“It’s a very different feel because it is so small, but it’s nice and I’ve found some good things there,” Mason said.
Clarendon Hills, which started a farmers market in 2017, is a small venture that began with two vendors LaVanway Farms out of Berrien Center, Michigan, and Hahn’s Bakery out of Geneva. Spartan Gourmet Foods now also participates.
But those looking for fresh produce, or even other offerings such a pierogies or pizza, have several choices in the area with a range of farmers markets.
“I have bought other things at some of the farmers markets, but it’s definitely the fresh fruit and vegetables that bring me out because I usually find better stuff than they have at the supermarket,” said Stacy Wright of Downers Grove, who was shopping at the farmers market in La Grange.
Wright said some farmers sell at more than one market in the area, but sometimes they sell different items at different places.
Meanwhile, Burr Ridge stopped hosting a farmers market in 2016 due to lack of sales and therefore, vendor interest, village officials said.
The Western Springs French Market offers a variety of produce, meats, seafood, breads, pastries, chocolates, cheese, wine, artisan-made goods, and flowers from local and regional vendors on Sundays.
Bensidoun Market, which has 20 markets in the Midwest and Northeast, among them Wheaton, Glen Ellyn and Lisle in the western suburbs, operates the Western Springs French Market.
Western Springs started hosting its French Market about 10 years ago and initially had it on Thursdays, said Martin Scott, the village’s community development director.
“That worked out well for a while, but we took a look at it and thought Sundays would work out well for us because it doesn’t interfere with the local businesses, and it’s more of an open day,” Scott said.
The Hinsdale Farmers Market includes fruit, vegetables and flowers from favorites, such as Evergreen Farm in Yorkville.
Evergreen sold out of its spinach, kale and tomatoes on a recent Monday, but planned to bring more next week, plus peas, zucchini and strawberries.
The Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the market, has posted recipes using seasonal ingredients on its website from area restaurants, such as Harry & Eddie’s, and chef Paul Virant.
There is still plenty to eat at the Hinsdale market with Altamura Pizza, Elsie Mae’s Pies and Cannery, Holy Pierogi Co., Azteca Catering and Gandi the Juice Guru preparing ready to eat meals and snacks.
New this year are outdoor fitness activities, such as yoga, each Monday morning. The Hinsdale Library also has a booth with activities for children at the market.
This is the second summer Yejin Yoon and Aaron Best of Alda Food have been selling their Korean rice bowls and related items at the La Grange market.
“We are hoping to open up a place, but this has been really good for us,” Yoon said. “We wanted a place to set up and try, locally, and there are a lot of people who come here for the farmers market.”
Nancy Cummings, executive director of the La Grange Business Association, said there’s a lot more going on at its farmers market than buying food.
“The market’s a lifestyle experience for people who not only want locally sourced, fresh food, but they want to know the people who are producing it on a personal level,” she said.
Cummings said the farmer’s market is a good place for neighbors to catch up with one another, too, and a way for kids to learn that healthy food comes in a variety of colors, shapes and textures.
Scott agreed, calling the Western Springs French Market a unique shopping experience.
“Along with bringing our residents together, we also are looking to attract people from other towns, and, hopefully, they will patronize our businesses while they are here,” he said.
In Elmhurst, the farmers market is sponsored by the York & Vallette Business District and features more than 25 vendor booths.
The farmers market menu
When: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays through October
Where: 34 S. Prospect Ave.
When: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesdays through October
Where: York Road and Vallette Street
When: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mondays through Oct. 14
Where: Burlington Park, 30 E. Chicago Ave.
When: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays through October
Where: intersection of La Grange Road and Harris Avenue
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays through October
Where: Hillgrove Avenue, between Lawn and Grand Avenues