Homewood Farmers Market responds to input from patrons and vendors as new season begins Saturday

Local singer and guitarist Matt Bailey performs during a 
Homewood Farmers Market session last year. Market 
Manager Kate Duff said live music will again be 
featured each week at the market.
(File photo)


Homewood Farmers Market patrons wanted a winter market. They got it. They want better visibility for crafts and collectables. It's coming.

The summer market season will begin Saturday, May 23, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Village Hall parking lot, 2020 Chestnut Road. The season runs through Oct. 10. 

And on May 30, the market will include its first Hunter & Gatherer Market, which will continue on the last Saturday of each month.
 

John Thaler of Benton Harbor 
Bee Company describes the 
fresh produce he has to offer 
during the market last year. 
Thaler and his wife were 
regular vendors last year and 
are expected to return this 
summer. (File photo)

Market Manager Kate Duff conducted a survey at the end of the 2014 summer season. It was the first season in recent years the market was managed by the village rather than a contracted management service. Duff wanted to see what patrons thought about the season and what they wanted to change.

The first result from the survey was the addition of an indoor market during winter months. The winter market was held the last Saturday of the month from January through April.

"It was a good experience," Duff said at the final session. 

The first sign of success occurred early. After the January session, Duff had more vendors and patrons than would fit in the Village Hall board room, so the rest of the sessions were held in St. Joseph School gymnasium across the street.

Attendance wasn't as high as it is during summer months, but Duff and her vendors said they were generally pleased with the turnout. 

The indoor market will be back next year, she said.

The most significant new feature of the summer market will be the Hunter & Gatherer Market, held the last Saturday of each month, she said.

It was another idea that came from the people who responded to the survey.

"Artisans were not getting the recognition" they hoped for, Duff said. "People didn't know when to expect them." 

Craft and collectibles booths will now have a place and time of their own.

Duff noted that the Hunter & Gatherer Market will be curated to ensure the goods are high quality.

"This is not a flea market," she said, noting that the market is patterned after the popular Pop-Up Shops that inhabit vacant storefronts during special shopping seasons in Homewood. "This is kind of based off the same idea. It's a way of bringing vendors in to learn about our community."

The Hunter & Gatherer Market will be part of the weekly market but will have its own space so patrons can more easily find and browse craft items. 

It  will feature local artisans and shopkeepers selling unique items such as art, jewelry, furniture, antiques, clothing, salvaged treasures, home goods and more, according to a news release from the village. The Hunt & Gather Market happens May 30, June 27, July 25, Aug. 29 and Sept. 26.

The weekly market will be back with regular vendors from years past plus some new ones, several of which first appeared during the indoor market season. 

The market will include farm-fresh items from Benton Harbor Bee Co., Bloomberg Gardens, Locavore Farm, Lyons Fruit Farm and  Zeldenrust Farm Market among others; confections from Bakewell Bakery and Enjoy Bakeshop; cheese from Stamper Cheese; wines from Aged 2 Perfection; body products by Homewood Kitchen Gardens' and prepared foods from Sonoma Farms, TJ's Kettle Corn and Cynthia's Gumbo.

The market will also include the return of "Your Community ... At The Market." Each week space is reserved for local non-profits and other community groups to help them reach a wider audience.
 
Local business owners can use the Market to promote their businesses through exhibit space and sponsorship opportunities. Non-profit organizations that have signed up for booth space include HF Soccer Club, Irons Oaks Foundation and Homewood Public Library as well as businesses South Suburban Garden Girl, Back Safety and Wellness Center among others.

Like last year, the market will host Touch of Green environmental programs, including electronic recycling, paper shredding, and more. Homewood has partnered again with Assistive Technology Exchange Network (ATEN) for monthly electronic recycling. ATEN will be at the Farmers Market from 8 to 11 a.m. on June 20, July 18, August 22, and September 26.

Duff said musicians have been lined up for the season, so patrons can enjoy live music while they shop and socialize.

In celebration of the market opening, patrons can receive a reusable Homewood Farmers Market shopping bag, available free on May 23 only. Bags are available on a first come first serve basis with a receipt from a purchase made within at least 30 days at a Homewood business.

For more information on Homewood Farmers Market, visit www.HomeSweetHomewood.com or call (708)798-3000.


Contact Eric Crump at [email protected].com


Related stories:
Homewood Farmers Market returns to the stage (HF Chronicle, Jan. 27, 2015) 
First Homewood Winter Farmers Market popular with patrons, vendors (HF Chronicle, Jan. 31, 2015)
Homewood Winter Farmers Market moves to make room (HF Chronicle, Feb. 24, 2015)
Homewood's Indoor Farmers Market continues to grow (HF Chronicle, March 26, 2015)
 

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