Market Scene: Bronzeville Community Market, Chicago
This week we headed to a little farmers' market in one of Chicago's "food deserts" in the Southern part of the Bronzeville neighborhood. Located right off a busy street at 4400 S. Cottage Grove Avenue, the modest market definitely had some hidden gems in its bounty. One of the main concerns of low-income neighborhoods is the lack of access to fresh produce. Grocery stores are few and far between in this neighborhood, so a farmers' market offering fresh local produce is an oasis in the midst of a "food desert."
The Bronzeville Community Market first started in 2007 and has been slowly growing over the years, offering some of the lowest prices of all the farmers' markets we've visited. The market is open every Saturday until October 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
We first spent some time chatting with Green Youth Farm, the main reason we wanted to visit this farmers' market in particular. With three farms in total, this stand's produce came from the newest of their farm programs at Dyett/Washington Park Green Youth Farm located a few blocks away at 555 East 51st Street. The girls we spoke to were excited about the food they were selling, especially since they were the ones growing and harvesting it.
Green Youth Farm keeps their prices low. Their main goal is to give back to the community and provide fresh organic produce at an affordable price. That morning they had a spread of collards, kale, lettuce, turnip greens, as well as vine-ripened tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers.
It's a small market so come early and pick up as much as you can! We bought two containers of sweet golden and black cherry tomatoes, which are great to snack on and toss into a nice green salad. We've also been making large vats of tomato sauce from a mixture of heirloom and roma tomatoes. We keep some in the fridge for the week and some in the freezer for later. This way you always have a great supply of hearty pasta sauce from the summer on hand.
We chatted with a family-run stand called Candlelight Bakery, specializing in Amish baked goods. All the way from Shipshewana, Indiana, they bring in cinnamon rolls, garlic cheese bread, and fruit pies (baked and fried) made by the owner's wife and daughters. They also sell fresh egg noodles, made with their excess eggs. They contain more yolk than most storebought varieties—you can tell by the deep yellow color. We picked up a delicious fried apple pie and a bag of wide noodle pasta. With an explanation like that, how could you not want some?
One of the more bountiful produce stands was from Kap Farms. As a larger commercial farm, they had a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The hottest seller that day were summer peaches and sweet corn. Buy them in bulk while they're in season—you can eat a bunch, then freeze or can the rest for the long Chicago winter ahead.
Kap Farms also had some extremely attractive new, red and purple potatoes on sale.
In Season Right Now
Acorn and Butternut Squash
(Wait, is it fall already?)