Lincolnshire market gets mixed reviews
Bruce Everly Sr. expounds on the virtures of his chemical free heirloom tomatoes. The Lincolnshire Farmers Market heads toward the end of its season Sept. 20. | Joe Cyganowski~ For Sun Times Media
What: Lincolnshire Farmers Market
When: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. alternate Thursdays (next is Sept. 13) through Sept. 20.
Where: Lincolnshire Corporate Center parking lot, 300 Knightsbridge Parkway
Updated: September 11, 2012 8:50AM
LINCOLNSHIRE — At the Lincolnshire Farmers Market, Ethan Heil of Chicago-based The Cheese People sells to between 10 and 15 people every other Thursday when the market is open.
While it’s not a boon for his business, it’s a respectable turnout for a first-time market nestled in the parking lot of the Lincolnshire Corporate Center, he said.
A few booths down, the market’s lone farmer, Randy Book of Providence Farms in Belvidere, isn’t sure he’ll return next year. Because the market is every other week from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., it has been hard to draw customers consistently, he said.
“We’ve encountered some obstacles,” Book said. “At the beginning of the summer, a lot of people (working in the corporate center) were on vacation, and then we had that 100-degree weather, and no one wanted to come.”
For Lincolnshire’s new market this year, it’s been a mixed bag, organizers said. While a number of the business center’s employees are enjoying the market, it’s not pulling in as many residents from the area as hoped. Also, the market’s every-other-week schedule isn’t helping its success, some said. Still, for a revival foray into a farmers market, it’s a respectable turnout, according to organizers.
Aaron Kinney, of Harvard-based Twin Garden Farms, who organized the Lincolnshire market, said between 100 and 150 people have consistently been coming to the market, located at 300 Knightsbridge Parkway. While it’s not a bad showing, it’s not what he’d like. A good market draws about 1,500 a week and a great market pulls in about 10,000, he said.
Kinney had hoped for a larger turn out based on a one-day Farmers Market event last October, which drew about 800 people to the business center.
The market’s greatest obstacle is that it’s biweekly, he said. When the market comes back next year, he hopes to ensure it’s weekly — every Thursday — for a more consistent turnout.
The other problem is that while employees have taken to the market, few residents from the surrounding areas have done so, he said.
Kinney added that what makes a great farmers market is a variety of vendors, especially among farmers — and community support.
For instance, in Kenosha, more than 30 farmers sell at a farmers market, while at Woodstock, about 20 farmers participate, not counting other vendors, he said. With a variety of farmers, competition increases and prices are typically better.
“When you have something like 20 farmers, you’d better bring your A-game,” Kinney said.
As for the business park, the farmers market has been a great success, said Chuck Lamphere, president chief executive officer of Van Vlissingen and Co., a Lincolnshire-based real estate brokerage firm that manages the business center. The center wanted the market as an amenity for the businesses’ employees. By bringing in a fun event, it’s more likely that tenants will stay instead of leaving for another space, Lamphere said.
“For us, its been above expectations,” Lamphere said. “Over the months, it’s gotten much better, and now there’s a reasonable turnout.”