Local farmers markets offer fresh summer fare

Barb Pondelick has no problem staying busy during the summer months.

While running her family’s store at Theis Farm II, 6N953 County Line Road in Maple Park, she sneaks into the fields in between customers to get some planting done for the upcoming farmers markets.

“It’s just a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation that people don’t necessarily think about,” she said.

Pondelick is among several local farmers, businesses and community members who will set up shop at DeKalb County’s farmers markets in the coming weeks. The three area farmers markets will host about 75 vendors combined this season.

Farmers markets have gained popularity over the years as many people are becoming more conscious of where their food comes from and just how healthy it is.

Lindsey Engelsman, who coordinates DeKalb’s annual market through Re:New DeKalb, said she has noticed a trend of more people shopping through local farmers. With every national food recall, Engelsman said, people are becoming more aware of what they are consuming.

DeKalb’s market will accept debit, credit and Illinois Link cards for the first time this year. The new program will give more people healthy food options, Engelsman said.

Gene Bradford has been selling produce at his stand near the Kishwaukee Valley Heritage Museum at 622 Park Ave. in Genoa for nine years.

Bradford opens his Genoa stand daily during the summer, selling corn and other produce from Yaeger’s Farm Market in DeKalb. He also works in a stand at Genoa Main Street’s monthly open-air market, which began last weekend.

“I don’t have a lot of spare time,” said the former grocer. “But I thrive on the capabilities of being able to be a good salesman and provide the public with high-quality items at a fair price.”

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