I originally posted this last summer; but enjoy a refresher course on Farmer’s Markets if you’re looking for something to fill your late summer weekends with.
Looking for something fun to do with the family that won’t break the bank? Have you tried going to your local farmer’s market (sometimes also called a French Market)? We did this weekend and were pleasantly surprised at what we found. Most people tend to drive to these events and ample parking is available, but we made a day of it- jumping on the bikes and taking a leisurely ride through the scenic Fox River Valley to what has become our favorite French Market- the Geneva farmers market (see links below for more information on Geneva and Batavia Farmer’s markets).
https://www.google.com/search?q=geneva+farmers+market&oq=geneva+farm&aqs=edge.0.0l4j0i457j0l2.5101j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 (Geneva Farmers Market Info)
https://www.google.com/search?q=geneva%20farmers%20market&oq=geneva+farm&aqs=edge.0.0l4j0i457j0l2.5101j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&tbs=lf:1,lf_ui:2&tbm=lcl&sxsrf=ALeKk02tBfktgiHp6CC-bvtdByOxA_jreA:1623704147894&rflfq=1&num=10&rldimm=10668216958524159152&lqi=ChVnZW5ldmEgZmFybWVycyBtYXJrZXRIwMSsrtCtgIAIWiUQARACGAEYAiIVZ2VuZXZhIGZhcm1lcnMgbWFya2V0KgQIAxABkgEOZmFybWVyc19tYXJrZXSaASRDaGREU1VoTk1HOW5TMFZKUTBGblNVTnhMVmxRYzNWblJSQUKqARYQASoSIg5mYXJtZXJzIG1hcmtldCgA&ved=2ahUKEwjL59GngZjxAhWCaM0KHZB0B3QQvS4wAnoECAYQUA&rlst=f#rlfi=hd:;si:10668216958524159152,l,ChVnZW5ldmEgZmFybWVycyBtYXJrZXRIwMSsrtCtgIAIWiUQARACGAEYAiIVZ2VuZXZhIGZhcm1lcnMgbWFya2V0KgQIAxABkgEOZmFybWVyc19tYXJrZXSaASRDaGREU1VoTk1HOW5TMFZKUTBGblNVTnhMVmxRYzNWblJSQUKqARYQASoSIg5mYXJtZXJzIG1hcmtldCgA;mv:[[41.891667999999996,-88.140174],[41.8501347,-88.35466640000001]];tbs:lrf:!1m4!1u3!2m2!3m1!1e1!1m4!1u2!2m2!2m1!1e1!2m1!1e2!2m1!1e3!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:2 (Batavia Farmers Market Info)
The market is held every Sunday from about April through early November, is outdoors come rain or shine, and opens at 8 am. Unlike Flea Markets (for more information on flea markets check out my blog post: A Flea What, Now? https://the-thrifty-mom.com/2022/08/01/a-flea-what-now-2/) there is no entry fee, and the smells and sights are free so you can spend as little or as much money as you want. In addition to a sea of fresh vegetables you will also find raw honey, fresh cut flowers, anything yummy and baked, roasted seasoned nuts, amazing fresh fruit, handmade sausage and meats, jellies, salsas, chutneys, handmade jewelry, hand decorated hats, homemade soaps and cosmetics, and the list goes on and on. So far, out or all this abundance, I have discovered three favorite finds.
The first is my new ‘Jelly Lady’.- Chez De Chapae. I’m not even kidding here- her jelly is the BEST I have ever tasted, and I have tasted a lot of homemade jellies. She wasn’t kidding when she said, ‘you won’t just like this jelly, you will LOVE it’.
My next find is the ‘Soap Guy’. Certainly not a soap that would appeal to adults too much. It’s pretty much just a clear glycerin soap base, but the genius lies in the fact that inside each bar he has inserted a themed rubber ducky or finger puppet. These make great baby shower gifts, stocking stuffers, or add a special theme to bath time for the holidays.
My final farmer’s market find was a super fun and super unique small business called Greenttons. She combines recycling and art into some really cute jewelry by taking recycled pictures and laminating them. Then she attaches a snap to the back that corresponds to a matching snap mounted on either a necklace or bracelet so you can mix and match and customize your jewelry to suit your mood or your outfit or even what holiday it is.
Apart from all the really unique products we discovered this past weekend, I found the thing that I loved the most about farmer’s markets is actually the vendors. I loved the ‘old school’ atmosphere of just the booth and the vendor running it- no corporate Walmart middleman. You got to know the ‘person behind the product’. You felt respected and valued as a customer. You got a warm and genuine hello and a sales pitch rich with knowledge of the product inside and out. So, as you embark on your summer adventures this year remember to enjoy shopping local at your neighborhood farmer’s market!