Frequently Asked Questions
Getting to the Markets
+ Where and when are your markets?
+ How do I get to the market and where do I park my wheels?
You can drive, bike, walk, or take public transportation to all the Markets. To support sustainable practices and promote healthy living, we encourage people to walk and/or bike to the Markets. The Fox River Trail East is just across the street from the DOWNTOWN Market. Occasionally there is a FREE Bike Valet sponsored by All Spoked Up of Aurora. Check the Vendor Listing for actual dates of participation. If you are driving, Aurora’s Farmers Market offers FREE parking at all locations. The Metra Station/Aurora Transportation Center is the location of the Saturday DOWNTOWN Market. There is no need to purchase a parking ticket if you will only be parked during market hours. If you’re hanging around or traveling by train, it is best to follow the regulations posted in each Pay Kiosk. Aurora’s Farmers Market is not responsible for ticketing, towing or the loss or damage to vehicles, accessories or contents resulting from theft, fire, collision or any other cause whatsoever.
+ Aurora Transportation Lot - Overnight Parking
Aurora’s Farmers Market DOWNTOWN starts at 4:00 am Saturday morning. There is ample signage throughout the southwestern quadrants of the lot as well as the Pay Kiosks alerting to NO PARKING. If you park and are still there when vendors arrive your vehicle will be towed. If this happened to you please contact the Aurora Police Department to find where you vehicle has been re-located. Aurora’s Farmers Market is not responsible for ticketing, towing or the loss or damage to vehicles, accessories or contents resulting from theft, fire, collision or any other cause whatsoever.
+ What if I want to hop on the bus Gus?
We encourage you to GO GREEN and take advantage of mass transit. All markets are accessible by Pace Bus. Just visit the Pace Bus schedule page for more information.
What you need to know
+ Does Aurora’s Farmers Market provide access for persons with disabilities?
Yes, each market is accessible for persons with disabilities. Near-by parking is available at various spaces as available. Service animals are allowed on the grounds.
+ Are there restrooms available?
+ What happens if weather conditions become undesirable at Aurora’s Farmers market?
We do our best to control all weather conditions but every now and then a brief incident may occur (completely without our permission) and typical Aurora’s Farmers Market will go on… “r-word” or shine. If the weather forecast calls for the… “r-word”, please bring… “r-gear” and “r-umbrellas” to be proactive. Aurora’s Farmers Market does not reschedule due to inclement weather. However, due to the severity of the inclemency market hours may be delayed or canceled due to the weather conditions. This usually happens because someone said the “r-word”. So shhh...
+ Are our precious kiddos welcome at the market?
No need to ask! Kids are always welcome and their participation is highly encouraged. There is always a variety of free interactive activities available at Downtown Market, and often at the West Market. Please check each markets Schedule of Extras for exact details.
+ Can I bring my four-footed child? (A.K.A. D-O-G)
Well behaved, obedient, leashed canines and service dogs are welcome. We love our dogs too, but please, if they are not extremely well socialized, leave them at home. Plus on certain summer days, bare paws on hot pavement does not make Fido a happy pooch. We ask that dog owners abide by these rules to make a pet’s visit to the market a good experience for everyone:
- Dogs must be kept on a short leash.
- Dogs must be under control and by the owner’s side at all times.
- Keep dogs away from produce, plants, and other food products.
- Dogs must be friendly with other dogs and children to earn the right to be at the market.
- Be considerate—not everyone loves dogs and some customers are allergic.
- Don’t forget to clean up after your dog!
+ Is there a Lost and Found?
Yes, the Lost and Found is located during the market at the Information Booth. After the market has ended, you may inquire about lost items by contacting City of Aurora Special Events Department at 630-256-3370 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If an adult person is lost, contact the nearest police officer, assuming you want them returned.
+ Is there food to eat on site?
There’s always plenty of ready-to-eat items at the Downtown Market! In fact, it’s one of the best things to do on a Saturday morning. Grab a freshly-brewed coffee, a homemade empanada, a sweet treat, kick back, relax, enjoy the music, people watch, socialize...all is good in the world. The West Market also has a variety of tasty items, perfect for a quick lunch or a hearty snack. Please check each market's Vendor Listing for more specifics.
+ If I have a comment, suggestion or just want to express my uncontrollable jubilation, who can I talk to?
If you have comments, suggestions or overwhelming effervescent praise during the market, you may stop by the Information Booth and shower us with your praises. If you have deep concerns please fill out one of the Comment Cards available. We will do our best to address all issues in a timely manner. During the rest of the year, please let us know your thoughts at any time by emailing us at email@example.com
+ How do I become a vendor, sponsor, entertainer, or volunteer?
Shopping at the Market
+ Can I use my credit/debit card to shop at Aurora’s Farmers Market?
Yes … No … Probably? It all depends on the vendor, most of our vendors accept credit/debit cards, especially the larger businesses. Other smaller Mom and Pop vendors accept only moola, mintage, dinero, greenbacks, or your common everyday cold hard cash. It is best to come prepared. If you find yourself short on coinage at the West Market, and you can’t live without that loaf of sourdough, there is a nearby ATM in the Aurora Transportation Center.
+ Where does all of this amazing produce and products come from? Is it local?
We strive to ensure that all products sold by our farmers, vendors and artisans are locally-grown, locally-sourced or locally crafted. All food products for sale at Aurora’s Farmers Market must be prepared, baked, raised, grown, and sold by the vendors themselves or their employees, and must be produced within Aurora, the state of Illinois or from our Midwestern region. Our goal is to provide a healthy, local and vibrant mix of products to make the market a wonderful place to visit and shop. Additionally all produce is required to be labeled as to the city and state where it was grown. If you don’t see the sign just ask where this was grown. The variety of specialty crops grown in close proximity to Aurora continues to increase annually, however certain fruits and vegetables may be never be able near-by. Some produce grown in southern Illinois can be more than 300 miles away, while other items grown in near-by states is actually closer in proximity to Aurora. Don’t be put off by Indiana melons, Michigan cherries or Wisconsin potatoes. Talk to the farmers, ask questions and rest assured it is all “locally” produced. We are proud of the integrity of Aurora’s Farmers Market so if you have a concern please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Information Booth at the markets.
+ What should I know about making my grocery list?
Instead of making a list we encourage to shop with your senses and put together the components for several great meals. You may not get every item you’ll need, but you will be able to get the “Starring Ingredients” of a fabulous seasonal menu. Aurora’s Farmers Markets supports locally grown, fresh picked, in-season produce and the availability of products depends not only on the time of year, but also weather conditions and other variables of farming. To find out what seasonal produce may be available, check out this seasonal availability chart.(LINK) In addition to literally tons of produce, there will be breads, cheese, meat, baked goods, teas, coffee, soap, honey, jams, jellies, pickles, and much, much, more. If you need assistance just visit the Information booth and we can help you “Eat Fresh, Buy Local, and Be Well!”
+ Are all products at the market organic?
It all depends on the vendor. Just talk to the farmers and producers and become aware of the practices they use to grow/make your food. You may hear a variety of terms around the market about how the food was produced and the use of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. Head over to our Market Tips page for a glossary of growing practice terms.
+ How does “fresh produce” in area supermarkets compare to Farmers Market produce?
There are two significant differences:
- Farmers Market produce is the freshest available, often picked that very morning or the day before for best flavor, at the peak of ripeness, and maximum nutrient content. Because of the more complex distribution system used by supermarkets, produce must be picked earlier, often unripe or artificially ripened, and spend longer traveling before it reaches the consumer.
- Each hand involved in selling supermarket produce has to take a cut; therefore the farmer receives less in return for the product, making financial survival more difficult.
+ Are prices higher at the Farmers Market than the supermarket?
Not necessarily and most often no. The prices at the Farmers Market are comparable to the prices at nearby supermarkets. In fact, many customers tell us that the prices are much lower especially when you consider the quality of the produce. For instance, it is really hard to compare “apples to apples” based on freshness, nutrient content and quality. Apples at the Farmers Market are tree-ripened, nutrient packed powerhouses, picked fresh and sold within hours/days of harvest. It is common knowledge that most supermarket apples have been harvested under-ripe the year prior to sale and stored in gas filled, low temperature chambers to delay spoilage. Thus, how do you compare the price of a “year-old apple to a day-old apple?” Now, don’t even get me started on artificially ripened, waxed, radiated, or the long list of freak-show processes that other types of grocery store produce endures just to look pretty on the shelf longer. Lastly, supermarkets typically sell produce by the pound, which shows a lower price point on the signage. Conversely, Farmers Market produce is usually sold by the container, listing a higher price point on the signage. In reality the Farmers Market container price ends up being the best deal, almost always beating the price per pound option at the grocery store.
+ There was a vendor here last week I wanted to buy something from, this week I don’t see them.
While most of our vendors are full season, some are occasional or have limited availability and are unable to participate weekly. Please ask the market manager about a specific vendor, he may know when they are expected at the market again. You can also check out the vendor listings on each market page for contact information and schedules.