via OPFM

Colleen McNichols, Market Manager, shares her perspective on rainy days at the Oak Park Farmers Market.

I adore the smell of the market in the morning after a rain. The sweet-scented perfume of the lovely white tuberoses blends with the aromatic fresh church donuts and is enhanced by the distinctive fragrance of fresh herbs.

McNichols appreciates Oak Park market goers because they put on their Wellies and raincoats and just “get on with it.” A little moisture is not going to stop shoppers from savoring all the sensory delights offered on Saturday mornings in October. As a “rain or shine” event, shoppers have three more weeks to inhale and enjoy the autumn textures, colors, shapes, fragrances, tastes and sounds at Oak Park’s  robust little market.


About the cheese…

Brunkow Cheese has been creating over 50 varieties of artisanal and specialty cheeses in small batches by hand since 1899. They age all their cheese on site in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin. Recipients of 15 awards, they have won “Best of Class” for their Brun-uusto Baked Cheese with Garlic, 99.3 in 2014 at the World Championship Cheese Contest. In 2012, they won “Best of Class” for our Raw Milk Cheddar with Horseradish, 97.75, again in the World Championship Cheese Contest.

J2K Capraio is a farmstead dairy and artisan creamery located in Walkerton, Indiana. J2K Capraio’s cheese-making operation is entirely done by hand by the Klinedinst family; the family of six raise the goats, milk the goats, handcraft the cheese and sell the cheese themselves. They are proud of their marinated feta, which placed in the top ten in its category at the United States Champion Cheese Competition, the largest contest in our country. They just completed Indiana’s first underground cheese cave, which will hold 20,000 lbs. of cheese. The cave will add to the flavor profile of the cheeses. The cheese already has a natural rind. The cave floor, and walls, add to the taste and will be naturally-geothermally regulated by the earth, which affects temperature and humidity within the cave.

About the meats and eggs…

Finns’ Ranch (MI) and Mint Creek Farm (IL) are family-run sustainable meat and egg producers. Both meat/egg farms raise animals on certified organic pastures and all the animals are grass-fed and pasture raised. They both have earned Animal Welfare Approved status. All their animals are raised antibiotic and hormone-free and are veg-fed.

About the fresh cut flowers…

Both North Wichert Gardens and Petals Farm grow all their flowers in Illinois (even the Tuberoses and Eucalyptus).

About the baked goods…

Both farmers market bakers, Katic Breads and Breadman, specialize in handmade (small batch) items, use sustainable practices, and utilize as much local sourcing as possible.

About the specialty growers and products…

River Valley Ranch is the largest organic mushroom farm in the Midwest. Along with year-round indoor grown mushrooms, their specialty items (jars, packaged, and frozen) are all made from their farm-grown produce.

Brian Severson Farms grow non-GMO Certified Organic grains and offer recipes and mixes for biscuits, cornbread and more. Their flour, oats, grits, cornmeal are often grown with ancient grains. He grows some Ark of Taste seeds (from the Slow Food Movement). Their pure popcorn seeds can be traced back to the 1890s. Their flour was used in the pie contest and many of us make our own pizza dough with their products. Recently, they developed a nine grain bread with our baker, Breadman, that has become a best-seller.

Some of our jarred/packaged items, straight from the preservation kitchens at the farms include: honey, maple syrup, bruschetta, sauces, purees, salsas, dips, granolas, hot sauce, vegan tamales (frozen), pasta (frozen), condiments, pickled vegetables, and jams.


Pear, Goat Cheese and Asiago Galette (6 servings)

Despite featuring a scratch-made cornmeal-rosemary crust, this rustic tart comes together with ease.  A traditional pie is much more complicated to make  than this free-formed delight!

For the crust:

  • 2 Cups flour
  • ½ Cup cornmeal
  • ¼ Cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 10 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided
  • ¼- ½ Cup ice water 

For the topping:

  • 2 large pears, peeled cored and sliced 
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 ½  Cup shredded Asiago cheese
  • ½ Cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, rosemary, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixture to combine. Dice 8 Tablespoons of the cold butter and add to the processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Drizzle in just enough water to allow the dough to come together.  Press the dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle with cornmeal. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap and roll out into a circle on a floured surface to ¼ “ thickness.

Toss the sliced pears with the lemon juice and lemon zest. Sprinkle the 1 Cup of the Asiago cheese in the center of the rolled dough leaving a 2” edge uncovered. Sprinkle with ½ of the thyme leaves and arrange the pears on top of the cheese. Leave the 2” edge uncovered. Sprinkle the pears with the remaining Asiago, all of the goat cheese, the remaining thyme and the pepper. Fold the edges of the crust up over the filling and pinch to form rustic crust.

Transfer the galette to the baking sheet using a large spatula or a pizza peel. Bake the galette in the lower 1/3 of the oven for about 40 minutes (begin checking at 30 minutes) or until goat cheese is beginning to brown and crust is golden and firm.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting into wedges. Serve at once.


Vegetable Harvest (not a comprehensive list):

  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli/Broccolini
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery Root 
  • Celery
  • Chard, Rainbow Swiss and other
  • Collard Greens
  • Eggplant 
  • Garlic
  • Ginger (maybe)
  • Grains, Various (flours, grits, cornmeal, biscuit mixes, popcorn, etc.)
  • Greens, Various
  • Herbs, Fresh Various
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Microgreens, Various
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Peppers, Bell and Various 
  • Potatoes (14 varieties)
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Scallion
  • Squash, Various
  • Turnip Greens
  • Turnip, Various
  •  Wheatgrass  

Fruit Harvest (not a comprehensive list):

  • Apples (14 varieties)
  • Apple Cider
  • Cranberries (Ellis Family Farm, only)
  • Gourds (edible and decorative)
  • Grapes, Various 
  • Grape Juice (only at Walt Skibbe stand)
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Pumpkins (baking)
  • Pumpkins (Jack-o-Lantern)
  • Raspberries
  • Tomatoes (maybe, the last of season)

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