Hey, blogspot readers, let's go the farm! Actually, if you live in a big metropolis city like Chicago, the farm comes to you. From May until October at many locations around the city (including the downtown area), there's always a Farmer's Market site that's connecting local food growers with people with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, cheeses and more. SouthSide and her daughter spent a fun Sunday morning at a local Farmers Market site at Independence Park (located at Irving Park Rd and Hamlin) where they were also having a book swap, free Yoga class, hot rockin' bluegrass music (which anyone who plays an instrument could join in the jamboree) and free arts and craft for the kids. And this reviewer had plenty of time to browse, sample (believe it or not, SouthSide tried some tofu) and shop at the Market right before Da Bears won the game against St Louis Rams.
This Market basically had yummy treats to buy like real bangers (sausages to you Yanks) and back bacon (real bacon ...not the fatty stuff in the grocery store) from the Jolly Posh (http://www.spencerfoods.com) to honey sticks in a variety of flavors like chocolate, root beer and strawberry lemonade, delicious sweet corn (from Twin Garden Farms in Harvard, IL) and fresh mushrooms (from River Valley Kitchen in Burlington, WI - try their spicy spinach artichoke dip!). SouthSide does advise bringing your own reuseable shopping bag (or two) or a cart because on this day, there was good apple cider by the gallon (from Klug Orchards in Berrien Center, MI) being sold in which she did purchase a half gallon. Next time, she's buying two. This reviewer and her daughter browsed at other vendors that were there like the booth featuring all organic beef, pork and chicken by Grass Fed (SouthSide will be getting some steaks to sample at the next one) and try the Gouda cheese with nettles in it by Stamper Cheese as well as the yummy strawberry jam by Katydid Homemade Condiments. From St Rogers Abbey, SouthSide was told that the lemon tart was to die for but she's more of an apple tart girl (and yes, it was die for too). She highly suggests buying some bread and/or tarts from the sisters where all the proceeds from the sales go to finance the Chicago Soup Kitchen (located at Central and Race) and other services.
Yet, besides promoting people to eat more healthy and naturally, it's also about getting people to read more via the book swap or cleaning out the old and unwanted electronics cluttering around your home via the electronics recycling drive. This reviwer and her daughter donated a bag full of books generally not read anymore to the book swap in exchange for 6 gently used books (1 for this reviewer and 5 for her daughter). Books that weren't "sold" during this Farmers Market were donated to another great organization called Open Books (check out the location on 213 W. Institute Place near the Chicago Brown Line station), a nonprofit that supports literacy by operating as a bookstore with a wide range of books, comics, manga and more within rather reasonable prices. And for those who wanted a little exercise in between shopping, there was a mini yoga class and for the kids, arts and crafts making Japanese soot sprites in which SouthSide made a red one for her shy daughter. The non-food items sold at this Market was handmade soaps and lip balm and pet products like this water container that can be shared by both dog owner and dog. And for your musical enjoyment, there was a bluegrass group singing and playing lively songs that anyone who plays or sings could join in.
The next Famers Market at Independence Park will happen on Oct 14 and 28. Those will be the last market Sundays until next year, blogspot readers. Visit http://www.gipna.org for more information.
Until next time, support your local farmers market,