Farmers' Markets and CSA
- geg5150 May 12, 2008 07:38 PM
I'm moving to Chicago in July and I'm so excited!!!
I'm visiting this week to look at properties. I know that I'll be living in the city, but I'm not sure yet.
In anticipation, can you please give me some suggestions for the best farmers' markets in the city? I'm also interested in participating in a CSA, any suggestions there?
Thanks so much!
There are Farmers Markets in neighborhoods literally all over the city. They open this week and continue until Halloween. There are two Farmers Markets that, iMHO are head and shoulders over all the others:
The Green City Market in Lincoln Park (literally in the Park near the zoo). GCM is extensive. It includes bakeries, cheese makers, and meat purveyors as well as produce. More importantly, it is all from organic, sustainable local farms. Local chefs frequently do demonstrations there. GCM is twice a week -- Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 am - 1 pm.
The second top Farmers Market, again IMO, is outside the city in Evanston. It is on Saturdays only -- the same hours -- and it is not all organic, but it is the only Farmers market at which Henry's Farm, an excellent organic farm, sells.
I know less about the local CSAs because I prefer to choose my own produce each week, but there are many local hounds who can provide you with good information about them.
This link has lots of information on the farmer's markets in the Chicago area...
I regularly go to the Green City Market, the Lincoln Park Market on Armitage near Halstead and the Evanston Market. All usually offer a good selection, but if you need to drive there is an inexpensive parking garage right next to the Evanston Market.
The link in LabRat's post allows listings and limited details on markets in Chicago only, but the link for the Green City Market is one step up on the city web site: http://www.chicagogreencitymarket.org/
The markets in Evanston and Oak Park go back before 1980 and represent the best of close-in suburbs. I would rate the Green City (Wednesday and Saturday), Lincoln Park (Saturday) and Federal Plaza (Tuesday) as the best markets in the city proper. The weekend markets away from the city center range from tiny (two or three fruit and/or vegetable farmers) to small. There are simply too many weekend markets relative to the number of growers available. Outside the central business district through southern part of Lincoln Park, the Lincoln Square market on Tuesdays is the only substantive market.
There are loads of farmers' markets which other folks have pointed out - information can also be found on newspaper web sites and the city's web site. I don't know much about local CSAs (except that they exist), but I have signed on to get weekly deliveries of organic local produce from an outfit called Fresh Picks (www.freshpicks.com), which provides produce and other goodies from a variety of farms and dairies throughout the region. I think they are more convenient than traditional CSAs in that you order and pay on a weekly basis and can order a la carte in addition to or instead of just getting the weekly box, which they also offer.
Signed on for a CSA called Harvest Moon Farms (www.harvestmoon-farms.com) and am awaiting the first delivery in a couple of weeks. We went with the half subscription which was $450 for the season (now - Novemberish). (Full subscriptions are $695, I believe.)
Just after I'd paid for the seasonal subscription, I was told about Fresh Picks by a friend. I looked at their website and it looks like exactly what I need, given that my fiancee and I have very strange schedules and will probably not utilize all of the produce we'll receive. I guess our friends will benefit from our desire to eat more organic, local foods.
Today was the first day of the Farmers Market in Federal Plaza and when I swung by around one, they were having a hard time keeping the tents down. Very windy...
My best friend and her husband belong to Angelic Organics CSA, and I have been the recipient of numerous gifts of veggies over the past few years. http://www.angelicorganics.com/Press/...
They send out an email towards the end of the week listing the veggies to expect, and then drop off boxes at various locations throughout the city.
I'll second lulubelle on Angelic Organics for a CSA. They practice biodynamic farming to great success - their veggies are amazing! The owner of the farm is John Petersen, who is the subject of a popular documentary "The Real Dirt on Farmer John". Angelic has also developed the CSA Learning Center, which teaches folks how to be farmers and conducts several socially responsible programs. It's a perfect example of an organic farm/CSA that started out small and has made the most of its resources on several planes. I've been a member on and off for years - only because my particular drop-off is very difficult for me to get to.