What’s New at Our 2018 Farmers Market

Every Saturday of the Market season

The Old Capitol Farmer’s Market — voted Best Community Event, Best Weekend Activity and Best Fresh Produce in 2017 – is back for the 2018 season at 4th and Adams!! Thanks to HSHS St. John’s Hospital for their generous support as premier sponsor.

The Old Capitol Farmers Market is proud to continue its status as the area’s only producer-only farmers market. This means that all products are grown, raised, or handmade by each vendor and nothing is re-sold or mass produced. Over the last two years, the Market has tightened its inspection policy to insure the integrity of the producer-only status.

“Shoppers can feel confident that when they shop at the Old Capitol Farmers Market that they are getting the freshest produce and proteins raised right here in Illinois by the farmers standing in front of them,” said Deborah Cavanagh-Grant, Old Capitol Farmer’s Market Manager. The producer-only rule is part of a larger effort to help shoppers know their farmers and better understand and invest in local food systems.

What’s New in the 2018 Season?

Junior League of Springfield Partnership to Help Decrease Food Insecurity

SNAP statistics from the 2017 market season. ISA won more than $2k more in match money for 2018.

The Junior League of Springfield (JLS), a 75-year-old local service organization, adopted an Issue Based Community Impact model in 2014 in order to better strengthen the skills of members and create more community impact. Since establishing “food insecurity” as their focus area, JLS has committed over 200 hours of service toward this issue.

The Old Capitol Farmers Market has been chosen as the avenue for Junior League to partner to combat food insecurity over the next several years. Citing the Market’s successful use of SNAP benefit matches totaling more than $16-thousand in 2017 alone, Lindsay Bentivegna, President of JLS, said, “Partnering with the Old Capitol Farmers Market and its SNAP Match Program will allow Junior League members to interact with those coming to the farmer’s market and help influence the positive outcomes of the SNAP Match program.”

Junior League members will be actively involved with data collection, fundraising and event planning, and program implementation with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, specifically related to their day-to-day management of the Market.

ISA secured the largest SNAP grant match in the Market’s history this year, totaling $11,000 from Link Up Illinois, a program of non-profit Experimental Station. The money has increased for our Market because it has so successfully found an audience who can use Link benefits for purchases of  locally grown fruits and vegetables from our vendors.

Look For the “Signature Ingredients!”

This season it will be easier than ever to find the freshest local ingredients at the food trucks and prepared food vendors at the Old Capitol Farmers Market, thanks to the new “Signature Ingredient” chalkboard signs.

Each food vendor has committed to purchasing and highlighting at least one Market ingredient on their menu each week– the “signature ingredient.” It could be anything from local eggs in your breakfast tacos, to farm-fresh blueberries in your muffins, to perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes tucked into your burrito.

The signature ingredient program helps build connections between small farms and local businesses, keeps money local, and gives patrons the choice to eat local and try out the freshest seasonal ingredients.

New Options on Adams Street

The economic benefits for both the local farmer and artisan community, as well as the businesses in the vicinity of the Old Capitol Farmers Market, are clear and have led to many of the Adams Street vacancies filling in with new brick-and-mortar businesses that Market patrons should check out this season. Itty Bitty Fashion Truck started as a Market vendor and has been open in their “permanent home” since November at 403 E Adams. They will be hosting special summer hours all Market season, opening at 8 am on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

New brewery Buzz Bomb Brewing Co. opened earlier this year at 406 E Adams Street to rave reviews and will have special Saturday hours, opening at 10 am, during the Market. Kiddos by Urban Sassafras, a second venture from Cassandra Pence Ostermeier, has weekend-only hours at 407 E Adams, offering free interactive art activities for kids of all ages and Take-and-Make kits for sale. “The Market is where Urban Sassafras really took off, and I’m happy to have an outpost there again,” said Ostermeier.

Look For Local Businesses at the Commercial Tent

You may also find some new local businesses whom you hadn’t heard about at DSI’s new “Commercial Tent,” located at the northwest corner of 4th and Adams on various Saturdays throughout the Market. Based on the Logan Square Farmers Market in the Chicagoland area, the Commercial Tent provides locally-owned Springfield businesses an opportunity to inform market goers about their products and services.

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Our Farmers Market is Epicenter of Eat Local Challenge

September is one of the most abundant months of the year for Illinois farmers, featuring warm season crops like tomatoes and melons alongside cool weather crops like lettuce, apples, and winter squash.

However, the return of school session, cooling temperatures, and an increasing disconnect between shoppers and seasonality have all led to a drop off in farmers market attendance during this month. The resulting decline in sales increases food waste and weakens the economic viability of small farms before entering their slower winter months.

“There is such a wide variety of products this time of year,” says Molly Gleason of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA has managed the Market on behalf of DSI for the past two years), “and because the harvest is so plentiful in September, it’s also one of the most affordable times to shop locally. Plus there’s all kinds of varieties and flavors that you won’t find in the grocery store, like baby fairytale eggplants and green striped zebra tomatoes. It’s really one of the best months to shop at your farmers market.”

The Eat Local Challenge, organized by ISA in partnership with farmers markets across central Illinois, aims to combat the annual slump in sales that farmers experience during the month of September by encouraging shoppers to pledge to buy locally.

All you have to do to participate in the Eat Local Challenge campaign is to pledge to spend $20 each week on locally grown food. Last year, the first year of the campaign, over 250 people took the Challenge across Central Illinois. This year ISA hopes to have 500 participants, which would mean at least $40,000 in sales of locally-grown food for the Central Illinois region.

Did you realize: if even half of the shoppers just at our Market participated, we would have over 2000 participants this year??

Registration for the Eat Local Challenge will open THIS SATURDAY during National Farmers Market Week. You can register in person by visiting the Market Booth at 4th and Adams or any Central Illinois residents can sign up online at www.buyfreshbuylocalcentralillinois.org.

The first 250 participants will receive a free, USA made, farmers market tote bag filled with more information on shopping locally—available at the Market in September. Additionally, all Challenge participants will be subscribed to a weekly e-newsletter featuring seasonal recipes, farmers market meal plans, storage and food preservation tips, and updates on local food events going on throughout the region.

“September isn’t the winding down of the farm, it’s the full throttle peak season for us. We have tended our land and crops for six months getting to our grand finale and it’s disappointing when we have no one show up for our end of the year extravaganza,” says Jacque Suttill-Simpson of Suttill’s Gardens, a long-time Market vendor. “We farmers experience the ‘slump’ right when our best is yet to come.”

In addition to our Old Capitol Farmers Market, other participating markets include ones in Downtown Bloomington, Downs Village, Urbana, Champaign, the Peoria Riverfront, and Streator.

Emily and Chef Corey from Long Nine Junction are one of four chef teams providing a course at the Street Dinner.

In addition to taking the Eat Local Challenge, how else can you support the Old Capitol Farmers Market and the farmers who sell their goods every week? 

Thursday, September 7: Downtown Springfield Inc. Friends of the Market Street Dinner

Thursday, September 14: Slow Food Springfield Tour of Petersburg Poultry Processing

Thursday, September 21: Local Flavors Dinner at Engrained Brewing Company

Sunday, September 24: Illinois Stewardship Alliance Annual Harvest Celebration

Farmers Market is HERE!

Wonder what’s fresh for the 2017 season of the Old Capitol Farmers Market? “Lettuce” tell you!

This market season–in addition to the fresh, local, in-season produce and value-added products you are used to–we’ll offer music, chef demos, family workouts, and more!

We’re so pleased that the great staff of Illinois Stewardship Alliance are once again managing the day-to-day operations of our Market, which was voted the #1 Reason to Come Downtown by Illinois Times readers last year. We’re also glad to welcome the Springfield Area Arts Council as a partner, who has lined up a whole season of Saturday music for you to shop by.

Join us Wednesday and Saturday mornings, from 8a – 12:30 pm, all spring and summer and fall, through Halloween at the Market on October 28.

ON SALE THIS WEEK
locally grown and delicious asparagus, cabbage, greens, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, sprouts, squash, strawberries and tomatoes picked at peak ripeness by our fantastic growers

WED. MAY 17 ACTIVITIES
Enjoy a t-shirt tote-making station, a “pop-up Library” courtesy of Lincoln Library, and a 7:30 am group bike ride from Washington Park to the Market as part of “Curb your Car” week.

SATURDAY CRISS-CROSS LAYOUT

Click the link to the right to download this map in a version you can actually read!

On Saturdays, the market goes all “cross-cross!” In addition to vendors on Adams Street from 3rd to 5th, our Market Advisory Committee suggested we ramp up the safety by closing the 4th Street “crossing” and host vendors on 4th Street as well, from the alley west of the USPS, to the alley west of Resource One. Patrons are invited to park for free again in the Resource One parking lot, entering using 3rd Street, on Saturdays only. The city parking garage at 4th and Washington will be open for $5 as well, accessible by Washington Street. Download the map>

SAT. MAY 20 ACTIVITIES

WNNS FM will be broadcasting live when the Market opens at 8 am.

At 9 am: You and the kids can participate in a free family workout hosted by the YMCA.
Or watch and learn how to prepare fresh whole food from Chef Higgins in the Hy-Vee Healthy Cooking Tent.

At 10:30 am, we’ll host our official ribbon cutting with Mayor Langfelder and the Iles Middle School marching band. Don’t forget to say hi to your favorite returning vendors and meet some new ones AND have a free piece of Opening Day Cake provided by Incredibly Delicious.

After the official ribbon cutting,  From 10-noon, Mike Anderson will be serenading shoppers.

NEW SERVICE – CHEF CREATED, MARKET INGREDIENT, MEAL KITS!
Do you love a meal kit delivery service, but wish you could support local farmers while you eat it?! Have your rhubarb cake and eat it too by trying out the Farmers Market version prepared by Chef Ryan Lewis. On Saturday, May 27, he will have a take and make meal option for sale featuring herb roasted chicken and asparagus and sorrel salad with raspberry and rhubarb vinaigrette. For veggie lovers, he will have cornmeal pancakes and fried egg sauteed asparagus and radish with lemon and chive.

See you at the market!

The Old Capitol Farmers Market is sponsored by HSHS St. John’s Hospital and managed by Illinois Stewardship Alliance on behalf of Downtown Springfield Inc. Springfield Area Arts Council is partnering this year to provide live music on Saturdays.

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