Springfield Moves Toward Year-Round Farmers Market Downtown on Adams Street

Springfield, IL– The Springfield Holiday Farmers and Winter Farmers Markets now have a new home at the State House Inn in Downtown Springfield. The move makes it easier for Springfield shoppers to find fresh local food during the winter months and brings the city one step closer to the realization of a year-round farmers market on Adams Street.

A father-daughter shopping duo hold up prized ingredients for their holiday meal, found at the Holiday Farmers Markets

The Holiday and Winter Farmers Markets will be held from 9am -1pm at the State House Inn located at 101 E. Adams Street. Free parking can be found in both of the State House Inn parking lots and along the street. Market dates include:

Old Capitol Holiday Farmers Markets
Saturday before each holiday

Saturday, November 17th, 9am -1pm
Saturday, December 22nd, 9am -1pm

Old Capitol Winter Farmers Markets
3rd Saturday of each month January – April

Saturday, January 19th, 9am -1pm
Saturday, February 16th, 9am – 1pm
Saturday, March 16th, 9am – 1pm
Saturday, April 20th, 9am – 1pm

The Holiday and Winter Farmers Markets play an important role in the health and economic vitality of Springfield by filling the gap in year-round availability of local food. These post-summer markets give shoppers access to fresh produce and local proteins throughout the winter, keep food dollars in the Springfield economy, and provide farmers with an outlet to market their products and earn income during the winter months.

Previously, both post-summer farmers markets, which are managed by local non-profit organization Illinois Stewardship Alliance, were held in separate locations. The Springfield Holiday Farmers Markets, now entering the 12th season, were held out at the State Fairgrounds in November and December, while their off-shoot, the two-year old Springfield Winter Farmers Markets, were held at the Third Presbyterian Church in the Enos Park Neighborhood.

The move to the State House Inn not only brings the post-summer markets to within a block of the Old Capitol Farmers Market– which is also held on Adams Street–but rolls them under the Old Capitol Farmers Market umbrella for consistent marketing throughout the year.

“We’ve been looking for a way to move the post-summer markets closer to the Old Capitol Farmer Market for a while,” says Molly Gleason, Communications Director for Illinois Stewardship Alliance, “but finding the right space and funding have always been an issue. It just makes sense that all of the farmers markets should be in the same place, and makes it a lot easier for the public to know where to connect with local farmers all year long.”

Jami Bonitz, Sales & Catering Manager at the State House Inn adds, “We are very interested in assisting in the progressive efforts of bringing our community together, and working together to move Springfield forward.”

Last year, each of the Holiday Farmers Markets attracted over 1,000 shoppers and 40 vendors. The smaller Winter Farmers Markets, limited by space confinements, drew an average of 200 shoppers and 12 vendors.  The Alliance expects that the location change and continued partnership with the Old Capitol Farmers Market will help grow both markets, while also bringing more shoppers to the downtown area.

Farmer Chad Wallace, a vendor at all three Markets, says, “The off-season markets being held at the State House Inn could be beneficial for both farmers and consumers. The winter market will especially benefit since the larger venue can accommodate more vendors and attract new customers, which I hope will turn into increased sales for everyone.”

Oak Tree Organics farm shows off fresh greens grown in the middle of the winter at last year’s Winter Farmers Markets. With the move to a newer and larger venue at the State House Inn, Oak Tree Organics is hopeful that more shoppers will seek out local produce throughout the winter.

Shoppers at the Holiday and Winter Markets of years past can expect all of the fresh ingredients that they have come to enjoy, including sweet potatoes, winter squash, carrots, radishes, turnips, cheese, apples, cider, eggs, pastured pork and poultry, grass-fed beef, local lamb, holiday hams, Thanksgiving turkeys, and more.

In addition the Winter Markets also fall on many holiday weekends, including Martin Luther King Weekend, Valentine’s Day weekend, St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and Easter Weekend respectively, giving shoppers an additional opportunity to buy local for their holiday meals—like corned beef and potatoes for St. Patrick’s day and lamb and eggs for Easter.

Shoppers peruse the vegetables, locally-grown grains, and holiday turkeys that are available annually from farmer Doug and Beth Rinkenberger of Garden Gate Farm at the Holiday Farmers Markets. Holiday turkeys will once again be available for pre-order and pick-up.

“We’re partnering with local groups like Slow Food Springfield to host kids activities, bring Santa to the December Market, and develop fun programming for the post-summer markets. These Markets are not just a place to buy food, they’re a place to meet neighbors and friends, support local farms and businesses, and plug into the Springfield community. We’re really proud of that,” says Gleason.

Shoppers can learn more about the Holiday & Winter Farmers Markets at the Old Capitol Farmers Market Facebook Page.

Interested farmers can apply online at www.ilstewards.org

The Holiday & Winter Farmers Markets this year would not be made possible without the generous support of our amazing sponsors: Slow Food Springfield, The State House Inn, and Growing Hope Globally.

Shoppers pick up fresh tomatoes throughout the winter season, grown hydroponically by R & R Farms