Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market kicks off 44 years in operation

Corban+Koster+of+Geneva+Lakes+Produce+sorts+through+vegetables+he+put+on+display+for+customers+at+the+Downtown+Evanston+Farmers%27+Market.

Zoe Malin/The Daily Northwestern

Corban Koster of Geneva Lakes Produce sorts through vegetables he put on display for customers at the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market.

Zoe Malin, Reporter

Despite bouts of snow and rain over the past few weeks, the sun came out for the opening day of the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market this Saturday. Community members walked through rows of vendors’ tents and stocked up on spring produce.

The crowd around The Floured Apron’s booth, a new vendor this year, was especially noticeable upon entering the market. The Floured Apron is a non-profit organization that teaches women from underserved communities how to bake in a free 10-week program, and provides them with job-mentorship training.

To help fundraise, The Floured Apron is selling its cookies, bars and granola at the market this season. The baked goods the organization offered on Saturday sold out completely.

“We love Evanston,” said Dani Zuchovicki, culinary director at The Floured Apron. “Everyone has been super friendly, and all of the vendors support each other. It’s a beautiful thing to see.”

The Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market takes place on Saturdays behind the Hilton Garden Inn from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It runs from May to November, showcasing over 60 vendors every weekend. This season is the market’s 44th year in operation, a success Myra Gorman, market manager, attributes to how much people “genuinely love” the event.

“People will come out rain or shine,” Gorman said. “You can walk around and see people hugging the farmers’ and talking with them because they’ve known them for years.”

This season, 10 new vendors are featured at the market. New participants include flower growers, a company that specializes in unique French fries and even a business that sells warm cheese sandwiches.

Adam Quinn is among those selling in Evanston for the first time this season. Quinn owns Adam’s Acres, a certified organic vegetable farm in Grayslake, Illinois. He started his business in 2018 and will sell produce like cantaloupes and arugula throughout the next few months.

I’m looking forward to gaining knowledge from some of the more experienced farmers’ at the market,” Quinn said. “This is a great way to support local businesses and meet new people who live in Evanston.”

In addition to the markets’ regularly scheduled programming, such as the children’s Spud Club and weekly community not-for-profit tent, Gorman said it will hold special events, too. In September, for example, the market will have its annual fundraiser, Truck to Table. The event pairs a farmer and a chef together, challenging the chef to prepare small plates using fresh produce.

Additionally, Gorman said the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market will accept Illinois Link cards again this season through the Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Through fundraising events like Truck to Table and the Friends of Evanston farmers’ Markets not-for-profit group, the market will also continue its Link card matching program. The program matches up to a $25 withdrawal per week, giving families double the amount to spend at the market.

Gorman said she thinks the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market is different than ones in Chicago because it’s “longstanding.” She said many customers are second generation market-goers, first coming with their parents and now bringing their children.

Others, however, are new visitors, like Weinberg sophomore Brooke Lummis. She said she only made it to the farmers’ market once during her freshman year at NU, and now plans to make the event part of her Saturday routine.

“I love the farmers’ market,” said Lummis. “We have Whole Foods in town, but this is a more local and unique grocery experience. It’s cool to buy food that’s uniquely Midwestern.”

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