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Evanston Farmers Market
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  • Post #331 - December 14th, 2020, 5:27 pm
    Post #331 - December 14th, 2020, 5:27 pm Post #331 - December 14th, 2020, 5:27 pm
    Hi- Henry's sister sent out the email about what Henry is bringing to Evanston this Sunday if anybody wants to order anything. Most of the stuff you have to purchase five pounds worth, and a lot of the stuff he is bringing he is out of already. He is out of chinese cabbage, carrots, radishes, beets, and garlic braids. He does have some more cornmeal in case anybody was not able to get any last time. The cornmeal went really quick last time. It is going to be the same set up as it was last month where you drive to University Drive, and you then wait in line, and you give Henry a slip of paper with your name on it, and you then prop open your trunk, and one of his helpers puts your purchase in your trunk. It only took me five minutes to wait in line and then get my veggies. He is going to be there from 12:00-2:00 this Sunday. I am only getting some more garlic and some cornmeal. I love his black garlic, but I don't know if it is worth $15 to me.
  • Post #332 - December 14th, 2020, 9:36 pm
    Post #332 - December 14th, 2020, 9:36 pm Post #332 - December 14th, 2020, 9:36 pm
    Here’s the order form:

    Not much left, but if you’re a rutabaga fiend oh boy are you in luck.
  • Post #333 - December 15th, 2020, 1:45 am
    Post #333 - December 15th, 2020, 1:45 am Post #333 - December 15th, 2020, 1:45 am
    I just checked, and Henry still has lots of turnips and garlic left. I love his Japanese turnips, and he still has four packages of corn meal left, which I am surprised about, and he has some rutabaga, sunchokes, and burdock left.
  • Post #334 - December 16th, 2020, 12:23 pm
    Post #334 - December 16th, 2020, 12:23 pm Post #334 - December 16th, 2020, 12:23 pm
    I just checked, and Henry still has lots of turnips left as well as burdock and sunchokes. He also has lots of garlic as well as black garlic. You have to submit your order by midnight tonight, and then pick it up on Sunday at the same location he was set up at on University Drive last time.

    BTW- The garlic grower from Wisconsin who came to the market for the first time this summer, and was in the square has some regular garlic and for sale at the Village Farmstand which is located on Dempster where Hewn used to be located. They also have River Valley mushrooms.
  • Post #335 - February 11th, 2021, 2:41 am
    Post #335 - February 11th, 2021, 2:41 am Post #335 - February 11th, 2021, 2:41 am
    Hi- I got an email from Teresa Brockman on Sunday with the list of plant starts she is going to have available this year. She just came up with a new website, and she is taking orders for plant starts now. She is going to be at the Evanston farmer's market on May 8th with all of the cool weather plants that people ordered, and she is going to be at the market again on May 22nd, with all of the warm weather plants. I just submitted my order two hours ago. Last year she was forced to only do online sales, and she sold out in a week. But that was in April when people had gardening on their mind. Right now she still has lots of plants left, although a few plants have 15 or fewer seedlings available. She only has 15 pink Brandywine plants left. She has tons of varieties to choose from. She has at least 50 tomato varieties to choose from, including many heirlooms. She also has pepper, eggplant, kale, swiss chard, broccoli, brussel sprout, squash, cucumber and lots of herb plants to choose from. All of her plants are $5. If you buy 10-29 plants, you get 10% off. If you purchase 30 or more plants, you get 20% off. All of her plants are organic, and are wonderful. She has an order form on her website. You do get charged for sales tax. I was charged $9.90 for sales tax for a order totaling $120. She takes credit/debit card or paypal. She still has plenty of plants available, but last summer everybody was gardening, and plants were hard to come by, and I am sure gardening is going to be hot again this summer. Here is a link to her website. ... t-overview
  • Post #336 - March 20th, 2021, 4:38 pm
    Post #336 - March 20th, 2021, 4:38 pm Post #336 - March 20th, 2021, 4:38 pm
    Hi- I just got a new email from Terra Brockman. Henry predicts he is going to come to the Evanston market starting 5/15. His first CSA pick up is going to take place on 5/29. He still has a few openings for his CSA downstate, but the Evanston CSA is full, but he might be able to squeeze a few people in once he sees how much he sells at the Evanston market, and so he encourages people to sign up for the waiting list. The Evanston market right now plans to operate the market this summer in similar fashion as they did last summer. That means the social distancing and everybody wearing masks, and you can not touch the stuff until you've bought it. I know this is going to turn some people off. Hopefully they will relax the rules as the summer evolves. Evanston only had two new COVID cases today, and I got my second shot on Thursday, and there are lots of openings with the city of Evanston for shots for Tuesday for people 65 or older. Go to the city's website to sign up.

    They are showing the film about Henry at two different film festivals coming up. One of the festivals is free. On the email Terra just sent, Henry mentions about listening to Marketplace while in his tractor, and there was some big ad guy from Illinois that was mentioning how bad business had been for farmers since the pandemic. Henry thought it was ironic, because he had one of the best years he has ever had sales wise. This guy was mentioning that people were not buying meat and biofluids. This big ag person suggested that people visit restaurants, drive to work, and take long road trips to help the economy.

    I also want to remind people that Teresa still has lots of plant starts for sale. You must purchase and pay for them online, and then she will deliver the cool season plants on 5/8, and the warm weather plants such as tomatoes and peppers on 5/22. Her plants are wonderful. There is a link to her website on the previous post I did in February. I tried to figure out how to post a link to Henry's email, but I could not unless without giving everybody access to all of my emails, which I am not willing to do. If anybody knows how to do it please post a link. You can go on his website, and sign up to get Terra's emails. I highly recommend them. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #337 - March 20th, 2021, 4:54 pm
    Post #337 - March 20th, 2021, 4:54 pm Post #337 - March 20th, 2021, 4:54 pm
    Here is a link to the Conservation film festival, which is going to show Henry's documentary from 3/24-28 for free. They have a ton of documentaries they are going to be showing. They are all free, but you have to preregister for them.
  • Post #338 - April 30th, 2021, 4:30 pm
    Post #338 - April 30th, 2021, 4:30 pm Post #338 - April 30th, 2021, 4:30 pm
    Hi- The Evanston outdoor farmer's market is going to officially open for the season tomorrow 5/1. Market protocol is going to be the same as it was at the end of the market season last year. You are going to have to social distance, wear a mask, not visit with your friends for very long, and not touch the produce until after you buy it. People over the age of 65, or those who are high risk, can show up at the market at 7:00. but for everyone else it starts at 7:30. They are going to limit the number of people in the inside square of the market again like last year, but since they opened up the outside square, the lines to get into the inside square are not that bad, and if you go at 10:00 or later they are nonexistent. There were many weeks last year, where I did not even go to the inside square, and mostly bought from First Orchards, Henry, and K & K farms.

    There are eight new vendors this year. The people who own Green Acres decided to retire, and so they will not be there this year, but the Talking Farm has decided to come to the market every week this summer, and will be taking over that spot. Misericordia is going to be selling baked goods at the market this year. Karl's Kraft soup is also going to be new there this summer. Apparently they sell out quickly at all of the markets they sell at. I think all of their soups are vegetarian. You can purchase prepared foods, but currently you have to wait until you exit the market to consume them.

    Myra the market manager just reported on the market's Facebook page, that she hopes to be able to relax some of the market rules as the summer progresses. She predicts that she will be able to allow live music and the sprout club soon. Anybody that wants to use their Link card at the market this year, will be matched by the market up to $25. Last year they had to limit it to $15 towards the end of the season because they had more people coming in with Link cards than they expected.

    Henry will not be at the market until 5/15. His Sister Teresa will be there 5/8, 5/15,5/22, and 5/29. She is not currently taking any more online orders for veggie plants, and those people who already ordered plants from her can pick up their cool weather plants on 5/8, and their warm weather plants such as tomatoes and peppers on 5/22. She will also be at the market on 5/15 with more cool weather plants for people who did not get their order in on time, and 5/29 with more warm weather plants. She asks that those people who are buying plants on 5/15 and 5/29, to go to her website to find out what she has available for sale, and decide before they get in line at the market what they want to buy. If what you want is no longer available, she will recommend possible substitutions. BTW- I finally saw the documentary on Henry a few weeks ago, and it was wonderful.

    Myra says that several growers are going to have asparagus tomorrow, but if you want asparagus tomorrow, I would get there early. There is going to be a lot more asparagus on 5/8. There should be some ramps tomorrow though. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #339 - April 30th, 2021, 7:15 pm
    Post #339 - April 30th, 2021, 7:15 pm Post #339 - April 30th, 2021, 7:15 pm
    NFriday wrote:Myra the market manager just reported on the market's Facebook page, that she hopes to be able to relax some of the market rules as the summer progresses. She predicts that she will be able to allow live music and the sprout club soon.

    Not that I'm not looking forward to the all-clarinet rendition of the Austin Powers theme, but I hope she may eventually also consider relaxing some of the less important rules, like, I don't know, allowing people to choose their own produce? According to the latest CDC figures, the rutabaga-to-human infection rate continues its steady decline from a peak of 0.
  • Post #340 - April 30th, 2021, 7:47 pm
    Post #340 - April 30th, 2021, 7:47 pm Post #340 - April 30th, 2021, 7:47 pm
    I think it is up to the state of Illinois as to what she can do, and I know last year the Evanston health department was not going to let the market take place, unless their guidelines were followed. I was looking at the market guidelines for the French markets too a few days ago, including the Wilmette market, and they also told people they could not touch the produce, and so maybe this is a state requirement. I went to the Wilmette market one time last summer, and not all of the guidelines they supposedly had in place were being enforced. I did not see everybody social distancing there, and a lot of the farmers had their produce out where people could touch it. I also did not see them limiting the number of people in the market. I know you can go to Jewel and touch the produce as much as you want. When the pandemic first started, I was super careful about how much I touched each item in Jewel, and now since I have been fully vaccinated, I have been less careful. The only things at the market that I wish I could touch before buying are the sweet corn, tomatoes, and melons. A few times last summer I came home with some sweet corn that I would not have selected myself.

    As far as music goes, you are not thinking about the Northwestern sax players that came to the market regularly for several years? They were really good. Some of the other performers were kind of so so. If they start letting the musicians perform again, that means that people are going to congregate to listen to the music when really they are supposed to get in and out ASAP, and don't linger.

    I forgot to mention that there is going to be a bunch of Evanston artists selling their wares on the fifth floor of the parking garage the first Saturday of each month from 12:00-5:00. They have a suggested donation of $5 per person, and you must go to the Evanston Makers site to sign up for it. You can sign up for a 30 minute spot, and there is a limit of 50 customers at one time at the market. All of the spots from noon-3:00 are taken. There are still openings for 3:00-5:00 for people that want to attend the market.

  • Post #341 - April 30th, 2021, 8:40 pm
    Post #341 - April 30th, 2021, 8:40 pm Post #341 - April 30th, 2021, 8:40 pm
    NFriday wrote:As far as music goes, you are not thinking about the Northwestern sax players that came to the market regularly for several years?

    Sax, you're right! I was trying to remember if it was saxes or clarinets and became convinced they were clarinets, for some reason.

    I sincerely apologize to the woodwind community and promise to do better.
  • Post #342 - May 1st, 2021, 12:19 pm
    Post #342 - May 1st, 2021, 12:19 pm Post #342 - May 1st, 2021, 12:19 pm
    Hi- I just came back from the first market for the year. I did not get there until 11:45, and I could not believe how busy they were. The lines were especially long for Gotta B Crepes, Nichols, River Valley and the Mexican place. I did not have to wait in line to enter the market though. I am sure there was a line at 10:00. Social distancing could have been better. I was hoping to get some ramps, but they were all sold out when I got there. Three people still had asparagus by the time I got there. I just ended up getting a bag of spinach and a bunch of asparagus for a total of $10 at Nichols, and then I got a 16 ounce container of winter squash and carrot soup at Karl's Craft Soup. It was $6. Their quart size containers were $10. They also had this black bean soup that was vegan. I just tried my soup, and it was good. I should have gotten the black bean soup, because my soup has cream in it, and the black bean soup would have been lower fat. They were not doing a ton of business. They only come every other week. Normally I do not buy already prepared food there, but I decided to try it this week.

    There was a new grower there who was located where Henry is usually, and when I looked at their website yesterday, they sounded good, but I was not as impressed with them today. They are all naturally raised, and their prices were higher than Henry who was not there today, and I did not think their stuff was as high quality as Henry's. Their bags of lettuce looked tired. They also did not have things roped off so you could not touch it.

    The Talking Farm was all sold out when I got there, and it looked like Fred's bread which is located in Evanston was sold out too. They sell French bread. Misericordia was there selling baked goods today and had some people waiting in line. There should be a few more farmers there next week, including 1st Orchards and MD orchards from Berrien Springs.
  • Post #343 - May 1st, 2021, 4:11 pm
    Post #343 - May 1st, 2021, 4:11 pm Post #343 - May 1st, 2021, 4:11 pm
    There was a line in form, but not substance, at 10.15am. There was just enough people that you had to make sure you were entering orderly, but it wasn't actually held up or delayed. The crowd was obnoxious at that point. The lines made River Valley and Nichols not worth the trouble. The latter was the only vendor I saw with asparagus at the time. Lake Breeze told me they sold out of ramps around 9.30/45. All I bought were potatoes from Geneva Lakes, no line.

    I've got to make sure and get there earlier, 8.15am earliest, to avoid the crowd and make it worth the trouble.
  • Post #344 - May 1st, 2021, 4:48 pm
    Post #344 - May 1st, 2021, 4:48 pm Post #344 - May 1st, 2021, 4:48 pm
    Stovers and Lyons had tons of asparagus too, but I like Nichols produce better, and plus I wanted to get some spinach from them too. Next week 1st Orchards should be there, and they will have tons of asparagus. I got the impression that a lot of the people at the market were younger people who don't cook, and just wanted to get out, because the lines for the Mexican restaurant and Gotta B Crepes were the longest by far. Last year I got some ramps from Stovers, but they were out when I got there today. I could not believe how many people were still there when I left the market at 12:30. Usually it is dead by then. The soup that I bought from Karl's Craft Soup was really good, but there were a few large pieces of either winter squash or carrots that never got pureed. I can make my own soup for a lot less than $6 though for 12 ounces. I noticed the frozen yogurt place was selling frozen yogurt for $10 a pint, which is way more than I am willing to spend. They also had some bowls for $5, but I think all of the bowls were ice cream.

    I got a five pound bag of golden red potatoes at Jewel last Sunday for $.99, and so I am set for potatoes.
  • Post #345 - May 7th, 2021, 4:19 pm
    Post #345 - May 7th, 2021, 4:19 pm Post #345 - May 7th, 2021, 4:19 pm
    Hi- I just checked Evanston markets Facebook page, and according to Myra the market manager we had over 4,600 people at the first on the season market last week. She said everything went well, and it was good to see all of the families that showed up. Myra reminds people though that dogs are not allowed at the market at all.

    This week First Orchards and Teresa Brockman are going to be there for the first time this season. Henry is not showing up until next week, but Teresa is bringing up some of his overwintered spinach, some chives, sorrel and a few other surprises tomorrow. Teresa will have plants available for purchase on 5/15 and 5/29 for those people who did not get around to ordering any from her. She asks though that people go to her website to see what she has so they don't have to spend a long time at her stall to see what she has, and then hand her their list. She will make suggestions for substitutions if she is out of any of your requested seedlings.

    My Sister in Michigan told me last night that there should be plenty of asparagus at the market tomorrow. They just started picking it in any volume a few days ago. Due to the cold weather we had last month when it snowed, my Sister only has half of a crop of cherries because they were partially in bloom, but right now she has a full crop of peaches. They were not as far along as the cherries when all this happened.

    The governor is moving up a half step starting 5/14, and so we will be at stage 4 1/2, and so hopefully they can relax some of the rules at the market. If you want ramps tomorrow, get there early. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #346 - May 7th, 2021, 8:02 pm
    Post #346 - May 7th, 2021, 8:02 pm Post #346 - May 7th, 2021, 8:02 pm
    I just got another email detailing what exactly Teresa Brockman is bring up from Henry's farm tomorrow. Henry picked lots of overwintered spinach today, and he says it is wonderful. The variety he is bringing is called Amador, and this is a new variety for Henry. Henry said this variety is used in a lot of Chinese restaurants. There will also be stinging nettles, royal pennycress, sorrel, chives, rhubarb, green garlic, and beet greens. His spinach will be on special 2/$5. There is not going to be a lot of rhubarb, and so if you want that come early.
  • Post #347 - May 8th, 2021, 1:37 pm
    Post #347 - May 8th, 2021, 1:37 pm Post #347 - May 8th, 2021, 1:37 pm
    Hi- They must have had a smaller crowd this week. I did not get there until noon, and Lake Breeze still had ramps, although they only had three bunches left. There bunches are so small, I should have bought all three bunches, but they were $5 a bunch or three for $12, and all I had left was $10, and so I only got one bunch. I had to pick up my plants from Teresa too, and after I did that and put them in my trunk, I went back to buy some more stuff, and a lot of farmers were starting to pack up to go home. Jon First only had about five bunches of asparagus left, and I noticed that there was none of Henry's stuff on display, and so I asked Teresa if he was all sold out, and she said that she thought they had put everything on the truck, and she asked them, and they brought out two bags of spinach for me, and they even gave me change for my $20. At 12:30 though, Gotta B Crepes still had a long line for their crepes.
  • Post #348 - May 8th, 2021, 6:50 pm
    Post #348 - May 8th, 2021, 6:50 pm Post #348 - May 8th, 2021, 6:50 pm
    The difference in crowd was night-and-day as of about 10.45am. I don't remember the weather last Saturday too well, but I believe it was cooler today, which might've played a part.

    Keep an eye out for ramps at Stovers, $3/2 for $5. They're small bunches, but I was fine spending $5. Unlike similarly priced asparagus, ramps aren't even offered at stores like Fresh Farms and Jewel. $2 of Fresh Farms' asparagus is $10 at EFM. Happy to get back on the River Valley mushroom diet too.
    Last edited by bweiny on May 9th, 2021, 5:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #349 - May 8th, 2021, 11:31 pm
    Post #349 - May 8th, 2021, 11:31 pm Post #349 - May 8th, 2021, 11:31 pm
    I got two large bunches of asparagus at 1st orchards today for $7, and each one weighs a pound. I could have gotten three bunches for $10. He has some of the best asparagus there, and he is cheaper than Nichols. Last week Nichols was selling one bunch for $5. I won't even buy asparagus at the grocery store because it is at least four days old by the time it gets there, and California asparagus is probably older. I doubt that you get three pounds of asparagus for $2 at Fresh Farms, and they don't have purple asparagus like Jon First does. It was in the 60's last Saturday, and it was only in the 40's today. I did see a fairly long line at the Gotta B Crepes at 12:30 though. Just the fact that I was able to get ramps told me that the market was not nearly as busy today. When the farmers market is open, I don't buy much produce at Jewel. Once the homegrown strawberries come in, I don't touch California strawberries. Homegrown strawberries are so much better than California ones. Plus I rent a garden across from the ecology center on McCormick. Sometimes you can get some good deals at Nichols where they sell greens for $1 a bunch, or they will sell strawberries 3/$10, and if they have it, I buy #2 peaches and apricots really cheap at K & K Farms. they are located on University.
  • Post #350 - May 14th, 2021, 4:12 pm
    Post #350 - May 14th, 2021, 4:12 pm Post #350 - May 14th, 2021, 4:12 pm
    Hi- Myra the market manager reports that we still will be required to wear masks to the Evanston market tomorrow. She checked with the Evanston health department, and yes they know that the CDC changed their guidelines about mask wearing, but the Illinois health department has not, and they still require people to wear masks. She is hoping that maybe next week the state will get rid of the requirement to wear masks at the market. The governor has just raised the state up another half step, and so we are now 1/2 step away from stage 5. When we hit stage 5 on hopefully 6/11, then most of the COVID restrictions will be lifted. Hopefully by then the market will be able to move back to the way it was before the pandemic started.

    Henry will be there in the flesh tomorrow. He is bringing lots more overwintered spinach, and a few bags of lettuce as well as some bunches of small beets with greens and a few other thing. This is going to be it for the spinach until the crop he planted this spring is ready to pick.

    The donut people had a fire in their bakery last week, and so they will not be there tomorrow. They make donuts with potatoes in them. Fred's bread will be there again tomorrow though. He sells French bread and pastries, and he has sold out by 10:00 so far, and so get there early if you want his baked goods. He is originally from France, and he currently lives in Evanston.

    There should still be lots of asparagus at the market tomorrow, but this might be the last week for ramps.

    Henry's Sister Teresa is bringing all of her plant starts to the market if you did not get a chance to order online from her back in February. She is charging $6 per plant. Next week she will bring all of the warm weather plants such as tomatoes that people ordered online from her. Henry's sister Jill is bringing some of her goats milk soap tomorrow too. You can purchase bars of soap, and she is also going to have a few bottles of liquid soap.
  • Post #351 - May 19th, 2021, 3:05 pm
    Post #351 - May 19th, 2021, 3:05 pm Post #351 - May 19th, 2021, 3:05 pm
    Hi- I just got an email from the city of Evanston. Their health and human services department has just announced that they are loosening the mask requirement for the city, but that they are still going to require everybody to wear a mask at their farmer's market, as well as their public library, or any other city building. They are also going to require that everyone who attends a city sponsored gathering, such as a movie showing to wear a mask. The state is tentatively scheduled to move to the fifth stage on 6/11, and so the city will revisit their mask policy then. This means that everyone will have to wear a mask at the next three farmer's markets for sure. I know there are some people here who do not want to hear that. It sounds like they are still requiring masks for large group events. It sounds like it is up to each individual store in Evanston to decide if they will still require everybody to wear a mask. I have not heard about Jewel and Whole Foods, and whether they have revised their mask policy.
  • Post #352 - May 21st, 2021, 4:19 pm
    Post #352 - May 21st, 2021, 4:19 pm Post #352 - May 21st, 2021, 4:19 pm
    Hi- I just checked to see what the manager of the Evanston market has posted about this weeks market. We have been averaging 4,500 + at each of the first three markets so far. We are still going to have to wear a mask tomorrow, but, the Emergency Management team for the city of Evanston is meeting soon, and they are going to discuss when they think the mask requirement can be lifted for the market. Henry is bringing some more overwintered spinach again, but if you want it come early. He is also bringing some lettuce from his hoop house too, as well as some nettle, lambs quarter, amaranth, green onions, baby beets and greens, mint, and some small bunches of greens such as kale. When I got there last week at 11:00, all he had left was stuff that a lot of people don't know what to do with. He was out of spinach and lettuce. I ended up getting some cabbage leaves which I was told you use like you would collards. Jon First was out of asparagus too. I had to buy some spinach and asparagus from Nichols. The spinach was good, but the asparagus was not as good as what I am used to getting from 1st Orchards.
  • Post #353 - May 21st, 2021, 9:25 pm
    Post #353 - May 21st, 2021, 9:25 pm Post #353 - May 21st, 2021, 9:25 pm
    I just got another email from Henry, and he is bringing lots of bunches of onions that he is putting on sale 2/$5, and he is also bringing lots of lettuce, some Komatsuna, and the first bags of mesclun tomorrow.

    Teresa also found out that she has some extra room in her truck. She originally was only going to bring the warm weather plants that people preordered from her, but she is also bringing some herbs, some pots of swiss chard and lettuce, and some kale and brussel sprout plants. The kale and brussel sprout plants are going to be B1G1F. She is going to have one line for the people that are picking up their preordered plants, and one line for people that have not preordered plants. She will bring the last of her plants on 5/29.
  • Post #354 - May 22nd, 2021, 1:07 pm
    Post #354 - May 22nd, 2021, 1:07 pm Post #354 - May 22nd, 2021, 1:07 pm
    Hi- I am happy to report that the Evanston market has relaxed the rules on not being able to touch the produce before you buy it. Last week when I went to the market at 11:00, Jon First was out of asparagus, but today he had plenty, although he was out of purple asparagus. I noticed he had his asparagus out in the open so people could pick out their own. I asked about that, and one of his workers said that they relaxed the rules on that. Apparently some people are still keeping their produce away from customers though. When I bought some spinach and asparagus from Nichols last week, everything was inaccessible to customers. Today, Henry had his lettuce, onions, and mesclun accessible, but the rest of his stuff he was selling was in back, and you had to ask for it.

    Today Henry had tons of onions, lettuce and mesclun at 11:00. He was selling one bag of lettuce and one bag of mesclun for $5, which was a good deal. If I just got the lettuce alone he was going to charge me $4, and $3 just for the mesclun.
  • Post #355 - May 22nd, 2021, 2:05 pm
    Post #355 - May 22nd, 2021, 2:05 pm Post #355 - May 22nd, 2021, 2:05 pm
    Going to the market these days makes me sad. It's not because of the COVID restrictions (these will pass). It's because it feels like the market is evolving and focuses less on less on the produce that I want to shop. I know this is an old complaint.

    I've long considered Evanston to be one of the area's premiere farmer's markets (lumping in Green City and Oak Park). Although obviously this is a subjective opinion, I'm just not sure if anything but Green City qualifies these days.I live in Logan Square but I've been willing to drive to and from Evanston for over a decade because I thought the convenience and selection made it worth it.

    Now, two of my favorite farmstands (Kinnikinnick and Green Acres) are absent. Nichol's just keeps expanding and I guess they have a bunch to offer (if I'm willing to wait in the Disney lines). But their success hurts the market's diversity and selection. They take up close to 25% of the inner zone. I wouldn't be surprised if they sold like 40% of all the produce at the market. In days past, there were more choices. The number of stands selling a decent variety of organic or pesticide-free produce (if you care about that sort of thing) may now just be Henry's and Lake Breeze. I do like the Talking Farm a lot but they tend to offer a fairly narrow range of produce. I know they've been planting more and maybe we'll see more of that as the season goes on. I have some hope there.

    It also seems like more and more real estate is devoted to places selling things I don't really care about (i.e. not produce). The Logan Square market seems to have been a harbinger as it has been trending in this direction for years (stands I like keep bowing out to be replaced with more hot food stalls and soap and honey). I get it. The market dictates what is sold and farmers have been complaining for years that people view farmer's markets as a social outing or a place to buy lunch and that they haven't been able to sell as much of what they grow.

    Maybe this is still somewhat of a blip that will rebound when the restaurant industry is healthy again. I hope so because my favorite markets need some life.

    In the meantime, maybe I'll make an effort to get up early and get over to Green City one of these Saturdays. I'm fairly confident that that market is still thriving because they have always drawn many vendors that just don't appear anywhere else.
  • Post #356 - May 22nd, 2021, 2:53 pm
    Post #356 - May 22nd, 2021, 2:53 pm Post #356 - May 22nd, 2021, 2:53 pm
    What Evanston did maybe five years ago, is that they expanded their market. I am talking about the two new rows in the front they had until they had to redesign the market because of COVID. There are only so many farmers around, and so the great majority of the new stalls sold pies or other all ready prepared foods or soap.

    Today I did not even buy anything from inside the square. I spent a total of $12 today, and all I bought was a bag of mesclun and a bag of lettuce from Henry, and I bought two bunches of asparagus from Jon First. I still have lots of spinach left over from my purchase last week at Nichols. Last week I spent $24 at Nichols, and $3 at Henry's.

    There is a new naturally certified farmer selling down from Henry, but I looked at their stuff the first week, and I thought they were more expensive than Henry, and I did not care for their stuff as much. At 11:30, Nichols did not have a long line today, but Jon First's asparagus is cheaper, and it is better, and I love all of Henry's stuff. I did look at the Talking Farm, but it seems like they are more expensive than Henry, and they did not have a lot to choose from. I was tempted to get their Japanese turnips though, but I did not really need them.

    Last year the first two months they did not sell anything hot, and so that kept a lot of the younger people home. This year I have noticed there are a lot more people in their 20's who are coming for the crepes and Mexican food, and are not buying much produce. I wonder how much stuff the people that bring the home made pasta and tofu dishes and the gluten free stuff actually sell there. I suspect that Kinikinicks are not raising any veggies anymore. They have a drop off on Saturday mornings in Evanston for their meat, and they still go to Green City. I used to get #2 tomatoes from them for 1/2 price at the end of the market. There are no deals anymore on tomatoes, except for on rare occasions when Jon First marks them down for 3/$1. I think he would rather just give them to the food pantry instead.
  • Post #357 - May 28th, 2021, 9:05 pm
    Post #357 - May 28th, 2021, 9:05 pm Post #357 - May 28th, 2021, 9:05 pm
    Hi- Tomorrow it should be sunny and in the 60's. A whole lot better than today was. They are still going to require masks tomorrow at the market.

    There should still be plenty of asparagus tomorrow, and Henry and Nichols should have spinach. Henry is going to have his first spinach from this years planting tomorrow, and he is supposed to have some more hoop house lettuce, and some bags of mesclun, as well as the first of his swiss chard and a few carrots. He will be putting bunches of onions on sale 2/$5. Last week I got a bag of romaine and a bag of mesclun from Henry for a total of $5, which is a deal. I think ramps are done for this season. Hopefully we will have the first of the strawberries in two weeks.

    Tomorrow will be the last day Teresa will be there with her plant starts. She will have kale and brussels sprout plants on sale B1G1F. Right before she goes home she will also reduce the price on her remaining plants, and so if you are looking for deals on her plants come late in the morning. Some of her tomato varieties she is out of though, and she only has a few of several other varieties, and so if you really have to have something get there early. She is also bringing some of her jam, and some of Jill's goat milk soap.

    Since COVID cases have been really low in Evanston this week, hopefully the city will drop the mask requirement next week. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #358 - May 29th, 2021, 1:18 pm
    Post #358 - May 29th, 2021, 1:18 pm Post #358 - May 29th, 2021, 1:18 pm
    I got to the Evanston market about 11:30, and Jon First had a ton of asparagus left to sell. When I left around noon, I saw the Hillside food pantry pulling up. All of the asparagus Jon had left over I am sure went to the food pantry. He still had a whole table full of asparagus. It seems like more people are showing up this year just to buy already prepared food. Henry still had tons of stuff left, and I got a bag of mesclun and a bag of spinach for $5 total.

    Teresa still had tons of plants left at 11:30. She did have some of them marked down to B1G1F, but she did not have any of her tomatoes eggplant and peppers marked down, and the only basil she had marked down was lemon, red robin and amaryst. She did have some of the other basil such as genovese left, but it was all still $6. She said that this was going to be her last market for plant starts, but she still had tons left, and I would not be surprised if she shows up again next Saturday. She also still had some of Jill's soap left to sell. I bought a bar for $5. I asked if I would get a discount if I bought more than one, and I was told no. Teresa was out of broccoli plants but I got some more kale and some basil that was on sale.

    Maybe lots of people went away for the weekend, and that is why there was so much stuff left to sell. Jon First told me that he might have a few strawberries next week, but I am sure you will have to get there early to get them. Last week I actually splurged, and I bought two boxes of organic strawberries at Whole Foods that were on sale. They were a lot better than my $.99 strawberries I got at Jewel.
  • Post #359 - June 4th, 2021, 9:38 pm
    Post #359 - June 4th, 2021, 9:38 pm Post #359 - June 4th, 2021, 9:38 pm
    Hi- It is supposed to be hot tomorrow 6/5. Myra the market manager still has not posted about the market tomorrow, and so we still do not know what their mask policy will be tomorrow. I suspect that masks will still be required, although COVID cases in Evanston have totaled I believe 8 cases for the last week. Next week the governor is going to move to stage 5, and so maybe at the 6/12 market they will drop the mask policy. I saw the list of farmer's markets that is in the Chicago Tribune, and a lot of markets have dropped the mask requirement for people that are fully vaccinated.

    There should still be lots of asparagus tomorrow, as well as a few strawberries. Get there early if you want strawberries. Henry says this might be the last week for spinach until this fall. Spinach does not like hot weather. Henry will have lots of lettuce tomorrow, but he is running the same deal he did last summer. If you let Henry pick out the lettuce, you pay $3 per bag. If you ask for a specific type of lettuce you will get charged $4. Henry will also have lots of mesclun and Mei Qing Choi, which is a type of bok choy, but this might be the last week for the Mei Qing Choi. Henry says that all of the Mei Qing Choi is edible, including the flowers. Henry is also bringing the last of his root veggies from last year, including beets, golden turnips, rutabaga, and carrots.
  • Post #360 - June 4th, 2021, 10:23 pm
    Post #360 - June 4th, 2021, 10:23 pm Post #360 - June 4th, 2021, 10:23 pm
    Well Myra finally posted on the market's Facebook page. Yes masks will still be required tomorrow because we have been getting 4,500 customers every week, and not everybody social distances. Myra says that things might change on 6/12 since we will be in stage 5. The tables and chairs for eating are returning tomorrow though. Myra asks that everybody practice social distancing while they are eating their food. She also reports that Morlocks are returning tomorrow with strawberries too. I am sure K & K Farms will be there on 6/12 with strawberries.