Every Wednesday from June through October a crowd forms near the intersection of York and Vallette, and it’s no wonder—the Elmhurst Farmer’s Market is in full swing. This market has been around for 30 years, and it has become a vibrant part of the community landscape. From 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the residents of Elmhurst and surrounding communities get to indulge themselves in a delicious tradition; purchasing farm fresh food, bread and other items from a hand-picked selection of vendors. As many as 650 people go to the market on any given day that it is held, and a wide range of ages are in attendance.
Jason Janes, Financial Advisor for Edward Jones Investments, serves as the President of the York & Vallette Business Association. He says, “We are at full capacity this year with 18 vendors and we have a wait list for the first time in history.”
Janes is proud of the market and points out that the Association’s member businesses run the weekly event on a volunteer basis with help from other organizations. “There is a great cooperation between the York & Vallette Business Association with the City of Elmhurst who provides the municipal lot and the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce & Industry who are also event partners,” says Janes.
The market has had two long-time vendors serving as cornerstones—Nichol's Farm and Evergreen Farm. Janes says that the Nichol’s booth has been around for so long that it is on its second generation of farmers now. “These two vendors, like most of the other farms, have a wide array of produce they bring to Elmhurst every week,” says Janes.
Lloyd Nichols has been a vendor at the market regularly since 1982 and says, “The Elmhurst residents have been loyal, good customers for all these years.” Nichols Farm provides a full range of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the season. Apples are one of their specialties—they have an orchard with 200 different varieties.
There is a lot of enthusiasm for the market, and Janes says, “The residents of Elmhurst appreciate high quality, fresh produce, and merchants at York & Vallette are proud to offer such a great event. Shoppers can find everything from organic produce to authentic foccacia bread all in one place.”
Vendors sell a wide variety of seasonal goods to residents in the area, based on what has been recently harvested. Janes says, “Early in the spring, you can find great rhubarb and the juiciest strawberries around. As summer begins, peas, beans and other early summer produce make an appearance at the market, and as mid-summer approaches, we see our first mouth-watering corn, brought to Elmhurst residents after having been picked that morning. As the market winds down we begin to see apples, pumpkins, squash and more.”
Produce is not the only item sold at the market however; a selection of fresh bread, cheese, honey and other edibles can be found at the booths as well.
The market has continued to draw attention and gain momentum over the years, and other groups have sought to have a presence there as well. Janes points out that Martha Stewart magazine and the Citizen's Utility Board have both been involved with the Market in 2008, offering “green give-aways” to the first 500 to 1,000 attendees as part of an eco-friendly initiative.
Going forward, the market will continue to grow and develop to meet the needs and wants of area residents. Janes says, “We are content with a one-day-a-week market, but we are always looking for new, complimentary products and vendors to bring to the market for the future.”
The Elmhurst Farmer’s Market is located just east of York on Vallette Street in the municipal parking lot. A map is available on the Association’s website at www.yorkandvallette.com.