Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
Extension Educator, Horticulture
May 25, 2012
Are you a locovore? A locowhat? A locavore is a person who eats food from the local area. Locavores aren't loco -- they just like to eat food that has been grown locally to help the environment and the economy. The reasons for selecting local foods include the fact that foods shipped long distances are often picked while they are unripe, can 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, packaging, etc.; 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 http://urbanext.illinois.edu/containergardening
I don't know about you, but I am really excited that farmers' market season is here. According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture's (IDOA) Bureau of Marketing and Promotion Farmer's Market website, http://www.agr.state.il.us/markets/farmers/, there are three farmers' markets listed for Sangamon County and three listed for Logan County. If your market is not listed, contact Kendra Buchanan at 217-524-3297 for more information.
In Sangamon County we have three markets, the Illinois Products Farmers' Market and the Old Capitol Farmers' Market located in Springfield and Pawnee Farmers Market located in Pawnee. The first market to open will be the Illinois Products Farmers' Market located at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The market is held on Thursdays, from 4-7 pm from May 10 through October 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 Wednesday, May 16. The market will be held 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturday's May 16 – October 27 and is located on Adams Street between 5th & 2nd streets. With nearly three full blocks of vendors there is an outstanding variety of produce, baked goods, meats, cheese, plants and other specialty items.
The Pawnee Farmers Market is located at the Village Square in Pawnee and is held on Tuesdays, from 4-6 pm from June 7 to September 27, 2012. The market will feature fruits and vegetables, meats and barbecue sauces, tastefully simple products, homemade bath products, and wooden items for your home and garden.
In Logan County, the three markets are the A Lincoln Farmers Market and the Farmers' Market, both located in Lincoln and the Elkhart Farmers Market located in Elkhart. The first market to open is the A Lincoln Farmers Market located at Scully Park (Clinton and Kickapoo Streets). The market is held on Wednesdays from 3-6 pm and on Saturdays from 7-noon from April 28 through October 27. The market will offer fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally, plants, baked goods, homemade dog biscuits, rag rugs, woodworking, and hand sewn items.
The Farmers Market located at Latham Park (Latham Place and Kickapoo Streets) will be held on Wednesdays from 3:30-6 pm and on Saturdays from 8-noon from May 12 to October 27, 2012 (with some exceptions). The market will offer fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, plants, baked goods, and crafts.
The Elkhart Farmers Market located at the west side of Horse Feathers Antique Store, 104 Governor Oglesby Street, will be held on Saturdays from 7-noon from May 26 through October 27. The market will feature seasonal and local plants, produce, and baked goods.
If you are interested in finding other farmers' markets in Illinois go to the IDOA website mentioned above. If, during your summer travels, you want to find a farmers' market, check out the USDA National Farmers Market Directory at http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/ . Happy eating!