A new winter farmers market in Springfield will make fresh produce and local proteins available to residents all year long. The Springfield Winter Farmers Market, is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, January 28th, 2017. The market will take place on the 4th Saturday of each month, January – April, 2017 for a total of 4 markets. These free events will be held at the Third Presbyterian Church on 1030 N 7th St. in downtown Springfield and will take place from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Market dates include:
Saturday, January 28
Saturday, February 25
Saturday, March 25
Saturday, April 22
Shoppers at the Winter Farmers Markets can expect to find 15 local vendors selling a wide variety of products, including pasture-raised meats, eggs, honey, cheese, greens, carrots, potatoes, turnips, radishes, sunchokes, and winter squashes. The market aims to fill in the gaps for year round availability of local food, as well as provide an an additional opportunity for farmers to sell their local products. While it’s often believed that farmers in central Illinois aren’t able to grow produce thoughout the winter, advances in season-extension technology, such as hoop houses, have given farmers the ability to continue to grow products even in sub-freezing environments. Some crops, like spinach and kale, even benefit from the colder temperatures, producing more sugars and a sweeter flavor.
The Winter Farmers Market grew out of a collaboration between Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Lincoln Land Community College, Downtown Springfield Inc., and the Third Presbyterian Church and will be guided by a steering committee of members from the respective organizations as well as other local partners.
“Illinois Stewardship Alliance has been organizing Holiday Markets in Springfield for the past 10 years,” says Lindsay Record, Executive Director of Illinois Stewardship Alliance. “Each year they’ve grown in success and we started having farmers ask us about organizing additional farmers markets in the winter. Thanks to some great partnerships, we now have an indoor space in Downtown Springfield, and we’re excited to help make this opportunity available to both Springfield residents and our local farmers.”
“Farmers markets play an integral role in communities,” says Marnie Record, Workforce Specialist for Local Foods at Lincoln Land Community College. “They help foster a sense of place and community togetherness, while also keeping food dollars in the community. The addition of the new Winter Farmers Market in Springfield helps to mark Springfield as a pioneer on the local food scene in central Illinois.”