Home Town Markets in Season – Sponsored by Vera Chicago
Oak Park 2015, Now with Even More Local Family
Because we had more winter markets than ever, thank you especially, Logan Square and Evanston, the rolling out of farmer’s markets does not seem as notable. They’ve been here all along. And markets as far apart as Woodstock, Green City and Frankfort have already ignited a new season of eat local passion. Still, there are markets and there are our markets. Your hometown market or neighborhood market. The one where the farmer holds out the remaining tayberries just for you. Where you’v been having your knives sharpened for ages. Where there’s donuts.
This is a special year at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market. You can buy organic tomatoes, seasonal produce, and an array of farm-canned goods from the Condiment Queen at Tomato Mountain, and you can buy cheeses, butter, and ice cream from the Local Kid at Nordic Creamery. Then, there’s donuts. We all like our markets for different reasons. For me, Oak Park is not just the donuts, not just old thyme music, or even the family connections, its the continuity, the arrival of the same gang, the same sense of community, and the unfolding of the seasons in the same way that pervades the market each week. It’s not just the farmers I look forward to seeing again. It’s never the same sure, but it’s never different enough to make you forget where you are. What’s your home town market and what makes it special to you.
See below for some of the many markets now in season. Then, use our revised farmer’s market shopping tips to make the most of these outpost. If your home town market has not begun, there’s always these stores too. Our sponsors, Irv and Shelly, also can get you much local food. For additional markets and other things to do in the week’s ahead, see also Jeannie’s Local Calendar.
What’s In Season Now
Don’t be surprised if the market you visit this week is dominated by starter plants and storage apples. Not all farmers have hoop houses or the initiative to take an early start. On the other hand, there should be much in the way of green including lettuces, spinach and all that asparagus you’ve waited for all year. The items listed below are our best guesses as to what you’ll find, or what we think you should especially be looking for this time of year.
From the Ground
- Green garlic
- Spring onions/scallions
- Morel mushrooms
- The various things under the umbrella “Asian greens” like bok choi, bekena, Chinese broccoli, etc.
- Meats, poultry, lake fish
- Milk, cheese and other dairy
- Grains and breads
- Preserved and jarred products
Where to Find Local Food
In addition to the following markets, there are several stores in the Chicago area that focus on selling local foods.
Grocery store Treasure Island is putting together a couple of farmer’s markets, including this one with the rather interesting name, The Urban Islander’s Market at Treasure Island. They’ve brought some good stuff including black garlic from Wisconsin and greens grown in the Chicago suburbs. Wednesday from 3 PM to 8 PM - 2121 N. Clybourn Ave.
Not quite ready to bear the dogs, dirt and dozens at Green City? The market on Division Street is not too far in one direction and has some of the same vendors. Hijacking a busy street, it also feels very European (at least to us). Saturday from 7 AM to 1 PM Division St. & Dearborn Pkwy.
Have we mentioned donuts. Family ties? Well, what about one of the few area markets with locally tapped maple syrup? Jim the Vinegar Guy? Sadly, no Hazzard Free grains this year. Saturday May 9 from 8 AM to 1 PM - 6210 Dempster
A solid community market in a classic train-stop shopping district. Saturday from 7 AM to 1 PM – 15 Prairie Avenue, between Main & Garden
We’ve told you about this market on Saturdays, but they also meet on Tuesdays in the square 8 AM to 1 PM - Historic Woodstock Square
For some reason, a lot of the earliest Chicago area markets are in the south suburbs. We’ve pointed out Park Forest and Frankfort before. How about another one in that direction. Saturday from 8 AM to 1 PM - 2020 Chestnut Road
What’s In Season and Where to Find It – Sponsored by Vera 1023 W. Lake, Chicago