Green City Market!
I mostly curse this unusual round of Indian summer. I worry about our stores of apples, and I need the fruit flies to die off. It was, however, a glorious day to visit an operating farmer’s market in Chicago. Still, more than a few vendors at Chicago’s Green City Market told me it was a very slow day. Was the city sleeping it off?
It may have been the (very happy) day after Election Day, but glimmers of summer remained at Green City. Three vendors sold red, healthy looking tomatoes. I bought from two. Farmer Vicki’s Genesis Growers had big piles of bell peppers, red too. She also had plump, healthy eggplants. I got some of each. This was also a market for the exotic, the speciality, the rarity, the find. There was Oriana, the Papple Lady, with that one thing I have yearned to try. The only local tropical fruit. The paw paw. What better way to celebrate than with a paw paw or two. I do have to warn that, fully aware of market conditions, Oriana offers these at $10/lb. I may have been happy but I was not delirious. I got two. Oriana also has another true treat of our region, the black walnut. I passed today with the idea I would buy on a day when my paw paws did not eat away at my budget. I also skipped on the American chestnuts from Hillside Orchards, but that’s another one on my shopping list.
I cannot give up on summer stuff, but I also know that fall frosts deliver their own kind of flavor reward. I passed on brussels sprouts as we have plenty in-house, but I got a big head of kale from Nichol’s. As Chad Nichols said a few weeks ago, “kale only tastes good after a hard frost.” I’m testing that. I’m testing that Melrose peppers can still taste good after their harvest. I have no doubt that Oriana’s papples I bought taste good. My last purchases, more mundane, oregano from Vicki and shallots from Nichols.
Whether you are a dedicated locavore or someone who just likes to eat well, you will be well served by the very much operating Green City Market. If the things I’ve listed were not enough to get you a-shoppin’, know that markets to come, at the fringes of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum at Fullerton and Lake Shore Drive, will have much to munch: potatoes (sweet and white), apples, winter squash, beets, carrots, sunchokes, hot peppers, lamb, egg, poultry, leeks, onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, celery, herbs, etc., etc., etc. More? Local Beet contributor Melissa Graham will be giving a demo this Saturday, November 8.
Later today, I shall get my first box of our fall CSA. You may not be shopping the market, but you may be getting a fall CSA. My box this week includes parsley root; a great double duty veg from Vicki. The tops are, well parsley, the most versatile of herbs; the bottoms store well and can be used a variety of ways including any root veg recipe and surely, for stock. The box will also include another double duty one, turnips and their greens. Again, there’s something here that will last, the turnips, and something to eat now, the greens. I expect a few other treats like sweet potatoes, apples and collard greens. Much food for celebration.
If you are getting a fall CSA, what’s in it? No fall CSA, take advantage of Green City. Also, do not forget that there are two winter markets this weekend.