Belleville’s Old Town Farmers’ Market is kicking off its 19th season on Saturday, May 5, with some new features.
The market is held every Saturday from May through Nov. 3, from 7:30 a.m. to noon. It is located on the first block of South Charles, between East Main and East Washington.
Burt Wikgren, market master, said, “We pride ourselves in offering locally grown and produced fruits, vegetables, meat, honey, baked goods, dog treats, bedding plants and crafts. We welcome even more new vendors to join us this season.”
“We are working on enhancing Belleville’s only Farmers’ Market this year,” said Belleville Main Street Manager Alicia Chillemi Slocomb. “We are partnering with the Empire Neighborhood, teachers, and non-profits to bring children’s activities and live music to the market.”
The Old Town Market has been in various locations downtown over the past years, but settled at its current spot last year. It is located next to Pour322, downtown Belleville’s only coffee shop, which will be offering breakfast options.
“We are excited to have the market back for the season,” said Ann Davis of Toots’ Cake and Candy Supplies. “Belleville Main Street merchants see the market as a real plus. It brings people downtown who will hopefully take the time to explore the local shops and restaurants and get to know Belleville a little better.”
Downtown retailers open at 9 or 10 a.m. market visitors can complete their food shopping experience by purchasing spices at the Crystal & Spice Shoppe, baking supplies at Toots’ Cake and Candy Supplies, and olive oils and vinegars at The Olive Oil Marketplace. The majority of restaurants open at 11 a.m. for lunch.
“Please be prepared to see items that are local and in season,” Wikgren said. “We do not sell bananas, and you won’t see watermelons until the summer.”
Old Town Market regular Leigh Sindelar said, “The great thing about purchasing directly from a farmer is that you can ask for ideas on how to prepare items or how items are grown. You can’t get that at a supermarket.”
“The market has so much potential to grow,” BMS Manager Slocomb said. “We may be small, but we are mighty. With more customers, we can attract more vendors, which will attract even more customers. This will lead to a cycle of growth that can only benefit downtown.
Old Town Farmers’ Market updates can be found at BellevilleMainStreet.net and on the Market’s Facebook page.