Fill Those Baskets

Spring has finally made its appearance, and Easter is fast-approaching. We’ve all heard that as one door closes, another opens. This also holds true for Carbondale Farmer’s markets. There are TWO happening this Saturday. March 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday is also the last Carbondale Community Farmer’s Market of the winter/indoor market season at University Mall. Saturday is also opening day for the Carbondale Farmer’s Market in the Westown Shopping Center (“Murdale”) parking lot from 8:00 a.m. to noom.

Plant starts by Richard Bochantin

Farmer’s markets offer a unique shopping experience that allows a person to interact with the farmer, cook, or artist that is selling a product. They can answer most questions you might have about preparing an ingredient or even growing one of the live plants.  This doesn’t always happen online or at a larger chain store.  Whether you need to fill a basket to gift to a loved one or a basket of ingredients for Easter Brunch, there are many wonderful Southern Illinois products from which to choose. Many can be found at local farmer’s markets.

There are often baked goods and treats that may even be tastier than some of the traditional commercially-packaged bunny, chick, and egg-shaped treats.  If you arrive in time, you might find homemade brownies, cookies, fresh and candied pecans, and more. 

Shopping for the foodie or someone who likes to cook is easy at the markets.  The hardest part will likely be decision-making between organic herbs, spices, unique seasonings, gourmet sauces, and even drinking shrubs. 

Coffee and tea lovers can usually find a great assortment from which to choose.  Some local honey would also be a nice addition. For those who create and make drinks, non-alcoholic ingredients like locally-made shrubs, cordials, and bitters are perfect.

Above:  Flora Bay Farm’s Hops Bitters and Elderflower Cordial by Glacier’s End

There are usually treats for fur babies for purchase so that they won’t be left out of the fun.  Although each week may vary a bit, you can often find jewelry, art, plants, and more. 

Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps by Honey and Shrooms

Grocery shopping at farmer’s markets is about as fresh as it can get without picking it yourself.  Luscious greens, beautiful gourmet mushrooms, microgreens, and a variety of meats can usually be found.  Opportunity to combine these into unique and tasty menus is unlimited. For those with Link, an added benefit of Farmer’s Market shopping is the ability to get matching free produce up to $25.

It’s a twofer in Carbondale this Saturday for farmer’s markets.  If you can get there, visit both.  Hit the last winter market and the first spring market.  Talk with the winter market vendors to find out how to find their products after the last market of the indoor season.  Many products from both markets and others have participated in the online Carbondale Community Farmer’s Market through  and/or the LEAF Food Hub, a local online ordering service that allows weekly pickup at the Neighborhood Grocery Coop in Carbondale. Other options might be available for delivery.  Set your alarm and grab your face mask to hop down that bunny trail to The Dale for some wonderful farmer’s market finds.  You might want to bring sunscreen and an umbrella too.  After all, you know what they say about the weather in Southern Illinois…

Links:

Carbondale Community Farmer’s Market http://www.carbondalemarket.com/

Carbondale Farmer’s Market https://www.farmersmarketcarbondale.com/

LEAF Food Hub https://www.leaffoodhub.com/

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