PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — Strawberry season is here, and local farmers are gearing up.
According to Store Manager Bill Salsman, the family-owned Heritage Farmer’s Market in Pekin supports about 25 local vendors.
“It’s very important because, without local, you’re not going to have much, especially with organic and fresh-style foods,” Salsman said.
He said the recent frost hurt strawberry yields a little, bur farmers seem to be making up for it now.
Last year, Salsman said many farmers could not sell their harvest because in-person markets were canceled due to the pandemic.
“The weather played the biggest role on that, but along with COVID, the farmer’s markets that weren’t allowed to operate,” Salsman said. “Luckily, we were able to bring some of their stuff out here.”
This year, the fruit is back and selling out. One local grower said nothing compares to buying local produce.
“These are grown with love. Love does everything,” Lee Yaeck, Delavan grower, said. “We don’t force grow them, we don’t spray them, there’s no chemicals, there’s nothing. Just mother nature and honey bees.”
Heritage Farmer’s Market will sell strawberries daily until they run out, but Yaeck said the season will only last another week or two.