Market Scene: Chicago's Green City Market
"You know it's October when the pumpkins outnumber the tomatoes."
I arrived at the Green City Market in Lincoln Park on a truly miserable morning. The infamous winds of Chicago were howling off the lake and biting me through my terribly thin hoodie. With my arms folded over, I made my way through the market, wishing I had worn a coat. The first person I talked to about vegetables just broke into laughter. She would have felt sorry for me, she explained, if I wasn't so irresponsible.
How did it end so quickly? Though Green City Market runs all year-round, after October it retreats in to an indoor location. I don't blame them. Though they can still sell some winter vegetables, along with other preserved items, this move indoors truly does signal the end of the fall bounty. It's kind of sad to think about if the possibilities for eating weren't so spectacular.
There was still a surprising amount of food for sale. Though I spotted the odd tomato, the bulk of the market was made up of sturdy fallware, the kind of cabbages and apples that make for warming meals to get you through the cold weather.
The Leaning Shed Farm from Berrien Springs, Michigan, had a crazy collection of garlic, from the mild Music to the hot Bogatar and the "white hot" Georgian Fir. It'd help you stay warm.
They also had some fresh, sweet concord grapes, ready to be crushed for grape juice.
I must have seen a half-dozen stalls selling apple cider. Luckily, most of them let you sample the juice first. I was particularly struck by this batch from 1st Orchard and Greenhouses in Dowagiac, Michigan. Cider is a perfect use of a late-season apples, delicious in hot apple cider, or, perhaps more wonderfully, as the building block for your own hard cider.
You know it's October when the pumpkins outnumber the tomatoes. They come in all shapes in sizes, form miniature ones, multicolored jobs, and ones larger than your head. The Nichols Farm and Orchard had a little of everything.
There are only so many pumpkins I need. Luckily, they also had some interesting items like Flowering Kale, something I don't think I've ever seen before.
Though it's the first time that winter seemed close, there is still a surprising amount of food on offer. I'll have another week to shop outside for it. Next time I'll just be sure to bring my coat.