Alexa Rogals

The Oak Park Farmers Market, offering high quality, locally-grown produce, is held in the Pilgrim Church Parking lot at 460 Lake St. from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October. | Thanks to Alex Rogals for her photos of the 6/16 farmers market.

Farmers Market Manager, Colleen McNichols, is looking ahead and shared some tips and updates with Oak Park Eats about the next Farmers Market:

The 6/23 market may be the last once where seasonal asparagus is available for purchase, but berry season is starting (Yay!).

Bake sale: School of Rock

Guest vendor: Bushel and Peck’s

Children’s activity: The Chicago Botanic Garden hosts an activity for kids.

Chef demo:  Autre Monde Cafe will host a cooking demonstration from 9 to 11 a.m.

VENDOR UPDATES:

Ellis Family Farms – NEW ITEM ALERT! Ellis Family Farm will be harvesting sweet cherries and zucchini — both new this week. They might also have the first red raspberries (weather permitting) and will sill have some asparagus, strawberries, and the last of the rhubarb available. 

Mint Creek Farm – NEW ITEM ALERT! Beef jerky, beef snack sticks, and beef franks are new additions to the 6/23 market. They will also have a wide selection of organic pastured eggs, beef, pork, and heritage turkey. Lamb and goat will slightly shorter supply, so Mint Creek Farms suggests and early morning visit to get those cuts. They will also offer their late summer honey.

  • VISIT: Mint Creek Farm is hosting a farm dinner with Chef Tom Carlin of Dove’s Luncheonette on June 30! Tickets available: www.mintcreekfarm.com/events.

River Valley Ranch – Garlic scape pesto, made from the flower shoots of Harmony Garlic will be available this week. Farmers harvest the shoots, known as garlic scapes, when they are tender forcing a large garlic bulb. Garlic scapes have a milder flavor and makes a great pesto suitable for topping  a portobello mushroom sandwich or tossing with pasta.

North Wichert Gardens – New to the market this week: Zinnias, snapdragons, and calendula. They are all colorful flowers and people can mix and match all of them.  

MARKET READY RECIPE: Anticipating berry season

According to our friends at the farmers market, fresh locally grown berries should begin appearing in the coming days and weeks. Berries are nutritional powerhouses and add color and texture to any plate. Bursting with flavor on their own, berries of all kinds take additional flavors surprisingly well.

I am especially fond of using sweet berries in savory applications like this simple berry salsa. Brimming with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, this salsa strikes a notable balance between savory and sweet. Serve this lovely salsa over chicken or fish to bring a little summer sweetness to your next dinner plate.

Farmers Market Inspiration: Simple Mixed Berry Salsa 

  • 2 Cups roughly chopped, strawberries (stems removed)
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint blackberries 
  • 1/4 Cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallot
  • 1 small Serrano or jalapeno chili, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all the berries in a large bowl. Whisk together (or shake in a mason jar) the lime juice, lime zest, shallot, honey, olive oil, and Serrano chili. Season the dressing to taste and pour over the berries. Gently fold in the chopped cilantro and mint, adjust seasoning, and serve the salsa at once over chicken or fish with a green vegetable on the side.

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