DeKALB – Julie and Martin Claar strolled between the fresh produce stalls, each with a small child under one arm while keeping an eye out for two boys hanging out behind, enjoying Shabbona’s Willow Creek Honey flavored straws.
The Claars were among the first customers of the DeKalb Farmers Market season opener on June 2.
The market, hosted by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays, June through September, in Frank Van Buer Plaza at the corner of North Second and East Locust streets in downtown town of DeKalb. There will be over 30 vendors throughout the summer, with products ranging from produce and plants to knitted crafts and goat’s milk soaps.
Veteran vendors like Larson’s Country Market and Theis Farm Market are back, and new vendors like Early Bird Farms and the Dirty Bird 815 food truck will debut.
Larson’s and Theis have had stalls at DeKalb Farmers Market since its beginnings in 1995. This year, Larson’s introduced The Candle Farm, a candle business that Brandon Larson says is run from their home on the farm.
Rob Pomdelick, a fifth-generation farmer, has worked at Theis Stand since he was 4 years old when his mother ran it. Pomdelick said they did very well in the market last year and he has high hopes for 2022.
Husband and wife duo Joshua and Elena Hunt are “bringing sustainability to the neighborhood” by launching their microgreens business, Early Bird Farms, at DeKalb Market.
The couple are expecting their first child this summer and have recently started growing surgery in their home. The Hunts said their microgreens are selling better than expected and they love teaching people the process.
Kathy Best and Didi Dowling, owners of Live Learn & Lead, a professional farming organization in Hampshire, sold goat milk soap and lotion to raise money for their on-farm programmes. They offer goat yoga classes and programs for kids to come to the farm and learn the work ethic.
At Crafted Corner, local author and artist Sara McAllister sold copies of her children’s book “The Adventures of Frank E. Furtor” and knitted characters from the book.
Three food trucks served hot food at the June 2 market: Dirty Bird 815, Slow Smoke BBQ from Sycamore and Tinez Tacos from Malta.
Local musicians will perform from noon to 1:30 p.m. each week in the Egyptian Theater’s Live Luncheon Music Series.
The DeKalb Farmers Market accepts cash, credit and debit cards, and the Illinois Link Card. It also offers a Link matching program, doubling the money spent on Link cards up to $25 on fresh products.
Virgina Filicetti, market and events manager at DeKalb’s Chamber of Commerce, said the market has grown in recent years and they hope it will continue this year.
“Because the market is outdoors, it’s more airy, people feel more comfortable,” Filicetti said.
Sycamore Farmers Market opens June 7
After changing locations in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sycamore Farmers Market will return to downtown for its 17th year.
Shelby Crackel, director of events and marketing at the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber expects to see more business in the marketplace and all other events in 2022.
This year’s market will run from 3-7 p.m. Tuesdays, June through September, on the lawn of the DeKalb County Courthouse, 133 W. State St.
There will be approximately 15 vendors each week with pop-up vendors and food trucks throughout the year. Shady Tree Farm Market and Tin Shed Farm are some of the veteran vendors that will be there.
DJ Chris will be the musical guest on the first Tuesday of the season, with different local artists performing each week.
There will be farms with fresh fruits, vegetables and plants, a cheese vendor, a mushroom vendor, local honey, artisan soaps and granola.
“It’s really important to buy local and eat fresh,” said Crackel. “It really helps these small business owners a lot.”