The Oak Park Farmers Market’s 45th season is underway from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October. Vendor stalls are moved from the usual Pilgrim Church parking lot site on Lake Street to nearby streets to allow room for safe social distancing and preorders offered via an online app as part of a pilot program.

This week I was able to place an online order at the Oak Park Farmers Market to pick up and bring to my farm in Michigan. It is slightly ironic that I am ordering from some of my Michigan neighbors and bringing the produce back up with me! Perhaps I will do a farm visit and pick up the goods from the source…and share some pictures of the farms with you all in a future blog post.

Facebook is hopping!

One thing I want to mention this week is that if you haven’t already, check out the “unofficial” Facebook page of the Oak Park Farmers Market. If you enjoy looking at pictures of delicious things people have made with their Farmers Market purchases, this is the place to go. Oak Park has some talented cooks and photographers so check it out for some menu ideas! It seems like this year, the page is more active than ever with new photos after every market.

Dessert For Breakfast-Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Toast

The highlight of my culinary adventures this week was breakfast. I want to share with you one of my favorite breakfasts, but I’ve got to warn you this is not low-calorie. This is a meal that you eat before going out and raking up fall leaves in Oak Park, or spending a long day mowing and trimming blueberry fields (which is what I did). This is deceptively simple to make.

First, take some fruit and make a compote or stewed fruit. I took frozen blueberries, and added brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon, a clove, and a couple of drops of vanilla and a small slice of fresh organic ginger (Prairie Wind Organic Family Farm) and cooked it down into a compote. I also took some fresh peaches and did the same, except the slices were fairly large so the resulting fruit had a more chunky consistency. I don’t know if there will be any more peaches at the market this season but it can also be made from frozen peaches or fresh/frozen apples too. Homemade applesauce pairs especially well with the cinnamon bread, I just didn’t get around to making it yet!

Next, take your favorite bacon (I would stop by Finn’s Ranch or Green Fire Farm) and fry it up in a pan. Then, take a loaf of Cinnamon Raisin Swirl bread from the Breadman and slice it fairly thick, like Greek toast in a restaurant. Fry the bread in the bacon grease (yes, just toss it right in there) until it is nice and toasted. Place the toast on a paper towel to drain, like you would a piece of bacon. I have a dairy allergy so I can’t use butter, but bacon grease from grass-fed, well-raised pork is so flavorful that I don’t miss butter. Finally, I take my toast slices and top them each with a different topping, either blueberry compote, peaches, or another of my all-time favorites, creamed honey from Three Bees. As an aside, I don’t know why but this year the creamed honey is even more delicious than usual. It is especially creamy and combined with the crunchy and pillowy texture of the cinnamon bread, it is divine. 

Of course don’t forget to add a few slices of bacon to your plate, the salty bacon balances out the sweet bread! This meal must be washed down with a hot cup of fresh coffee to be fully appreciated. If you are looking to feed a crowd I would suggest pairing the toasted cinnamon raisin bread with a box of fresh Pilgrim Church donuts and maybe a carton of orange juice on the table for the non-coffee drinkers. Then it truly would be dessert for breakfast.

I was going to write about grilling today but I’m so full from breakfast, I’m not sure I’m going to have room for dinner. Maybe next week! Until then, enjoy Fall!

*Guest blogger Laura Lencioni is the chair of the Oak Park Farmers Market Commission.

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