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Dining, Shopping  & Exploring the Fox River Valley

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Fox Valley Farmers’ Markets

outdoor farmers' market
The French Market in Geneva - Photo by Yvonne Carpenter-Ross

Savor the sights, scents, and tastes of summer with a delightful exploration of the Farmers’ Markets in Geneva, Batavia, and St. Charles! These vibrant community hubs bring the bounty of the harvest straight to your table, offering fresh, local produce, handcrafted goods, and a warm atmosphere that celebrates the best of the Fox Valley!

Availability of Fresh Seafood and Vegetables

Having family on the west coast is at once both a blessing and a curse. The curse is the distance factor and the oftentimes painful process of connecting for the holidays. Or any other time for that matter! The blessing part is actually plural, since there are, except for the concern about earthquakes, numerous delights to be found there. (To be fair, family concerns in coming to the mid-west are tornadoes and snowstorms.) Having lived there, my favorite things were the always available fresh seafood and fresh vegetables.

Granted, we can get those things here at the local supermarkets and a few specialty stores. They are generally fairly good, but they have to be shipped here from somewhere else. Be it South America or somewhere else, even California, that takes time. And I don’t care what you say, they are never quite as good and certainly not as fresh as right out of the garden or right out of the ocean. Local is always best!

Farmers’ Markets / French Markets

I, for one, would not trade the Midwest’s changing seasons for anything. I do, however, really miss the fresh seafood and fresh vegetables, available all year long. In northern California, e.g., the Farmers Markets are available on a weekly basis for much of the year. They were always one of my favorite places when I lived on the coast.

So, I’ve always thought I had to suffer through the winter (and most of the summer), until my tiny garden started to produce some long-awaited bounty. For those of us who were previously ignorant (in a scientific sense, meaning ”without knowledge”), we can now rejoice!

Definitely Plan a Trip

If you were not aware of the local Farmers’ / French Markets available, raise your hands please. I’m just kidding of course. You don’t need to admit that you didn’t know. But whether you didn’t know or did know, and haven’t yet paid a visit, you should definitely plan a trip before time and the season once again run away from Old Man Winter.

I will shamelessly admit that I was unaware of this resource until this past weekend, when I discovered three of the many local markets available on a weekly basis that are all open to the public from roughly June through October. Each is available on a different day, so it is easy to attend one or more, depending on scheduling problems that you may encounter.

The Market in St. Charles

On Friday, I stopped to check the Market in St. Charles. Located adjacent to the Baker Memorial Methodist Church on the corner of Main Street (Route 64) and 4th Avenue, the Market was a smallish assembly of booths that occupied the majority of both sides of the street. But as they say, size does not matter. Here can be found a fine collection of freshly baked goods, cheeses, coffees, potted and cut flowers, vegetables, fruits, poultry, meat, eggs, and crafts.

The most important thing that I observed was that almost all of the signs on the vendors booths indicated that the products were herbicide and pesticide free, hormone free and organically grown. Many of the items were home grown right here in Kane County. Now that I like! The dates and times of the St. Charles Farmers’ Market can be found on our Fox Valley Event Calendar.

farmers' market stand
Batavia Farmers’ Market – Photo by Yvonne Carpenter-Ross

The Market in Batavia

Saturday morning, I decided to check the Farmers Market in Batavia and do a bit of comparison. Located at North River Street, between Wilson and State Street, the Market was similar to the one in St. Charles, but had fewer vendors and items available (at least on the day that I visited).

I did notice that there were a few of the same vendors that I saw in St. Charles and a few different ones as well. Perhaps the number of vendors in Batavia increases with the passing of summer as more fruits and vegetables ripen on local farms. The dates and times of the Batavia Farmers’ Market can be found on our Fox Valley Event Calendar.

vegetables at a farmers market
Vegetables at Geneva’s French Market – Photo by Yvonne Carpenter-Ross

The French Market in Geneva

Since I had visited the other two Markets, I decided that Sunday morning should necessarily involve a short trip to Geneva to see what the French Market there had to offer (why the difference in name, I am unsure, but I heard at least one vendor speaking French on a cell phone…). The Market in Geneva is located in the large parking lot just north of the Metra train station from June through October. Of course, this had to be the absolutely hottest day of the season so far – it was 94 degrees at 10:00am – but away we went.

Although the power seemed to be down on the east side of Third Street, the vendors in the Market on the west side seemed to be unaffected and were busily going about their work. Everyone by the way, even those just standing in one place, seemed to be perspiring profusely. Neither did anyone appear to be bothered by the heat.

Again there were a few of the same vendors that I had seen earlier in the weekend, but many were totally different. The Market in Geneva was about three times the size (30 or so vendors) of the one in Batavia and not quite twice the size of the St. Charles venue. Geneva seemed to be a bit more upscale, offering clothes items and more jewelry, as well as paintings and other artifacts, table linens, placemats, and sauces. There were lots of fresh produce items (onions, potatoes, peppers, potatoes, etc.) and there seemed to be more flower varieties available. Dates and times of the French Market can be found on our Fox Valley Event Calendar.


Something that I found to be noticeably absent from the other two Markets were samples. While it may not be necessary and is probably a matter of preference, marketing-wise, I like the idea of being able to sample something prior to making a purchase, especially if the item is food!

Everything looked very fresh, the vendors were all very nice (in spite of the weather, although it was still early in the morning), and we decided to sample a few items and purchase a few as well. We sampled some excellent peaches from Michigan (huge blueberries and other fresh fruit was there as well), some dipping sauces and bread, and purchased some egg rolls to munch on while we were there.

fresh baked breads
Freshly baked breads at the Farmers’ Market – Photo by Yvonne Carpenter-Ross


I purchased some Black Angus steaks, cheese, green beans and cherries from the St. Charles Market. From the Batavia Market, purchases included sweet corn, peaches, and beets. Long stem fresh roses (only $1 per stem!), French bread baguettes, croissants, and special spices to make a homemade dipping sauce were purchased from the Geneva Market.

The steak (from Schramer’s Black Angus farm in Maple Park) was tender and flavorful and one of the best I have had. The cherries (from Michigan) were some of the sweetest and juiciest, the beans (locally grown) were some of the most tender and flavorful. The corn (also locally grown) was to die for, the peaches (from Michigan) plump and tasty, and the bread (from Provence Imports in Wood Dale) fresh and crusty.

Prices a Tad Higher

In fact, everything was incredibly good. I will say that a few of the prices were a tad higher than I had expected. But they weren’t outrageous, and it was difficult to keep from making larger purchases. I tried to buy only what I needed at the time. After all, isn’t that why one visits such a Market? The dates and times of the Geneva Farmers’ Market can be found on our Fox Valley Event Calendar.

The bottom line is this: These markets are fun to attend, are a great idea and a great source of fresh food and other items, and certainly offer an excellent reason to get out and about and enjoy some more of what the Fox Valley has to offer!

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