EDWARDSVILLE — A summertime staple is set to open in Madison County this week and Chairman Kurt Prenzler is encouraging people to get out and enjoy it.

“The first farmers market of the year will open in Maryville Thursday night,” Prenzler said. “The Land of Goshen Community Market in Edwardsville and Alton Farmers’ and Artisians’ Market, open on Saturday. Bethalto Market in the Park opens Sunday.”

Prenzler said that last year COVID-19 delayed the start of farmers markets, so he’s excited to be getting back to shopping for fresh locally-grown produce, meat, cheese, eggs, honey, baked goods and other edible products

“Nothing tastes better than something that’s been grown or made by a local producer,” he said. “Farmers do a great job of producing crops for our communities. Plus, it’s supporting small business at its best.”

Prenzler said that the majority of the produce and other goods brought to the markets are by sustainable family farms.

“The University of Illinois Extension also does a lot to promote nutrition and wellness as well as support our local food systems and small farms,” Prenzler said. “It goes hand in hand with farmers markets.”

Prenzler said the county contributes annual funding to the extension office that serves Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties and offers a variety of programs at no cost. The extension office will offer an online class, “Sample the Season,” at noon, May 19, through its “Eat Fresh, Eat Local” series, which will discuss what kinds of fruits and vegetable to expect at the farmers market and explain how to prepare them for ways at the dinner table.

“Food is medicine,” Prenzler said. “The farmers markets offer an array of fruits and vegetables throughout the season to fill our nutrition prescription.”

Other classes being offered in the series include: “What to Expect at Farmers Market,” “Preserve like a Pro,” and “Storing your Bountiful Harvest.” Visit Illinois Extension for more information or to register online.

For more information on dates, times and locations of farmers markets throughout the county visit:

Land of Goshen Community Market

Alton Farmers’ and Artisans Market

Maryville Farmers' Market

Bethalto Market in the Park

Wood River Farmers’ Market

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