Get up early next Saturday morning and check out the freshest weekly event in Edwardsville -- the Land of Goshen Community Market.
This is where savvy locals go from 7 a.m. until noon to buy some of the best vegetables and fruits in Madison County. The market is open throughout the growing season, so you have plenty of time between now and late October to enjoy the experience.
In addition to summer's best produce, many of Madison County's finest cooks bring their baked goods and canned items to the market site just south of the Madison County Courthouse.
Fresh flowers raised in local gardens are joined by homemade doggie treats, frozen lemonade slushes and the tastiest flax seed cookies ever baked (from Mills Apple Farm). These are just some of the items shoppers can snag at the weekly market.
Artists, like Jim and Christee Cook of Collinsville (pictured left) bring their works to display and sell at the market too. This week, your secret shopper (that's me) also found retro-style aprons just like Grandma used to wear, lunch and wine bags made from sturdy and attractive tapestry materials, canine couture (yes, scarves for dogs) and lovely hand-made pottery.
Friendly ladies demonstrate the ancient art of basket weaving at the market and you can buy the results. Another artist will create a watercolor version of your home, which would make a perfect closing gift for a new home owner. Precious stones are used in hand-crafted jewelry for sale on site.
You can have a chat with a Master Gardener or learn more about your own growing efforts from the University of Illinois extension office. Musicians sing on the courthouse steps during the morning with a heavy emphasis on blues, folk and bluegrass.
Be sure to stop at the Biver Farms tent. They supply organic produce to many of the finest restaurants in the St. Louis region, but you can get the same sharp and nutty arugula or tender squash for your own home gourmet concoctions.
If you live anywhere in or near Madison County, Illinois, come out to the market on Saturday. Bring your own shopping bags and plan to spend some time just enjoying the ambience. We'll all be waiting for you.