Seven weeks into the Pekin Farmers Market’s first year, the crowds are growing, and as the growing season progresses, more and more fresh produce is finding its way onto local dinner plates.
Families are coming to the market to have lunch, buy crafts and home baked goods, get a cold snow cone or ice coffee, and just share some conversations.
The Market opened on May 30 and will run through Oct. 17, so through that time period, new vendors will join the groups and existing vendors will bring seasonal produce, said Courtney Psinas, Pekin social media and downtown events coordinator. There are currently 16 vendors. Two new are coming next week. The market is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday. The market is located in the green space area in the 300 block of Court Street next to the Pekin Daily Times. There are picnic tables for people to eat at.
New things are being added from time to time to draw in more shoppers.
“We started a loyalty program where you get a punch card when you come to the farmers market and make a purchase,” said Psinas. “And when you come five times you (receive) a prize.
“We’ve seen that be pretty popular with the public. It’s a fun way to get involved. We’ve added a few new vendors and were still adding more. As we progress into the harvest season, we’re attracting more of the vegetable farmers. We’re switching up the food trucks. Today we had Nacho Mama’s — that was their first time coming to the market. That gets people excited as well — having good variety.”
The Pekin Farmers Market Facebook Page has weekly information on new products coming, said Psinas.
At the information table are recipes for the vegetables and fruit and seasonings sold at the market, which has also proven popular, said Psinas.
The average attendance at this point is 200 to 300 people “on a good day.”