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Fresh picks from Morris farmers market

MORRIS – There is nothing like fresh vegetables from a garden, but not everyone has the time or space to plant a garden of their own.

But not to worry: On Saturday mornings, area gardeners bring their produce to Morris from their farms and yards to sell to the public.

“This is a good thing for the community,” Mike Holcomb of Coal City said while shopping last Saturday. “I try to come to the hospice booth once a week.”

Ron and Jan Hibler have set up their booth at the farmers market for the past four years and given the money they’ve raised to the Grundy Community Volunteer Hospice.

“A lot of it we grow ourselves, and some is donated to us to help,” Ron Hibler said. “What’s great is it is all fresh, unlike the stores.”

Holcomb said he likes the freshness of the items available at the market. Some are picked that morning.

Rob and Nicole Chaplin of Morris grow not only the items they sell, but the ingredients that go into the many preserves and butters they offer.

“Most of the items we can are from our own garden,” Rob Chaplin said. “The mushrooms and blueberries come from other farms, but we pick them ourselves.”

This also is the Chaplins’ fourth year at the market. The money they make from the market pays for vacations and family parties.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s a great second income,” Rob Chaplin said.

Nicole Chaplin has gone through food handling classes and carries certification, even though it is not required by law.

“If people aren’t happy with what they buy from us we are happy to exchange, replace or refund,” Rob Chaplin said.

Some of the top sellers are hard to find anywhere else. Chaplin said his biggest sellers are portobello mushrooms, pickled beets, hot pepper jelly and apple butter. All the items are created in their home.

A second income also is what brings Jozefa Murzanska to the market, where she sells her knitting and crocheted items.

“I need the extra income with my Social Security,” she said. “I don’t want to ask anyone for money. I want to make my own.”

Murzanska has knitted her whole life, but for the past 14 years, she has sold her pieces. She makes sweaters, hats, booties and headbands, as well as other items.

“I was a caregiver and started making socks and hats for the person I was taking care of,” she said. “I don’t use books. Sometimes I start making something and a mistake becomes a design.”

Murzanska also sells preserves and apple sauce.

Buz Chouinard stopped by last Saturday to grab some sweet corn from Steve Ryder.

“I wanted some sweet corn and this is straight from the farm. You can’t beat that,” Chouinard said. “It’s better when it’s organic.”

Not only are his prices lower than the grocery store, Ryder said, he also can guarantee his produce is all organic and that no chemicals are used growing it.

Randy Hauge lives just up the street from the parking lot that hosts the market each Saturday. He decided three months ago to try selling planters and benches he makes from cedar and barn wood.

He said living just two blocks away makes it easy to do.

What: Morris Farmers Market
When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays
Where: Parking lot on the corner of Route 47 and Chapin Street, across from City Hall

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