It was surely a best of both world's kinda market this week. The extended September summer sent summer stock for selection far longer than I figured. All around the market, football sized eggplants, Hammond-worthy tomatoes and still plenty of sweet corn remained. Yet, the calender is saying fall is it not?
Nichols had several varieties of hard squashes. Other seasonal things included brussell sprouts, multiple varieties of shelling beans, gosh I wish I could remember the names of the fat green ones; sunflower heads/seeds; and of course, apples galore. Apples are one thing that Nichols does not hold a patent on variation. Every where you turn, the vendors offer variation on the apple theme. Also, the apple varieties vary from week to week, so those who are holding off, may not find their mutsus or macouns there next week. I've linked to a pretty decent guide to apple varieties. I am sure there are even better sources out there.
Speaking of Nichol's varities, there was a funny conversation overheard there on saturday between Mrs. Nichols and a customer noticing for the first time, that yes, Nichols plants a few different versions of things. I then embarrased Mrs. Nichols by pointing out that even though there were flame-orange Nigerian eggplants, and two colors of okra and unique wild mushrooms (hen of the woods), there were only a meager two varities of radishes. She promised more next week.
Getting back to the fruit. Boy would the fruit detective love the Oak Park market this week. Stone fruits and berries still abounded, including some Stanley Prune Plums in shades of light purple. I got grapped, which was good. I asked the folks at Skibbes about crabapples. The jefe de fruit as Dave might call him said they had one tree that *maybe* had some fruit, and that he would *probably* get it to the Oak Park farmer's market on next saturday. I asked him about other markets he went to, he ran off a few, LaGrange, Elmhurst (I think) and Elk Grove Village, but he also said that he only thought he'd bring the crabapples to Oak Park. If anyone ever gets a chance to visit the Oak Park market, they really should visit the Skibbes fruits stand, not just for the crabapples. Skibbes is the stand, usally crowded, closest to the donuts. The older gentleman, Mr. Skibbes?, who runs the show is as close to central casting as they come in the farmer catagory.
Last, all of the tchotkes are coming out in the market. Is it me, or is there a crowd who goes to the farmer's market strictly for the accessories. Mini-pumpkins, gords, even bales of hay--OK Erik defend that--exist for your fall tableau. Shop early for the chance to change your centerpiece a few times this autumn.
See you next week.
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