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.

SPECIAL EVENT ALERT: Registration is now open for the Oak Park Farmers’ Market’s third annual Pie Bake-Off! The contest will take place Sept. 7 and is open to professional and amateur bakers age 16 and older.  This year’s contest will be limited to 12 entries. Find the contest rules and registration form at Pie Bake-off Application 2019. Entry forms may be submitted through Aug. 24 at the Farmers’ Market Information Tent or by emailing farmersmarket@oak-park.us. The Pie Bake-off pies will be available to shoppers for sampling after the judging, so mark your calendars for Sept. 7

UPCOMING EVENTS:

All vendors will be giving out compostable bags in July as part of our Plastic Free July initiative. Single-use plastic bags are banned from the Market in July. We are accepting the plastic plant pots back, after shoppers go home and plant their gardens. The pots will be returned to the original vendors for reuse. We prefer everyone bring their own reusable bags or purchase one at the Info Tent. The compostable bags should be a last resort. Please ask us about the Village Compost curbside pickup program. Please remember to bring your yogurt containers or storage containers to bring your berries and cherries home. Keep your bag clean and berries safely protected.

  • Annual Corn Roast fundraiser on Aug. 10.
  • Pie Bake-Off on Sept. 7 
  • Stone Soup giveaway, closing day, Oct. 26
  • Knives sharpened every week at American Pride Microgreens booth
  • Live Music, every week, starting at 9:00am
  • Church donuts, coffee (iced and hot), OJ, every week

Bake Sale: OP Gymnastics Booster Club

Vendor update: Green Fire Farm is back with their meat and eggs from their Regenerative Ag farm in Wisconsin. Regenerative Ag means they try to capture carbon in the soil to reverse current global trends of atmospheric accumulation. Ask farmer Jacob about his farming practices as well as Farmer Jen Miller of Prairie Wind Family Farm. They are truly farming for the future.  One of our original vendors, Herbally Yours will be present for their bi-monthly visit with home grown herb flavored vinegars, herb mixes and rubs. J.R. Smits “The Farm” is back with sweet corn and more — right across from the Info tent.

CELEBRATE THE ROBUST HARVEST 

Stone Fruit, Berries, Sweet Corn, Apples and More

Thank you to all the early customers who showed up last Saturday, regardless of the heat, to support independent farmers and producers. Thank you to our stellar vendors for tolerating the heat for us, too. If you tried the first sweet corn, apples, plums and peaches, it was well worth braving the steamy temperatures.

The Sitka Salmon Shares cooking demo was truly informative and the tasty salmon samples were perfectly seasoned for the high temps and humidity (must have been the cilantro). The frozen apple cider from Walt Skibbe Farm kept us refreshed at the Information Tent. Walt Skibbe surprised us all with the season’s first apples.

This coming week: expect the most robust Market day yet of the season.

The Michigan early peaches and plums are here and well worth the wait. Since peach and plum trees are particularly sensitive to temperature changes, many were lost or damaged this past winter during the polar vortex and other temperature changes. However; we will offer quality over quantity this season. I suggest you shop early in the morning for the best selection of stone fruit at the Market. No cooking skills are required to grill peaches and enjoy the intensified sweetness. Berries are still plentiful so stock up and freeze.

More vendors are offering our legendary (non-gmo) Midwestern-grown sweet corn this Saturday. Farmer Jen of Prairie Wind Family Farm tossed a summer salad made with sweet corn, preserved peppers and Breslin Organic Farm’s Black Turtle beans (sold at Brian Severson Farm’s booth). I made my annual black bean, corn and mango salad (shrimp or fish can be added).

Brunkow Cheese hides some award-winning cheeses under their table (you need to ask) Little Darling is a delightful pasteurized cow’s milk artisan cheese. It has an earthy, mushroom flavor with vegetal notes. Handmade in small batches it has a firm, crumbly texture with a natural rind tomme (small aged wheel), cellar aged with an affinage of 3-6 months. I paired it with some dark Ines bread from Katic and a whole wheat loaf from Breadman. It was so good with Walt Skibbe’s apples and shaved over my Market salad. It almost tastes like a raw milk cheese but would be perfect paired with Tomato Mountain’s pasta sauce or River Valley Ranch’s Portabello Pasta Sauce or their bruschetta. Speaking of actual raw milk cheeses, Brunkow’s jalapeno raw milk cheese is unforgettable. Next week, I will share some tips on enjoying J2K Capraio’s cave-aged cheeses. 

The fresh dill and fennel and first eggplant will spark your imagination. The zucchini is ready to be grilled with Finn’s Ranch bratwurst and Mint Creek’s beef burger patties and Green Fire Farm’s all-beef wieners. Heirloom tomatoes will be found in abundance along with chicken and duck eggs. If you want to juice the celery and other veggies, try wheatgrass and more from American Pride microgreens. John will sharpen your knives while you choose your microgreens.

An abundance of cut fresh locally-grown flowers is finally here, after a very wet early season. Check out the south east corner of the market for Petals Farm and Geneva Lakes Produce bringing sunflowers, zinnias, gladiolas and more.

Enjoy the height of the market season with a vast variety of specialty items, Swiss-style yogurt from Green Fire Farm pop-up (the rhubarb flavor is sublime), sustainable meats, eggs, baked goods, produce, donuts, coffee (hot and cold), artisan cheeses, preserved items, plants, flavored vinegars, spices, herb mixes, sauces, jams, spreads, frozen veggie burgers and tamales (River Valley Ranch), microgreens, knife-sharpening services, granolas, raw real honey and honey products, cut flowers, grains, beans, specialty tomato items, bake sale and live jam session.

See you on Saturday,

Colleen

MARKET READY RECIPES FROM PRAIRIE WIND FAMILY FARM:

Celery and Fennel Salad with Toasted Walnuts

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, some fronds reserved
  • 3 celery ribs, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, more to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
  • Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Toasted walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Cut fennel bulbs in quarters lengthwise. Use a mandoline to slice quarters thinly; slice celery equally thin. Put sliced fennel and celery into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to combine. Top with lots of freshly shaved Parmesan and chopped toasted walnuts if you like.

Basic Black Beans

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups organic black beans, soaked overnight in water, rinsed well (Breslin Farm beans sold by Brian Severson Farms).
  • 1 med. red onion, diced
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 medium hot peppers, dried or fresh, (stems, seeds and membranes removed)

DIRECTIONS:

Add all ingredients to a medium pot. Cover beans with 2-3 inches of water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, add lid and cook until just tender (30 to 40 minutes). When tender but still very soupy, add one 6 oz. can tomato paste (organic preferred).

Use as is with breakfast dishes, tortillas, quesadillas, tacos, etc. Or use as a base from which to make soups and other Mexican dishes.

Spiced Peach Sundaes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 pounds ripe peaches, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
  • Whole pecans, toasted
  • Sweetened whipped cream

DIRECTIONS:

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add brown sugar; stir to blend. Add vanilla, cardamom and nutmeg. Stir 1 minute. Add peaches; toss gently to coat. Cook until sugar mixture melts and peaches are tender but do not fall apart, tossing occasionally, about 5 minutes. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm over low heat before using.)

Place 2 scoops ice cream in each of 8 bowls. Spoon peach mixture over ice cream, dividing equally. Garnish with pecans and whipped cream.

(source: Bon Appetit and Prairie Wind Organic Family Farm adaptations)

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