Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

July 14, 2014

Farmers market frenzy underway

Partly Cloudy, afternoon showers or thunderstorms



When Clarence Unkraut retired, it was second nature for the lifelong farmer to keep turning up soil. The produce from his garden, from standard potatoes to deep purple cabbage and pearl white patty-pan squash, is for sale every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Effingham Farmers Market downtown.

“This is a full-time job a lot of the year,” said Unkraut, who lives just west of Effingham.

Unkraut reminisced about a time when he used to sell produce with his late wife at the old K Square Mall, before relocating with the farmers market to the Effingham County Courthouse Museum lawn.

“I like it because I still get to farm but on a mini-scale,” he said, adding he also sells tomatoes, red cabbage, collard greens, beats, onions and cucumbers at the stand.

Unkraut is especially proud of his onions this year, which weigh nearly a pound individually. After favorably warm and wet conditions through spring into early summer, he is optimistic that he can continue to produce quality products. His daughter, Peggy Valenti, helps sell the large variety of produce at the market.

Despite a torrential downpour early Saturday morning, a large crowd gathered at several booths as mid-morning provided slivers of sunlight. In addition to a variety of booths around the north side of the square, Don Ordner sold SChottman sweet corn, which has become well known throughout the area.

“I help the Schottmans sell their corn,” said Ordner. “Most of this truck load will be gone by the end of the day.”

Beecher City resident Wayne and Wanda Bushue bought some of the Pioneer Ambrosia sweet corn from Ordner during their first visit to the Effingham Farmers Market.

“We had a special invitation over here by our grandson,” said Wanda, who also purchased homemade pie crusts.

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