Biting into a crisp apple or juicy plum is even sweeter when you purchase it from a local farmers market. The perks of shopping at the various farm stands here are abundant. For starters, locally grown and organic produce often tastes fresher and more delicious than from the grocery store. After all, you’re usually buying direct from the grower or maker. Second, spending time roaming around a farmers' market is simply good fun. Here are four farmers markets in and around Oak Park that would be perfect spots to spend a morning or afternoon.
The community comes together at the Oak Park Farmers Market. So start your weekend with a bounty of seasonal produce, breads and baked goods, and fresh flowers from producers throughout the Midwest. Held every Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm, the Oak Park Farmers Market runs May 20 through October 28, 2023. It also accepts EBT and SNAP cards for purchases. Local food is available from a rotation of local non-profit organizations.
Some of this year's vendors include:
In addition to more local vendors, the fresh donuts are the stuff of local legend—arrive early to avoid the long lines! Just three flavors to pick from, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, and plain. You won't want to miss these delectable donuts. And everyone will enjoy the fun atmosphere with the live bluegrass of local musicians. If you’re driving, you can find free parking in the Oak Park River Forest High School parking garage on Scoville Avenue. And be sure to follow the traffic officers, ensuring public safety and traffic flow along busy Lake Street. State health codes prohibit pets while the market is in operation, except support animals trained to assist their owners.
This September at the Market, the 6th Annual Pie Bake off will take place. Sign up now perfect your pie recipe in preparation!
Enjoy live music while you browse fruits, veggies and a variety of artisanal handmade goods. The Brookfield Farmers Market is held Saturdays. Market hours are 8 am to 1 pm, June 3rd through October 14th, and features live entertainment each week from local bands and musicians. The Market features more than 30 vendors every weekend and in recent years, it has expanded significantly past fantastic fresh foods. Walk along the aisles of tents and discover hand-poured candles, organic soaps, jewelry, and much more!
Bonus: Pets are allowed at the Brookfield Farmers' Market! So bring your furry friends too, so long as they’re on leash. The market’s located alongside Brookfield Village Hall, and there’s free parking in front or back.
Sometimes we all need a little midweek pick-me-up. Meandering through the La Grange Farmers Market is just the ticket—it’s held on Thursdays from 7 am to 1 pm from May 11th to October 26th. With 30+ vendors from around Illinois offering locally produced foods, plus neighboring Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan, there are lots of wonderful items on offer. Easy free parking is available nearby in a garage or parking on the street! The La Grange Farmers' Market is also pet friendly so bring your pooch to taste some of the local dog treats!
Some of this year's vendors:
Plus, many more amazing vendors will be there weekly!
Make humpday happy by heading to the Riverside Farmers' Market every Wednesday throughout the season. It's held from 2:30 to 7 pm and runs from June 7th to October 4th. With food vendors offering fresh blended smoothies, honey, micro greens, gourmet meals and more, the Riverside Farmers Market makes it easy and delicious to just eat local.
Walk along Riverside's Historic Water Tower as you shop and gaze among a variety of local vendors. You'll stumble across phenomenal fresh fruits and veggies on top of a plethora of handmade goods that are sure to inspire. Bring your own or use a free blanket at the market and enjoy some lively live music. There are even small shopping carts for the kids to use! Feel free to bring your best fluffy friend too, the Riverside Market is pet friendly!
Fruits and veggies grown during their natural season tend to be packed with more flavor and nutrition than produce grown off season. Plus, buying directly from local farmers and growers means those fruits and vegetables will be fresher by the time they get to you. Here’s a quick guide to when fruits and vegetables are in season in Illinois:
May to mid-June
Asparagus, broccoli, peas, radishes, rhubarb, salad greens, sour cherries, spinach, strawberries
Late June to early August
Beets, blackberries, blueberries, cabbage, carrots, collards, cucumbers, eggplant, grapes, green beans, leeks, melons, nectarines, okra, onions, pears, raspberries, summer squash and zucchini, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon
September to October
Apples, bell peppers, cauliflower, herbs, horseradish, pumpkins, sweet potatoes
Can’t wait until the next Farmers Market? Farmers markets not in season? Perhaps you need to stock up before the next event? Many stall holders at the farmers’ markets around Oak Park also have shops you can visit throughout the week and the rest of the year.