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Preview of the area's summer farmers markets

Carol Lee Heins (right) of Batavia buys some fresh picked fruit from vendors Blaine and Louise Olney of Benton Harbor, Mich., during the Batavia Farmers Market.
Carol Lee Heins (right) of Batavia buys some fresh picked fruit from vendors Blaine and Louise Olney of Benton Harbor, Mich., during the Batavia Farmers Market.

Sugar Grove French Market

Sugar Grove’s market is of the French variety, operated by Bensidoun USA, and open rain or shine throughout the summer.

“Our markets differ in general in that we are looking for incredible local and regional small businesses to work with,” said Leslie Cahill, the Midwest manager for Bensidoun. “Many have a food emphasis ... but others are artisans or small businesses that bring beautiful and unusual products out to market.”

The Sugar Grove market is new to the Bensidoun system and the company is continually working to develop a stronger vendor base.

“The community worked very hard to establish a market a number of years ago and asked for our expertise in 2001 to help bring the market along,” Cahill said. “We are working with some of the original vendors and we are [now] trying to bring new interest to the venue.”

Cahill said the market’s original organizer, Pat Graceffa, worked hard to start the market but it became too time consuming for a small team.

“I met with [Graceffa] and a group of concerned citizens years ago to give them some advice on opening and running a market,” Cahill said. “[Graceffa] led the charge and did a fantastic job. ... She worked very hard to connect the community to this market, but – as she and her team found out – managing markets is very time consuming and often difficult work.”

The Sugar Grove French Market continues to face challenges, Cahill said, in getting vendors and the community to come out.

She said the company will continue to work diligently with Sugar Grove to make the market a success.

“We hope in reaching further west, we can connect with more rural producers and bring in more Illinois products to markets,” Cahill said. “[Graceffa] is still very involved with the market now and we have been working together to find a better, more central location for the market.”

Bensidoun uses canopies at the majority of its markets, except at its Sugar Grove location, something the company hopes to be able to do in the future.

“As we move forward, [we want to] watch it grow,” Cahill said.

Where: Sugar Grove Village Hall parking lot, 10 Municipal Drive, in Sugar Grove.

Hours: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, June 2 and through Oct. 20.

More information: For more information, visit, or call 312-575-0286.

• • •

St. Charles Farmers Market

Now in its eighth season being sponsored by a church, the St. Charles Farmers Market serves as part of the Baker Memorial United Methodist Church’s community outreach program and helps generate funds and awareness of the church’s overseas mission program.

“Shoppers at the 2012 St. Charles Farmers Market will see more farm products, eggs, fresh produce, fruit and locally raised produce,” said market manager Robert Murphy in a news release. “We are thrilled to see the growing interest by farmers and food vendors in our market and [are] very proud of the large number of farm-fresh family-owned farmers selling their products at this market. I encourage the community to visit the market on Fridays and to make it a weekly trip.”

The open air and seasonal farmers market features farmers from Kane County as well as produce from other farms in Illinois and Michigan.

The market carries certified organic and natural produce, fruit, meat, dairy products, flowers, honey and more.

Breakfast and lunch items, as well as coffee and beverages, will be available at the market.

Where: Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles.

Hours: Open rain or shine from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays, June 1 through October.

More information: Contact the church at 630-584-6680 or visit

• • •

Heritage Prairie Market

The market is home to a variety of products, including raw and infused honey, as well as seasonally grown produce.

Fresh products, such as milk, eggs, meat and cheese, will also be available.

In addition, the market offers local beer and wine, custom gift wrapping, gift baskets and other specialty beverages.

Where: 2N308 Brundige Road in Elburn.

Hours: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday year-round; the market takes place both indoors and outdoors with the first outdoor market starting May 5.

More information: Visit

• • •

South Elgin Farmers Market

The South Elgin Farmers Market is home to a variety of vendors offering produce, plants, bread and other food items. LINK cards are accepted at the market, which is sponsored by the Sough Elgin Parks and Recreation Department.

Where: The Flower Wagon, 989 W. Spring St., in South Elgin

Hours: 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays, June 6 through Sept. 19.

More information: Call Kim Wascher at 847-622-0003 or visit

• • •

Kane County Master Gardeners Idea and Vegetable Garden

This year, the University of Illinois Extension master gardeners are putting together an idea garden, in addition to its usual vegetable garden.

“We’re trying to combine interesting ideas people can do in their own backyards with the produce,” said Sarah Feller, master gardener and naturalist program coordinator at the University of Illinois Extension for DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties. “We are working on adding things that our gardeners want to do and we plan on inviting the public once we’re ready.”

Where: Route 38 and Peck Road in St. Charles.

Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays beginning in July; signs will be posted  along Route 38 when produce is ready.

More information: Call the University of Illinois Extension master gardeners at 630-584-6166.

• • •

Geneva Green Market

The Geneva Green Market offers food that is locally grown and minimally processed. All the farmers that will be selling their goods live within a 200-mile radius of Geneva.

The nonprofit association is designed to establish an appreciation of nutritional values of produce and to provide more flavor, freshness and variety of locally-grown products.

The market will feature fresh vegetables, cheese, frozen beef, fresh-cut flowers, chef demos and a kids corner.

A winter version of the market, the Community Farmers Market, is open from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through May 26 at 27 N. Bennett St. in Geneva.

Where: 75 N. River Lane alongside the Fox River.

Hours: 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursdays, June 7 through October.

More information:
Contact Connie Weaver at 847-501-0430 or visit

• • •

Geneva French Market

Featuring a wide selection of local produce and other small businesses, the Geneva French Market, which is operated by Bensidoun USA, has 40 vendors each Saturday.

“We started Geneva from scratch a number of years ago and it used to be very small with just one farmer and one bakery,” said Leslie Cahill, Midwest manager at Bensidoun. “Over time we grew and now we have 40 tents set up every week.”

The company wants to build a sense of community and support small businesses all at the same time with their markets. The market features fresh fruit and vegetables, unique gifts for the home and family in a canopy European-style market. Fabrics from France in addition to produce from Michigan, Illinois and Indiana will be for sale.

“We want to provide a gathering place for friends and families,” Cahill said. “We want local food purveyors to not just sell to their customers but to get to know them. This is the European tradition – we know open air markets provide an opportunity to slow down and literally smell the roses.”

Where: Geneva Metra Station parking lot on the northwest corner of South and Fourth streets.

Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 28.

More information: Visit or call 312-575-0286.

• • •

Batavia Farmers Market

Now in its 17th year, the Batavia Farmers Market, which is put on by Batavia MainStreet, tries to enrich small-town community values, stimulate the local economy at a grass-roots level and educate those in the community of the value of wholesome, hand-crafted and nutritionally valuable food. The vendors grow, harvest or produce up to 75 percent of the market’s products, which include produce, baked goods, artisan products, plants, honey, fiber and products derived of animals.

Where: Water Street, between Wilson and First streets in downtown Batavia.

Hours: 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays beginning June 16 and running through Oct. 27.

More information: Call 630-761-3528 or visit

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