The Scene

Check out these must-see farmers markets in northern Illinois this spring

Customers peruse the goods at the farmers market outside the Dole Mansion on Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Crystal Lake.  The farmers market is new to the Dole this year, having never had one there before this month.

Craving the freshest seasonal produce? Looking to support local farmers and artisans? Then look no further than these vibrant farmers markets in northern Illinois.

Bursting with flavor, these open-air markets offer a delightful shopping experience where you can find everything from just-picked fruits and veggies to handcrafted goods and delicious, prepared foods. But with so many great options, where do you start? To help you navigate, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best farmers markets in the area, each offering something unique.

Farmers Market+ at The Dole – Crystal Lake

Billed as a “farmers market and so much more,” the Farmers Market+ at The Dole is both a traditional farmers market that features produce, flowers and baked goods, but also offers live acoustic music, local artists, food trucks, kids’ attractions, cash bar and more. The market is held at the beautiful Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake, and is indoors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on select Sundays from November through April, moving outdoors to the mansion’s front lawn from May through October. More than 80 vendors are expected onsite each week. Admission and parking are free. The Dole Mansion is at 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake.

Dixon Farmers Market

This year marks the 182nd year of the Dixon Park District’s Farmers Market. The market, which is held at Haymarket Square, 317 W. Third St., began in 1842. It is held from 7 a.m. to noon Wednesdays and Saturdays from June 1 through Oct. 26. About 55 vendors participate each season, bringing fresh produce, plants, honey, handmade jewelry, skincare products, goat milk soap, driftwood crafts and other handmade wood crafts.

Also check out the Dixon City Market at the riverfront on Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. in June through August. More than 50 vendors are on hand each week, with locally sourced foods. The event also incorporates music, wine and beer tasting, kids activities and more.

Ottawa Farmers and Makers Market

The Ottawa Farmers and Makers Market will return on Saturdays beginning June 1 and running through Oct. 12. The market is open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Jackson Street. It will feature produce from local farmers, craft artisans, bakers, nonprofit organizations and more. Some of the goods available will be art, jewelry, soap, clothing and other wares, which is why the event is also called a “makers” market.

Aurora Farmers Market

Aurora’s market is one of the oldest farmers markets in Illinois! The 113th season kicks off June 1, and runs from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday through Oct. 5 at 65 S. Water St. Each week, the market not only has fresh produce, but pastry items, local food trucks and vendors, including Aurora’s famous Dick’s Mini Donuts, coffee, unique artisan items, live music and more. The city also will host a market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays at 1999 W. Galena Blvd. The tentative dates for the Wednesday market are July 3 through Aug. 21.

Geneva French Market

The Geneva French Market is held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from now through Nov. 17 in the Geneva Metra station parking lot at South and Fourth streets. The French Market features fresh fruits and vegetables, fine textiles, baked goods, unique gifts, artisan food vendors and more.

Woodstock Farmers Market

The Woodstock Farmers Market opens in the historic downtown Woodstock Square in May, and runs on Saturdays through October, with a briefer calendar for additional Tuesday markets. The streets on all four sides of the square, as well as the park in the center, are lined with vendors from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market, now in its 40th year, is a producers’ market, which means only vendors who grow or make their own products are allowed to participate. More than 70 vendors attend the Saturday market, which features organic and homegrown produce, baked goods, coffee, beer, natural meats and dairy, honey, soaps and body products, candles, crafts, perennials and plants, fresh-cut flowers and more. The last indoor market of the season, featuring more than 45 vendors, runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 27 at Building D at the McHenry County Fairgrounds.

Twin City Farmers Market – Sterling

The Twin City Farmers Market is held year-round from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays indoors at 106 Avenue A in Sterling, and expands outdoors in the Sterling Marketplace Pavilion from May 4 through Oct. 26. Many vendors are at the market all year, and more are added during the warmer months. Some of the goods you can find include locally raised meat, eggs, fresh-baked breads, sweets, jams and jellies and seasonal produce, as well as arts and crafts goods.

Historic Plainfield Farmers Market

Beginning June 2, this open-air farmers market will open at the Plainfield Township Administration Building, 22525 W. Lockport St. in Plainfield. The market runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday through Sept. 22. There will be a variety of between 40-50 vendors each week, highlighting organic produce from local farmers, a variety of breads, cakes, cookies, handcrafted items, wood-carved creations, soaps, jewelry, clothing and more. For hungry shoppers, there’s a new vendor, BloomingBowls, offering bowls filled with ice cream, granola and fresh fruit, in addition to tacos, Filipino food and other items. Shoppers also can enjoy live music while browsing the market.

Oswego Country Market

The open-air outdoor market runs Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 2 through Sept. 29 on Main Street in downtown Oswego. In addition to fresh local produce, the market features meat, eggs, artisan cheeses, honey, pet goods, baked goods and specialty foods. Some vendors in recent years have included Marek’s Authentic Polish Food, Nuts to Go, The Olive Gallery and numerous others. The annual Oswego Spring Market is set from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Prairie Point Park, 4120 Plainfield Road, Oswego.

DeKalb Farmers Market

If you’re looking to pick up some fresh fruit and veggies during the week, check out the DeKalb Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays in downtown DeKalb’s Van Buer Plaza, on the corner of Second and Locust streets. More than 25 local vendors bring their fresh produce, bread, baked goods, coffee, honey and more. Take a break from the office and enjoy a weekday lunch from food trucks while listening to live music. The market runs from June through September.

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows is the editor of The Scene, Shaw Local News Network's entertainment section. The Scene is your go-to destination for all things fun in Northern Illinois. Prior to The Scene, Aimee was the editor of the Kane County Chronicle for five years, and a freelance reporter for Shaw Media for four years.