Few things in life content me more than a stroll through a farmers' market during peak season. I have dreams about strolling through Chicago's Green City Market and having to decide between the dozen varieties of carrots and apples. Those dreams are especially acute right now when there isn't actually very much to eat. Chicago's weather has been cold until recently (85 say what!), so while California is basking in goods all year long, we're still waiting for the real stuff to hit.
While the weather is still iffy, the Green City Market has been held at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, which seems like a perfect match. I visited the market two weeks ago, as to avoid the chaos that would have inevitably surrounded an appearance by Alice Waters. I just wanted some vegetables.
Of course, there wasn't much to be found. What's left is a whole lot of packaged goods. I'm immune to most of the stuff: bottled salsas, dried fruits, micro greens, and bland cheese you have to cook to eat. I'm sure the quality is very high. But I'm fairly competent in the kitchen, and could probably make it for myself more cheaply.
I did get suckered into some rolled oats. And I'm glad I did. Far better than that Quaker brand, and so much easier to make than steel cut oats.
But there are signs of Spring. Small potatoes are available from the Nichols Farm, a farm I picked a lot of things off of last summer.
They also sold mini corn-on-the-cobs, which were advertised as popcorn. I got one.
I also walked away with some fine looking mushrooms. The stall had cremini, shiitake, and oyster.
I also came across the Heritage Prairie Market which was selling some fine looking honey. I probably could have passed without too much trouble, had they not also been selling whole honey combs. With the honey still locked in the wax it's raw honey that's completely unprocessed. And before I knew what was happening I had a plastic container. I've been spreading it on toast to fantastic results. I wonder what else I can do with it.
About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is the co-founder of The Paupered Chef and spends most of his time playing with the new cooking gadgets he got from his wedding.