Farmers Market to return next season
Sarah Pritt of Elmwoood Park takes part in one of the activities during Kids Day at the Farmers Market in Central Park. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:11AM
ELMWOOD PARK — The village’s Farmers Market has closed for the year, but due to the success of the summer-long event, it will return next year.
This summer’s Elmwood Park Farmers Market was the first to take place consistently during the summer. Every second and fourth Sunday, starting in May, local farmers brought fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs and other food to Central Park, 76th and Fullerton avenues.
The last market of the year was Oct. 28.
Meredith Conn, managing consultant of the Elmwood Park Farmers Market, said organizing a consistent event was a bit of a struggle, but she considers this summer’s market a success.
“It improved by bits and pieces,” she said. “Starting any type of business in this economy is a challenge, but Pete (Silvestri) was so darn nice … It was nice working with Elmwood Park because I didn’t have any rules and I started it from scratch.”
Conn started out this summer with 13 vendors bringing in fresh produce to the market and ended with nine. She said Mother Nature had a lot to do with that.
“Our biggest struggle was the weather,” she said. “It started with the early spring and then we had a hard frost that killed the fruit blossom. Then we went into the drought and the extreme heat.
“We started with three fruit growers and ended up with one because they had nothing to sell,” she said. “We did lose our baker, who made whole grain organic bread. We lost her because her oven broke.”
Conn said the market continued because of community support and support from organizations such as the village’s Arts and Special Events Committee, which organized events around the Farmers Market to attract more people.
Elmwood Park Trustee Angela Stranges, who is a liaison to the committee, said she saw the benefit from the two organizations helping each other.
“The events we planned brought a lot of people out,” Stranges said. “I was very pleased with the way the market benefited the people and the farmers.”
Conn, who teaches nutrition at Dominican University, enlisted some of her student to help the farmers, because if they had to hire help, it cut into their profits.
“I gave them extra credit for coming out,” she said.
Along with providing fresh food to the community, she said the market was a chance to educate the community about fresh food alternatives.
“Yes it’s a great community event and holds people together, but it also brings them locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables,” she said. “It might be a little more expensive and not as pretty as Whole Foods, but they will eat the whole thing.”
She said she plans to bring the market back in mid-May.