The Galesburg Farmers Market is one of the best places to feel better in this region. The weather is not always cooperative, but the vendors and visitors are always pleasant, happy and even fun! They seem to bring their own sunshine to this special place on Simmons Street.
You may hear music before you see signs of fresh fruits or vegetables. There is often a musician in front of the market. His music inspires customers and salespeople. Two multi-talented salespeople even danced in front of their booth. What a joy – and this is just the beginning.
Fresh tomatoes, pork chops and pastries. These are a few examples of things that a visitor to the market might experience. The most gratifying thing is the atmosphere of universal goodness.
Salespeople must hear a litany of questions. “Where’s the farm?” “” Are they fresh? “Did you cultivate this?” Each time the answer is informative and patient. The answer is accompanied by a smile. Those smiles are just as bright at noon as they are at 8 a.m. There is a lot to learn at the farmer’s market.
Banknotes and coins are best used in the market. A few stalls accept plastic, but experienced visitors know that a stack of singles, fives, and even dozens will go a long way. The prices are reasonable and the items are worth every penny. You are not charged for the happy memories or even the smiles.
Often, children are visiting the market for the first time. The faces of the children are impressive. They can talk to a real farmer. They may never have spoken to someone who planted, fed, and harvested their own food. I like to think that many of these kids will even consider planting their own seeds after visiting the market.
Of course, not all sellers are farmers. One of the longtime salespeople is someone I met while working at a local store. His kindness was remarkable then and continues as he sits in his tent. He greets everyone with a smile. We always leave this corner booth feeling good and usually with bags of delicious butterscotch, mixed or even kettle popcorn.
Another of my favorites is a lovely boy. He is already developing a great work ethic. He helps his family sell fresh vegetables and delicious pastries. He generously shares her sweet smile and her sweet “thank you”.
Dogs are welcome. Vendors provide common water bowls for well behaved and leashed dogs. My dachshund enjoys dog treats bought at the market.
This gives the reader an idea of the variety of things available. Then there are these delicious baked goods. Pies, cookies, fresh breads and cakes. A loaf of bread can be frozen and thawed for an evening snack. From one Saturday morning to the next, that’s just enough time to look forward to enjoying a favorite treat.
This is not all you can find in the Market. There are selected clothes and unique hand-crafted jewelry.
You can also buy meat at the Market. Fresh pork or beef is perfect for the grill, oven, or even the air fryer. Add a few onions, sliced tomatoes, potatoes and green beans. One or two corn on the cob will make the delicious meal even better. Include slices of warm bread and maybe a favorite fruit pie. And you can find it all at the farmer’s market.
On October 30, vendors will pack their bags for the last time this season. From the first Saturday in May, the Galesburg Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. You still have a few Saturdays to visit.
Dear readers, it was going to be a matter of kindness and peace. I was so wrapped up in the memories of the Galesburg Farmers Market that I couldn’t complain about being nice and promoting peace. My experiences have been so pleasant that my suggestion is that everyone spend Saturday mornings at the market.
Instead of complaining about how everyone has to change, I think I’ll just invest more of myself in the market. Even if I buy too much, I can still leave something in a blessing box or two. Imagine the joy of a box visitor when they receive homemade cookies or even zucchini bites. If that doesn’t make the recipient smile, I can add a few jars of jelly or a whole cucumber.
Red, yellow or green tomatoes. Popcorn, or even freshly baked pies. Honestly, these things may not result in world peace. But positivity and mutual respect seem to brighten up even on rainy days. Maybe we can all meet up at the Farmers’ Market for a generous supply of kindness. It’s worth trying. Meet at Galesburg Farmers Market across from Kensington.
Naomi Law was born in Galesburg, a graduate of ISU and U of I, Champaign, was a school administrator in Joliet and Oak Park, Illinois, and now resides in Galesburg and volunteers in her community.