The Illinois Department of Agriculture will introduce a farmers market at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds next week.
The market will open from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 7 at "The Cattle Barns" on the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds across from the Expo Building. The market will then be held on most Tuesdays through Nov. 1 (closed on Aug. 16, 23, 30 and Sept. 6 for the Du Quoin State Fair).
It will feature vendors who support and qualify for IDOA's Illinois Products Program by growing, producing and packaging their own products here in Illinois.
"We are very proud to have our state rank third in the nation in the number of farmers markets that call Illinois home," said Jerry Costello II, director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
"Fresh, local foods have become a priority over the past few years and so has bringing a farmers market to the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. We hope this will begin a tradition that continues for many years to come."
Opening day will have a variety of produce: tomatoes, peppers, okra, eggplant, green beans, cucumbers and much more, from Rolling Acres Greenhouse and Dr. Grammy's Garden.
Leedle Houme Apiary will have fresh honey, lip balms and comb honey. Bloom Ridge Farm will sell flowers, seeds, shopping bags, T-shirts, paracord bracelets and key chains.
For those looking for dinner options that night, Fan Favs LLC will offer street tacos, nachos, bagelettas and soft drinks.
Space is still available for those interested in participating as a vendor at the 2022 market. For applications, contact Patsie.Hopkins@Illinois.gov.
Du Quoin Mayor Guy Alongi is happy to see a farmers market returning to Du Quoin after several years without one, and he's pleased in general with the Department of Agriculture's efforts to bring more activity to the fairgrounds in general.
"It's going to be an asset to the community and even the county," Alongi said Thursday. "Several years ago we had an active farmers market in Keyes Park but it fell apart. Now the state of Illinois has stepped up with some local vendors, which is great."
Alongi said Costello is a southern Illinois native, and it shows with his attention to the fairgrounds.
"Hats off to Jerry and his staff," Alongi said. "Jerry is a locally-grown person and I think he's got a vested interest in making the fairgrounds work."