BATAVIA – The Batavia Farmers’ Market is reaping a harvest of goodwill from the community.
The popular Saturday morning outdoor market reopened for the season June 2 on North River Street, bringing a large, steady crowd of visitors seeking fresh produce and a vibrant social gathering.
Kris Gawrych of Sol Gardens in Yorkville was refilling display bins of fresh vegetables from his trailer all morning long as customers snapped up ingredients for the evening’s dinner.
“This is one of the best farmers markets,” Gawrych said, citing loyal customers and family-friendly environment.
Now in its 23rd year, the Batavia market features local purveyors of fine produce along with savvy customers eager to shop while seeing friends and neighbors.
“The atmosphere is really lively,” said Sara Schluchter of Elburn’s Mighty Greens Farm. “We’re passionate about what we grow and it’s fun to share that with people who appreciate it.”
Elizabeth Lach of Katic Breads in Aurora was selling loaves that had come fresh from the oven that morning. Other vendors offered seasonal flowers, gourmet cheeses and handmade soaps.
For North River Street business owners, the market brings lots of foot traffic and enhanced visibility.
“I love watching all the action going on outside,” said Missi Hartmann, owner of The Tea Tree, 29 N. River St.
Organized by Batavia MainStreet, the opening day was heavily attended.
“It really has become what Batavia families do on Saturday mornings,” Batavia MainStreet Executive Director Jamie Saam said.
About 30 farmers market tents lined the first block of North River Street, with about as many more displays extending another block north for the WellBatavia Initiative health fair, a special event held that day.
On the third Saturday of each month that northern block will be occupied by the Artisan Collective, featuring the works of local artists and designers. Batavia United Way and Kiwanis Club sponsor a tent offering children’s activities at every market.
People enrolled in the food stamp Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can redeem their cards at the MainStreet tent for tokens good for purchases at all the farmers market vendors.
Food purveyors include Team FIB BBQ, Bernie’s Bully Dogs and Fernando’s Street Kitchen. Musical entertainment is provided each week in front of the Instrument Exchange, 17 N. River St.
Katrina Salon and Spa, 8 N. River St., is a presenting sponsor along with Xfinity.
The opening day of the market featured plenty of root vegetables and greens, but it is still early in the growing season, so fruit, sweet corn and other popular summer fare will be coming later. Saam said that Flat Tire Farm from Michigan will be returning to the market in July with its apples, peaches and other fruits.
“Everyone else is hyper-local,” Saam said of the market’s vendors, with many coming from the farm fields just west of Batavia.
Jackie Rakers of Batavia is the new farmers market manager, helping the vendors get set up and making sure the event runs smoothly. Rakers gets her organizational skills and knowledge of farmer’s produce from working at the Aldi grocery headquarters in Batavia, where she is part of a produce-buying team.
If you go
WHAT: Batavia Farmers’ Market
WHEN: 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday through Oct. 27
WHERE: North River Street between East Wilson and State streets in downtown Batavia; final date will move to Batavia Riverwalk in conjunction with BatFest
COST: Free admission