Saturday, July 09, 2005

Evanston Farmers Market . Evanston, IL

 evanston farmers market .  evanston, il


Evanston Farmers Market . Evanston, IL
I went to the The Evanston Farmers Market this weekend and I paid $1.50 for a bunch of weeds!
Yes, weeds!

 Kinnikinnick Farm booth, evanston farmers market .  evanston, il

Kinnikinnick Farm
One of the first booths I stopped at was the, Kinnikinnick Farm of Caledonia, IL. They had an array of greens out. One bunch looked a lot like some weeds I have growing in my back yard. This bunch of weeds was called “wild Purslane”. Not sure if I wanted to eat weeds so I chose a generous bunch of spearmint ($1.50) instead, for this summer tea I’ve been making, inspired by a Moroccan restaurant I went to a few weeks back.

This market is brimming with people and booths. There are over thirty booths here. Several booths offer organic and transitional organic produce in addition to conventional fruits and vegetables. There are also booths for flowers, breads, cheeses, relishes, and meat.

The market is right next to a large parking garage for the shopping district in Evanston so it is very easy to park and shop this market. We cycled to the market. This market could use some bike racks but we found parking meters to lock the bike to, as did the others who cycled to the market.

 harp player, evanston farmers market .  evanston, il

The atmosphere is great. There are several musicians playing throughout the market. We listened to an accordion player, a guitarist, and a harp player this morning.

Huntington Orchards
I’d just been reading that melons are chock full of B vitamins and good for nourishing your skin…I was therefore drawn to pick up a few cantaloupe melons at the Huntington Orchards stand. They were handing out samples and it was easy to be drawn into to the buying persuasion of the tasty tidbit. I bought two. ($3 ea.)

Green Acres
Green Acres is a transitional organic farm…meaning they are moving from conventional farm practices with pesticide usage to an organic farm with organic practices and no pesticide use.

The booth for the Green Acres Farm of North Judson, IN was filled with a large variety of greens and other vegetables. I picked up a bag of Spigeriello ($2.50). I have not eaten this type of green before. It has a small leaf with the thickness of kale.

 henry’s farm booth, evanston farmers market .  evanston, il

Henry’s Farm
The next booth I stopped at was the Henry’s Farm booth. They are an organic farm in Congerville, IL specializing in produce of heirloom and Asian varieties. I definitely had to try something new here, so we picked up a bunch of Yu Mai Tsai – a Chinese lettuce. ($2)

There was a sign at the Henry’s farm booth for “Wild Purslane” The sign said it was extremely high in omega 3’s. Unfortunately they were already out of their wild purslane.
So, I went back to the Kinnikinnick booth and picked up a bunch. A green, high in omega 3’s? This will be interesting. I tasted it and it tastes a bit like wheat grass. Very chlorophyll – ey ( to coin a word).

J. W. Morlock & Girls Fruit Farm
The berries at the J. W. Morlock & Girls Fruit Farm of MI were simply irresistible. They offered samples of their sweet cherries and their raspberries – both were delicious. I opted for the raspberries – red and black. The tough part was deciding how many pints to get. I settled on 4 pints ($14) – since I didn’t have too much room in the panniers of my bike. I would have liked to have taken a whole flat of berries but I saw no way of getting them home by bike. (any suggestions?) I’ll have to figure that one out for next time. As it is the panniers of the bike are filled to capacity.

 bike panniers, evanston farmers market .  evanston, il

P.S. After looking up “Wild Purslane” in my Peterson Field Guide of Edible Wild Plants, I found out that wild purslane can be used fresh in salads or it can be boiled for 10 minutes for a cooked green. The stems can be pickled and the seeds can be made into a flour.
 wild_purslane

Searching a bit further in other resources…wild purslane is a weed that is a nuisance to farmers and one way of dealing with it is to raise it as a food crop, thus - weeds for sale.
It is rich in iron, Vitamins A & C, calcium, phosphorus, and yes, it contains Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) an essential fatty acid, part of the omega-3 fatty acids. Excellent!

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