Labor No More

Labor Day is approaching fast and isn’t it funny how much we labor before and after (and probably during) this three day weekend, that an extra day usually does not mean more rest, just a different kind of laboring. Well we encourage you to try this upcoming holiday weekend to rest and make things easier for yourself and your family. The Downtown Elgin Harvest Market is your non stop shop to finding local products that are in season, and saving you some time in your food prep for the various meals and picnics you are in charge of this weekend. Plus feel free to catch your breath as you talk with the various vendors and not for profits about food and the community, or just sit at a picnic table while you sip a cool beverage or eat a tasty treat or Thursday dinner. Whatever the case might be for you this Labor Day weekend or even if you just need to fill your fridge we will have the following this Thursday waiting for you:

  • Tasty Treats: Windy Acres Farm just informed us that apples will be at the market from IL and MI farms, also La Spiceria will be in town with their special spice blends, and Reader’s Apiaries will be back with honey for you to stock up on for the fall. Plus did you know this is the best time of the year with summer’s produce in full bloom and yet fall treats, crusty breads, and more available too?!
  • Free Stuff: Be sure to stop by the Kids Row and try tasty beans for prizes with Highland Christian Academy and Church, and then Hemmens Cultural Center will be out doing a raffle to win tickets to the Elgin Short Film Festival and Green Room Improv Shows, the Boy Scouts will be out for the first time, and Energy Impact Illinois will have free info on financial assistance to homeowners to make their homes more energy-efficient (which means less costly!), also get fun bags, seeds, and more with Davey Tree and learn how to prepare your trees and bushes for wintertime.
  • Entertainment: Funtime Music DJ and Serafina Belly Dancers(6-7pm) will be out this week giving you shopping background music and a sneak peek at dances you can learn via Elgin Community College.
  • Health News – don’t slow down being active as fall approaches, get free screenings, back checks, and more!

Save the Date:  Sept 13Vintage Market Day  Sept. 20Elgin Radio Shopping Show Comes Out  Sept. 27IL Extension Office Help Desk With Two Master Gardeners Oct 4 Last Day of the Market:(


It’s Going to Be A Bright Sun-Shiny Day!

It is nice to write a blog for a change that does not load you up on all the reasons to go to the market, DESPITE the pouring rain or record-breaking hot temperatures that you most likely will encounter that day.  Though personally the surprise element and my inability to control the weather has made me fairly laid back about what mother nature gives us. So seeing that tomorrow has beautiful temperatures, a nice breeze and healthy dose of sunshine really should be all you need to get outside and be in Downtown Elgin tomorrow afternoon and early evening. But of course at the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market we have other reasons for you to come outside and enjoy our local foods/ products, local organizations with free services and information to improve your quality of life, see how we can squeeze onto North Grove and pull off the street market/fair look, and pet/feed the sheep from Hill Bunker!  Plus there is a Community Carnival already set-up for this weekend in our usual location, which will offer fun rides and games, with Thursday night being a night for those who finished the summer reading program “Reading is So Delicious” (via the Gail Borden Public Library) to receive wristbands to ride for free! For more details click HERE.  So read on:

  • Pet the Wooly Sheep! – Hill Bunker Farms will be back bringing their wool products and the sheep who helped!
  • Get Checked Out! – Alexian Brothers and Chiro One will be on hand to do various free screenings to help you know where you and your family are at as you go into the fall/school season.
  • Did we mention there is a Community Carnival happening the same night?:) What you may not know is that along with rewarding Gail Borden Public Library kids who completed the summer reading program monies will also go towards local not for profits.
  • Shop til you Drop! – Get your last-minute school shopping done at the market with various fun Tye Dye shirts for sale (Last Market Day for them – so stock up!), City of Elgin bicycle shirts for sale, soap, fun medieval gifts, etc.
  • Be a Foodie Family – revamp your kitchen this fall and pack lunches for the whole family to enjoy – from local breads, veggies, cheeses, sweet corn you can eat raw, cookies and cupcakes as a special back to school treat, get your knifes sharpened to make preparation faster and safer, and stock up on spices to add flavor and color to the same old faithful meals! Also try a tomato and get a prize!!
  • Family Night Out – enjoy dinner at the market while enjoying shopping and/or riding the amusement rides. Whether it be hot dogs, tamales, tempura veggies, something hot off of Chef Quincy’s grill, or enjoy a warm or cool beverage with Mudslinger’s.
  • Get Involved – See what fun things there are to do in Elgin, support, or get involved in as a family with not for profits present like the Habitat for Humanity Restore, Boy Scouts, Hawthorne Hills Nature Center, Well Child Center, etc.

National Farmers Market Week

Last week I sat down with Elgin resident and longtime market volunteer Ina Dews and found out that the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market started the same year as National Farmers Market week was founded in 2000.  We had always thought the market had started in 2001 but we found out that it had started as just a couple weeks for a couple hours in the late summer of that year!  (Read more about the history of the market in weeks to come – and markets in Elgin for the last hundred years or so til now!)  This market has weathered with Downtown Elgin through the economic highs and lows through the country and the construction – including the current Kimball bridge work and street resurfacing that started this week.  But the market remains open to provide Elgin area residents and those passing through the opportunity for fresh local goods and an opportunity to run into your neighbor – like the often said slogan about the postmen (and there are several renditions)I think this applies to many of our vendors:

“We are mothers and fathers. And sons and daughters. Who every day go about our lives with duty, honor and pride. And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. Ever.”

So check out what our market has to offer this week at National Farmers Market Week!

  • State Representative Keith Farnham and other local officials will be present to greet vendors and customers, communicating their interest in farmers markets.  So make sure to say hi and tell them what you like about our Harvest Market!
  • Drop by the Information booth(brown tent) and use your credit card/link card to buy Harvest Market tokens to get entered into our free raffle to win a Harvest Market T-shirt or Vintage Elgin Seeds magnet! We will have a drawing every half hour starting at 4:30pm!
  • Yes, I Can! Learn some advanced techniques on canning and how to trouble shoot some common problems that could occur with Ina Dews and enter our Ball Canning Raffle to win 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.
  • Make sure to check out the new and returning vendors this week like Over the Top Sweets (3rd time), Windy Acres Soap(second time), and Modern Renaissance(second time) – who will hopefully have kids bows and swords this week! Plus there is always a plethora of corn, spices, olives and more at the market – make sure to get what you need for those family reunions and back to school treats! Ask Chef Quincy for some ideas!
  • Jams Clipper will be back again from 5-7pm playing an acoustic set – so make sure to say hello, tap your feet and sing with, and encourage our local musicians!
  • Kids can celebrate National Farmers Market Week in enjoying the fire trucks, Boys and Girls Club activities, trying out the elusive kale or showing their recently checked out library book for a prize, looking at the agricultural center with the Elgin History Museum, and more!
  • Also be healthy as you get ready for school to start for you or your kids by stopping by Alexian Brothers or Chiro One!
  • Stop by the Davey Tree booth to see what can be done to save your trees and plants from this unpredictable summer weather!
  • Plus make sure to support local artists at the Art for All tent and also not for profits like the Community Crisis Center who will have some handmade scarfs and bags for sale that all go to support the Community Crisis Center.