Farmer’s market brings fresh produce, faces to DeKalb


Milt Westlake, owner of, Norway Farms Produce, rearranges his produce at the DeKalb Farmer’s Market Thursday afternoon. Norway Farms has been selling their produce for 15 years at this farmer’s market.

By Mary Torres

DeKALB | At the farm stand for Theis Farm II, the ears of corn are marked with a large sign: “Picked This Morning.”

Every Thursday from June 3 to Sept. 25, DeKalb’s Van Buer Plaza fills with canopies shading an assortment of goods and people alike. From the typical produce of corn and peppers to the not so typical wares of cheeses, coffees and soaps, the market is something that offers wide variety.

The DeKalb Farmer’s Market has a broad appeal to its patrons, the most obvious being organic. Vendors know their products, and are proud of what they sell. Many things sold are home grown, often picked within 24 hours of selling, Barb Pondelic, of Theis Farm II, has been selling at the market since the beginning, and being a second-generation of the farm, grows nearly everything she sells.

“I smuggled them over the county line,” she joked.

Pondelic’s farm is located in Maple Park, located about 15 miles from DeKalb.

If it’s not an interest of produce that brings people to Van Buer Plaza, it’s the variety of other available products. Several vendors don’t just sell fruits and vegetables, but instead bring baked goods, flowers and even organic dog treats.

Rick Jones sells only one thing at the Farmer’s Market: cheese. Bringing an assortment of cheeses, he boasts everything from cheddar to brie, handing out samples of whatever might catch the eye. Jones knows everything about his cheeses, and he’s proud to share the knowledge with whoever is interested. The same goes for Christine Scarley, whose booth is full of colorful flowers, both cut and potted.

“I tell people how to keep the flowers longer,” Scarley said. “Color is what brings people.”

She may be right; Scarley said she sold many of her bouquets in the morning.

While construction has caused some issues for the market, there is still a steady flow of regulars and new customers alike.

“Parking is an issue,” Scarley said. “People used to just park on the street.”

With Locust under construction, parking is scarce near the Farmers Market.

“It’s been a great summer down here,” Pondelic said, “It’s been steady except for the past few weeks.”

The heat has also been an issue, Pondelic said.

With next summer’s outlook of ending construction, many vendors are planning to return for another season of the market in June.

“Students come here and are surprised you can buy just one ear of corn,” Pondelic said.

Prices are steady at the market; most items run under $5 a bushel and under a dollar for individual items. The prices run around the same as common grocery stores, but the vendors bring knowledge and fresh food.

The DeKalb Farmer’s Market runs from noon to 6 p.m. every Thursday until Sept. 25.