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. Call for a free pickup and ride to the Market (Tel. 708. 383.4806). Please call before 2:00pm on Friday.

The jewels of late Spring; asparagus, rhubarb, morels, spring onions, radishes, garlic scapes, and foraged ramps will be found in abundance this Saturday. In addition to 28 full time vendors, enjoy the pop-ups, children’s activities, live music and church donuts.

WEEKLY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS:

The name Chicago originates from the Miami-Illinois Native American word Shikaakwa (referring to the smell of the plentiful wild onions or ramps in the area) and the Algonquin word Zhigaagong. The prized edible native onion plant is called Allium tricoccum. The word ramps is a corruption of the old Anglic word “Ramson”, in case anyone is wondering how this seemingly strange common name originated.

Also known as wild leeks, ramps are high in vitamins A and C and minerals and boast an intense garlic-onion flavor, and pungent, almost woodsy aroma. They have a very brief season — when they’re gone, they’re gone — so now is the time to indulge! Here are some ideas on how to showcase the ramps at home. Also, you can chop them and freeze them for later.

I have used the leaves in salads and stir fries, and chopped the bulbs for soups, pizza, ramp pesto, quiche and egg dishes including deviled eggs. Try seafood paella with ramps and fish from our new vendor Sitka Salmon Shares (at Market on June 8) or a crostini embellished with ricotta cheese and pea shoots from American Pride Microgreens (while Farmer John sharpens your knives, while you wait). However: my personal favorite is grilled ramps with market asparagus.

Grilled Ramps with Asparagus:

First clean the ramps well, trim the ends, and strip off the outer layer as you would with a scallion. Combine ramps with asparagus, toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and then give them a quick turn on the grill. The charred vegetarian dish is great hot or room temperature for a graduation party. Ramps are intense, so some people believe less is more when experimenting the first time. Also I have prepared this dish with ramp butter (in lieu of oil) from our international award-winning cheesemaker vendor, Brunkow Baked Cheese. Their butter can turn a boring dish into a sublime culinary experience. Melting a little of their Wisconsin baked cheese on this dish will be my market recipe experiment this week!

This week we look forward to loads of greens; lettuce, kale, spinach, swiss chard. Heirloom tomatoes have arrived early, as the farmers started them in hoop houses. Our beloved strawberries will be a week late this year, due to the abundance of rain this Spring. Enjoy preserved local fruit, of every variety, at multiple vendors’ stands. The legendary market sweet corn will arrive at the end of July, just in time for our annual corn roast fundraiser on August 10. We have to be a little patient with produce seasonality due to weather, but Brian Severson Farm organic grains and our three meat and egg farmers (Mint Creek, Finn’s Ranch and semi-regular Green Fire Farm) are offering a full roster for summer parties. 

Expect an abundance of plants for your garden and pots including IL natives, vegetables (including tomatoes), herbs, flowers and succulents. Heidi from Petals Farm is back with organic cut flowers grown in Illinois. See you, rain or shine, at 7:00am on Saturday. The OP Township will give you a ride home from the Market for free, if you reside in OP or River Forest. Look for their van at the Lake Street entrance. If you need help carrying all your swag to your car, ask for us help at the Info Booth (yellow tent).

UPCOMING EVENTS: August 10, Annual Corn Roast Fundraiser with sweet corn provided from OPFM vendors, Watch for chef demos and more pop-ups vendors in June. Also, enjoy a dynamic green Market program for the plastic-free July Village-wide event.

BAKE SALE: OPRF MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)

CHILDRENS ACTIVITIES: Wonder Works Children’s Museum

VENDOR UPDATES:

  • Bushel & Peck’s  Preservation Kitchen is back as a monthly pop-up vendor. These unique vendors grow everything they bottle.
  • Using Regenerative Ag to heal the soil, Green Fire Farm offers meat and eggs from grass fed and truly pastured animals. Ask Farmer Jacob about the 5 week old orphan lamb he is bottle feeding and raising in his home. Greenfire alternates every other week with Sitka Salmon Shares.
  • The rumors are true: Knife sharpening services are available during Market hours at the American Pride Microgreens booth.

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