Missing the farmers market?
The market was born out of a love for the Oak Park Farmers Market and a desire to bring a similar feeling to the community throughout the winter months.
“Market attendance has been slowly growing since the three test markets we did in the spring of 2018;” says Lissa Dysart, marketing director at Sugar Beet Food co-op.
The number of vendors has a low ceiling due to the size of the room, but the folks at Sugar Beet rotate some vendors in hopes of maintaining quality standards while keeping variety high as well. Attention to details like these are key in keeping the winter market appealing to locals according to Dysart.
“My goal was to have some type of carryover for the months when the Oak Park market isn’t in session;” says Dysart, “the farmers market here is such a beloved and long-lived powerhouse it seemed like we would be a community who could support something year round.”
Today the monthly indoor market typically features a mix of up to 14 vendors, selling food, produce, baked goods, body care, chocolate, honey, ceramics, woven items, and, more.
Katic bakery, a beloved vendor at the summer market, is a regular vendor at Sugar Beet and even takes pre-orders through their website for anyone looking for a specific Katic product. Customers must place orders by the Wednesday prior to the market date to guarantee items will be available for pick-up
Additionally, savvy market goers will clamor for John Bailey Honey, Sitka Salmon Shares, Paul Garcia Chocolates and hyper-local Knockout Pickles. Rotating vendors include J2K Capiro goat cheeses and Chestnut and Grace Gourmet Dog Foods among others.
Dysart indicates the overall response to the winter market has been positive with patrons braving ice and snow to support their local artisans and farmers. Happy regulars are emblematic of the Oak Park community and their desire to make meaningful connections with their local growers, makers and artisans.
“The vendors are great, and it’s developed a charming personality as an event,” says Dysart, “my hope for it would be to keep growing attendance and [we’d] be forced to add more dates per month due to its popularity!”