Contrary to rumors late last year that the Riverside Farmers Market might be in jeopardy, the weekly event will be back in 2011, according to organizers.
The farmers market will kick off on June 29 and take place each Wednesday from 2:30 to 7 p.m. through Oct. 26. It will occupy its usual spot in the municipal parking lot next to Riverside Bank, 17 E. Burlington St.
For the past two years, the farmers market has been hosted under the umbrella of the Riverside Economic Development Commission. That will change in 2011. The EDC is no longer involved.
Instead, the market is being run by a steering committee comprising residents and village officials, including Cathy Haley, the assistant to Riverside’s village manager and Trustee Mark Shevitz. Other steering committee members include Amy Jacksic, who is Shevitz’s wife and who volunteered last year to help manage the market; and residents Sue Pipal, Helen Gallagher, Andrea Crews and Abby Randall.
Randy Brockway, who founded the market two years ago, is not on the steering committee, but many of his suggestions have been incorporated in what amount to a beefed-up set of rules and regulations for vendors wishing to participate in the market.
“We want to do it right and make sure we bring a quality product to people in Riverside,” said Haley, noting that the steering committee is in the process of lining up vendors for the 2011 market and asking potential vendors for more documentation to show their produce is locally grown. The village now asks vendors for copies of their farmland leases, a list of crops they intend to bring to the market and documentation to prove if produce advertised as organic is organically grown.
“We’ve made revisions to the application and rules and put more emphasis on accountability,” Haley said. “We’re interested in marketing [produce] as organic and sustainable.”
Organizers are seeking input from residents on what kinds of vendors they’d like to see this summer. To give your input, log on the Riverside village website at www.riverside.il.us and click on the “Farmers Market” link in the pull-down menu under the “For Residents” heading on the homepage.
On the farmers market page, there’s a survey for residents to fill out and also a link to an application for anyone who would like to be a vendor at the market and another for any community group that wants to participate in the market.