Fall Failures (Not of My Making)

November 5, 2012 at 10:16 am

I’m more than willing to stand up and admit my failings.  I’m just as willing to stand up and bemoan the failings of our eat local habitat.  By the time you read this, the amount of farmer’s markets in the Chicago area will have gone from over 80 to under 10 [Ed. plus or minus a few, depending on the week].  And as much as I love my winter markets, I know they offer a fraction of the produce available at outdoor farmer’s markets.  It seems that most of our farmers aren’t around by the time you read this, and that I find that loss a real failure on somebody’s part.

Who?  It’s interesting looking at the post I wanted to link to above where I’m hauling away mondo rutabaga and brussels sprouts, I reported on City of Chicago Farmer’s Markets open all the way through November.  In fact, that year, 2010, my wife worked cold mornings selling organic products for Tomato Mountain in Lincoln Square and Daley Plaza well into November.  It was only last year that Green City stayed open through December twice a week.  As our schedule shows, Chicago has really cut back on the late fall markets.  Has the eat local trend passed?

I made the incredibly long journey from Oak Park to Evanston today to see the last outdoor market of the year up there. All that was there, so much that was there, just confirmed for me that it is a total failure to stop most of our markets by now. Our area farms can offer us so much now, and we’re not even talking heavy storage crops or hoop house production. Much recently harvested.

As you can see from my pictures below. This market, like any fall market, can show a lot of food.

This time of year, we don’t even have to hit out roots. We still have the last remnants of summer. These were only some of the peppers out today. I’m kind of kicking myself for not buying tomatoes, but I have a lot already.


I cannot expect tomatoes and peppers that much longer no matter how many linger. I and all of us need to play the long game.  This fall market offered much that would make for easy cold storage.

What adds to my frustration at the failure to have more fall markets is that it’s not just puttin’ away stuff.

Plenty of plants do just fine in the cold including leeks and much of the cabbage family. This really is the season for cauliflower and it’s greener odder looking cousin, romesco. Kale and brussels sprouts taste much better from the chill in the air. Eat these now as you prepare for times of roots and squash.

I find it terribly disappointing the amount of fall markets left in the Chicago area. You can see, any failure in fall is not the result of slim pickings.  These are failures not of my making.