Aurora Farmers Market gets back to its roots

Shoppers check out the nearly 40 vendors who were at the Aurora Farmers Market Saturday in downtown Aurora, which opened for the 107th year.

Downtown Aurora looked eerily familiar Saturday morning as something old became new again with the opening of the 107th Aurora Farmers Market.

Organizers are calling this year’s version, “Back to the Roots” as the market returned to the downtown area where it was launched over a century ago.


“We have been using the site near the Metra stop, but there has been a lot of construction the past few years and going into this season, there was going to be a new configuration,” said Aurora’s special events manager Gina Moga. “There are about five groups planning to use space there this summer as it’s such a beautiful site, and so we decided to move the market back downtown.”

Saturday’s opening included a ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. along with remarks from Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin.


In the meantime, Farmers Market Manager Karla Thomas said it was business as usual.

“Aurora has been looking to promote the downtown more and all the businesses here have been really working together,” Thomas said. “With all the other community events in this location — it made sense to move the market back here. Hopefully people will visit the market and then shop at other places and eat at one of the many restaurants.”

Aurora's George Walker shows off a bag of produce he bought at the Aurora Farmers Market — the oldest in the state which returned for the 107th year.

Thomas said the market, which is now located at 65 Water Street, would feature nearly 40 vendors including 13 that are new.

“We used to have a lot more vendors but many of them were commercial, and we’ve gone to more local people,” she said.

Old favorites including the Theis Farm Market, Lopez Farms, Blue Freedom, Broadview Organic Farms, and Tom’s Organic returned along with Van Laar’s Fruit Farm from Capron, who are now in their second year..

Dick Schindel of Aurora, who was back with Dick’s Mini Donuts, said this was his 22nd year at the market.

“Having the donuts here is kind of a staple, and I hope people will find the new site inviting,” he said.

Visitors, Thomas said, would also enjoy kids’ activities, yoga and pound fitness classes, music and more this year.


Early shoppers admitted it would take some time to get used to the new space as well as parking, which some felt would be a problem.

“This is the first day so we’ll have to see how it goes,” said Mark Feltes of Montgomery. “I think it was a mistake to move this from the old location, but I know they are trying to promote the downtown but they need more stores. But the market offers a great value — it doesn’t really cost anymore because you never throw anything away.”

Aurora's special events manager Gina Moga (far left), Mike Nelson (center), also from special events, and Mayor Richard Irvin talk before a ribbon cutting held Saturday at the Aurora Farmers Market, which moved back to its original location in downtown Aurora this year.

Kate Williams and her boyfriend Jonathan Trevino, both from Aurora, said they usually visit the market once a month and look for things organic.

“I go a number of times every year and if I see any organic produce — I get it,” Williams said. “I think more are heading that way (organic) and I think it’s important to support local vendors.”

Trevino agreed that “more people are leaning towards organic” and said one of the advantages of supporting local farmers is “the integrity in the product.”

“While the prices may be higher at times — the quality is there,” he said.


Aurora’s George Walker was seen toting bags that included vegetables, fruits, and flowers. He said he also likes supporting local vendors and getting quality food.

“I think overall you get a decent value and I plan to feed my grandkids some of this so I wanted to get quality stuff,” he said. “When it comes to vegetables — one of them will eat anything.”

Meriah Quintanilla and her grandmother Sue Rahn of Aurora said they frequent the market often in search of everything from produce to, in Meriah’s case — breakfast.

“I got this breakfast sandwich from a vendor here and it’s delicious,” she said while biting into a huge wrap. “I’ve been coming here since I was little.”

“We love the community here and want to support local people,” Rahn added. “This is the first time here in this location so we’ll see how the parking goes.”

Newcomer Marc Bernard of Rustic Road Farm in Elburn said his organic farm “was looking to expand its base” and that the Aurora market “was a good fit for us.”


“There aren’t a lot of things here that are grown organic which is a plus for us,” he said.