Downtown Springfield Inc.’s Old Capitol Farmers Market returns on Wednesday, May 17. The 2017 season runs Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 8 am to 12.30pm through the Halloween at the Market event on Saturday, October 28.
To manage the Market, DSI continues its partnership with Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA)—whose mission is to promote local food systems—and welcomes Springfield Area Arts Council (SAAC) as a partner. SAAC is programming 25 weeks of local musicians to play every Saturday from 10 am to noon.
The first Wednesday market of the season takes place during Curb Your Car Week, and the Wednesday morning bike ride starting at 7.30am at Washington Park Pavilion will end at the Old Capitol Farmers Market at 4th and Adams. That morning, ISA will also be hosting tours of the market for state legislators.
HSHS St. John’s Hospital returns as premier sponsor of the downtown market. “Nationally, more than half of the foods that Americans eat are processed. HSHS St. John’s Hospital is committed to helping improve that statistic by supporting access to locally grown produce,” said Charles L. Lucore, MD, MBA, St. John’s president and CEO. “We are proud to continue to be the premiere sponsor of the downtown farmers market in Springfield as we have for the past two decades.”
Dr. Lucore will co-host an official ribbon cutting with Mayor Jim Langfelder and the DSI Board of Directors for the 2017 Market Season at 10.30am on Saturday, May 20. The Iles Middle School Marching Band will kick off the festivities and the short ceremony will conclude with complimentary slices of cake provided by Incredibly Delicious for patrons. This is a big day for downtown as the Old Capitol Art Fair also opens for its two-day run at 10 am that morning at the Old State Capitol and the Springfield Pridefest kicks off with its first annual Parade at 11 am at 5th and Allen.
Shoppers will find dozens of farm and artisan vendors providing locally grown or handmade items for sale at the intersections of 4th and Adams Streets, near the Farmers Market mural.
Thanks to the Hy-Vee Healthy Cooking Tent, this year’s market also gives shoppers some extra services and knowledge regarding how best to prepare the produce and meat they’ll find at the market. The Hy-Vee Healthy Cooking Tent will house chef demonstrations every Saturday at 10 am, including Hy-Vee chefs and downtown legends like Chef Michael Higgins.
“This partnership is perfectly aligned with our long-term goal to have more products by market farmers in our Macarthur Boulevard store,” said Tony Collins, Hy-Vee store director. “We’re pleased to bring our dietician Charlyn Fargo Ware and our chefs to the market to share recipes using market ingredients.”
Another new feature is the Farmers Market Meal Kit program, where chefs will create take-and-make meals for purchase using ingredients sourced at the market. The program will kick off on Saturday, May 27th with Chef Ryan Lewis of Driftwood Cocktail and Eatery creating the first meal kits available for purchase. These kits aim to introduce shoppers to unique, seasonal ingredients through simple to prepare, chef-tested recipes in a perfectly portioned package.
The whole family can also enjoy early morning stretches and fun with a free Family Fitness Area on Saturdays at 9 am.
Last year, the number of SNAP (formerly known as food stamp) customers at the market more than doubled, providing many more low-income families with local, fresh produce. Recognizing the market partnership’s success, Experimental Station and Link Up Illinois provided a 2017 grant to provide these benefits to even more families. SNAP users should visit the market booth to purchase their tokens and receive their SNAP match.
Central Baptist Church staff and congregation kindly provide tables and chairs for market activities.