via OPFM

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. 

Farmers Market Manager, Colleen McNichols, is excited about baking this week at the OPFM.

Pie Bake-off contestants, competing next weekend, will be able to choose from a variety of farm-fresh market ingredients for their pies. These market pies are going to be tasted by shoppers at the market after the judging on September 1. Therefore, be sure to time your shopping for between 10:00 and 11:00am for the tasting! Last year at our Inaugural Pie contest, the winner featured Michigan peaches. Perhaps this year, we will see more apple pies? Vendors providing ingredients to pie bake off competitors are listed below. Additionally, this Saturday look for heirloom tomatoes for every purpose, sweet corn, melons, summers squash, greens, honey, fresh flowers, meat, confections, baked goods, cheeses, grains, condiments, jarred goods, new breads, croissants and eggs galore.

Barry’s Berries: They will have raspberries, blueberries, Barlett pears (new this week), Fantasia nectarines and plums . Because the Barlett pears have to be picked green, they need to sit for a few days before being eaten. This makes them a perfect choice for the pie-baking contestants to experiment with, as they will ripen just in time to be baked.

Ellis Family Farm: Farmer Renee is harvesting the Harrow Beauty peach that is highly flavorful, falls right off the pit and is juicy and delicious. This is an older variety that is similar to the popular Red Haven. Besides blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, they are bringing five different varieties of plums. Two of these plum varieties are excellent in pies. Ask the Ellis vendor at the market booth for guidance. Zestar apples are available, as well.

Nichols Family Farm and Orchard: The Nichols family is introducing many new apples this week. Farmer Steve suggests using more than one variety in your apple pie. He suggests the pie bakers go for blended textures and flavors. He especially likes the Zestar apple for baking. Some of the apple varieties this week include; Summer Red, Paula red, Zestar, Ginger Gold, Sansa and more. He is bringing many varieties of Italian plums, in addition to Santa Rosas and Stanleys.

Walt Skibbe Farm: Farmer Walt is proud to offer his Red Haven, Gold and Loring peaches from Michigan. He believes they are all good for baking.  He suggests his Wealthy (tart) apple for pies and to make apple sauce. Many of Walt’s regular customers have waited all season for his Paula Red apples. They are delicious and similar to the McIntosh, but better. The meat is crisp, yet soft, similar to that of a Golden Delicious and originated in Michigan.His Ginger Golds are a cross between Golden Delicious and Albemarle Pippin (Newtown Pippin) apples. Ginger Gold has been described as one of the best-tasting late summer- early Fall-season apples.

Brian Severson Grain Farm: Only at OPFM would you find a Certified Organic grain farmer offering to custom mill the pie crust ingredients to the specifications of each Pie Bake-Off contestant. Along with his corn meals and corn breads and non-GMO grains, this week he is offering a new white popcorn high fiber snack with local maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. To add to the intrigue, this heirloom popcorn is an open-pollinated variety that dates back to the 1800’s. Try his healthy, whole-grain snacks and ingredients for “from scratch” cooking and baking.

Bake sale: Hephzibah Children’s Association

Children’s activity: Park District of Oak Park

Special guest: Village of Oak Park Firefighters/Paramedics

Guest Vendor: Green Fire Farm (Regenerative Ag, meat and eggs)

VENDOR UPDATES:

Geneva Lakes Produce: Farmer Scott is bringing truckloads of sweet cantaloupe and watermelon. He is one of the few vendors who grows green tomatoes along with his fabulous Wisconsin red tomatoes.  His specialty beans sell out so fast in the morning, you need to arrive early to enjoy the harvest. Known for his vast variety of produce, he offers something for everyone.

Green Fire Farm (pop-up): Farmer Jacob is back and bringing his ham roasts, ribs (beef short ribs, country-style pork and spare ribs). Ask him about his Regenerative Agriculture practices and learn about his modern farming techniques using the wisdom of the ancient farming to revive the soil.

Tomato Mountain:  Farmer Chris’s organic Sungold tomatoes are sweeter than candy. He focuses on tomatoes and sauces and products featuring tomatoes. It is worth the wait for this week’s Black Cherry, Mountain Medley, Verona, and Heirloom Slicers (in short supply). Of course, he will offer his white onions, red onions and shallots grown free of toxins.

MARKET READY RECIPE: Quick cantaloupe cucumber relish

Cantaloupe Cucumber Relish

Ingredients:

  • ½ Cup cantaloupe, diced small
  • ½ Cup cucumber, diced
  • ¼ Cup yellow pepper, diced
  • 3 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons red Onion, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon chives, snipped
  • 1 teaspoons dill fronds
  • Salt and pepper

Combine all of the relish ingredients in a small non-reactive bowl and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.

Join the discussion on social media!