Woodstock Farmers Market is back in full wring this year

Families wander around the historic Woodstock Square looking at the various products for sale during the Woodstock farmers market on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Woodstock.

The Woodstock Farmers Market is in its 41st year, run by stand-alone nonprofit organization in the historic Woodstock Square.

The market runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday and Saturday from late April through September. In October the market is only held on Saturdays.

“We are a producers-only market, meaning everything you purchase is grown or produced directly by the vendor you are purchasing from,” said Kelly Kempf, market manager.

And Kempf personally visits every farm and other participating facilities to make sure that everything they are bringing to the market is produced on-site (mainly in McHenry County or just over the border in Wisconsin). A few fruits (like grapes and peaches) are brought in from Michigan, she added.

They carry all of the items seen at other area markets like fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, cheese, bakery items, spices, jams, honey, oils, soaps, fresh flowers and so forth.

“Our market is run by a board of four farmers and one local producer and mine is one of only two paid positions,” Kempf explained. “The market only charges vendors what it actually costs us to put it on. No profit is made.

“We have 65 vendors signed up this year which is up from 45 vendors last year and our customers really support the market– even when it rains,” she stated. “We all want to support the people who are working so hard to bring us this food, which lasts so much longer than anything you buy in a grocery store simply because it was just picked the night or morning before the market and is so fresh.”

The Woodstock Farmers Market offers the same type of LINK card match program as seen in Elgin. Customers with LINK cards may obtain fresh food at select market vendors, stretching their food dollars, Kempf said. The Woodstock program is underwritten by private funding.

The market also offers live music and a “Sprout Club” activity like family yoga, hula hoop lessons, free arts and crafts and story times at every market.

“Even though food prices may be going up everywhere, when you buy fresh produce from a farmers market, it lasts longer and you don’t end up throwing things away because they spoil,” Kempf said. “If you can buy locally produced food, that should always be your first choice.”