Every week this summer, Greg and I have tried to take Nick to one of the local farmers' markets. This week we went back to Naperville for one of our favorite ones. The Naperville Farmers' Market is in the parking lot for the 5th Avenue Train Station, and runs on Saturdays from 7 a.m. until 12 p.m. Our biggest complaint is that it ends at noon.
Some of them have plenty of vendors but few farmers, but this one seemed to have plenty of produce as well as other kinds of food. They must have strict criteria for vendors, because we didn't see any wacky stuff for sale, only the traditional farmers' market stuff: produce, herbs, fresh flowers, meat, seafood, cheeses, baked goods, and some specialty food products, like salsas and olive oils. There was a very nice selection, and we actually ran out of cash since we found so many things we liked.
Since we visit farmers' markets often, we have noticed a disturbing trend at places like Downers Grove and Plainfield--rather than produce and homemade food products, some vendors are selling things like tupperware, purses, and even clothes. These farmers' markets end up being more like craft fairs. Not this one--in Naperville, the farmers' market is very similar to ones that you would see in Europe. Here is a picture of Nick posing in front of the cucumbers.
Today it was incredibly steamy and sunny, so we kept Nick well hydrated and in the shade as much as possible. He was having fun checking out the ladies and waving at every baby or child he saw. Greg stuck to only "checking out" the produce, and he picked out some nice carrots and mushrooms.
We ended up with quite a haul, and will be feasting tonight. I think my favorite purchase was the fresh peaches, which Greg needed for the white sangria. I used the potatoes he is picking out below to go with our bison burgers with portabello mushrooms. (Plus, a salad and some fresh green beans. Yum.)
While I am interested in local and organic produce, I am in no way naive about the realities of farmers' markets. I know that unless food says it is organically grown, it probably isn't. But the farmers who sell at farmers' markets are often small farmers who use less pesticides, and I feel better buying from local farmers when I can. The vendors at this market clearly labeled their products and told the buyers where each item was from. I do tend to frequent the local farmers over those selling, for example, tomatoes from Kentucky. I also made a point to buy some organic potatoes from the one farmer who was selling organic produce.
So here is our haul.
Total spent? We brought $60 in cash, and all of it was gone. However, Greg bought some extravagent crab meat that cost $26, so that was half of our money right there. Tomorrow he's going to make a fancy crab cake dish from his new Bobby Flay cookbook, and I told him that for $26, they'd better be the best darned crab cakes we've ever had. I will report back about that.
Oh, and we also bought Nick a delicious scone that was eaten long before the picture was taken. I can tell you that the portabella mushrooms were divine tonight, sauteed in a little bit of butter with some of the garlic.