Ending Summer on a Good Note: August @ the Market

Yes it is “summer in the city”, or with the heat the “dog days of summer”. But the market is not quite half way through its season.  So to help you in this third quarter of the market we want you to enjoy this summer month on a good note. To get summer projects done like getting rid of old electronic junk in your home.  To play and shop for leisure, not because you have to.  Or to learn or improve your skill in canning, eat healthier, or have more family time together outdoors.  Below we listed how the market can help you this month and beyond, and that even as the summer fades, and we continue another month into the fall, we will be there on Thursday afternoon/nights to continue providing tasty, healthy, and local food/products and free activity and educational opportunities.

August 2:  Elgin’s eWaste Recycle Event Day

Be sure to bring your old electronics from home or work between 2-6pm next to the  Harvest Market.

  • Kayli’s Playground will be present 4-5:30pm to show how their business keeps eco-friendly for events. Their products are 100% bio-degradable and 100% compostable.
  • New Vendors: Soap-A-Cabana, Modern Renaissance (PVC archery bows, equipment, wooden carved walking sticks, etc.), plus the tye dye guys Mad Discs and Dyes will be present.
  • Live music, food samples, kid activities (plus corn samples), and more await you at the market!

    August 9:  National Farmer’s Market Week

    • State Representative Keith Farnham will be present to welcome and chat with customers about farmers markets and more.
    • Yes, I Can! Learn some advanced techniques on canning and how to trouble shoot some common problems that could occur with longtime Harvest Market volunteer – Ina Dews Raffle Prizes: Top three people chosen will get either a Preserving Kit, a Sure Tight Band Tool, or extra seasonings, plus and a Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, plus a canning party sampler of coupons, samples, and beginner brochures.
    • Plus who knows how else we might celebrate the week – freebies maybe?;)

August 16: Back to School Market – get some ideas and have fun!

  • A puzzle you help the Literacy Connection with…
  • Henna and belly dancing on hand…
  • Possible hair tips and fun for back to school…
  • Learn how to pack healthy lunches and snacks from local produce, etc.
  • Pick up a new tye dye shirt or dress and more!

August 23: The Market Hits the Street with the Community Carnival

  • The market goes street fair as it moves a couple feet east onto North Grove Avenue, so come join us!
  • The community carnival will start that night at 5pm with free rides for the finishers of the Gail Borden Public Library summer reading program “Reading is so Delicious”! For more details go to the library’s website.
  • Enjoy a family night out at the market before, during, or after your carnival rides at the usual times, with all your favorite vendors and fun educational booths with activities and freebies.

August 30: Labor Day Weekend Shopping

  • Get all of your favorite local goodies and show them off at the Labor Day weekend picnic!  We know we have fun saying “Oh you like the salad I made? It was grown in Elgin.” or “Oh you like the cookies?  Made here in Elgin.” or even “Yeah it is nice to be able to buy soap made in Elgin”.  Enjoy supporting and bragging about your local prowess in shopping with our vendors (small businesses) Chicagoland (unless otherwise listed) products at the Elgin Harvest Market.

Baaaathing in Summer Goodness

Its mid-season time at the market which means lots more produce coming in, more vendors bringing their produce or product, which reflects all the hard work and drive these local businesses have had to get to this point.  We hope you will enjoy, buy, and experience a nice sampler tomorrow as we round out July and get ready for August! (Stay tuned for our August line-up within the next couple days).  At the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market tomorrow we will have:

  • New Vendors. Returning Vendors.
    Vendors with New Products. Oh My!

    Hill Bunker Farms will be present with their wool items and two of their babydoll sheep!  Be sure to check out their products and also take pictures with their adorable wool producers!  Also sweet corn almost sold out at all of our farms booths, so be sure to get there early or start ordering in advance as it goes quick! La Spiceria will also be on town so be sure to stop by Pierre’s booth to glean some hard to find items. Keep your eyes peeled as there might be some tomatoes coming in tomorrow or next week so be ready to eat and can.  Also remember there is always art and knife sharpening at the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market.  So pack your knives in your car and check out the latest artwork that could go in your house or handcrafted jewelry that could go on you! Plus you know Chef Quincy, your market personal chef is on hand with samples, tasty food to buy, and simple tips for how you can cook, grill, or prepare your purchases from the market at home!
  • Live Music 5-7pm
    Jams Clipper is back again this year, this time with the assistance of a harmonica/conga playing friend bringing his guitar and stellar vocals. Be sure to listen, enjoy, and tip these musicians who come out for you!
  • Know or Ask Questions about our Elgin Environment and Trees
    It has been an interesting year weather wise.  Learn about the impact it has on your trees and bushes and what you can do about it at our market sponsor Davey Tree Expert’s booth, and also find out about how you and/or your family can enjoy the nature that is around us here in Elgin by talking with Hawthorne Hills Nature Center.
  • Always Something for the Kids (& Adults too!)
    Check out Kids Row where Highland Christian Academy will be fun prizes and games, plus a new veggie to try: summer squash – or if that is not ideal show your recent summer reading book for a prize!  Also the Gail Borden Public Library’s “Librarians on the Loose” and the Elgin Fire Department will be on hand to answer your questions, let you check out their fire equipment, and we are sure something free to take home!
  • Looking out for your Health
    Also be sure to stop by presenting sponsor Alexian Brothers and community sponsor Chiro One to get free screenings to check on various aspects of your health!  Be sure to shop healthy as well.
  • Information Booth
    Still have questions or want to learn more?  Our information booth (brown tent) is always staffed with volunteers and staff who can help you with market brochures and questions, how to use your Link or credit card at the market, lots of free information, samples, and coupons for expert to beginning persons interested in canning, plus one can purchase market t-shirts and vintage Elgin magnets.

A Market With Bread and Honey…

There was a time when I thought I would be able to live on bread alone.  I think I had bread with every meal and had the fond memories of one whose mom labored over making homemade bread, eating it fresh out of the oven, with butter and maybe preserves.  Now that my body has decided gluten is not the answer for this adult body, I have now obtained a love/hate relationship with breads.  Same with sugar.  So as I learn to eat correctly and yet still deliciously, I appreciate even more vendors like Bread from the Heart and Reader’s Apiaries who give this woman some gluten-free items and healthy natural sugars to add to my meals!

Bread from the Heart
Owner Jacqueline Vasan is a great person to sit down with and listen to. She, like many of our vendors, has a warm smile, and loves to talk about her passion – making bread. Jacqueline got into baking having had a father who loved to bake and who would always have something for morning breakfast.  Her grandfather, as she later found out, was a commercial baker.  But she did not start out baking.  She had interests in international relations and anthropology with some economics thrown in there.  But she ended up studying religion and psychology at Trinity and Hartford, becoming one of those ” lifelong learners”.  But all of her interests are not surprising as she herself is from Guatemala, her husband being from Madras, India, and determined economics was not for her as she did not like the theory of “Supply and Demand” which she deemed untrue – ask her about it sometime. She got into baking when she started having health issues and started seeking out organic food.  A local organic flour vendor asked her what she would bake with their flour.  She mentioned she was making cinnamon rolls and they asked if they could sell them at their winter’s market.  It was then she slowly ended up being a vendor at winter farmer’s markets and then summer one’s as well, making organic breads, and then gluten free, lactose free, and breads with less sugar.  Along with being health conscious she is also social conscious.  She bakes 4x a week at the Riverside United Methodist church and employs men and women through the Ray Graham Association to learn how to make bread and also earn money while doing so. Wow.  In conclusion I had to know what her favorite bread was.  Simple sourdough.  She likes that it is savory, more than a sweet bread.

Reader’s Apiaries
Jeff Reader is great.  This tall lanky guy is one of the most laid back men I know.  It probably comes in very helpful at his job in Batavia as a fireman.  So it is not surprising that his progression into beekeeping also has a slow but organic journey.  Back in the 1970’s there was the “Back to the Land” movement that promoted living on five acres would be all that you need to live on.  One of the things you could do on your land was do beekeeping and get honey and beeswax.  This caught Jeff’s attention at the time.  Slowly over the years he started acquiring hives.  Here and there he would give friends a jar of honey for Christmas.  Then his wife had the notion to enter a craft show.  Jeff was worried if they would even break even on their $25 fee and figured at least this would let her know not to do it again.  The exact opposite happened. They ran out of product and then they started thinking hmmmm this could be a business.  So he got a tax id, became corporated and legit, and started at the Bartlett market, which then grew to Palatine, Elk Grove, Park Ridge, and Elgin. But honey is definitely a passion for him and his wife, not just a business.  At home Jeff has a 30″ wide bookshelf that has 1.5 shelves just filled with bee books. He is currently taking a master beekeeping program right now through Georgia as there are no such programs in IL or really in most states right now.  He also is very careful on what type of honey he puts in what jars for ease of use.  At first when I asked him what his favorite honey was he said he had none, but then said he would like to get some sourwood honey from Georgia as you can only get it from in area in that state.  I then asked him if there was anything he thinks people should know about honey?  He did not even miss a beat and told me that people should know honey does not spoil.