September 11, 2012 at 11:58 am


Readers! Stay tuned to this space this week, as we dedicate some much-deserved space to our friend, Janine MacLachlan, who methodically researched and authored Farmers’ Markets of the Heartland. Janine, who writes a food blog at, is a dedicated supporter of our local farmers’ markets, and a former board member of Slow Food Chicago. She wrote this book as a “love letter” to the farmers’ markets in her home base in the Midwest. (Janine splits her time between Chicago and Fennville, Michigan.) Janine will be signing her book this Saturday, September 15 at the Green City Market, from 9:30 am to 12 pm. (The Green City Market is located at the South end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton.)

More than just a guide to farmers’ markets from Missouri to Michigan, Janine’s book gives poetic due to our region’s farmers, and features, among others, local favorites like the Cleverdons of Kinnikinnick Farm, Peter Klein from Seedling, and Mick Klug of Mick Klug Farm. (The Green City Market is prominently featured.) Farmers’ Markets of the Heartland details the history and evolution of modern farming in the Midwest, provides expert tips for shopping at the markets, and seasonal recipes from locavore chefs like Bruce Sherman of North Pond in Chicago. (See The Local Beet’s review of her book here.)

To kick off Janine’s book signing, we’re giving away an autographed copy of Farmers’ Markets of the Heartland. To enter, all you have to do is post in the comments about your favorite farmers’ market, and tell us why it’s your favorite. We’ll choose the response we like best (or at random). Comments will be closed at the end of the day on Sunday. Winners will be announced on Monday. Good luck!

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WINNER ANNOUNCED!!  For her heartfelt tribute to her local farmers’ market, the lucky winner of our contest is Sarah Glover! Thanks all for playing — there were many great entries. Keep marketeering!



  1. Natasha says:

    Right now, my favorite is the market at Chicago’s Daley Plaza, on Thursdays. I know two of the farmers who sell there reasonably well (for a customer) and I know a few more a little bit. There’s often some sort of experimental vendor there (After School Matters comes to mind) that I probably want to support. It’s incredibly transit accessible, even if I have my two-wheeled grocery cart with me, and I can walk to it on nice days. The cart means I can buy whole crates of peaches (and have, for the last two years), pounds and pounds of blueberries, mounds of corn and everything in between very easily. I don’t in any way need a car to get there, which is excellent.

    All in all, the best market for me.

  2. Cyndi Kramer says:

    I’m probably biased because I am the market master but I see my loyal group of vendors every week (twice a week)who live and breathe the code of “eat local”. They are friendly, answer questions, hand out recipes and samples and all in all just make the whole market experience about as positive as it can be. The Harbor Springs Farmers Market in Northern Michigan rocks!

  3. Sarah Glover says:

    Farmers markets have a special place in my heart (and my tummy!). As a little I remember (slightly foggy because it was an early wake up call) accompanying my mom
    To the predawn journey to our farmers market. Brisk summer air and food that I could touch and taste. I knew going to the market meant a yummy bbq dinner, pcinics at the zoo, and salads filled with colors for our family meals. I think this is why Farmers Markets have become my own family’s tradition. There is so much to learn from this one event. It’s such a great mix of education from nutrition to respect for the earth to creating community, these are all things I want to grow more in an want my kids to have that same respect for the human relationships with eachother and earth that sustains us on this planet. So, we’ve visited framers makers throughout the region and have many favorites. Nothing however beats being close to home. I have been so thankful for Burr Ridge Farmers Market becoming my own areas community gathering. I think it is my favorite farmers maker because it is my childten’s favorite. Which says a lot because with a kid who has allergies and food phobias from severe allergic reactions and a 2 yo who loves parties and socializing, thre haven’t been many markets they’ve enjoyed. The vendors have time to chat about the food, display a team work effort during clean up that my kids love to witness, and always have a great story about how they started their business. Priceless lessons for us! We appreciate the kid events and the yummy lunch that we can buy and eat at the nature walk behind the mall, in the covered tent, or Picinic at the bubbling fountain! It has become the go-to place to get our groceries and meet our mom friends do we hold eachother account bake for buying local fresh food. There is so much to say about all the great options in such a tiny space. We love the Birr Ridge Farmers market right off of 1-55 and 294.

  4. carlene says:

    my favorite farmer’s market is Evanston’s; not too big and unwieldy, but big enough to have just about everything I’d want or need, easy access and positive, friendly vendors. I’m hungry now.

  5. Julie says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE local fresh produce, gardens and farmers markets ;)

  6. Carolann says:

    While small in comparison to most Farmer’s Markets the Village of Bartlett’s is in the heart of our little town. If you live too far for a walk there, public parking is plentiful. The vendor’s products are fresh & nicely displayed & the vendors are friendly & happy to chat about their products.
    You can grab a delicious hot dog right at the Market or walk across the street for a grass-fed, all natural beef burger at the 2 Toots Grille (directly across from the Bartlett train station).
    There is also a nice ice-cream parlor w/in walking distance of the Market in an old Victorian house where you can browse a quaint gift shop or walk out in back to the Antique barn.

  7. Jeanne says:

    I’d love to read your book, Janine!

  8. Jan Bell says:

    Love, love, love Farmers’ Markets to be able to buy fresh produce!

  9. Jeannie Boutelle says:

    I realize I don’t count in the contest since I post here but I did have to weigh in. For me I love the Green City Market because of the sense of connection and community. I may not know someone’s name but I know their face and I know the food is grown with care and a sense of consciousness. Since I have been working for some of the farmers, it is that helpful push when I am carting produce to the stand or that hug when I look stressed or that friendly good morning at 5am. The best part is the connection to the customers, we know their kids, we know their dogs and they know our faces and love our products and miss us when we aren’t there. I think in most businesses you just don’t see that. Plus, the ready to go foods you can buy there are really good as well!!!!!!

  10. My favorite farmers market is Palos Heights, Il. I love the Lavender plants and art work I get there. I also love the manager Donna, who is also a chef. She is informative and welcoming. The falafil sandwiches are not to miss, its a great farmers market!

  11. Kate D. says:

    My favorite farmers market is in Saratoga Springs NY farmers market. Not only do they carry fresh veggies and fruits, but they also have local cheeses, flowers, plants, beef, wine, baked goods. It has grown every year and just gets better and better.

  12. Jenn Miller says:

    The Loyola University Chicago Farmer’s Market is my favorite! All local growers, organic produce from Loyola’s own farm, and the wonderful people of Roger’s Park!

  13. Julie M. says:

    Janine – I have been a fan of yours, for years and love your recipes and insights as they are right on!!! I was so taken by the great review of your book I have ordered one for myself and a friend and look forward to purusing through it and then going off on market adventures.
    I so love Evanston Farmers market, especially Barb Englesen of Kinnikinick Farms here in Illinois who emails me weekly with what she has, also Henry — of ‘Henry’s Farm’ and Theresa Brockman and her blogs, weekly updates who are also there in Evanston!

  14. DJ says:

    Love my local Farmer’s market because it is so stress free shopping. There are no carts to hassle with or displays to play tug of war with and there are no crabby people. It is the way shopping should be…!

  15. Jenna B. says:

    I’ve been to a few spectacular farmers markets in other states but my favorite one is my local Riverside Arts Market in Jacksonville Florida. This venue is open year round on Saturdays and promotes going local in all areas. There are many choices for local produce, cheese, honey, and herbs. But there are also wonderful local artists and craftsmen/women, food vendors and musicians. It’s the kind of place you can go to every week and never get tired of. I usually have a moment, where I’m eating a Bhan Mi from my favorite food stand, listening to some live music, enjoying the breeze off the St. Johns River and think, I’m so glad this is where I live. That to me, is a good farmers market.

  16. Diane S. says:

    There are two farmers markets at the top of my list. The Brookfield Farmers Market is only a few years old, iis smaller, quick to navigate has all the basics plus some handmade items and has a sense of community…I see friends and neighbors, the library and other community groups man booths. Then, Oak Park Farmers Market is the grand daddy, maybe 30 years old and very, very well stocked. It is crowded and you need time to get parked and walk through but it is worth it, and don’t miss the freshly made donuts sold by a different not for profit each Saturday morning.

  17. Mike S. says:

    We love the Green City Market! So many options, and all the vendors are very helpful and knowledgeable. They’ve always had everything we were looking for, and some.

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