Drive-through winter farmers market in Palatine means more vendors
Palatine's Winter Farmers Market this year will be held as an outdoor drive-through, allowing more vendors and safe social distancing during COVID-19, organizers said.
The winter market will kick off Nov. 7, a week after the last summer farmers market on Saturday. The summer market averaged more than 1,000 customers per day, with vendors saying they had their best year of sales, said Marge Duer, the market's founder who now leads the market committee for the Sister Cities Association of Palatine.
The winter market will be held outside the Palatine train station, 137 W. Wood St. -- where it's typically held indoors -- and will offer a variety of goods, from savory to sweet and fresh to frozen. Having it outside will allow for 17 vendors, more than the 10 or so that typically fit inside the train station, Duer said. Knife-sharpening also will be available there.
The drive-through concept had a test run in March, when the winter market was moved outside with about five vendors after the pandemic hit, Duer said. "It's cleaner, faster and safer," she said, adding that indoor farmers markets currently are limited to 25% capacity.
Duer, who also serves as village clerk, started the summer farmers market in 1991 and the winter market about eight years ago. The Sister Cities Association has helped manage the markets for the last six or so years. The organization this year gave a $4,000 scholarship to a high school student with proceeds from raffles of products donated by vendors, Duer said.
The winter market takes place 10 a.m. to noon on the first and third Saturday of the month -- except Jan. 2. -- from November to April. Orders should be placed by noon on Wednesday that week.
Produce like squash, potatoes, onions, beets, carrots and other root vegetables will be available in November only, Duer said.
"It's a combination of three produce vendors ... they are going to work together and one of them will bring products from all three farms," she said.
Other vendors include Hasselmann Family Farm, which will sell eggs, chicken, turkey, beef and pork, as well as lamb likely in December, all raised with no antibiotics, growth hormones or animal by-products; Underground Garlic, which will have pearl potatoes, microgreens and fresh and powdered garlic; Soft Wave Fish Co., selling fresh and frozen fish; and Stamper Cheese, which will sell cheeses from Wisconsin.
Vegan offerings will include Traci's Soups and The Eating Well's vegan burgers, spanakopita and more. Puga & Mello Artisanal Sweets will offer vegan chocolates and liquor truffles.
Pedestrians can purchase dog treats and kettle corn outside the drive-through area.
For more information and to place orders, visit palatinesistercities.org/winter-farmers-market.