DeKALB – At one time, the farmers market didn’t make a ton of sense for part of the community – the part that doesn’t have a lot of green to buy greens.
That’s changed this year. Thanks to a grant through Link Up Illinois, the DeKalb market, which opens Thursday, will now match money spent with a Link card. So if you buy $10 in tokens, the market will kick in $10 of its own.
“This helps people all around,” said Jessica Antonacci, events manager with the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. “When you have to watch where you spend your dollars, the farmers market might not be the first place you go. But if you can double your spending power, that’s more of a reason to come down and buy good-quality produce from local farmers.”
The market, in its 23rd year, also accepts debit and credit cards, and runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday in Van Buer Plaza, at the corner of North Second and Locust streets. A live music series sponsored by the Egyptian Theatre will again run from noon to 1:30 p.m. during each market.
In addition to local favorite vendors such as Bill’s Organic Olive Oil, Theiss Farms and the Tinez Tacos food truck, Idle Hour Maple Syrup is joining the lineup with its sweet product straight from Vermont.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers get barely more than 15 cents on every dollar Americans spend on food, but they get 90 cents on the dollar spent at a farmers market.
There’s been a shift in the market in Sycamore, as well, where the farmers market will be from 3 to 7 p.m. each Tuesday (starting Tuesday), but it’s moved to the parking lot at Sacramento and State streets. The market, in its 12th year, will go through Sept. 25 and include farm-fresh produce, baked breads and confections, flowers, homemade pasta and salsa, local wine and products made by local artists.
The move from City Lot 1 to City Lot 3 means more visibility, right along the city’s main artery.
RoseMarie Treml, executive director of the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce, is excited that the market will see more traffic and be more accessible to shoppers, who can park right in the lot.
“It was time for a fresh, new look,” Treml said. “Every town has a farmers market, and we wanted to freshen things up a bit.”
Sadly, a couple of farmers markets won’t happen this year. The Hinckley market folded last season, and Somonauk won’t hold its market this year, either.
There’s still room for more vendors at the Sycamore market – artisans, in particular. You can apply to join the market and get more information at disccoversycamore.com.
The Genoa market has already opened and had its opening day May 26. It will return June 22, and feature more than 20 vendors, including jewelers, artisans, brewers and craftsmen.