ST. CHARLES – Traci Abbate’s soups are not only good, they are good for you.
“They’re all vegan,” said Abbate, owner of Traci’s Soups. “They’re all natural, have no preservatives and are gluten-free. They also are very flavorful.”
Traci’s Soups is one of the new vendors at the St. Charles Farmers Market, which has moved inside the Baker Memorial United Methodist Church for the season. The church is located at 307 Cedar Ave. in downtown St Charles. The market runs from 9 a.m. to noon every Friday through May. The market will be closed on Black Friday and will resume the following week.
The market is outdoors from June through October. Traci’s Soups is a new business venture for Abbate and now she is working to introduce people to her products.
“It’s kind of like a dream I’ve had for about six years,” Abbate said. “I started with farmers markets because I thought that would be a great way to talk to people in the community. It’s very personal, one-on-one. They can try my soups and they can meet the person that’s actually making their food.”
Abbate herself follows a plant-based diet.
“I had some digestive issues,” she said. “I started out with different vegan recipes and then they evolved into my own recipes. I transformed them into my own.”
She sells five soups, but hopes to expand her business and sell other items such as veggie burgers and salad dressings.
Puga and Mello Artisanal Sweets is another new business at the market. The business is run by husband and wife Patricio Puga and Viviane Motta de Mello.
They sell homemade South American gourmet sweets. Mello is originally from Brazil.
“Our signature product is Brazilian Brigadeiros,” Puga said. “It’s chocolate based, and then we add different toppings to them. We have right now more than 24 different flavors.”
He said Brazilian Brigadeiros are similar to soft truffles.
“It’s soft and smooth and melts in your mouth,” he said.
The St. Charles Farmers Market doesn’t usually start its indoor season until November. But this year’s cooler-than-usual fall, which included measurable snow in late October, brought the market indoors in October.
“We kept our outdoor hours, but we just moved indoors because the weather was so bad,” market manager Rob Murphy said.
This is the 15th year that the St. Charles Farmers Market has been sponsored by Baker Memorial United Methodist Church. Murphy has been overseeing the market ever since the church got involved. Murphy also owns Curds and Whey Cheese Company in Geneva, one of the vendors at the market.