Sometimes, we get a little frustrated with the choices in produce we face from December until the middle of Spring.. Groceries aren’t without their value, but the benefits (culinary, nutritional, and social) of a farmers market are hard to beat.
Here in Evanston, the commitment to year-round markets means that we have not just one, but two indoor markets that span the long cold period between outdoor market seasons.
The weekly Indoor Winter Farmers’ Market at the Ecology Center and the bi-weekly Evanston’s Community Indoor Farmers’ Market at Immanuel Lutheran Church bring nearly 30 farmers and artisanal producers to our fair city. There will be at least one market every Saturday, except for the weekends prior to Christmas and New Years Day.
Friends of Evanston Farmers Markets doesn’t participate in these two markets–unfortunately, neither market accepts Link cards. However, we’re friends of everything market-related, and so we offer this page for the convenience of our readers as a single place to get up-to-date information about market dates/times, and who will be at each market. There’s a lot of variability to the vendor lists because of the challenges to growing in the Fall and Winter, and the travail of getting to the venues in the depths of Winter’s often hideous weather.
We check with the market managers every week to keep this page current and correct.
Let’s get started!
The Ecology Center Market has a nice blend of farmers and artisans for this season. There are many new vendors, including some new (to Evanston) organic farms, and one vendor who was selling greens during the first season of Evanston’s Downtown Market. We’re eager to see what everyone has in store for us this season!
NEXT MARKET: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24, FROM 8AM TO NOON.
LOCATION: 2024 McCormick Boulevard (Intersection of McCormick Blvd. & Bridge St.)
PARKING: Free lot across the street
Vendors for this Indoor Winter Farmers Market at the Ecology Center
The ILC Indoor Market “…focuses on farmers, emphasizing the sale of locally grown greens, vegetables, fish, eggs, meats, cheeses, and dry goods.” according to the church’s website. The funds raised by the market are donated to food-related charities. In addition to the vendors, there’s hot coffee and delicious food served at every market, prepared and served by Curt’s Cafe.
NEXT MARKET: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24, FROM 8:30AM TO 1PM.
LOCATION: 616 Lake Street, Evanston
PARKING: The church has a lot, and there is metered parking all around the venue.
Vendors for this Indoor Farmers’ Market at Immanuel Lutheran Church
Friends of Evanston Farmers Markets is pleased to invite market customers, community members and foodies from near and far to the second annual friends fête at found, a culinary tasting event featuring outstanding chefs from five (currently) local fine-dining restaurants sharing the kitchens at Found to create delicious tastings with fresh produce and meats from some of the farmers market’s most popular vendors.
Date: Monday, October 30
Time: 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Location: Found Kitchen and Social House
1631 Chicago Ave, Evanston
The “fête” is a benefit event to support FEFM’s program that provides matching funds for LINK card purchases at the downtown Evanston Farmers Market.Tickets may be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets. Cost per ticket is $100 prior to the event. Just click here to get your tickets right now. Tickets will also be available at the door, space permitting.
The following local chefs/restaurants will be participating:
Here’s a collection of pictures from last year’s event.
We’d like to apologize to anyone who has visited this website looking for information about bringing your pet to the Downtown Evanston Farmers Market.
We’re not the official site for the market, but we’ve always tried to provide information about the market for our visitors. Some folks, seeing nothing about pets (on this site), have assumed that it’s okay to bring your pet. That turns out not to be the case.
As the city’s website states, “Live animals and pets, other than service animals, are not allowed at the farmers’ market.” That’s the rule, and although we love dogs, it’s a good rule. At another market, your humble reporter has watched as a vendor was compelled to trash a heap of pastries because a dog had made contact with at least one of them.
Regarding the exception for service animals, that is limited to actual service animals, a class that does not include emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals. The U.S. Department of Justice publishes a service animal FAQ that you can download by clicking here. It explains that , “These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.”
So, if your animal companion is not a service animal, please don’t bring him or her to the market. The vendors and market managers appreciate your cooperation.
Everyone has a slightly different reason for shopping at the farmers market. As an organization, Friends has reached out to market-going Evanstonians to get different perspectives on their support of and loyalty to the Downtown Evanston Market.
Love of the atmosphere, devotion to specific vendors–there are so many reasons to take time on Saturdays to shop at the market. We’d like to share a long note we received from a 20+ year veteran. Her name is Marlo Boyle, She’s pretty passionate about the subject, and we’re presenting her thoughts with only light, cosmetic editing.
by Marlo Boyle
I have been living in Evanston now for almost 22 years and I relish this community. Everything I could need is here and within walking distance. Yes, I am aware; almost everything I need is here. Let’s not split hairs over this detail. I have been working for one of the largest environmental beauty lifestyle companies in the world for the last 26 years. Over these years I, myself, have grown to be a passionate environmentalist and do my best daily to uphold the principles we guide our company by. Mainly to sustain the planet and to give back what we take from it.
One of the things most important to the sustainability of our company is farmers. They grow the ingredients we source to make our products and they do so organically or wild harvested, ethically and sustainably. We work directly with the farmers and remove the middle man to provide better economic opportunities as well as give us chance to nurture and grow our relationship with their community. We provide education, financial support in times of crisis if necessary and further opportunities for them to build the things needed to maintain the health of their community.
Why do I share this? Because farmers make the world go ‘round. Farmers grow & provide what we need to survive as a planet. Farmers are connected to the Earth which I can tell you many folks are not. Farmers have been taking care of us since the beginning of time and it is our responsibility to support them. Without them, where are you going to get your favorite popcorn drown in “butter” at the movies? What about your squeeze tube of fruit concentrate for your little one to help soothe their appetite? How about that uber healthy Greek yogurt? Though it may come in a package of some sort, its contents originated on a farm.
Now, let’s bring this closer to home for you. I lead a busy lifestyle. I work well over 40hrs a week and always have. I travel for my job weekly. I have things to take care of when I am not working. And though I may not have children, I do have people I take care of. Saturday morning is one of my days off and I have a lot to accomplish on that day, some of which starts at 9am and goes till lunch without a break. And that’s not even including what I need to get done before 9am. I too stop at Whole Foods (where I prefer to shop) for items I might need for meals on my way home from work. Saves a little time then on my days off.
Marlo, get to the point! Well you ask, when do you have time to go to the farmer’s market then if you are busy all morning on Saturday’s when the market takes place? I make time. Period. End of story.
My health & wellbeing is of the utmost importance to me due to some diseases I have, not to mention the fact that I have to live to be 98 years old so I have to make sure this body, mind and soul are well oiled and running efficiently every day of my life. That means I CARE about what’s going into my body, this temple. That means that I only want and allow fresh items straight from these farmers because they are growing what my body needs and what Mother Nature is providing to us in this region. I will elaborate on the latter shortly.
Growing food and livestock for us is what these farmers have chosen as their livelihood. They have chosen to provide our nutrition, our meals, our health. How admirable is that? If you think otherwise, then you might not want to continue reading. Their lifestyle is harder than any of ours combined. Their hours of work are ridiculous and they are at the mercy of Mother Nature and whether, or not, she wants to provide what they need to keep their livelihood moving forward. Try putting yourself in their shoes for just a moment and feel what it must be like to be someone who has chosen this way of life. I am quite certain many of you wouldn’t last a day. Yes, I hear you scoffing at me while you read this. It’s ok. I can take it.
These farmers choose to come to our open markets for roughly 28 weekends. Some coming from 3-4 hours away driving in the middle of the night, rain, sleet or snow, just so we can have the freshest produce, most beautiful flowers, fresh baked breads, and leanest meats and dairy around. Seriously – when was the last time you drove 3-4hrs for your eggs, your apples, your flowers, your peaches, your cheese or mushrooms in a massive downpour of rain or lake effect snow? I am thinking never or at least not in the last year. I know I haven’t.
They bring to us the best of the best. And what’s really important to get, is that they grow what Mother Nature wants for us in THIS region, for each season that is going to support our body energetically, structurally and nutritionally. You cannot beat that. These farmers know what’s best for you and they bring it to your doorstep practically. Environmentally this IS the only way to go from my perspective. Disagree all you like. Climate changes affects everyone and shipping in food from the east or west coast, or from South America, New Zealand or elsewhere because we just don’t want to make time to go to the local market doesn’t make sense.
Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Jewel or wherever else you shop cannot match what comes to the market each week. I have spoken at length to every one of the farmers that I buy from and have questioned them in and out about the quality, the freshness, their growing methods, their belief systems for farming. Every single one of them has told me that what you buy in the store is not even ripe when they sell it to these big chains. Every single one of them has told me that I will always receive a better deal at the market than in the store. Every single one of them is beyond grateful that I show up every single week to support their livelihood. Every single one of them relies on my business to keep them moving forward and, as a result, they put more LOVE into everything they do so that I keep coming back.
I make time. Period.
Every Saturday morning I wake up at 4:30am during outdoor market season. I do my cardio walk outside, eat and am at the Evanston Market on my bike (with side bags) by 7am to meet my farmers with a smile and deep gratitude. It is one of the most exciting things I do all week and I mean that most sincerely. To see all of this beauty in front of me, aisle after aisle, is such a blessing that so many people don’t have. I go in with a list of what I need and I am done by 8am. I ride home, quickly sort and wash my items or finish up after lunch when I return. Change my clothes and head to my 9am commitment. Period. I make time.
During the outdoor season, I have no reason to get any produce, meat or dairy from Whole Foods. The farmers provide everything I need. During the Winter season, I need to make a few exceptions. Which brings me quickly to eating what’s in season, for this region. This is a much longer conversation so I’ll keep it brief.
We live in the Midwest not Thailand or South America. That means that kiwis, pineapples, bananas, etc. don’t and were not meant to be grown here in this region. Spring, the time the earth is waking up, shedding its winter heaviness, this is the time to eat light, detoxifying greens/vegetables (asparagus, spinach, onions), pears/berries, bitter grains, etc. Summer, when the Earth is at its hottest, transforming all life, we eat cooling, light sweet, water filled foods. Melons/peaches/plums, light greens/vegetables/summer squashes, light grains, light meat. Fall begins the season of energy spiraling down and preparing for hibernation/storage of energy. We hold on the heat of Summer as the moisture leaves us. We eat grounding fruits (apples, grapes, figs), vegetables growing downward (carrots, turnips, beets, potatoes), dark heavy greens (kale, chards. Brussel sprouts) and meats. Winter is the season of hibernation and slowing down which none of us do anymore. We are to be conserving energy of ourselves and storing it. We eat warming stews, fruits, vegetables & grains to generate heat within us to maintain ourselves. Canned harvests from the crops become a staple (and yes I am fully aware that many of us have no time to can food nor the space to store it – at least I don’t). I buy bags of apples & vegetables to keep in a cold area of our house and use through the winter. I continue to visit the Winter market for the hard squashes and vegetables that hold us over until the Spring comes. There is plenty that the Winter market provides and at that point you can supplement what you need from the other stores to get by until Spring which isn’t that long.
So you see, Mother Nature provides to the Farmers and they provide for us. I make time and it is some of the most rewarding time I spend each week of the year. I hope you can come to experience the same. Be well.
Happening this year on Saturday, September 23. Truck to Table has become an annual community celebration that benefits the market’s educational and outreach programs, including the wonderful Spud Club.
This event happens right at the market. It’s kind of like a mash-up between our own Friends Fête and Taste of Chicago.
You can buy tickets in advance (35 bucks for 7 tickets) or on the day of the event (6 bucks a ticket). Get those tickets online at http://www.cityofevanston.org/rectickets
Then, as you walk through the market between 11am and 1pm, you’ll be able to use those tickets to purchase family-friendly small plates created by great Evanston chefs using produce and meat from our own market vendors.
As the city website explains, “If you support ‘eating local’ and want to ensure the continued success of Evanston’s wonderful Farmers Market, this family friendly outdoor celebration is the event for you!”