Someone once asked me why I like to go to farmers markets, to which I replied, “I like my beans to snap and not bend.” In other words, I like fresh produce.
Farmers markets to me, as a child, were the roadside stands where farmers would sell their produce. We used to look forward to going to Westchester yearly to get fresh corn from The Farm on 31st Street — which at the time was a stand in front of a large farm field, not a small stand in the parking lot of an office building.
The popularity of the roadside stands has evolved in to what we know of today as farmers markets. Now we can find a number of farmers, from the Midwest gathering to sell produce and much more.
Locally, we have the Riverside Farmers Market held on Wednesday afternoons, but did you know it was not the original market in Riverside? Many years ago a small market was held at the train station with only two or three vendors, each one selling something different.
It was successful but ended when the village board at the time did not support it any longer. The market was revived several years ago and was held on Burlington Street until it grew moved to its present location near the library. Shoppers will notice that produce is not all that is being sold. There is pizza, bakery, soup, sandwiches, honey, candy, plants, flowers and much more. You can shop and bring home dinner.
Brookfield has a large market on Saturday mornings next to their village hall. A large assortment of produce and items are available there also. You can shop and bring home lunch, which is available from several vendors.
The best buy is the Mirai corn, which is so good you don’t even have to cook it. Which brings to mind, what is the correct way to eat corn on the cob, in rows or going round?
Looking farther afield, you can head to Oak Park on Saturday mornings for their market, which is held on Lake Street near Oak Park High School. A best bet there are the doughnuts made fresh each week by local charitable organizations. They are worth getting up early for.
Most markets run into October when apples and cider are at their best and they are delicious with that just picked aroma and taste, and you will be guaranteed that the beans you buy will snap and not bend.