I’ve visited farmers’ markets all over the Midwest, so I have a critical eye. I went to the Marengo Farmers Market on June 30, just to see what it was like. Of course it isn’t the largest market I’ve ever seen, but it is delightful in the variety and quality of goods offered, and exciting in its potential for growth. It is also local. To me, that says it all.
If you’ve never been to a Farmers’ Market, the one in Marengo is a perfect way to start. You need to know that these markets are not for a shopping list. Farmers Markets are for discovery. What will I find? What’s in season right now? A larger market can be overwhelming— often too many choices, if truth be told.
I brought home lettuce from Blue Barn Farm, owned by Eric and Sheila Debelak; and raspberries and green beans from Nichols Farm and Orchard. These were the discoveries that caught my eye that day from among their offerings. Both farms promise there will be lots more vegetables as they come in season. Tomatoes are only a few weeks away and corn on the cob will follow, along with onions, carrots, summer squash. . . you get the picture.
Hasselmann Family Farms is selling meat— beef, pork and chicken raised on their farm here in Marengo. And remember Troy Umland from our last issue? He’s selling Umland’s Cheesy Bites at the market. Come and get a sample and buy all three flavors.
Looking out for my pets, I discovered some homemade treats created by Angela Johnson, owner of Wholesome Petz, Inc in Marengo. Both poodles enjoyed their doggie cupcakes. The market is pet-friendly, by the way. I saw several customers with dogs on leashes, enjoying a walk in Calvin Spencer Park where the market is located each Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The breeze in Calvin Spencer park under the shade trees was enhanced by live music. Mary Lai was playing her guitar and singing the Saturday I visited.
Rather than being overwhelmed with craft and artisan products, this market offers several vendors of a wide variety, from essential oils, to handmade pillows and quilts. I couldn’t resist the soaps created by Courtney Vettere of Bubbly Designs. I almost made it past Broken Twig Gifts and More till a beautiful hand crafted cutting board caught my eye. I’m glad I stopped because I met Kevin and Melissa Schultz who are just starting their business and have begun by selling wood working, jewelry, and other items at the Marengo Farmers Market this summer.
All the vendors report how they enjoy meeting their neighbors. They just wish more of us would come. I know I’ll be going back. I hope to see you there!