Explore More Cities › +
Discover the unexpected in the Chicago Area. Explore All of Chicago
Markets & Stores 1

Oak Park Farmer's Market 10/19/02

Vital Information | Oct 19, 200212:22 PM

It's almost over. As I returned to my car today thinking about how different the market looks as fall settles heavily in, I feel a bit like Oscar Schindler. If I only I did more this year. I've catalogued all the wild mushrooms showing up, noticed the appearance of the occasional oddity like the nigerian eggplant and the danson plum, and told you which apples I purchased, but have I really captured the market, what it is like and how it changes each week.

I decided to do this report each week for a few reasons. Firstly, well because we go to the market nearly every week. It is a lot of fun seeing neighbors, hearing Connie the conner sing the star-bangled banner and eating fresh made donuts. Then, there is the product. Sure things taste better when you have some connection to those who brought it fourth, but the food also tastes a lot better because it is fresh, local, and in the case of Nichols, unsprayed. And you can find all sorts of things the supermarkets cannot achieve, like real tomatoes. So, I wanted to help promote this kind of shopping. But mostly, I just am absolutely, for some reason, joyed by the flow of the market. How things come and go. Is not one of the great things about concord grapes, not just their taste, but the long wait. The reports were meant to chronicle this passing of time. Now, as time races to forward with its crushing certainty, I realize how little I really got.

I failed generally to describe what the market looked like each week. What made it different beside the appearance of some product. In the end, is it a story or a shopping list? The biggest difference now, about the market, is the lack of shelter. Instead of hiding from the sun, vendors seek a bit of extra warmth by letting the fall sun beat directly on them. The lack of structures makes the market seem much more open. You can stand in one spot and see nearly everything whereas in the heat of August it *almost* seems like a Moroccan souk, all maze-like. Yet, now, I wish I better described that covered look back when it happened. Next year. It's either that, I start taking pictures like David.

I remember in years past, that the final weeks of the market seem real bare. A few squashes, apples of course, and tons of pumpkins. Today, may have been chilly, but the market still burst with goods. The Farm took over as the winner in the who can sell the largest head of cauliflower contest. They also had cabbages in various stages of steriod enhancement. Once could also make an insalata caprese well into October as great looking tomatoes still abounded at The Farm, Skibbes and Berry's Berries. Nichols, however, was reduced to green tomatoes harvested to profit from what ever was there before it got really cold.

Ok, on to the on-going features:

Concord grape update - See link below to a series of pictures from a dinner at Charlie Trotter's, notice course 8.

Apples chosen - fuji, something winesap, royal gala

Mushrooms spotted - hen of the woods (en masse and in individual lobes), puffers, dyades saddle, honey

Crabapples - no
Quince - yes

Donut - lousy again, they seemed to have been cryogentically sealed by the October weather.

See you next week, it is your LAST chance. Also, there should be a big ol' pot of stone soup brewing for a hearty breakfast.

For this week's image, I have decided to give in to the powers of gourdom, and offer a bit of pumpkin patch. The cat closely resembles the one who haunts our bungalow, a/k/a el gato stupido.

Link: http://forums.egullet.com/ibf/index.p...

Image: http://www.backyardgardener.com/pump/...

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound