When you see farmers gathered at the Dundee Township Tourism center on River Street in East Dundee on Sundays for the next 24 weeks, see opportunities and don't think it's Saturday.
Sure, they are selling their perennials and produce as they have been doing on Saturday for more than two decades, but on Sunday, the farmers are also selling Dundee Township to the Chicago area. They are informing residents for miles that East and West Dundee are the soft-spoken jewels of the Fox Valley area. Also, they are letting the public know that not all farmers markets end on Saturday afternoon.
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East Dundee Sunday farmers market vendors• Klein's Farm and Garden
• Stojan's Vegetables
• Sam, the Sweet Corn Man
• T&M Farms
• Sweet Pop Fizz: sweets, treats and breakfast sandwiches
• Great Harvest Bread Co.
• Trilogy Natural Products: natural skin care, soaps and soy candles
• Bema and Pa's Products: balsamic vinegars and olive oils
• Ruthella's New Orleans cuisine
• Aeroponic growing towers
• TNT Smokehouse Provisions: smoked bacon, beef jerky, pickles and pickled vegetables
• Home Depot: kids' programs and horticulture
• Chalk artist Lindsay Lieras
East Dundee's Sunday "Farm to Fork" farmers market opened with 17 vendors: four farmers, food sellers, local groups and musicians, with a message that Sundays can be just as fun as Saturdays, said Karen Blair, Dundee marketing director.
"The market is part of the Discover Dundee program. We want new families who are moving here to learn about the rich past the area has," Blair said. "Good things are happening in this town and we want people to know about them."
East Dundee village board members created the Discover Dundee program to reinvigorate business and residential interest in both villages. The Sunday market is one part of the plan. It also includes monthly car shows, events for pets and pet owners, a villagewide garage sale and wine-tasting parties.
The farmers, many who live and work in Kane County, have a long history of growing fruits and vegetables sold in local stores, she said. As for the other vendors, they will sell fresh-baked bread, cooking oils and New Orleans style cuisine.
"We've studied other markets in the Chicago area," Blair said. "More than 200 of them are held on Saturday; very few of them are held on Sunday. I know starting a farmers market on Sunday is risky, but there's less competition."
If history is a guide, another farmers market in East Dundee will do well. The visitors' center board of directors has operated a Saturday farmers market for more than 25 years. The Sunday market is operated by village board members.
It may be a while for word to get out that Dundee Township has a Sunday market too, but it eventually will, and the public will get used to shopping there.
Millie Stojan, a farmer from Maple Park, remembers how risky the Saturday farmers market was when it started. She and her husband sold vegetables at the first one. This past week, she and her daughter, Karen, sold asparagus and popcorn at the first Sunday market.
"We'll be here the entire year, rain or shine. That's what makes a farmers market," Stojan said. "It will be a good year."
The markets will not compete with each other; in fact they will complement each other, Blair said. In the Discover Dundee program, weekly speakers and events have been added to the Saturday schedule. Some of the speakers will describe the lives of Dundee Township's settlers and others will provide history lessons of long-running local businesses.
Also each month, antique appraisers will be available for local residents who are welcome to bring their heirlooms.
On May 31, Dundee Township residents are invited to bring their outdated, confidential documents to a villagewide shredding party.
The Sunday market will run every Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. until October. The Saturday market also runs weekly, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., until the end of October. Both are at 319 N. River St., East Dundee.
For more information about Discover Dundee, click on the village's website at eastdundee.net. Or, call Blair at (847) 426-2822.