By Larry Atseff | Photos by Victor Hilitski
Every Wednesday from June to the end of October in the Vallette/York business district at 105 E. Vallette, dozens of honest-to-goodness small – – and some large – farmers offer their fresh-picked fruits, vegetables, baked goods, cheeses, and other homemade delights. Eager residents fill the parking lots from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and drive back home, knowing they have helped themselves to delicious ingredients, produce, and other goods – while helping hard-working entrepreneurs.
Behind the scenes, Adam Krzemkowski has slowly but surely, grown the Elmhurst Farmers Market from seven farmers to 37 over the last ten years.
He said, “I screen all the farmers, using maps and coordinates to ensure they run real farms. One of my favorites is Spartan Gourmet Foods. This farmer grows his olives, processes them in Greece, and ships them here to the United States. He has a nice business going.”
He added, “Most farmers have just a few acres, but others, like Nichols Farm & Orchard in Marengo, have over 250 acres and do big business.”
In addition to running the Elmhurst Farmers Market, Krzemkowski also operates South Town Hot Dogs, so he understands what it is like to operate a small business. It is next to the Farmers Market and has been a family business for thirty years.
Local businesses like Gramex (Great American Exteriors) can also participate. “As far as I am concerned, this has turned out to be a win-win for everyone, including the local businesses, and I really enjoy it,” he said. ■