On the heels of their most successful summer season ever, the Riverside Farmers Market Committee has announced it will host a Winter Market on the first Wednesdays of February, March, April and May from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. inside the historic downtown train station, 90 Bloomingbank Road.
The inaugural market’s date is Feb. 5. Other dates this winter will be March 5, April 2 and May 7.
“The summer market has been so successful that this is the natural extension,” said Deborah Garman, a member of the committee and the point person for the Winter Market.
When the summer 2013 market ended, the committee surveyed customers, who expressed interest in continuing the market in the winter months. The group unofficially kicked off the winter market with a small number of vendors at the Riverside Holiday Stroll in December.
The goal, said Garman, is for the next Winter Market to start up immediately after the end of the summer market, which closes in October.
“We’re doing an abbreviated market this year to get it off the ground,” Garman said. “Next fall we plan to start it right away, so we don’t have a gap like this time.”
According to Garman, the committee has lined up about a dozen vendors, most of whom will be familiar to the Farmers Market crowd. Primo Pizza will set its wood-fired oven outside, but the rest of the vendors will be spread throughout the interior of the train station.
Vendors also include Bailey Honey, River Valley Mushrooms, Wanderlust Soaps and Sundries, Lou’s Old-Fashioned Pickles, Jake’s Country Meats, Lovin’ Tails dog treats, Lyons Fruit Farm and Chocolate Twist, along with two new vendors, Katic Breads and SenTEAmental Teas.
If the weather permits in April and May, the market could expand outdoors onto the east platform of the station, said Garman.
Garman said the Farmers Market Committee is already looking ahead to the summer season. Last year, the Wednesday afternoon market roughly doubled in size and spread out from its home in the parking lot between the library and township hall west down Burling Road.
“We’re looking to have even more vendors in 2014,” said Garman. “We had many shoppers coming from communities other than Riverside, even from Chicago.”
In the meantime, the committee has been trying to spread the word about the Winter Market through social media and the Riverside Farmers Market blog at www.justeatlocal.wordpress.com.
“My biggest concern is, because we’re not weekly, people will forget,” said Garman. “We want the vendors to have a good experience and we want our customers to have great things to buy.”