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95th Street Farmers Market Vendor Story: Peep, Inc.

The 95th Street Farmers Market will be open for the summer of 2019 from June 6-September 26 (except for July 4). After a successful first season, we welcome back both returning and new vendors to expand the variety of home-grown and locally produced food and other items.

This is the second of several blog posts highlighting the vendors that make up the 95th Street Farmers Market.
One of our returning vendors is Peep, Inc. from Dixon, Illinois, featuring organic, pastured eggs and pork. Norm Koster, owner of Peep, is committed to organic farming and is happy to explain to customers the benefits both to our health and to the environment.  He also gives tours of the farm, which is a certified organic farm. 

Norm Koster at the Peep, Inc. stand at the 95th Street Farmers Market

Some of the cuts offered at the Peep stand include spare ribs, sausage, brats, bacon, ground pork and many other delicious meats for summer barbeques and picnics. 

The hogs and chickens at the Peep farm are outside every day. Not only do the animals forage on clover, alfalfa, and other grains in the fields, but their supplemental feed is pea protein rather than soybean protein, providing a healthy option for those who need to avoid soy products.
Peep, Inc. educates patrons about the difference between chickens raised as free-range and organic vs. caged.

Noting that more of his customers are vegetarians, Norm began growing food-grade organic yellow peas, and is happy to offer them as a plant protein source. 

Norm agreed that organic farming is difficult. He said that less than 1% of the local market is organic. However, the benefits are worth the effort. For example, he sees the difference in the health of the soil. “Typical Midwest farming practices result in compacted soil, while organic practices restore the soil to be porous and teaming with earthworms, as it should be.” 

Norm believes that healthy food is essential to a healthy life and that is part of what motivates him to continue with organic farming.
“I feel very fortunate.  I’m 67 but enjoy a high level of good health,” said Norm. “A healthy grandparent can do a better job of spoiling their grandchildren!  I am working harder than I ever worked before, but my passion is telling me this is the right thing to do. There are many setbacks with organic, but your conscience tells you that you are producing a product that benefits people and that helps you continue on.”
      Norm Koster, owner of Peep, Inc.

Visit the Peep, Inc. stand at the 95th Street Farmers Market on Thursdays from 3:00-7:00 p.m. from June 6-Sept. 26 (except July 4th). The Market is located at the 95th Street Library parking lot on Cedar Glade Drive and 95th Street.

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