Food

Winter at the Market: Root Root Root for the Farm Team

By Bob Benenson

American Pride Microfarm of suburban Naperville

You just have to step outside for a reminder that this is not peak growing season in Chicagoland. Yet a number of our region’s stalwart growers participate in the city’s handful of indoor farmers markets, which keep hope alive that spring is just around the corner.

Recently I visited Green City Market, held every other Saturday at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park through April 27. (The outdoor market a little farther south goes weekly the first week in May.)

Selection is, not surprisingly, limited, but there is still plenty to enjoy for veggie and fruit lovers. This is prime time for winter squash and root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, turnips and beets, which are harvested late into autumn and do well in storage. Apples picked late and held in climate control also are abundant; Joe’s Blues sells frozen blueberries year-round.

River Valley Ranch mushroom stand

Then there are food plants that are grown indoors all year, such as mushrooms and microgreens. I bought beautiful creminis from River Valley Ranch, my favorite mushroom vendor, and hand-cut arugula (along with Empire apples and a big old acorn squash) from Nichols Farm & Orchard, the region’s biggest diversified farm.

And if you’re not looking for produce, there is pasture-raised meat and eggs, baked goods, pickles and jams, honey, and amazing tofu products from the folks at Phoenix Bean.
 
The next Green City Indoor Market is Saturday, March 1.
 
Photo Credit: Bob Benenson
 
Bob Benenson is communications manager for FamilyFarmed, a Chicago nonprofit that helps farmers and food producers succeed by connecting them with buyers, sellers, investors and consumers. Bob is a resident foodie, accomplished photographer and former longtime political journalist. 

 

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