‘It’s all about community’: Evanston Farmers’ Market to reopen this spring


Illustration by Gemma DeCetra

The Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market will reopen on May 7 for the 2022 season. Market-goers can expect prepared foods, chef demonstrations, outdoor seating, a children’s tent and live music.

Arianna Montas, Reporter

At the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market this spring, market-goers will see classic market staples return — prepared foods, chef demonstrations, outdoor seating, a children’s tent and live music.

The market, at the corner of Oak Avenue and University Place, will open every Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. from May 7 to Nov. 5, featuring familiar Evanston favorites and several new vendors.

“We set up cafe tables, community tables so that people can eat next to people they don’t know and have that camaraderie,” Market Manager Myra Gorman said. “I’ve always wanted the market to be a Saturday morning destination.”

This May’s reopening marks the first time in three years the market will return to pre-pandemic conditions, lifting previous COVID-19 protocols like barricades and one-way lines.

Toward the end of its 2021 season, the market lifted many of its safety measures, which had been in place since 2020, but she said she noticed market-goers continue to socially distance themselves.

Gorman also said the pandemic saw an increase in small business launches in the area, leading to an unprecedented number of new vendor applications.

One of seven new vendors this year is Mindful Baking, a gluten-free and vegan baked goods business. Mindful Baking specializes in treats like brownies and cupcakes, but also offers savory items like pizza crust and breads. 

According to Owner and Pastry Chef Diane Mejia, Mindful Baking has been trying to get a spot at the market for the past eight years.

“To be in Evanston is a big goal of mine,” Mejia said. “I heard that the community there is very supportive and that there’s a lot of women-owned businesses, so I’m very excited to be a part of it this year.” 

Mejia also said farmers’ markets such as Evanston’s are crucial for small businesses to get their names out there. She said these markets play a central role in promoting her brand and meeting new customers. 

Gorman said there will be vendors selling more than just fresh produce, like ready-to-eat goods. She said the market will feature baked goods and pre-cooked meals alongside its usual fruits and vegetables.

SESP sophomore Brendley Nathaniel said she spent many of her Saturdays last spring outside, browsing the market.

“I did buy a succulent that I still have in my room, and I love it very much,” Nathaniel said. “You can go and not even look at produce if you don’t want to. There’s more than just the produce.”

Gorman emphasized the special interaction farmers’ markets provide between vendors and customers, where consumers can have one-on-one discussions about where the products are sourced and how they were grown.

Farmers’ markets also allow market-goers to meet other community members, which she said fosters a sense of connection. 

“I’d love to see the students and the community continue to come out,” Gorman said. “That’s what a farmers’ market is all about — it’s all about community.”

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @arimontas 

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