Food

Signs of Summer: Our Favorite Farmers Markets are Back in Business

You’d never know it’s spring with our daily changes in weather. Chilly rainy days, brisk winds and the occasional warm day don’t exactly say spring is here. Yet, we can always count on the arrival of our Chicago City Markets to get us over the winter blues.

The City of Chicago announced the official opening of all city markets last week in a kick-off program at Daley Plaza. This market is open every Thursday from 7am to 3pm at 50 W. Washington St.

Whether you’re looking for seasonal produce, fresh flowers, herbs, cheeses, baked goods, even specialty meats, you can find an abundance of choices at any one of the neighborhood markets. For many years now, these markets have become a gathering place for families, friends, chefs, and just about anyone who enjoys the camaraderie of area farmers and the sights and smells of goodness.

My favorite is the Division Street Market (on Division between State and Clark streets) that runs on Saturdays May 12–October 27. It’s charming, and over the years, I’ve come to know many of the vendors offering slices of fresh peaches, handfuls of berries or a taste of honey. This market is easy to navigate and once you know your vendors, you can be in and out swiftly. (Be sure to bring your shopping cart.) On the other hand, you can stroll, leisurely enjoying the experience. I’m excited for blueberry season, fresh corn on the cob and melons. And tomatoes. Always tomatoes.

The City of Chicago offers a comprehensive list of city markets so you can choose your favorite and pick the day you’d like to stock up. I hear the Sunday Wicker Park Farmers Market is excellent and the Thursday Hyde Park Farmers Market also. You’ll also find great markets in South Shore, Logan Square, Garfield Park, Jefferson Park and many other neighborhoods.  Go to City Markets on Facebook for updates and postings.

This year, I hope to branch out and explore some new neighborhoods while remaining loyal to my favorite. If you have a preferred market, let us know. Tell us why you like it and what delicious recipes you create from all the many treats.

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Photos by Cynthia Kallile.

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