I’m a sucker for a great farmer’s market. I think it’s been engrained in me from a very young age that food from the farmer’s market is just better than food from the grocery store. In recent years, I’ve learned to truly appreciate the wonderful flavors that come from produce grown in our own time zone, state, or county. When I was contacted by Lauren, a representative of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (ICBINB), to participate in a Chicago Farmer’s Market tour, I jumped at the chance! What better way to spend my last Saturday of Summer vacation than at the biggest farmer’s market in the area?
Then, the event just got more appealing from there. Not only would there be a tour of the market itself, but we’d then go back to a restaurant kitchen with a local chef, and use our purchases to create a unique, fresh, and local meal! I took the train from our area downtown so as to avoid the insane traffic, and then walked about a mile and a half to the market. I was a little early, and was lucky enough to meet up with my sister and her boyfriend during their shopping trips for their respective restaurants. I can proudly say, I carried the flat of blackberries used for Gilt Bar yesterday!
And I took about a million pictures (ok, really it was 276, but it seems like a million), so I’ll let them do the talking with minimal words from me, unless they’re actually necessary. It was a perfect day for photos too… a few clouds for great light, but enough sun to make everything look wonderful.
Some early hard squashes
Various eggplants, beans, and tomatoes from Nichols Farm in Marengo, IL. They’re conveniently located on my way home from work, so I may need to stop there…
Harmony peaches, blackberries, and raspberries from Mick Klug farms in Michigan. These were some of the best peaches I’ve ever tasted, and needless to say, I brought some home!
Local meats, all grass fed and organic… thought of my friend Stephanie!
Seedy bread from Bennison’s Bakery
More bounty from Mick Klug farms (Thanks to Leigh for introducing me to them!)
Small local watermelons
French breakfast radishes (We later enjoyed these with ICBINB and salt, quite a delicious combo!)
You know how I love my small food…
More beautiful produce… I wish I had written down this farm’s name…
Chef Rhonda had quite a sense of humor!
Sampling “personal sized” watermelon at Seedling farms’ stand
Gooseberries and fresh chamomile at Seedling
It had quickly gone from a mildly warm and humid day to a wicked hot and humid day…and then we saw a sign:
We went for it! I got a lovely peach-raspberry smoothie made with fresh cider. It was quite possibly the most delicious smoothie EVER.
Next up: some “extras” for our meal… I had it in my head that we had to find some local goat cheese. And find it we did! This is for you, Gina:
And then, I just went photo-happy (as if I wasn’t already.) Everything looked so fresh and delicious, and since I couldn’t ACTUALLY eat it all, I did with my camera…
Heirloom cherry tomatoes from Growing Home, an amazing program here in Chicago
Then, after walking, sweating, and shopping, we hopped in a taxi to Splice Kitchen to cook a delicious meal with our purchases.
You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see the rest of the process. I think I’ve overrun your senses with all these photos for now. Thanks to ICBINB for sponsoring this event! It just got better from here!