When it comes to visiting farmers markets with your mini foodies-in-training, sometimes bigger is not always better. If my toddler Isaiah is along for the fun, smaller ones are ideal, because there are less crowds to trample him and fewer decisions for me to make. I recently visited a trio of petite markets on the North Side that I would recommend for a family outing!
Located on southbound Glenwood Avenue between Morse and Lunt Avenues
9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sundays, June – October
This market has a funky Rogers Park feel and is nestled on Glenwood Avenue between a row of storefronts and the CTA Red Line. The location is fairly shaded and the layout and size make it easy to do a quick browse before you buy. The green beans from Hardin’s Family Farm had a cheerful color and looked much fresher than the ones I have seen at the grocery store lately. They ended up being so delicious that I had trouble not eating them all raw before cooking them in my cast iron skillet. When I go to a farmers market, I am all about the produce, because I can get prepared foods from a variety of places or better yet make them myself, but amazingly fresh produce in the city is truly something to behold, but just for a bit before devouring it.
Isaiah loved the Earth First Farms stand, because two school-aged boys, who were interns from the Genesis Project, showed him the produce that they helped grow! Isaiah sampled watermelon and smelled fresh greens, too. The hard part was getting Isaiah to leave this stand and his big boy buddies! I was finally able to tear him away, and we took a breather at the cute bleachers in front of the Heartland Café, a Rogers Park institution.
Lincoln and Leland Avenues
7 a.m.-1 p.m. on Tuesdays
4 p.m.-8 p.m. on Thursdays, June – October
These markets fit snugly into a parking lot right off of the CTA Brown Line Western “L” Station. There is a bit more room in the middle than the narrow Glenwood Market, so navigating with Isaiah in a stroller was easy. We picked up a mixed batch of hot peppers, juicy blackberries and tasty chicken from C & D Family Farms. Our cooler bag came in handy for the poultry. We visited on a Tuesday morning, but when I used to commute from downtown, the Thursday evening market was a great fit for grabbing farm fresh goodies on my way home from work.
On Berwyn between Clark and Ashland
May 10 to Aug. 30, 3 p.m.-8 p.m. on Wednesdays
Sept. 6 to Oct. 18, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. on Wednesdays
This market has a ton of yummy produce, including a good selection of organic options. A short walk down Berwyn Avenue can give you a view of everything. I break my produce focus for the tasty tofu from Phoenix Bean. Also, do not leave this market without a batch of apples from Hillside Orchards. Isaiah started calling the fruit “appie” a couple of weeks ago and last week he started saying “apple” like a pro just in time for us to savor an out-of-this-world batch from the farmers market together. I only wish that I had bought more! Look out for family-friendly performances at this market from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m. September through October.
You might think of farmers markets as part of the height of the summer months, but all three of these places will be going strong through the end of October. If you go, prepare for family fun plus farm fresh noshing!