Farm Fresh Options
Farm Fresh Guide for Will County and Surrounding Areas
Farmers' markets promote regional agriculture and ensure a continuing supply of fresh, locally produced food for the community. Such markets support farmers while preserving farmland for the future. Often supplied by regional small family farmers, these markets offer alternative opportunities to growers to sell their fruits, vegetables and other farm products. Usually only regional farmers and vendors may sell their products at the farmer's market and middlemen or brokers are not allowed. Regulations govern what may be sold at the farmer's market. Generally, all items must be grown, raised, foraged, caught, or otherwise produced by the seller.
Agents may visit growers to make sure that what they sell at market is grown in their fields and ensure product integrity. A farmers' market committee composed of market growers and consumers may exist to assist in rule enforcement and policy formulation. Markets are held in parks, playgrounds, parking lots, sidewalks, closed streets and other available open spaces. Farmers may pay a fee to sell at the market.
Note: Some "farmers' markets" have vendors that sell produce they bought from wholesalers and then resell to consumers. If the food is generally not grown in your area (see our growing season table for fruit and vegetables in Illinois and know your products), then it is most likely being resold. If this is important to you, it is recommended that you ask questions: Learn where the farm is located, when they plant, what their specialty products are, and ask about visiting the farm.
Farmers' Markets by Day of the Week 2015
|| Name of Market
|| Lockport Farmers' Market
||222 E. 9th St.
|| June 1-August 31
|| Lemont's Farmers' Market
||Talcott & Stephen Street
|| June 2-October 27
|| Aurora's Farmers' Market West*
||1950 West Galena Blvd.
||July 8 - September 30
|| Joliet City Farmers Market EXTRA Dates
| 116 North Chicago Street
||Aurora's Farmers' Market East*
||701 South Eola Road
July 9 -August 27
||Channahon Farmers' Market
||Channahon Park District
(along Rt. 6)
|| Bolingbrook Farmers' Market
The Promenade on Sanburg Street
June 11-August 13
August 20-September 17
||Joliet Junior College
Green House Parking Lot
| May 28-September 17
|Friday ***NO MARKETS ON JULY 4TH
|| Joliet City Farmers' Market
||116 North Chicago Street
|| June 19-September 25
||Evening Market-Joliet City Farmers' Market
||116 North Chicago Street
||July 15 & August 12
|| Village of Orland Park Farmers' Market
||14700 S. Ravinia Ave.
|| June 5-September 18
|| Aurora's Farmers Market Downtown*
|233 N Broadway
| June 6-October 17
|| Crete European Market
||1321 Main St.
||May 16- October 10
|| Naperville's Farmers' Market
||200 E. 5th Ave.
|| June 6-October 31
|| New Lenox French Market
||1 Veterans Pky.
|| May 2-October 10
|| Park Forest Farmers' Market
||271 Lakewood Blvd.
|| May 2-October 31
|| Historic Downtown Plainfield Farmers' Market
||Lockport St & Rt 59
|| June 6-September 26
|| Tinley Park Farmers' Market
||17116 Oak Park Ave.
|| May 30-October 10
|| Mokena French Market
||Front Street Downtown Mokena
May 2-October 31
||Wilmington Farmers Market
||00 Block North Water Street
|| NO INFORMATION YET
||Spring Frankfort Country Market
||Downtown at Oak & Kansas
||April 26-May 31
||Summer Frankfort Country Market
||Downtown at Oak & Kansas
||June 6-August 30
||Fall Frankfort Country Market
||Downtown at Oak & Kansas
||September 13-October 25
||ACCEPTS LINK CARDS
|| *LINK DOUBLE VALUE BONUS
What is Agritourism?
Agritourism is the act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural or agri-business operation for the purpose of enjoyment, education or active involvement in the activities of the farm or operation. Agritourism, as it is defined most broadly, involves any agriculturally-based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch.
Agritourism is a form of niche tourism that is considered a growth industry in many parts of the world, including the United States. Agritourism is widespread in America. Agritourists can choose from a wide range of activities that include picking fruits and vegetables, riding horses, tasting honey, learning about wine and cheesemaking, or shopping in farm gift shops and farm stands for local and regional produce or hand-crafted gifts.
Farm Stands, Farms and Pick-Ur-Own
If your schedule doesn't allow you to visit the local farmers' market, consider stopping by a local farm stand. Farm Stands sell fresh seasonal produce (call for hours of operation.) Several Will County Farms have "Pick-ur-own" which means you go to the farm and pick fruit or vegetables that are in season. This is a great way to enjoy some time with the family while making healthy food selections. Never thought so much fun could taste so good.
||Bultema Farms and Greenhouse
||29348 S. Klemme Rd.
||Diane Bultema, Barry Bultema
||Jerry's Farm Stand
||1950 E. Indiana Ave.
||Rietveld's Farm Stand
||4067 E. 4000 N. Rd.
||Dollinger Family Farm
||7502 E Hansel Rd.
||Mrs. Noreen Dollinger
||Siegel's Cottonwood Farms, Inc
||17250 S. Weber Rd.
||Sue Siegel, Paul Siegel
||24819 S. Bush Rd.
||198 W. Laraway Rd
||6480 S 14000W Rd.
||Garden Patch Farms & Orchard
||14154 W. 159th St.
||Earl Hiller, Merna Hiller
||Gorman Farm Fresh Produce
||6607 West Bruns Road
||Molly and Keving Gorman
||Lou's Truck Patch
||13214 E 2000S Rd.
||27W265 Bauer Rd.
||Fresh Harvest Farm
||10030 W. 151st St.
||Our Holiday Farm
||3206 E 19th Road
||Bronk Road, south of Caton farm
||Jennifer Bronk, Kevin Veen
||721 S. Rt. 30
||Jim Gorman Vegetables
||30643 S. Rt. 53
||Tammen Treeberry Farm
||37131 Essex Rd.
What does 100% Certified Organic really mean?
Over the last several years we have seen the term "organic" everywhere from the chain grocery stores, local farmers' markets, to even bags of snack foods, and its meaning has become vague,so here is our attempt to provide clarity to the term to help you better navigate the oceans of "organic".
The term "organic" agriculture refers to a species cultivated devoid of any synthetic aid, whether that be in the form of genetic modification or applied synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.It is defined that organic is the use of "farming practices that may be agroecological, sustainable, or ecological; utilizing natural (non-synthetic) nutrient-cycling processes; exclude or rarely use synthetic pesticides; and sustain or regenerate soil quality" (Badgley, 2006).
Basic Organic Farming
Organic farmers manage their crops using proactive practices to prevent problems. They strive to:
• Replenish and maintain soil fertility.
• Eliminate the use of toxic and persistent chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
• Restore, maintain, and enhance ecological harmony.
• Build and support biologically diverse agriculture.
To be certified as organic, all organic farmers must keep records verifying their practices and products used.
Several growers farm according to "organic principals". They follow the tenants of "organic farming" however do not comply fully with the NOSB and therefore cannot be certified "100% organic".
Principals of Organic Farming
The four principles of organic agriculture are as follows:
• The Principle of Health - Organic agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal and human as one and indivisible.
• The Principle of Ecology - Organic agriculture should be based on living ecological systems and cycles, work with them, emulate them and help sustain them.
• The Principle of Fairness - Organic agriculture should build on relationships that ensure fairness with regard to the common environment and life opportunities.
• The Principle of Care - Organic agriculture should be managed in a precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well being of current and future generations and the environment.
Again, know your farmer, and if you only want to purchase "100% certified organic" produce and meats ask for proof of certification. Ask why a farmer uses "organic principals" yet does not have a certification. You may find that their products fit your criteria for organic, and you may have another source for your farm fresh food.
Organic Farms of Will County
||1945 Swarthmore Dr.
||Rock Run Farm
||Caton Farm Rd.-Products can be purchased at Seigel's Cotton Wood Farms
||Earth & Skye Farm
||Rt. 52 and Cedar Rd.
||Green Earth Institute
||10S404 Knoch Knolls Rd.
||Taylor Ridge Farm
||5415 W. Beecher Rd.
Community Supported Agriculture of Will County
Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a new idea in farming one that has been gaining momentum since its introduction to the United States from Europe in the mid-1980s.
CSA, sometimes known as "subscription farming," consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.
Typically, members or "shareholders" pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer's salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production.
Most CSAs offer a diversity of vegetables, fruits, and herbs in season; some provide a full array of farm produce, including shares in eggs, meat, milk, baked goods, and even firewood.
Note to the consumer: Be aware that there are risks involved in CSA participation as are involved in farming. If there is a circumstance that affects crop production, those circumstances affect your shares. ALSO, research your potential farm. Ask for references from other members, and also see if that farmer participates in any farmers' markets. Better yet plan a visit to the farm and purchase some of the products when you visit, just like the farmers you purcahse from at markets, "know your farmer".
Will County Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
||24819 S. Bush Road
||Harold and Janet
||Earth & Skye Farm
||Rt. 52 and Cedar Rd.
||Green Earth Institute
||10S404 Knoch Knolls Rd.
HOME DELIVERY-Will County Organic farm fresh produce, meats, fish, and specialty items.
Will County Food Cooperatives
A food co-op is a collectively owned grocery store. Most frequently, a food co-op focuses on making natural foods more affordable for co-op members, although other products may be carried as well. There are a number of different styles of food co-op, but all of them share common values of group management and decision making, social responsibility, and equality. Towns of all sizes have food co-ops ranging from very small to quite large, and it is usually easy to find a food co-op near you.
In a private food co-op, only members may shop at the store. In order to become a member, someone pays a small initiation fee and usually invests a set amount of money in the food co-op to purchase a share. Some food co-ops allow members to purchase multiple shares, or require an annual fee, which causes long term members of the food co-op to own more shares. In some cases, members also join work crews, contributing a few hours of work to the running of the co-op. The frequencyand duration of work shifts varies from co-op to co-op.
Food Cooperatives of Will County
||1612 Root Street
||South Suburban Food Co-op
||208 Forest Blvd
What is a community garden?
A community garden is a single piece of land gardened collectively by a group of people.
A city’s community gardens can be as diverse as its gardeners. Some grow only flowers, others are nurtured communally and their bounty shared. Community gardens improve users’ health through increased fresh vegetable consumption and providing a venue for exercise.
Community gardens are managed and maintained with the active participation of the gardeners themselves, rather than tended only by a professional staff. Community gardens often encourage food production by providing gardeners a place to grow vegetables and other crops. Some gardens are grown collectively, with everyone working together; others are split into clearly divided plots, each managed by a different gardener (or group or family). Many community gardens have both "common areas" with shared upkeep and individual/family plots.
Benefits of Community Gardens:
• Improve the quality of life for people in the garden
• Provide a catalyst for neighborhood and community development
• Stimulate Social Interaction
• Encourage Self-Reliance
• Beautify Neighborhoods
• Produce Nutritious Food
• Reduce Family Food Budgets
• Conserve Resources
• Create opportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education
• Reduce Crime
• Preserve Green Space
• Create income opportunities and economic development
• Reduce city heat from streets and parking lots
• Provide opportunities for intergenerational and cross-cultural connections
Source:American Community Garden Association
Another benefit of Community Gardens is education: The Detroit Public School District is establishing 45 DPS community gardens with the intention of educating the students on gardening techniques. This education will not only to teach them how to grow food for their own use, but will perhaps inspire a student to pursue farming as a career choice.
Community Gardens of Will County and surrounding areas
||Crossroads Community Church Garden
||Wolf's Crossing & Rte #30
|| Carolyn Rowe
||Let's Get Growing Community Gardens
||Gombert Elementary School/Ridge Park, (Ridge Road)
|| Let's Get Growing Community Gardens
|| Georgetown Elementary School/Georgetown Park (Long Grove Drive)
||Joliet Park District Organic Community Garden
||McDonough Street-across from Inwood Golf Course
||Naperville Park District Garden Plots
||811 S. West Street
||Village of Orland Park Recreation and Parks Dept
||Brookhill Drive at Discovery Park in the Brookhills Subdivision
Growing Season in Illinois
Days Between Last Spring and First Fall Frost (Occurrence of 32°F)
Jim Angel, state climatologist
The average length of the growing season varies from about 190 days in far southern Illinois to 160 days in far northern Illinois. Of course, the actual length can vary from year to year.
Will County Growing Zone and Season
According to the National Gardening Association's Hardiness Zone Finder, most of Will County is located in growing zone 5A.
Read more: When to Plant Vegetables in Illinois | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_7514289_plant-vegetables-illinois.html#ixzz1tkPskzks
Apples, July through October
Arugula, May through September
Asparagus, April through June
Basil, July through September
Beets, May through October
Blackberrries, July into August
Blueberries, July into August
Broccoli, June through October
Brussel sprouts, August through November
Cabbage, June through November (local harvest available from storage through March)
Cantaloupes, August and September
Carrots, May through November (local harvest available from storage through winter)
Cauliflower, August through November
Celeriac/celery root, August through October
Celery, August through October
Chard, May through September
Cherries, June and July
Cilantro, June through September
Corn, mid-June through mid-August
Cucumbers, July through mid-October
Eggplant, July through mid-October
Fava beans, May
Fennel, Late spring-early summer
Garlic, August through November
Garlic scapes/green garlic, May and June
Grapes, August and September
Green beans, July through September
Green Onions, June through September
Greens (various), May through November
Herbs, various, May through October
Kale, June through November
Leeks, August through October
Lettuce (various), May through October
Melons, July through September
Mushrooms (cultivated), year-round
Mushrooms (wild), spring through fall, varies tremendously each year
Onions, August through October (local harvest available from storage year-round)
Parsley, May through September
Parsnips, April and May and again in October through November (local harvest available from storage through winter)
Peaches, July and August
Pears, August through October
Peas and pea pods, June through August
Peppers (sweet), June through September
Plums & pluots, July and August
Potatoes, July through November (local harvest available from storage year-round)
Pumpkins, September through October
Radishes, May through October
Raspberries, June into August
Rhubarb, April through June
Shelling Beans, September through October (local harvest available dried year-round)
Scallions, June through September
Spinach, May through October
Squash (summer), July through October
Squash (winter), August through November (local harvest available from storage into spring)
Strawberries, June and July
Tomatoes, July through October
Turnips, August through November (local harvest available from storage through February)
Watermelons, August through September
Zucchini, July through October
Hunger is Exploding
No one wants to believe hunger is a problem where they live. Will County’s Population: 679,069
Number of Residents Living in Poverty: 43,879
The reality is that hunger is in every area no matter how big or small. Last year, 1 in 8 Illinois residents received emergency food from one of our partner agencies. Emergency food is available through three sources:
Emergency Food Pantries distribute nonprepared foods and other grocery products to needy clients, who then prepare and use these items where they live. Some food pantries also distribute fresh and frozen food and nutritious prepared food. Food is distributed on a short-term or emergency basis until clients are able to meet their food needs.
Emergency Soup Kitchens provide prepared meals served at the kitchen to needy clients who do not reside on the premises. In some instances, kitchens may also provide lighter meals or snacks, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, yogurt and other dairy products, and prepared food such as sandwiches, for clients to take with them when the kitchen is closed.
Emergency Shelters provide shelter and serve one or more meals a day on a short-term basis to low-income clients in need. Shelter may be the primary or secondary purpose of the service. Examples include homeless shelters, shelters with substance abuse programs, and transitional shelters such as those for battered women. The main purpose of Emergency food services is to provide food to those in hunger crisis.
Food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters receive the majority of their food items for distribution from a food bank. A food bank is a charitable organization that solicits, receives, inventories, stores, and distributes donated food and grocery products to charitable agencies that directly serve needy clients. These agencies include churches and qualifying nonprofit [Internal Revenue Code 501(c) (3)] charitable organizations. The Northern Illinois Food Bank serves Will County.
Northern Illinois Food Bank:
Vision and Mission
Our vision is to create a hunger-free northern Illinois.
Our mission is to provide nutritious food to all those in need through our own efforts and those of our non-profit partners.
The Northern Illinois Food Bank is part of Feeding America.
Feeding America (FA), formerly America’s Second Harvest, plays a critical role in helping food banks accomplish their mission. FA, a network comprised of about 80% off all food banks in the United States, supports the emergency food system by obtaining food for the system from national organizations, such as major food companies, and providing technical assistance and other services to the food banks and food rescue organizations. Northern Illinois Food Bank receives food items from Feeding America.
Will County’s emergency food providers (pantries, soup kitchens and shelters) receive food items from Northern Illinois Food Bank and also from Local Food Sources. Among the local sources are purchased food programs, national donors, produce programs, food salvage & reclamation, prepared food programs, local food drives, local farmers, local retailers, growers, manufacturers, USDA commodities and residents.
Residential support for local food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters is so vital in their success: Support can come in the form of food donations, monetary donations and volunteerism. Below is a link to the Northern Illinois Food Bank Will County locations for emergency and non emergency locations: Included are contact numbers.
While more than 50 million Americans live in food insecure homes (including a quarter of all children under the age of six), more than 40 million Americans grow fruit, vegetables herbs and nuts in home gardens - often more than they can use, preserve or give to friends.
It doesn't have to be that way.
Struggling to feed their families, many Americans, both those chronically economically challenged as well as those now impacted by the economic downturn have come to rely on the more than 33,500 food pantries (also called food shelves, food closets, food cupboards or food banks in some areas) across America to help feed their families.
These food pantries, relying on donated and purchased foods, almost never have fresh produce and instead rely on canned or processed produce shipped from across the country at significant cost, both economic and environmental.
At the same time, millions of home and community gardeners nationwide with an abundant harvest do not know that they can share their harvest, do not know how to share their harvest and do not know where to share their harvest. AmpleHarvest.org solves that for them.
AmpleHarvest.org envisions an America where millions of gardeners eliminate malnutrition and hunger in their own community.
AmpleHarvest.org diminishes hunger in America by educating, encouraging and enabling gardeners to donate their excess harvest to the needy in their community instead of allowing it to rot in the garden. There are no costs to the food pantries or the gardeners for use of AmpleHarvest.org.
A number of America's problem could be diminished or even solved if everyone valued our resources, especially fresh food, as the treasure it really is. Our message to America is:
No Food Left Behind
What We Do We enable you to use the Internet to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in your own community. AmpleHarvest.org connects 40+ million Americans with excess food in their garden and local food pantries. Garden by garden, home & community gardeners and other growers are fighting hunger and malnutrition in America.
Our core mission: No Food Left Behind
Why We Do It One out of six Americans needs food assistance, but can't get fresh produce from the local food pantry, while, millions of American homeowners grow more food in their backyard gardens than they can possibly use. It Doesn't Have to Be This Way! AmpleHarvest.org envisions an America where millions of gardeners eliminate malnutrition and hunger in their own community using only their backyard gardens.
Ways You Can Help Urge a food pantry to register at AmpleHarvest.org. Find the food pantry in your community, possibly in a nearby house of worship, a YMCA or other civic location. Give them this flyer and urge them to register ASAP. Let them know they don't need extra refrigeration and that AmpleHarvest.org is totally FREE!. Help others learn about AmpleHarvest.org.
Put this article in your blog or newsletter Help local gardeners learn to share their excess harvest.
Print this two sided flyer and post it a local garden shops, nurseries, supermarket bulletin boards, etc. to help gardeners learn about the opportunity to help the hungry. Help publicize the AmpleHarvest.org Campaign
Ask your local media to visit this page and do a story about people in the community wanting fresh produce for their families from the local food pantry. Help promote "No Food Left Behind". Lastly, donate food from your garden.
Find a local food pantry here. Not growing anything right now? Use our iPhone and Android apps to help find a local food pantry when you are shopping.