Community / News / May 8, 2008

Farmer’s market opens to poor weather

The Galesburg farmer’s market got off to a blustery start last Saturday as a few brave Knox students and other Galesburg residents fought the wind and took good-natured abuse from farmers for wearing flip flops on such a cold day.

The cold weather affected the abundance of shoppers as well as produce: though cold-hardy asparagus was in full supply, warmer-weather crops like tomatoes were less plentiful.

Despite the temperature, Cordelia Kaylegian of Cordy’s Country Kitchen on North Henderson likes working in Galesburg better than in markets in Chicago.

“People don’t question the price [in Chicago],” said Kaylegian. “People understand nature here.”

Kaylegian also lauded the eating habits of the Knox students who come to the farmer’s market, saying they preferred healthy, organic foods. Kaylegian uses certified naturally grown, homegrown wheat and rye to make the pies and loaves of bread she sells.

“Naturally grown [certification] is harder to get than organic,” she said. Kaylegian’s farm, which she has run since “before [us] kids were even born,” has three cows, some free-range chickens, and is inspected yearly to maintain its “naturally grown” status.

MaryLou Mitchel from M & M & m Farm also has an eye for sustainability.

“We grow sustainably…some of it is organic, but sweet corn and punkins, the varmints will get in,” said Mitchel. Mitchel’s stand specializes in birdhouses made from gourds she dries for a year and then paints.

Farmer Nan Toohey has been doing farmer’s markets for 20 years, two of them in Galesburg, and offered some encouragement for Knox community gardeners feeling discouraged by the harsh season.

“That’s how you learn,” Toohey said, “you remember better when you fail.”

Toohey was unfazed by the unseasonable cold, saying the chilly weather would make for a good crop of lettuce, peas, and onions later in the season.

“It’s sparse, but in a couple weeks, we’ll be fine,” said Toohey.

Deana Rutherford

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