JOLIET, Ill. — The Joliet Junior College Farmers Market kicked off for the first time on Thursday, May 23, with more than 15 vendors and a crowd ready to shop.
Before the market began, local shoppers and vendors gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony on the windy, 50-degree day.
“I am so excited that this is finally here,” said Donna Theimer, JJC department chair of horticulture and agriculture.
Theimer, who helped organize the event with JJC Market Specialist Dorothy Rosier and many others, was instrumental in working with the college’s Grants Office to successfully win the $92,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program. JJC is the only community college in the nation to receive grant funding from this program.
After Theimer cut the ribbon, Alexis Olson, a local elementary school student, helped start a new JJC Farmers Market tradition — the ringing of the cowbell. Before every Farmer’s Market begins, the cowbell will sound off.
Olson was not the only student in attendance. Zach Schaefer, who was present with his mother, Michelle, was also excited to be at the market. He and his family enjoyed looking at Farmers Market products, such as vegetables, pesto, honey and rice crispy treats.
Many of the vendors were previous JJC students and alums. Michelle Weber of Olive Berry Acres said it felt good to be back on campus, supporting her alma mater.
“It’s awesome to be able to bring fresh produce to people,” she said.
Rachel Long of Sugar Forest Treats, a rice crispy treat business, was also thrilled to be back.
“I’m really excited to be here because I took culinary classes at JJC, and I’m excited to show everyone what I’ve done with that,” she said.
In addition to the local vendors, a chef demonstration by JJC Professor of Culinary Arts Tim Bucci was available to the local shoppers. Bucci taught bystanders how to cook a salmon dish.
Every Thursday, a different college academic department or office will be featured at the Farmers Market. Future events may include musical performances, children’s activities and horticulture advice.
The Farmers Market will run every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. until Oct. 24 (excluding July 4) at the JJC Greenhouse, located off the Main Campus at 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet.
For more information, or to become a vendor, visit the Farmers Market Web page. Contact Theimer at 815-280-2276 or email@example.com, and Rosier at 815-280-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.