The reasons for selecting local foods include the facts that
foods shipped long distances are often picked while they are
unripe, may be stored for long periods of time and are often
handled extensively. Locally grown foods are "greener," since
less energy is required for shipping, handling and packaging;
and buying fresh, locally grown food supports local farmers.
There is no place more local than your own garden. As a
gardener, you know the benefits of growing your own food. You
understand and appreciate how good freshly picked veggies taste,
and you also know how they are raised and exactly what goes into
them. If you don't have space for a garden, or perhaps you live
in an apartment, consider growing a few vegetables in
containers. Extension has some great information on "Successful
Container Gardens" at
I don't know about you, but I am really excited that farmers
market season is here. On the Illinois Department of
Agriculture's Bureau of Marketing and Promotion website for
http://www.agr.state.il.us/markets/farmers/, there are three
listed for Sangamon County and three for Logan County. If your
market is not listed, contact Kendra Buchanan at 217-524-3297
for more information.
In Logan County, the three markets are the Lincoln Farmer's
Market at Scully Park, the Farmers' Market at Latham Park and
the Elkhart Farmers Market.
market to open is the Lincoln Farmer's Market, at Scully
Park, at Clinton and Kickapoo streets. This market is on
Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 to noon,
from April 28 through Oct. 27. The market offer fresh fruits
and vegetables grown locally, plants, baked goods, homemade
dog biscuits, rag rugs, woodworking, and hand-sewn items.
Market, at Latham Park, at Kickapoo Street and Latham Place,
will be on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays
from 8 a.m. to noon, from May 12 to Oct. 27 (with some
exceptions). The market will offer fresh vegetables, fruits,
herbs, plants, baked goods and crafts.
The Elkhart Farmers Market, at the
west side of Horsefeathers, 104 Gov. Oglesby St. in Elkhart,
will be on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon, from May 26
through Oct. 27. The market will feature seasonal and local
plants, produce and baked goods.
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The three markets in Sangamon County are the Illinois Products
Farmers' Market and the Old Capitol Farmers' Market, both in
Springfield, and Pawnee Farmers Market in Pawnee.
The first market
to open will be the Illinois Products Farmers' Market, located
at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. This market is on Thursdays
from 4 to 7 p.m., from May 10 through Oct. 18. The market will
offer fresh products including produce, meat, poultry, eggs,
wine, baked goods, herbs, spices, vegetable plants, ornamental
plants and flowers.
The Old Capitol
Farmers' Market will begin on May 16. This market is from 8 a.m.
to 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, May 16-Oct. 27, and is
located on Adams Street between Second and Fifth streets. With
nearly three full blocks of vendors, there is an outstanding
variety of produce, baked goods, meats, cheese, plants and other
The Pawnee Farmers Market is on the
village square in Pawnee on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m., from June
7 to Sept. 27. This market will feature fruits and vegetables,
meats and barbecue sauces, Tastefully Simple products, homemade
bath products, and wooden items for your home and garden.
If you are interested in finding other farmers markets in
Illinois, go to
http://www.agr.state.il.us/markets/farmers/ on the Illinois
Department of Agriculture website. If, during your summer travels,
you want to find farmers markets in other states, check out the USDA
National Farmers Market Directory at
http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/. Happy eating!
[By DEBORAH CAVANAUGH-GRANT,
University of Illinois Extension]