Cary Farmers Market
Hosted by Cary Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, shop a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, baked goods, herbs, flowers, plants and more.
>> Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., June 2-September 29, Cary Metra Lot, 100 W. Main St., 847-639-2800, carygrovechamber.com/chamber-events/*cary-farmers-market.html.
Crystal Lake Farmers Market
Shop local vendors for organic meat and eggs to flowers and fruit, and enjoy regular entertainment in the gazebo.
>> Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., June 1-October 12, Depot Park, 815-479-0835, downtowncl.org/13.html.
Harvard Farmers Market
All products at this market are grown, raised, produced or made by the vendors themselves.
>> Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., June 8-October 26, Historic Downtown Harvard, 400 N. Division St., 815-770-0400, harvardfarmersmarket.net.
McHenry Farmers Market
Local vendors offer plants, produce, meat, baked goods, honey, beef and crafts. Visit McHenry-based Harms Farm’s stand for seasonal produce like sweet corn. This market is held in conjunction with the city’s Summer Band Concert series.
>> Thursdays, 4 p.m.-7:30 p.m., June 6-August 29, Veterans Memorial Park, 3400 Pearl St., 815-363-2100, ci.mchenry.il.us.
Woodstock Farmers Market
Voted 2012’s No. 1 farmers market in Illinois, this large market boasts a variety of vendors in and around the square. Each week features music from local artists. From November through April, the market moves indoors to the McHenry County Farm Bureau building.
>> Tuesdays and Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., May 4-October 29, Historic Woodstock Square, 100 N. Johnson St., 815-338-5164, woodstockfarmersmarket.org.
Huntley Farmers Market
Enjoy locally grown fruits and vegetables, farm-fresh chicken and duck eggs, fresh-frozen free-range chickens, fresh-baked artisan breads, delicious pastries, jams, jellies, local honey, gourmet dog treats, organic soaps/lotions, fresh-cut flowers, homemade granolas and good-for-you coffee and teas.
>> Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., May 25-October 5, Huntley Downtown Square, 11704 Coral St., 847-515-5200, huntley.il.us.
Nutrition specialist Heidi Kramer tells us why fresh, local food is best for our health ...
If food tastes great, we'll eat more of it. It’s that simple. And filling our plates with plenty of fruitsand vegetables at the peak of the growing season captures the very best in flavor, not to mention nutrition. Eating more fresh produce is exactly what experts suggest for enhancing health, and for weight loss if that is your goal.
It couldn’t be easier to stock up on fresh, local foods — visit your local famers markets this summer.
It gets better: Foods harvested locally typically contain higher amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than foods harvested before they are ripe and shipped long distances. For example, spinach in season contains up to three times as much vitamin C as spinach that’s not.
Purchasing food locally by shopping the farmers markets is healthy in other ways, too — it not only supports the financial health of our very own McHenry County farmers, but is better for the environment because it decreases our carbon footprint by reducing pollution from shipping and trucking food cross-country.
Local food is also beneficial for our emotional well-being. It’s easy to get disconnected with the process of fueling our bodies, but regularly visiting a farmers market and meeting the farmers who grow our food is a surefire pathway to plugging back in.
>> Heidi Kramer is a nutrition specialist and inspirational speaker who has inspired thousands to lose weight, start good eating habits and become champions of their own health for more than 20 years. Kramer is available at Cary Physical Therapy (www.caryphysicaltherapy.com) for individual counseling and group programs. She offers regular “Inspired Living: A Healthy Weigh of Life” classes. Follow her blog at freshandsimple.wordpress.com for great summer recipes. Contact her at 847-516-9038 or visit lifeinspiredspeaking.com.