River Market aims for more flow

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Annette Tuttle of Naturlich Products, stands in her booth at the Rockton River Market Wednesday. She was offering her soaps, beeswax candles and other products as the market kicked off along Hawick Street near Settlers Park.

ROCKTON — The Rockton River Market kicked off Wednesday from 3-7 p.m. by Old Settler’s Park on 200 E. Hawick St. along the village’s scenic riverfront. The new market will run each Wednesday for the next 26 weeks from May to the first week in October, according to Rockton Chamber President Dennis McCorkle.

The Rockton River Market has been approved by the Illinois Agricultural Department for its Illinois Fresh program to sell Illinois products. The market also has been listed on the Local Harvest community website which also supports locally grown produce, according to http://rocktonchamber.com.

Rockton River Market also will be partnering with the Village of Rockton and Farm and Fleet. During Old Settlers Days on June 5 and June 12, the Rockton River Market will move to the parking lot of Farm and Fleet.

“Rather than close the market down for two weeks, it gives Farm and Fleet exposure and increases our foot traffic at the market,” McCorkle said.

The market is also working with the store on joint advertising and the possible use of some canopy tents for vendors who need them. If the partnership goes well the market might get expanded to Farm and Fleet’s parking lot at other times.

McCorkle said there is still room to get a booth at the Rockton River Market. For more information on the market or to become a vendor people can call the Chamber at 815-624-7625 or visit its website at www.rocktonchamber.com or e-mail it at info@rocktonchamber.com to request an information packet, or call McCorkle at 815-742-0589.

McCorkle encouraged people to also follow the Rockton Chamber of Commerce on its Facebook page.

Later in the season, there are also plans to have live music at the Rockton River Market.

Shopping at farmer’s markets keep dollars circulating in the community, allows people to know where your their food comes from and ensures more of peoples’ money spent on foods goes to the farmer. The product doesn’t travel as far, therefore reducing carbon dioxide emission and packing materials, according to the website at www.agr.state.il.us.

Statistics show that consumers want locally grown produce for the health and well being of their families and to support the local economy. On average, produce travels 1,500 miles to the grocery store it is sold from. When spent locally, 32 cents more of every dollar stays in the community.

The largest obstacle is consumer awareness. The Illinois “Where Fresh Is” logo program will eliminate this issue and easily identify Illinois grown for the consumer.

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