RIVERSIDE – Five inches of fresh powder on the ground wasn't enough to turn farmers market shoppers away in Riverside on Wednesday for the opening of the village's new Winter Market.
Located inside the warmth of the Riverside train station, shoppers milled around between the various seller's booths, which offered everything from sweets to fresh baked breads to pickles.
"It's been really good," said Carissa Katic of Katic Breads. "We didn't really know what to expect with the weather."
Wednesday's Winter Market was Katic's first time selling in Riverside, although she's sold her baguettes, focaccia and crossants at other nearby markets, including the La Grange Farmers Market.
Mike Fahey of Lou's Old Fashioned said that in addition to the support, it was nice to see some familiar faces again. Lou's Old Fashioned was a staple at the summer farmers market in Riverside and customers came out to get their pickled fix.
"Considering the weather it's been good," Fahey said. "Most of the people I've seen are shoppers during the summer. This market is very loyal."
Fahey said the winter months after the new year are always his slowest time. Lou's Old Fashioned does some selling at craft shows during the winter, but farmers markets are few and far between, he said.
"We hope next year [the Riverside Farmers Market] will go all year," said John Bailey, another returning vendor selling honey and beeswax candles, among other items. Bailey said he enjoys how organized the Riverside market is and reported good sales on his jars of preserves at the first Winter Market.
The sellers weren't the only ones to have traveled far and wide to get to the first market of the season. Friends Maureen Nolan and Marie Bartolotta traveled from Naperville to make the opening of the market.
"We've had a lot of fun," Nolan said. "We came all the way from Naperville to get bread [from Katic Breads]. The quality of it and the flavor is absolutely delicious. We did some shopping in town too."
The two plan to be regular shoppers at the winter market, taking the train from Naperville directly to its doors.
Ben Sells, village president, said that was exactly what he likes to hear when he stopped by the market.
"The bread I bought that's in my bag is still warm," Sells said with a smile. "We'd absolutely encourage our neighbors [in nearby towns] to come by too. It's a good chance to explore [the village]."
The Winter Market will run the first Wednesday of each month from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. until the regular farmers market season begins in June. The market will continue to be located in the Riverside train station and will add more vendors as the months progress, said volunteer Amy Jacksic.
"People have been excited we're back around," said Kate Coffey, a Riverside resident and the owner of Chocolate Twist. "Stop in for some hot chocolate and marshmallows. Those have been selling well. And it's good with a little whiskey, too."
Anything to take the sting out of the air.