It took us all summer, but on an unseasonably warm October Saturday, my wife, my dog, and I finally made it to the farmers’ market in Lincoln Park. And since I knew that this place was a hotbed for yuppie moms and their yuppie strollers, we figured that it would be a good place to see how the strollers we are considering for our baby would fare on wood chips and grass.
This farmers market in lincoln park is less than a mile and a half away from our home. And it’s held outdoors during the summertime twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings. The theme of this farmers market is that everything is local, fresh, and sustainable. So pretty much everything here is organic and tends to cater to yuppies and foodies of the annoying variety. Prices are high, which may be a reflection of the cost of growing clean food or a reflection of the high prices the neighborhood is willing to pay to feel morally superior.
That being said, it’s a good farmers market. And I welcome some of the limitations that the rules of this farmers market provide. We’ve been coming to this market or years. And in the past, when tomatoes didn’t come in until late in the summer, that was reflected in terms of what is available. Or if bad weather in the spring had effected corn farmers, it effected corn buyers like me later that year. And so it makes you think about weather in a different way. And it makes you think about food in a different way.
Normally, when my wife and I go to a farmers market, we like to make a quick lap around before we start buying things. But when we saw these honey crisp apples, we had to stop. These are one of my wife’s favorite kinds of apples. We ate some on the spot. And they were good. Sweet and super juicy.
The next thing that we stopped for were some peppers. When I go to a farmers market, I see red. I love red things. And so, when I saw these pimento peppers, I had to get them. I’ve never even eaten pimento peppers that didn’t come in a jar, and I don’t know yet what I’ll do with them. But they looked marvelous.
At this same tent, we got a carton of yellow cherry tomatoes. I love tomatoes. And after having some yellow cherry tomatoes at my niece’s birthday party, I was eager to dive in to some more of the same.
A little further down the way, I saw some more red peppers, which I of course could not resist. And while I was there, I picked up some poblano peppers and some leeks. I only cooked with leeks for the first time last year when I tried to make bouillabaisse. And now I’m hooked. I love these things.
Next, we stopped and did some stroller spying in as non-creepy a way as possible. We saw several Vistas, which we love but are reluctant to spend the money on. And we saw a lot of City Minis, which we also love but are worried about a lack of on board storage, which is a concern for us as we have no car and have to walk around to do everything. My big concern about the City Mini was the smaller wheels. But they seemed to do just fine on grass and wood chips, which is about as rugged as I would ever need a stroller to get.
At this point, my pregnant wife’s blood sugar was getting low and my dog was getting tired. So we grabbed a quick snack from one of the bakeries at the farmers market and got a croissant. This one was particularly nice because it was rich and buttery, like a croissant is supposed to be, but it was not greasy or soggy, like many croissants often turn out to be. My wife didn’t like it so much, but I think it’s because this particular croissant did not have chocolate in it.
We gave the dog some water and a couple of doggie treats. But I think he really would have rather shared the croissant with us.
The next thing we stopped for was pork. The Green City Market does a really good job of having organic meat. We walked up to the Becker Lane tent and realized that the pork is from the next town over from where my wife grew up in Iowa. Becker Lane is in Dyersville, Iowa, which is a quick drive over from New Vienna, the small town where my wife is from. I bought a 3 pound berkshire pork shoulder. It looks magnificent. It is the first time I can state what kind of pig my pork came from. And I can’t wait to cook it.
While we were near the pork tent, we were hypnotized with the aroma of what smelled like deep fried apple pie. We quickly identified the source of the smell as a tent that was selling apple fritter zeppole. The line was ridiculously long, so my wife somehow found a tent selling raspberry sorbet. This dessert was really unique. It was a little bit thicker than normal sorbet, which can otherwise taste a lot like shaved ice when executed poorly. But this was almost velvet-y. And the raspberry flavor was bright and assertive, like eating a wonderfully cool fruit roll up, but this didn’t get stuck in your teeth.
When we got to the front of the line, we ordered our zeppole. They were five dollars and you got a small paper bag full of freshly fried doughnut hole sized fritters. The doughnut was light and puffy and covered in a cinnamon sugar powder. The apple flavor was also quite strong, and was a perfect way to end what would likely be our first and last trip to this farmers market this summer.
Unlike on previous trips, our dog did relatively well on this trip. He is usually quite petrified of crowds, strangers, and children. But on this day, he was relatively calm. Hopefully, next year, he will continue to progress. And I will be able to many trips to this market with my wife, my dog, and my baby (in whatever stroller we do end up choosing).