Nearly 60 percent of McHenry County land is producing products such as vegetables, fruit and milk, as well as native plants, Christmas trees and feed corn, according to the McHenry County Farmland Preservation Alliance.
It’s no wonder nearly every major town center in McHenry County hosts its own farmers market – featuring everything from seasonal produce to the work of local artisans. Enjoying foods from farmers markets not only supports local commerce, but it also makes good health sense.
“The value of fresh fruits and vegetables has been widely recognized in dietary guidelines,” according to Diana Kenney, executive director of Downtown Crystal Lake/Main Street. “The freshest produce is grown and sold locally.”
McHenry County Living has the scoop on this year’s fresh, colorful and fun farmers markets in the area.
Downtown Algonquin Farmers Market is Thursdays through October 1, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and includes produce, plants, flowers and other products. The market is held in a downtown parking lot one block east of Route 31, on South Harrison Street. In addition to fruits and vegetables from local farmers, enjoy the following vendors:
• Journey to Greendom – All-natural organic cleaning products and soaps
• Sweet Whimsy Bakery – Baked goods and tarts
• Pet Shop Express and Animal House Shelter – Pet food and supplies
• Honey Acre Farms – Honey products
• Quiet Nature – Handmade paper gifts
• La Spiceria – Dried seasonings
Downtown Algonquin is full of historic charm, specialty shops and unique local businesses, so augment your farmers market trip by taking in the local flavor.
>> For more, visit www.downtownalgonquin.org or call Gabriele Reego of Doerner Jewelers Inc. at 847-458-9779.
Crystal Lake Farmers Market in downtown Crystal Lake is Saturdays through October, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and features a bounty of the area’s freshest produce, flowers and baked goods. Held at Depot Park in the heart of downtown, the 2009 farmers market has been enhanced and expanded due to the addition of a new gazebo in the park. Vendors include:
• Le Petit Marche – Fresh baked goods
• Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen – Menu ingredients featuring local farmers
• DD’s Delights – Bakery items
• Farmer Nick’s – Eggs, pork, chicken and turkeys
• Harms Farm & Garden Center – Fresh produce from the farm
• Juice Plus – “The next best thing to fruits and vegetables”
• Lone Oak Farms – Locally grown vegetables, fruits and flowers
• Natural Farm Stand – Certified naturally grown products
• Red Barn Farm Market – Fresh vegetables
• Norman Schroeder – Locally grown vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, annuals and planters
Whether you’re taking the conveniently located Metra, biking, walking or driving, take advantage of the market’s proximity to Crystal Lake’s historic downtown area with its shops, restaurants and charm.
>> For more, call 815-479-0835 or visit www.downtowncl.org.
Huntley, “the friendly village with country charm,” is the perfect backdrop to a farmers market. “On any given day, visitors can enjoy free entertainment in the gazebo or visit with friends and neighbors as people often gather on the street or in the town square during the market,” explained Barbara Read, management assistant of the Village of Huntley.
Located on Coral Street and around the town square, the market is Saturdays through October 3 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and offers goods from:
• Providence Farms – Mirai® corn, veggies, herbs and plants
• Pawprint Barkery – Homemade dog treats, pet tents and chews
• Le Petit Marche – Fresh breads and rolls
• Cedar Creek Crossing – Certified Organic produce, fruits and vegetables
• The Monkey Bar – Brownies, cookies and fruit tarts
• Breadsmith – Artisan breads, sweet breads and rolls
• The Jam Lady – Fruit preserves, honey sticks, mustards and cookbooks
• Cheri’s Organics – Organic bath, body and skincare products
Don’t miss the craft fairs, the first Saturday of each month. Theme days such as Huntley Home Based Business Day and Apple Pie Bake Off are scheduled throughout the summer.
>> For more, call 847-669-9600 or visit www.huntley.il.us.
McHenry Farmers Market at Veterans Memorial Park at 3400 Pearl Street is Thursdays through August, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in conjunction with the Summer Band Concert series. Local vendors offer plants, produce, frozen beef and baked goods, and craft dealers display their wares. Vendors include:
• Harm’s Farm & Garden Center – Full line of fruits and veggies, Michigan peaches, Country Cupboard dressings, jellies, jams and soups
• The Bumble Bread Co. – Fresh-baked, homemade bread
• S & S Gardens – Plants, flowers and fertilizers
• Natural Farm Stand – Heirloom tomatoes and an array of vegetables
• J.R. Watkins – Personal care, home care, remedies and organic flavorings
The market is held in conjunction with the town’s Summer Band Concert series. Before or after visiting the market, remember to take a stroll in McHenry’s three historic downtown districts: Main Street, Green Street and Riverside Drive. All three areas consist of quaint specialty retail shops and restaurants.
>> For more, call 815-363-2159 or visit www.ci.mchenry.il.us.
The Hebron Country Market kicked off its inaugural year along Route 47 in the heart of Hebron. Sponsored by the Hebron Antique & Specialty District and the village, the Hebron Country Market is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the second Saturday of the month through October. Enjoy goods from the following vendors:
• Knotty Pine Farm Inc. – Equine center offering pony rides, petting zoo, horse boarding, riding lessons and a facility for parties
• Von Bergen’s Country Market – Homegrown fruits and vegetables
• Abundance Antiques & Design, Prairie Avenue Antiques, J.W. Antiques and Grampy’s Antiques – Antiques and collectibles
>> For more, contact Stacey Splendoria of Knotty Pine Farm at 815-648-1459.
Woodstock Farmers Market on the Historic Woodstock Square is Tuesdays and Saturdays through October from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Products include the finest in local produce, flowers, organics, baked goods and other treats. A cross section of vendors includes:
• Blueloom – Knitted and woven products and soft wool, vegetables, fruits, bedding plants and cut flowers
• Elizabeth & Mary’s Potting Bench Inc. – Flowers, herbs, vegetable plants, organic produce, garden décor and recipes
• Jaci’s Cookies – Fresh, delicious baked goods made in an ecologically responsible manner
• Salute! Farm and Vineyard – Wine and vegetables cultivated using sustainable farming techniques
• Willow Lea Stock Farm – Natural beef that’s fed homegrown grains and is locally and humanely raised
• Tarts and Truffles – Upscale European desserts and cakes
>> For a full list of vendors, visit www.woodstockfarmersmarket.org. Also, check out the blog: www.woodstockilfarmersmarket.blogspot.com.
Sidebar: Farm Fresh
Be sure to check out local farms and farm stands that also offer a variety of goods right from the source – many are open year-round. We’ve listed a handful of farms we recommend visiting:
- Red Barn Farm Market in Woodstock: Open April through December, Red Barn offers homegrown vegetables, pumpkins, fresh fruit, eggs, herbs and flowers. Get there: Route 47 at Lucas Road, 815-338-4343, www.redbarn.us.
- Von Bergen’s Country Market in Hebron: Open July through October, Von Bergen’s offers a large variety of homegrown vegetables and fruit, plus a corn maze and petting zoo. Don’t miss the Fall Fun Fest on September 26 (see calendar for more). Get there: 9805 Route 173 in Hebron, 815-648-2332, www.vonbergens.com.
- Royal Oak Farm in Harvard: Open July through November, Royal Oak features a “U-Pick” apple and peach orchard, raspberries (summer/fall) and farm-fresh, homegrown vegetables. Get there: 15908 Hebron Rd., 815-648-4141, www.royaloakfarmorchard.com.
- Tom’s Farm Market in Huntley: Open seven days a week, Tom’s specializes in homegrown vegetables, jams, jellies, honey, herbs and baked goods. Don’t miss the Fall Festival during the month of October. Get there: 10214 Algonquin Rd., 847-669-3421, www.tomsfarmmarket.com.
>> Visit http://mchenrycountyfarms.org for a complete listing of farms in your town.