Local farmers, community members and business owners gather at the Westown market


Steven Smith, tends to his stand during the market, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 at the Carbondale Farmers Market. (Isabel Miller | @IsabelMillerDE)

By Farrah Blaydes, Staff Reporter

For 43 years the market has met every Saturday from April through November in the Westown Centre parking lot.

“Most of [the university students] may not stay here for their working careers but while they’re here they help support the local economy,” Steven Smith, owner of Hollow Pumpkin Farm, said.

Smith’s farm has sold fruits and vegetables that change depending on the season at the farmers market for the past 41 years.


“In the summer I have squash, tomatoes, and peppers of all kind,” Smith said.

The farmers market is a weekly event that allows local farmers, musicians, craftsman and residents to support each other’s businesses located in or near the Carbondale area.

The vendors filled the Westown lot with tables and rows of tents full of vegetables, baked goods, artwork and fresh meat.  

Rex Aldridge, owner of Hubbard Farms sold different fruits and vegetables, such as blackberries, squash, Asian pears and plums.

“Mostly things that the other vendors don’t sell,” Aldridge said.

A few feet a another local artist was setting up her work as the crowd grew.

Joice Hesketh, a local harpist played music as community members shopped.


She enjoys playing the harp since it’s a healing instrument, Hesketh said.

Sarah Shoot, SIU alum and a local artist has participated in the market for six years. On Shoot’s table she held pastries she baked along with some of her artwork.

“I make mixed media artwork and I try to use a lot of reclaimed items in my work,” Sarah Shoot said.

The artwork on display was recycled tin earrings made from repurposed tin in Shoots barn, along with colorful photo cards and mixed fiber pins.

Among the vendors was Oma Gisi’s German Bakery located in Kinmundy, Illinois.

We have been coming to the market almost as long as we’ve been open, Stephanie Dorr, daughter of the bakery’s owner said.

Students help tremendously, Door said. It’s a lot cheaper to buy your groceries for the week here.

The Humane Society set up their tent at the end on the Westown parking lot where people could sign up to volunteer and donate to the establishment. Kasey Parker, a volunteer welcomed people to sign up.

The Humane Society meets at the market twice a month.

“We’re out here twice a month, fundraising, get out and about and showing the dogs,” Parker said.

The Westown Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. until November.

Staff reporter Farrah Blaydes can be reached at fblaydes@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @Farrah_Blaydes.

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