The winter farmers’ market

In the off-season, the Green City market held during the summer months on Saturdays in Lincoln Park moves indoors to the Nature Museum.  My friend K. has been singing its praises, so, on the strength of her enthusiasm, I decided to go.  My sister-in-law, who’s visiting this weekend, agreed to go with me, so we piled on our coats and scarfs and headed off, armed with umbrellas to ward off the wet snow that was falling.

Nichols staff and stand, © 2013 Celia Her City

The museum provided a perfect setting for the market—open and airy.   About twenty vendors occupied the lobby atrium and space on the second floor of the building.  Compared to the dozens and dozens of vendors at the summer market, this pared-down version had a cozy feel.

Offerings at the market included potatoes, radishes, beets, dried beans, mushrooms, salad greens, baked goods, specialty canned goods, cheeses, salsas, freshly made pasta, pesto, and meats.  There were also house plants, a few cut flowers (e.g., tulips, which are just beginning to come in), and forced bulbs like the amaryllis above.  My purchases included a package of freshly made raw pizza dough, several blocks of tasty artisanal Wisconsin cheeses, and new potatoes.

Shoppers at Chicago's indoor farmers' market, © 2013 Celia Her City

One of the great features of any market is the people-watching, and the sociability intrinsic to this form of shopping.  I loved talking to the vendors and being part of this crowd, on the prowl with their children, their morning coffee, and their shopping bags.  Muffins, freshly made grilled-cheese sandwiches, hot soup and pizza (not to mention free food samples) were on offer for shoppers in need of quick fortification.

It will be fun to go back to the market in a few weeks, when there’s likely to be an explosion of early-spring offerings, like spinach, peas, maybe even morels—not to mention flowers like hyacinths and daffodils!  What a great way to celebrate the season of spring!

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