New Markets on the Local Calendar

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June 3, 2010 at 5:54 pm

As you have seen, the Local Beet’s been derelict in its duties to provide guidance on la vida locavore.  We hope you have not slumped off to Stanley’s on our account.  We just might have a market for you as we highlight some new ones around town.  And what to get; we mentioned a few weeks ago, that as the markets fill up we would no longer list all of the available produce.  Instead, we highlight a few things to look for at your market or local oriented store.  We will have lots of other stuff up soon to preserve our motto, “A practical approach to local eating.  In fact, speaking of preserving, we already have up a post on preserving rhubarb, and we will have some more preserving notes soon.  Still, what we want to get up now, is some information on new markets. 

SELECT NEW CHICAGO AREA MARKETS

Forest Park

With one of the best area markets next door in Oak Park, a competing market in Forest Park did not fare well.  So, instead of going head-on, a new group put together a new market for Forest Park on Friday evenings.  This market will offer a nice mix of organic produce, prepared foods and related items.  In fact if the existence of Dave the Knife Sharpener makes you think of the Logan Square market, then you’re right.  This market shares a lot of vendors with Logan Square including honey from Dennanne Farms, meats from Mint Creak Farm and Jake’s and breads from Crumb Bakery.  Something not at Logan Square that really has my eye is Co-Op Hot Sauces.  These are hot sauces made from peppers locally grown at Campbell Gardens in Humboldt Park. Proceeds from the sale of Co-Op Sauces go directly toward supporting Co-Op Image’s free youth arts center.  The market runs every other Friday, 3:30 pm – 7:30 pm at the Howard Mohr Community Center parking lot, 7640 Jackson Blvd., Forest Park from June 4 through October 22.  Follow them on Facebook.

Glenwood/Roger’s Park Sunday Market

We’ve been tracking this market for over a year, and we know some of the people involved with this market.  We know they’ve worked hard to make this one of the most prized markets in the area.  They want all their produce to be organic.  Pretty cool, no?  Amongst the special offerings, you should be able to find duck eggs sold by King’s Hill Farm.  The Glenwood Sunday Market is located at the intersection of Glenwood & Morse Avenue (1400W-6900N) in Rogers Park, conveniently located at the Morse “L” stop. It will run every Sunday, 9am -1pm, from June 6th through October 17th.

Even more farmer’s markets roll out this weekend, including the home of the market donut, Oak Park.  If fresh, hot donuts were not enough to lure you to the Village of Oak Park, it’s Go Green Day at the Market, with various initiatives and market add-ons including our good friends from Purple Asparagus.  Should not be too hard to find a market near you using our market locator

Morton Grove

This market started last week, but our Backyard Farmer, Brad Moldofsky, has been updating us on its progress for a while.  They’ve put together a sharp market out there.  A couple of things to note.  You may be able to buy Lifeway Kefir’s products all around, but is it not nicer to buy it from their hometown market?  On the other hand, it’s not that common to find Asian vegetables at our markets.  The Tibetan Farms at Morton Grove is changing that.  Saturdays, through October 16 at 8930 Golf, Morton Grove from 730 AM to 1230 PM.  More here.

Thursday Evenings, Lincoln Square

Our pining for evening markets is getting more and more sated.  Besides the Forest Park market mentioned above, another PM market is rolling out this summer in Lincoln Square.  A full list of vendors has not been announced, but it has been reported that most of the farmers there on Tuesday mornings will return on Thursday nights.  This should include the pastured pork we love from Crystal Nellis and her  C & D Farm.

Seguin Garden Market – Cicero

This is not the first try for this market in Cicero, associated with Seguin Services, a not-for-profit agency that provides services to disabled individuals, and we hope that this year the market reaches more people.  We don’t have good details yet on this market beyond the fact that we want to see them succeed.  Check back here soon for more details.

West Humboldt Park Farmers Market & Bazaar

We were pleased to see reporting from our friend Sharon “Happy Stomach” Bautista about this forthcoming market in the under-farmer’s marketed community of Humboldt Park.  The market happens on the the first Saturday of every month from 12 to 4pm through October at 3601 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago.

FARMER’S MARKET SHOPPING TIPS

Whether you are as new to farmer’s markets as these markets are to the area or wiley ol’ shoppers, you can benefit from our shopping tips below.

  • Yes, bring cash, but those who pay everything with a debit card or some less liquid have options too.  For instance, you may find individual vendors who take cards.  For instance my favorite Michigan stone fruit growers at the Oak Park Market, Hardin Farms, takes cards.  Nearly all farmers will take a check, especially if you make a substantial purchase.  Ask.  Now, the Logan Square Market has made it possible to charge all your purchases.  I am sure other markets will be doing the same.  Many markets, including several City of Chicago markets take LINK.
  • Know what’s in season (SEE BELOW).  Know also the adage, what grows together goes together.  When you go shopping, think complimentary flavors and dishes.  You can stretch that expensive box of local strawberries by baking them with local rhubarb. 
  • There is no more important piece of advice than this.  Farmer’s rarely want to bring anything home.  He or she that can make that offer for the rest of this, the remaining that, will get the best deal.  In almost all cases, the more you buy, the more you save.  It’s not the Casablanca souk.  You do not bargain down a bag of lettuce from 100 dollars to 50 cents, but as soon as you start buying more than a few of anything you can start wheelin’ and dealin’.
  • They’ll tell you to bring your own reusable market bags.  What about your reusable market containers.  Farmers will love you if you can dump their berries or whatnot in your own container.  They’ll love you almost as much if you bring their containers back the next week so they can re-use them.
  • Another way to get a bargain.  Take their yucky stuff off their hands.  If you plan on baking or something, do you need pristine fruit.  Many farmers already label “seconds”.  If you don’t see such, ask.
  • Something else really important to ask, keepability.  Some apples will last you all year.  Some are soft by next Tuesday.  Ask.  Same goes for onions or potatoes. 
  • Another way to save money.  Wait.  Do you know you can find tomatoes now at Chicago area farmer’s markets.  Grown indoors just for you.  And north of $4/lb too.  Wait a bit for normal tomato season, and you won’t spend as much.  OK< that’s easy.  The other thing to think about is not something several weeks (if not months) away, but something maybe just a week a way.  In other words, the first time something hits the market, it is often a lot more expensive than it will be the following weeks.  Buy the end of the season, it may be even cheaper.
  • Remember, farmer’s markets are not just for fruits and vegetables.  Around the Chicago area you can find pastured pork, grass-fed beef.  How ’bout spicy elk sticks, that too.  Butter, cheese, yogurt and more from the dairy aisles can be had.  Nuts for nuts, you can find ‘em local at the right time of year.  Robin Schirmer sez that the first vendors who sign up for any new market are bakers.  Expect them at your market.
  • One last thing (for now).  Cannot find those eggs.  Peak around.  Many farmers bring eggs to the market without the necessary licenses.  They just might be willing to lend you a dozen or sell you the cartons.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

By this time of year, we’ve had  asparagus and strawberries already.  What’s new?  Well, we are starting to see some tiny things arrive including baby carrots and beets, small turnips and various forms of peas.  Now, pea season is short but you mau think I can eat carrots and such for a long, long time.  You may, but you won’t be able to eat these kind.  Buy now.

 WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

WHAT ELSE TO DO

June 3

Growing Power Benefit – Chicago Cultural Center

June 13

Talk Slow – First Slow Food Chicago book club.  The topic is Slow Food: The Case for Taste by Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food. - 2:00 – 3:00 pm @ First Slice Café (4401 N. Ravenswood Ave.)  RSVP to sfchicagoevents {at} gmail(.)com

June 13 and June 27th

Latest pig butchering demo’s at Mado, starting at 1230 PM.  Details here.

June 23, July 28, and August 25

Farm dinners at Chicago Botanical Garden with City Provisions

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