Sundays from May to October resonate for me as the season for the 95th Street Farmers Market! I moved to Beverly nearly thirty years ago from Oak Park, with its long-standing market. My mother taught me the ins and outs of market shopping: don’t start buying as soon as you walk in, instead, walk around the entire market and check it all out first. Who has asparagus this week? When is the corn coming? Tomatoes? Once you have completed your browsing you can start shopping in a more educated fashion.
With this history, I was more than delighted when the first version of the 95th Street Farmers Market opened in Beverly about twenty years ago. I remember taking my little boy there and teaching him about the seasons for vegetables and fruits. The market has remained in the same spot, the parking lot near the 95th Street Rock Island station, all these many years later.
But why do I keep going week after week? Why is my Sunday not complete without a visit there? Friendship, in addition to fruits and vegetables! Over the years, I have come to know many of the vendors—and they know me, and my constant canine companion. It is kind of like Cheers, “Where everyone knows your name.”
Plus, the 95th Street Farmers Market isn’t just produce. There’s coffee, nuts, pastries, cakes, cookies, bagels, and the best cheese. Try the horseradish chive, the nettle (my husband’s favorite), and the brie with layers of blue enriching it. That cheese alone is worth a trip! There are also tacos and sometimes crepes or gumbo—plenty to get you through to lunch. Flowers are also available in abundance. Many of the non-produce vendors also have shops in the neighborhood, so it is another venue for those who like to shop locally.
Besides offering the chance to see friends and people watch, there’s sometimes live music, along with face painting for children. The Beverly branch of the Chicago Public Library often has an outreach table for children’s activities; I just got a kit for my granddaughter to make a Harry Potter bookmark.
The market has a different feel at different times of the day. We often go first thing in the morning when it is less crowded, so great for shopping, but less so for seeing friends, canine or human. Once the morning gets buzzing, so does the market. The music starts, the coffee is poured, friends are spotted, and shopping and conversation get underway.
Last night our entire dinner came from the market: grilled fish and potatoes, corn and squash, even the cheese before dinner. Tonight, we’ll be having a caprese salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Fruit, vegetables, cheese, fish, meat, and flowers. Friends and music … How could I pass up a Sunday morning at the 95th Street Farmers Market? I simply can’t.