It's that time of year again: Main Street Market is roaring back to DownTown Park Forest, giving area residents fresh options to eat.
Victor Blackful, overseeing the event, said the Market is a great way to unite the community.
"This year, we hope to continue our 50th tradition with a wonderful selection of new and old vendors selling great food, crafts, and vegetables," Blackful said. "Not only does the market help support small local business people, but it also acts as a Saturday morning meeting place for residents to meet and shop."
Blackful said the Main Street Market, like others, has struggled to keep fresh produce because small farms were hit hard by the pandemic or have just gone out of business. However, he said Park Forest is fortunate to have three local produce vendors that grow in the area and sell excellent produce when in season.
"Last year, we also added a corn and watermelon vendor that came in July and August," Blackful said. "We are currently rebuilding our food vendors because two of our most popular vendors, Dori and All Out Smoke Pit, have opened storefronts in downtown Park Forest."
Blackful noted that in May, vendors sell plants for the garden, and craft vendors sell garden items. Produce arrives in mid-July, depending on the weather.
"Main Street Market Favorites like Flamin Hotties Chili, Ms. Marys Cookies, That's A Cake Pound Cake and Yard N Farm will return with new vendors selling everything from skin care products, jewelry, water, and produce," Blackful said.
Blackful said the Market offers a program that allows people to get the best bang for their buck. He said the SNAP/Double Bucks program is an excellent option for shoppers. If you receive SNAP benefits, you can use them at the Main Street Market, and also, with the Double Buck program, we can double your purchase up to $25. For example, if you spend $25 on your SNAP card, you'll receive an extra $25 free to use towards fruits and vegetables.
Blackful said the Cook County Senior Coupon Program is a significant part of our Market. Senior coupons usually are available at Village Hall in July. Additionally, there will be a couple of dates when Main Street Market will have live music, but those dates will be announced in the near future.
For more information about Main Street Market, read the newsletter every Friday at 7 a.m. People can sign up for it at the Market, which is open on Saturdays, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., May 6 through Oct. 28.