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Friendly and Fabulous Farmers Markets

FarmersMarketsThose of you who know me know that I’m not just all about the arts.  I’m also a staunch localvore, and for me it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Asparagus and strawberries are in season, and farmers markets are slowly beginning to come out of hibernation.

I’ve heard just about every excuse against shopping at farmers markets.  Here are some of my favorites:

1. Farmers markets are too expensive.  It’s true that sometimes food is more expensive at farmers markets, but if you buy seasonally it tends to be less expensive overall (since you aren’t paying for the gas to ship that avocado from Mexico). Here’s the thing about markets: you have the ability to negotiate your price.  If tomatoes are $3.00 a pound and you want to make sauce, offer them $1.00 a pound, but then buy 30 pounds (about 6 jars of sauce).  While the price is the price at the store, it never hurts to talk to a vendor about a mutually beneficial exchange.  Here’s another option: last summer instead of paying for vegetables, I worked for them.  For 11 farm hours, I received a CSA box for the whole summer.  Not a bad deal, if you ask me…

2. I receive financial assistance and have to shop at a major grocery store. No you don’t.  In fact, many markets accept LINK and WIC.  Here’s a list of all the farmers markets in IL accepting LINK.

3.  I don’t like carrying cash. Most markets have found some way to take plastic.  Either the market itself will take your payment and credit it back to the vendor, or the vendor will have Square or some other way.

4. There’s never a market when I need to go shopping.  Sorry, but, yes there is.  These are just a few of my favorites, but Chicago is bursting at the seams with markets, and this summer you’ll find fresh, local food in nearly every neighborhood (and lots of suburbs, too), and on every day of the week.

Farmers2

Becky Stark from Midnight Sun Farm at the Glenwood Sunday Market

Glenwood Sunday Market is my main squeeze when it comes to markets.  It runs Sundays, June 2 – October 27, 9-2pm in the Glenwood Arts Corridor of Rogers Park (on Glenwood between Morse and Lunt).  Don’t forget to buy sausages from Pete and cheese curds from Stamper Cheese.

Green City Market is “the fancy farmers market”.  If nothing else, you should visit it once to see what a massively successful market can look like.  Green City is Wednesdays and Sundays from 7am-1pm through Oct 26. It’s hard to miss, but head to the south end of Lincoln Park (near North and LaSalle).  Parking is available at Lincoln Park Zoo.

The Andersonville Farmers Market is totally worth the traffic jam during Wednesday rush hour. This tiny but thriving market meets on Berwyn between Clark and Ashland, June 5th-September 4th, 3-8pm and continues until October 16th closing an hour earlier.

Located on the Northwest Corner of the beautiful Portage Park, is a cute but growing market that just opened a few years ago.  It opens Sunday, June 2 from 10am-2pm on the Northwest corner of the park (near Central and Berteau).

With all those hipsters, why wouldn’t there be a fabulous farmers market in Logan Square? It opens this Sunday on Logan Boulevard between Milwaukee & Whipple through October 27th. The hours are 10:00am – 3:00pm, because hipsters sleep in on Sundays.

The Lincoln Square Famers Market, where the produce is as plentiful as the oom pah pahs at Octoberfest, runs Thursdays June 4-October 29 near the Western Brown Line station. Pick up your fruits and veg. from 7am – 1pm.

Willis Tower Plaza has a cute little market in the middle of business district-ville. I came across it a couple years ago while my students were running a 5K from UIC to the tower and back.  The peaches looked delicious.  Thursdays 7am-3pm, June 27 – Oct 31.

Division Street can be rough on a Friday night, but a few hours later it’s totally lovely.  Saturdays from May 18 – Oct 26 you can shop 7am – 1pm between State and Clark Streets.

For those of you who reside a little bit further north, many of the farmers and vendors you’ll find in the city markets also visit the Evanston Farmers Market.  In its 38th year, you’ll find this market at University Place and Oak Ave. on Saturdays 7:30am – 1pm through November 2.

… and those are just my haunts. Check out the whole list of City-sponsored markets here.

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About Lauren W

Lauren Warnecke is a Chicago-based dance writer, educator, and freelance dance professional. She holds degrees in Dance (BA, ’03) and Kinesiology (MS, ’09) and is currently a full-time Clinical Instructor for the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at UIC. Created in 2009 as a platform for dance-based discourse, Lauren owns and operates Art Intercepts, a dance blog and online resource actively promoting the use of evidence-based practices in dance training and performance with the goal to improve and elevate artistry, dance education, and dancer health. She is a contributing author/blogger at Dance Advantage, 4dancers, and the Huffington Post, and an arts contributor at The L Stop. Lauren freelances as a production/stage manager, choreographer, media relations specialist, and grant writer, for small arts organizations and is a Certified Personal Trainer. She is a master composter who likes to dig in the dirt and bake scones.

Discussion

One Response to “Friendly and Fabulous Farmers Markets”

  1. Hi pip,i love your photos.i raced the SJS this weekned in Gunnedah. i came 3rd in the swim . 5th on the bike and had a really bad run! i am racing again next weekned.i miss you guys hi uncle justin. good luck in your next race!i also loved your youtube video.lots of love baixxx

    Posted by Gagandeep | February 14, 2014, 6:50 am

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