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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.


Reading Laura Lencioni’s wonderful ideas and recipes for ginger applesauce and oatmeal and apple treats (mentioned below), reminded me of my life-enhancing frozen swag consumed during the polar vortex last winter. I not only survived the cold but actually enjoyed my forced hibernation because my freezer and cupboards were filled with Market goodies from the previous season. I defrosted oatmeal, grits (southern style is my fav), cornbread and wheat berry blender pancake mix from Brian Severson Organic Farm. Thankfully, I had ample berries stored away and Michigan syrup from Stovers. Mushroom tamales from River Valley Ranch were appreciated and this winter’s supply with be enhanced by Three Bee’s honey and elderberry syrup. Herbally Yours herb mixes were fresh and bursting with flavor, since Jim the vinegar man picks everything fresh from his garden. I even froze blanched market tomatoes, as I cannot go through too many months without tasting a local tomato. River Valley Ranch’s organic sauce is rightfully named “the bomb” and I always have enough on hand to get me through the winter. Breadman and Katic breads were essential freezer items and I am freezing butternut  squash for soups and chili now, too.

This is the time when everyone should stock up on fresh and freezable specialties from our beloved farmers market. Planning ahead ensures we’ll all be able to savor summer memories during the long winter and look forward to the season ahead.

You have five more markets to fill your home with nourishing, delectable and savory stash.

–Colleen McNichols


  • Stone Soup giveaway, closing day, Oct. 26
  • Knives sharpened every week at American Pride Microgreens booth
  • Live Folk Music, every week, starting at 9:00am
  • Church donuts, coffee (iced and hot), OJ, every week

Bake Sale: Sarah’s Inn

Vendor Update: Sitka Salmon Shares will have individual fish pieces (sustainably-caught) available for sale at Market. Brian Severson Farms grains will be sold at the Breadman booth (East end of Market)  for the remainder of the season, as the Severson’s staff went back to college. Herbally Yours is back with their home-grown flavored vinegars and herb mixes.


Cozy Up for Fall with Apples, Oatmeal and more Market Comfort Foods

Fall is officially here, and one of my favorite things about fall is…APPLES! We now have plenty of luscious local apples at the Farmer’s Market. So far this year I’ve bought apples from Nichol’s Farm and Orchard, they have an excellent selection of apples in bins that you can mix and match. When I am ready to do some serious cooking with apples, I also like to shop at Walt Skibbe’s farm where you can buy a whole bushel basket full for a very reasonable price. Of course, if you are buying apples it makes sense to stop by Johanson’s Apple World — it is in the name! Buying apples locally from the Farmer’s Market is the next best thing to going apple picking. Farmer’s Markets typically have a better selection of varieties than your supermarket.

My favorite way to eat apples is to buy a variety of apples, wash thoroughly, and leave them out on my dining room table for snacking. The bowl I use was my Nonna’s. She was a fantastic cook and, like the typical Italian grandmother, loved to feed everyone. Every time I pull an apple out of the bowl, I think of the many family dinners when that bowl was the table’s centerpiece.

But I digress, I was talking about Farmer’s Market apples. I like to take the smaller varieties and pack them in my lunches. I especially love some of the older russet varieties for their sweet, tart flavor and crisp, firm flesh. It is hard to find that flavor in grocery stores! Some types are not small however…when I finally get around to cooking, I like to pick up a few hefty Wolf River apples. These beauties are enormous and have a white, clean flesh that is more tart than sweet. Wolf River apples are perfect for Northern growers because they are very cold-hardy and disease resistant. They are a versatile apple that is great in many apple recipes. Other than eating fresh, I like to make a batch or two of applesauce and make oatmeal with chopped apples. 

My applesauce (recipe below) is super flavorful and has a little zing of ginger. If you are short on time for making homemade applesauce, however, Stover’s has some lovely jars of Honeycrisp applesauce ready to go!

My other favorite way to eat apples is in oatmeal (recipe below). I use steel-cut or stone-ground oats for this recipe. This week, I used Brian Severson Farms fine stone-ground oatmeal. I use the Instant Pot, but this would work well in the slow cooker as well. I brought this oatmeal for a potluck event with a selection of toppings, and my co-workers kept asking me for the recipe! The secret is simply good quality oats and good quality toppings. Please note that Brian Severson Organic products will be sold by Breadman at the East side of the Market for the remainder of the season.

–Laura Lencioni


Ginger Spice Applesauce

5 apples is a minimum to make about a 1-pint jar, depending on the size of the apples. I usually make much bigger batches and scale-up ingredients appropriately.  As with making pies, using multiple varieties of your favorite tart and sweet apples is key to the best applesauce!

  • 5 or more apples.
  • a small nub of ginger (sold by various vendors)
  • 1/4 to 2/3 cup of white or brown sugar (more if you are using really tart apples, less or none if using sweeter apples)
  • 1 or two cloves
  • dash of nutmeg
  • a generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Wash, peel, and chop your apples roughly. Personally, I don’t peel the skins because I am lazy and don’t mind extra fiber. In your Instant Pot or slow cooker, place all of the ingredients. In the Instant Pot pressure cook for 3-5 min and then allow to slow cook for about an hour. In the slow cooker, simmer until the apples appear really mushy. Then take a potato masher and mash to the desired consistency. You could also do this stovetop of course, but make sure to stir frequently and keep the heat on very low.

Laura’s Birthday Breakfast Oatmeal


  • 1 cup Brian Severson oats
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 dash salt
  • a few apples
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • brown sugar
  • honey (Dennanne Farms (called Three Bees now) specializes in bee products, but several other vendors sell honey as well)
  • dark molasses
  • maple syrup
  • walnuts, almonds, pecans or your favorite nut mix
  • frozen blueberries, raspberries, or similar


In the Instant Pot, I added a bit of coconut oil to the bottom of the pan, 1 cup of oatmeal, a dash of salt, and 4 cups of water. Turn on the “porridge” setting. While waiting for it to cook, chop up a few different kinds of apples into small cubes, as fine as you can make them. Arrange your toppings on the table. Serve your hot oatmeal to each person, and let them add their own toppings! I personally like to add a lot of apples and a little bit of everything with honey and molasses drizzled on top. 

Oak Park Farmers’ Market is committed to equal access to high-quality fresh food. We believe that anyone who wants to eat locally grown and produced food should be able to, regardless of their income level. Therefore; we accept SNAP/LINK cards for payment. We match each dollar spent with a Link card with a one dollar coupon (up to $25.00 per Market day). In addition, we accept WIC and Senior vouchers, as well. To learn more about our equitable programs visit our website:

REMINDER: Please remember to bring your yogurt containers or storage containers to bring your berries and fruit home. Keep your bag clean and berries safely protected. We have given out all of our compostable shopping bags, so please remember to grab your bags on the way out of the door.

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