After a brutal winter that never seemed to end, residents of the western suburbs are looking forward to warmer weather and the renewed ability to enjoy their local farmers’ markets. In Riverside, Oak Park and Brookfield the local markets are offering opportunities for residents and visitors to buy fresh produce in the open air- no parka required.

Riverside

Amy Jacksic, a coordinator of the Riverside Market is pleased to announce that the market is growing due to popular demand.

“We will open a little earlier, on June 4, and close a little later on October 15,” Jacksic said. “Also by request, we’ve added additional farmers the market this year.”

The market has three chemical and pesticide-free farmers, including Illinois vendors Providence Farm and Bountiful Blessings, as well as Amish farmer Countryside Produce. New vendor Pear Tree Preserves will offer small batch, seasonal fruit preserves. A knife sharpener will be on hand weekly, honing knives, gardening tools and lawn mower blades. New Magnolia nursery will sell heirloom vegetable plants for personal gardens.

The market takes place every Wednesday from 2:30 to 7 p.m. in the Riverside Library parking lot, and special events throughout the summer will focus on the community. The first week, Dan’s Bike Shop will be offering mini-tune ups, and the freemasons will be offering their annual child identification event. The Riverside Public Library will also kick off their summer reading program, which features a science theme this year.

Brookfield

The Brookfield Farmers Market will open on June 7 and close on October 18. The market is held on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Avenue. Offering organic and sustainable vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs and flowers and plants, the market aims to have something for everyone. The market partners with community groups as well as artisans to provide demonstrations, and weekly music adds to the celebratory atmosphere. 

Oak Park

The Oak Park Farmers Market is opening one week later this year, on May 24, and closing one week later on November 11. Jessica Rinks, Farmers Market Manager, reports that there will be four new vendors this year.

“We have two new bread vendors who bake artisanal bread products,” Rinks said. “Hazzard Free farms will be offering flowers, cornmeal and dried beans, and Big Head Farm from Michigan will offer certified organic blueberries.”

The market runs every Saturday in the parking lot of Pilgrim Church on Lake Street from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., but plan on getting their early if you want to avoid long lines for the famous donuts. Bluegrass music provides a backdrop every week, and the first two weeks of the market will host “go green” events. The annual corn roast is planned for August 16th.

Like everyone, Rinks thinks the long winter has increased the anticipation of opening day.

“I think the growing season is going well for everybody,” Rinks said. “Ultimately, the spring has been a little cooler than normal, but it has not been a problem for our farmers. We should have plenty to offer on the first day of the market.”

Read more Summer Fun 2014 articles

Join the discussion on social media!