The 2011 Oak Park Farmers’ Market is over at the end of October, but for those of us who go to the market every weekend, this time of year brings out some superior stuff.

We always get the Brussels Sprouts on the stalk, looking a lot like the decorated spires of Gothic cathedrals.

“Do they taste better than the ones you buy off the stalk in little boxes,” I asked Carolyn, my wife.

“Hmmm, no,” she confessed, “but I like the way they look.”

We’re also seeing the end of corn and the beginning of squash.

The peaches, I was told by Walt Skibbe, start getting a little unusual this time of year: “They ripen,” he said, “from the inside out.”

Of course, now we’re entering the golden time for apples,. At vendors like Nichol’s, it’s pretty cool to see new varieties being put out. This is one of the most excellent features of vendors like Nichol’s: they’re always trying out new and lesser known types of apples. A visit to Nichol’s stand is an education in forgotten breeds of this fruit and many other types of produce.

Some vendors still have tomatoes, but for most of us, we’ve had our share of them over the past few months. It’s feeling like time to move on.

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David Hammond

David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...