Mother Nature smiled on the Back Roads Market Saturday paving the way for hundreds of visitors to pick apples and berries, search for antiques, or just shop under sunny skies while social distancing.
Four businesses on the back roads near Mt. Morris—BerryView Orchard, Vintage Chicks and Feed, Funky Junk and Curb Finds, and Hough's Maple Lane Farm—welcomed a steady stream of visitors during the day-long event.
"We were glad to get out today," said a masked Dana Winterton of Rockford as she picked aronia berries at BerryView Orchard. "I think everybody had the same idea."
The store at the orchard had only two bags of pre-picked apples by mid-afternoon with a long line of customers patiently waiting for apple cider donuts as they were made in the food truck just outside the store.
In the orchard, the Gregg family from Hampshire was busy picking apples. Six-year-old Raelynn chomped on one of the Cortland apples she had just picked.
"It's very sweet," she said. "I never had a Cortland before."
The family's pup, Teddy, was ambitiously eyeing the apple as he sat next to Raelynn. "No, no," said Raelynn.
At Vintage Chicks and Feeds, on Illinois 72 east Leaf River, around 20 vendors offered local honey, soaps, antiques, vintage wares, and collectibles while at Funky Junk and Curb Finds, 6410 West Grove Road, Mt. Morris, refurbished furniture, vintage Christmas items, furniture, and just plain fun stuff greeted shoppers.
"You should have been here earlier," said Doreen White of Mt. Morris. "The whole yard was filled with stuff."
Lynette Hough of Hough’s Maple Lane Farms, 3788 North Mount Morris Road, Mt. Morris. was busy replenishing maple delicacies throughout the day.
"We have a lot of people come through," she said. "It's been busy."