3 family-friendly farmers markets to try

When you think September, you might not think to hit up your local farmers market for fresh food. But September is actually the perfect month (at least here in the Midwest) to get hand-picked local produce. Besides getting your fix of kale, mushrooms, leeks, broccoli and the start of apple season, farmers markets also offer lots of fun for kids, too.

They sure beat the grocery store! Here are a few you’ll like:

Lincoln Square/Ravenswood Farmers Market

Sept. 3 and 24, 4-8 p.m., municipal parking lot at the intersection of North Lincoln and west Leland Avenue. (Adjacent to the CTA Western Station.)

Besides stocking up on fresh produce from Mick Klug’s Farm or local cheese from the Stamper Cheese Company, kids make their own jump rope courtesy of the Chicago Waldorf School. Kids pick out the colored strings, create the rope and then jump around the market to their heart’s content. Plus, look for a caricature artist at the market, courtesy of Weiss Hospital. She’ll draw your kiddo’s picture — for free!

Andersonville Farmers Market

Every Wednesday Sept. 9-Oct. 14, 3-7 p.m., Berwyn between Clark and Ashland.

Andersonville has a bevy of kid-friendly activities, and the local farmers market is no exception. Each of the fall markets offers bands that range from folk music to acoustic rock and blues. Two of my favorite farmers market finds, Karl’s Craft Soups and Katherine Anne Confections, make regular appearances here.

Portage Park Farmers Market.

Sept. 20 and Oct. 4, near the intersection of Berteau and Central.

This market on the far northwest side boasts beautiful grounds. The Sept. 20 market features Kent Rose folk music, Chicago Animal Control offering pet adoption, and a face painter. In addition, it offers opportunities for kids 12-18 to get their community service hours filled by doing booth duty, greeting guests, handing out flyers and posting No Parking signs. Plus, the market accepts Illinois Link Card SNAP benefits to provide access to fresh food to all families.

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