Downtown farmers market to return

RANTOUL — The Rantoul Farmers Market makes its return to downtown Wednesday, July 18.

Jasmyne Boyce, a member of the market’s organizing committee, said the market will be held from 4-7 p.m. every other Wednesday until Oct. 24 in the vacant lot at the corner of Garrard Street and Congress Avenue.

Boyce said organizers (other committee members are Stephanie Beard and Kellie Wahl) have had good success recruiting vendors of produce and other items.

Ongoing recruitment
“We are still in the process of recruiting and will do that throughout the season to provide a variety so it’s not the same ones every week,” Boyce said. “We will have many returning vendors, we hope. ...”

She said three produce vendors had committed for the Rantoul market as of last week.

“With the weather as it has been, it’s hard to determine which (types of produce) we’ll have either thriving with the rain or scorching with the heat,” Boyce said.

In addition to produce sales, there will be vendors selling boutique items, custom-made jewelry and other items.

They are also actively recruiting food trucks.

The organizers have recruited vendors by attending other area farmers markets that also support Rantoul’s market such as Paxton’s and Urbana’s.

“Vendors actually recruit other vendors they know would be interested or others in the area we haven’t been made aware of,” Boyce said. “Word of mouth is a big thing with vendor recruitment. We rely heavily on reputation from previous markets — people who know the coordinators and the word just spreading.”

The brand is back
Boyce said the committee is excited that “the brand is coming back” and hopes the market grows through October.

“We look forward to providing the event and know locals look forward to getting fresh produce they can get in retail (stores).”

The owner of the lot is allowing use of the farmers market at no charge.

The farmers market is a true grassroots effort with no outside sponsorships. Boyce said the volunteers coordinating the market will use vendor fees to offset marketing costs.

She estimated each volunteer will put in 10-15 hours a month, with their primary focus being on vendor recruitment and communication.

Farmers market dates are July 18, Aug. 1, 15 and 29, Sept. 12 and 26 and Oct. 10 and 24.


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