Farmer's Markets and Farm Tours

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job? Because I do.

But then again, what's not to love, when I spent a portion of work last week going to farmer's markets and taking farm tours. Tough assignments, but someone had to do them, and it turns out now that someone is me.

You see, one of the projects I am working on as Green Center manager at LLCC is promoting local foods on campus and in the community. So that, of course, involves farmer's markets and local farms.

On Wednesday morning, I headed downtown to the Old Capitol Farmer's Market in Springfield. It was an insanely hot day, but my trip was worth it, as I came back to the office with peaches, blackberries, homemade soap, a loaf of bread from Sweet Kneads, a cilantro plant, and even freshly ground flour from Illinois wheat.

Then, on Thursday, I joined the Illinois Stewardship Alliance for a tour of Jubilee Farm. It is run by the Dominican Sisters of Springfield and, although it is not certified organic (an expensive and difficult designation to get), it is maintained using organic farming methods.

The farm is lovely and productive and the sisters in charge are passionate about their land and incredibly sweet.

One of the coolest things about Jubilee Farm is that some of their produce goes to feed the Dominican Sisters in Springfield and the rest goes to a Community Supported Agriculture program (in other words, people pay money at the beginning of the season to subscribe, and then receive a bountiful box of whatever produce is ready each week throughout the growing season). Here, they were getting ready for a CSA pickup.

After touring the farm, I also got to stop by the Illinois State Fairgrounds to see the big 100-plus plot community garden there. And I stopped at the Illinois Products Farmer's Market, located right on the state fairgrounds on Thursday afternoons (except, of course, during the state fair). It was another great market, where I picked up some terrific locally made pasta, local cheese that makes the stuff I usually buy at the store taste like yuck, and of course a bit of fresh produce.

If you are ever in the Springfield area, I highly recommend a stop at one or both of these markets. They're bustling, they're full of camaraderie, and best of all they offer the freshest local food you can get (aside from when you pick it from your own garden, of course).

No comments: