Downtown Farmer’s Market starts next Wednesday, runs through October

By Gary Scott on May 11, 2017 at 7:26am

Fresh produce and various homemade products will be available for purchase in downtown Jacksonville next week.

Jacksonville Main Street has announced the re-opening of the Downtown Farmer’s Market next Wednesday.

While a downtown Farmer’s Market has taken place annually for several decades, this year marks the 11th season in which Jacksonville Main Street has been directly involved.

Jacksonville Main Street Executive Director Judy Tighe has appeared on WLDS’ AM Conversation as well as “What’s On Your Mind?” programs this week to discuss not only the Farmer’s Market, but Small Business Month, among other things.

Tighe explains how the local farmer’s market originated, and gives some background on its history.

“The Farmer’s Market for Jacksonville actually started downtown. It was just the vendors themselves and an organization that used to promote things downtown. They did that for decades, then it started to dwindle and some the vendors went elsewhere. So eleven years ago, we got back involved to try and enhance it a little bit,” says Tighe.

Starting May 17th, there will be a farmer’s market held every Wednesday between 4 and 7 p.m. through mid-October for a total of 23 markets. On certain Wednesdays from now until October, there will be specials at the markets, for things such as flowers, popcorn, and locally-produced honey.

Tighe says the products available each farmer’s market differs depending on what’s in season.

“Passavant’s dietary department sends a representative out to use seasonal products – the type of fruits and vegetables and products that are available at that particular time – at the market and makes some really yummy recipes. And then they share those recipes with anyone who attends,” Tighe explains.

Tighe says the local farmer’s market has adjusted to fit the community’s needs over the years, such as moving back the time to late afternoons. She explains how the market has evolved over the years.

“Back when we first took a look at the (farmer’s) market, we did surveys with consumers throughout the downtown area to find out when would be the best time for them to attend the market. We also didn’t want to compete or step on anyone’s toes and be considerate of other farmer’s markets as well,” says Tighe.

For those interested in being a vendor any one of this year’s markets can contact Tighe at 217-245-6884. Tighe also noted that any prospective vendors must comply with state regulations in terms of selling produce and other items.

Click here for more information and rules about the Downtown Farmer’s Market.