The Market Report with Robin Schirmer

December 8, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Editor’s Note: Our friend Robin “Winter” Schirmer coordinates a series of winter markets around the Chicago area.  She had a highly successful market this weekend in Andersonville.  “Perhaps too many vendors and too many choices,” she fears.  She provides this report from the market.

Something for Everyone at Winter Farmers Markets!

The Winter Farmers Market at First Evangelical Free Church in Andersonville on Sunday (Dec. 6) was a big hit with the Andersonville community, hungry for the good stuff since their first-year outdoor market ended in early October.  Twenty-three vendors awaited the churchgoers who poured in after their morning service–including several vendors who were regulars at the Andersonville summer market.  Members of the Andersonville community as well as those from farther afield came from 12 to 3 when the market was open to the public.  An a la carte cafe provided by Zullo’s offered savory turnovers, pizza, salad, and fritattas in a wide array of flavors and combinations, and gave shoppers food for thought as they contemplated their purchases.  Dessert options were all around, including some of my favorites:  Salted Chocolate ice cream from Nice Cream, Maple Bacon Donuts from Glazed Chicago, and Cherry Soda Sorbet from Ruth & Phil’s.

The Winter Farmers Markets are grower/producer-only, and include artisan food-makers who source a significant amount of their ingredients from local growers.  In addition to those mentioned above, the vendors at this market were:

Brunkow Cheese ~ Wisconsin artisan cheeses

River Valley Kitchens ~ fresh mushrooms, sauces, salsas, dips, pickled veggies, and spreads

Videnovich Farms ~ fresh herbs and produce, hand-dyed yarns and knitted items, jellies and preserves

Windy City Harvest ~ fresh produce grown and harvested by adults in a transitional jobs program operated by Chicago Botanic Garden

Herbally Yours ~ infused vinegars, dried herbs and rubs, hot sauce

Hillside Orchards ~ fresh apples and chestnuts, preserves and sauces

Jeanette’s Patisserie ~ scones, flatbread pizzas, mini-quiches, brownies, and more

Tiny Greens ~ wheatgrass juice, tofu, sprouts and micro-greens

Seedling Fruit ~ apple cider and cider blends, dried fruits, preserves and fruit butters, and frozen blueberries

Fraternite Notre Dame ~ fruit tarts, baguettes, croissants, and holiday chocolates; proceeds support their daily soup kitchen in the Austin neighborhood

C&D Family Farms ~ pastured pork, grass-fed beef, free-range poultry and eggs

Kinkoona Farm ~ grass-fed lamb, wool-filled comforters and mattress toppers, sorghum and maple syrup

Tomato Mountain Farm ~ salsas, preserves, soup, Bloody Mary mix, tomato juice, pasta sauce, and whole roasted tomatoes

Whimsical Acres ~ alpaca and sock yarns, felting kits, goats milk soap

Natural Beauty by Margie ~ spa and beauty products made with homegrown herbs

Dennanne Farm ~ honey, candles, and soap

Highrise Baking Company ~ artisan breads and muffins

Jacqueline Vasan ~ products from Central Illinois, including natural tilapia and sweet basil vinaigrette from AquaRanch, milled flour from Ackerman Farm, cheese from Ropp Jersey Cheese, felted catnip balls from Happy Hoppers, and her own vanilla blends

Oak-Leyden Developmental Services ~ recycled denim shopping totes and purses made by adults with developmental disabilities

Winter Farmers Markets move around to congregations of different denominations all over the Chicago area.  Each market has a different setting and a different lineup of vendors, but we’ll always make an effort to have meat and poultry, cheese, fresh produce, baked goods, and a wide variety of pantry stock-up items, giftables, and yarns and fibers.

The markets began six years ago as a project of Churches’ Center for Land and People to provide additional venues for small farmers to sell their products beyond the growing season.  This year, CCLP is partnering with Faith In Place to bring a season of ten markets from November through March throughout the Chicago area.  There is no fee for vendors to participate, but Faith In Place administers a farm crisis fund to help farmers going through a rough time, which receives 10% of the farmers’ gross proceeds from each market.  The moveable feast continues after the holidays with a market in Deerfield at North Shore Unitarian Church on Sunday, January 10, from 10am to 2pm.  Follow the Local Beet’s Local Calendar for information on forthcoming markets. You can sign up there to receive email alerts in advance of each market, or email


One Comment

  1. Matty says:

       Jeanette’s Patisserie rocks! I love their brownies and cookies… Very De-Lish! Hope they open up a store soon… But ordering online is just as good. I go to the farmers markets every year.

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