farmers’ Market! The Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market is an award-winning market located in the Historic McLean County Museum of History Square. This event not only gives customers a colorful venue to buy locally grown farm products, but it also puts them in touch with local artisans of prepared goods and fine arts. The Market is producer-only, offering a wide array of farm products — including vegetables, fruits, cheeses, free-range poultry and eggs, flowers, herbs and more, grown and produced by the individual selling the items! From authentic Mexican Pan Dulce to custom soaps, to a farmer that grows four different kinds of kale, the Market has so many unique items you won’t find anywhere else. To ensure everyone’s safety, there have been new rules put in place. Check out their Facebook page to review the rules and see what you can expect at the Market!
VISIT CHAMPAIGN COUNTY
Since 1979, Urbana’s Market at the Square has been a mainstay for Urbana and the surrounding area by connecting the community with local growers and artisans. Shop one of the best selections of made-and grown-in-Illinois products including produce, meat, dairy, honey, local beer and wine, flowers, handmade art and crafts and more. Saturday morning at Urbana’s Market at the Square is one of our city’s signature institutions! It’s a great way to kick off your weekend. Likewise, the Champaign Farmers Market is your mid-week chance to load up on locally grown and produced food. You can meet your farmers and producers, enjoy samples of budget-friendly recipes made with seasonal produce, watch cooking demonstrations and more!
CHICAGO'S NORTH SHORE
Chicago’s North Shore offers some of the best farmers markets, many near beautiful Lake Michigan. If you're looking for beautiful flowers, delicious fruits and veggies, home-baked goodies, fresh bread, cheese, handmade jewelry, garden art and more, look no further. All have taken safety protocols as a priority in opening this season. Make a day of it and schedule a visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden or stop by the luscious gardens of the Baha’i House of Worship to make your visit to the North Shore complete.
MEET CHICAGO NORTHWEST
The Chicago Northwest suburbs feature Farmers Markets in Arlington Heights (Saturdays), Elk Grove Village (Saturdays), Rolling Meadows (one Saturday a month) and Schaumburg (Fridays). Pick one closest to you or try them all this season! Each Farmers Market provides unique vendors offering up the freshest produce, roasted coffee, homemade pastries and artisanal cheeses. With all the home cooking you’ve been doing, you could use a good sharpening on those kitchen knives — keep an eye out for the knife sharpener who visits the area Markets this summer!
The Effingham Farmers Market provides our community with fresh, locally-grown food, art, live music and quality artisan goods. The mission of the market is to build and strengthen the community from within by educating our patrons on the importance and advantages of supporting ourselves by buying local. Everything at the market is produced right here – in the Effingham area and its surrounding communities! It is a wonderful excursion for the whole family – pets included! Visit the market every Saturday morning, from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM in Downtown Effingham, on the Courthouse Lawn, from June through October, this year.
The Elgin Farmers Market in Elgin’s downtown is a must-see! This sprawling set-up allows our open-air fresh market to provide a welcoming experience. Here shoppers can purchase fresh local foods, pet products, baked goods and body care items. All while enjoying live music, chef demos and on-site food vendors. This year marks the 20th season, and it’s already started! Stop by from 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM any Friday between now and October 2 to experience this incredible fresh market for yourself! To learn more about how the Elgin Farmers Market will implement health and safety standards, click here.
GREAT RIVERS AND ROUTES
Follow the aromas of fresh-picked herbs, ripening berries, sweet lavender and just-baked cookies and rolls to historic downtown Edwardsville and the Land of Goshen Community Market on Saturday mornings. Sips of freshly brewed hot coffee along with melt-in-your-mouth hand-frosted cinnamon rolls are among the delightful ways to start each weekend. From 8:00 AM to noon, the market – just east of the Madison County Courthouse between North Main and St. Louis Streets – offers adults, children and dogs on leashes a morning full of locally grown fresh produce, live music, baked delicacies and handmade crafts. More farmers markets can be found at RiversandRoutes.com.
Farmer’s Markets are popular weekly destinations throughout each of the 22 counties in ILLINOISouth. One of the largest farmer’s markets which draws hundreds of people each week is Vine Street Market at O’Fallon Station in O’Fallon. Vine Street Market features local produce, meats, handmade goods, fresh-made food, and drinks each Saturday from May through October. Vine Street also offers a Tuesday night drive-thru market which is pre-order only. For more information about the market as well as vendors, you can follow Vine Street Market on Facebook at @vinestreetmarketofallon. The market is currently operating under social distancing guidelines, with more space between vendors for anyone who attends. Have fun finding your next favorite Illinois Made product!
VISIT MCHENRY COUNTY
The Woodstock Farmers Market is regularly ranked as one of the tops in the state. This market is a producer-only market, which means that everything you purchase is grown or produced directly by the vendor you are purchasing from. Summer markets are held on the historic Woodstock Square featuring live music, children’s activities and so much more. In order to protect the health and safety of the visitors and vendors, the Woodstock Farmers Market is requesting that all visitors practice social distancing and wear a face covering.
With summer officially here, that means the local farmers’ markets are in full swing. Throughout the city of Peoria and the surrounding communities, you can find fresh fruits, veggies, baked goods and other amazing locally made goods. The heart of Illinois has so many different markets the public can attend throughout the week. On Tuesday evenings, head out to Morton for the Morton’s Farmer’s Market N’ More. End your workweek by going to the East Peoria’s Farmers’ Market on Friday nights in the Levee District. Saturday mornings are a big time for farmers’ markets in the area. The Peoria RiverFront Market is located on the beautiful Peoria Riverfront looking out on the Illinois River or head uptown to the Metro Centre for the Metro Centre Farmers’ Market. Looking to get out of the city for the day? Head to Canton for the Canton Main Street’s Farmers’ Market also on Saturday mornings in Jones Park. For more information on local farmers’ markets check out Peoria.org/FarmersMarket.
As a metropolitan region located on the Mississippi River and within a short drive to open fields and countryside settings, the Quad Cities has access to an abundance of produce, meats and poultry grown and raised by both organic and traditional farms. Each May through October, the bounty of the fields provides a wonderful selection and variety of choices at Farmer’s Markets across the Quad Cities. You will also find flowers, plants, herbs, homemade pies and baked goods, handcrafted products and even pet treats. The Quad City Growers Markets offer a wide selection of items fresh from the fields and ready to be taken home and enjoyed. In Moline, they are open Saturdays from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM at SouthPark Mall – 4500 16th Street. In East Moline, the hours are Wednesday from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and Saturday from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM at 1140 Avenue of the Cities. Find out about all of the Farmer’s Markets available in the QC at VisitQuadCities.com.
One of the most anticipated events in the Rockford region is the opening day of the Rockford City Market, a local farmers market in downtown Rockford every Friday afternoon in the summer. Local growers and vendors from within 150 miles of Rockford gather to sell fresh produce, cheese, herbs, baked goods and unique offerings from local artisans. Guests can also purchase prepared food from several local food trucks selling everything from barbeque to churros. Although the outdoor Rockford City Market only occurs from May-September every year, market organizers have recently renovated a nearby indoor space where some vendors have set up permanent storefronts and other vendors can utilize the community kitchen. Pop up markets can now be held year-round in the large indoor space!
Williamson County is home to three farmer’s markets bringing fresh food to the table each weekend. All three markets run on an April through October schedule. Johnston City farmer’s market is held in downtown and brings vendors from around the region on Friday afternoons. On Saturday mornings, you will find fresh foods, plants and more at the market in Marion. Sunday, the mid-day market is held in Carterville. Finding fresh foods and unique handmade items is always a fun experience and makes a great weekend trip to southern Illinois. Find times and locations at VisitSI.com/Unwind/Farmers-Markets.
Farm-to-table, shop, eat and support local, the true essence of the Farmer’s Market! Springfield has two markets that will run until October. The 21st summer season of the Old Capitol Farmers Market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday from 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM through October 31, 2020. This market offers pre-orders with curbside pickup for those that would prefer. The Illinois Products Farmers’ Market is available at the IL State Fairgrounds now through October 8 on Thursday evening from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Shed. For more information, head to VisitSpringfieldIllinois.com/Events.