While nearly every North Shore community now offers a summertime farmers market for its food conscious residents, none match the farm-to-table authenticity of Glenview’s Saturday outdoor market, located opposite Historic Wagner Farm.
Throughout the summer months, Wagner Farm, a one of the last working dairy farms in Cook County, runs a farm stand at the Glenview Farmers Market, using its shiny green 1932 Studebaker pick up truck with a custom canopy to showcase a small selection of fruits and vegetables grown on-site, including rhubarb, radishes and tart cherries as well as eggs laid by Wagner Farm’s flock of 100 hens – most new to the farm this year – who roam freely on the 18-acre property.
But be warned. All those in search of Wagner’s flavorful, farm-fresh eggs should plan on arriving early. The working farm’s traditional white and brown eggs, along with more unusual blue and green varieties laid by hens known as “Easter Eggers,” sell out quickly.
On June 23 – opening day for the 2018 Glenview Farmer’s Market – 25 dozen eggs, priced at $6 per dozen, were gone by 9 a.m., one hour after opening.
“The eggs were so popular last summer, we decided to offer more this year,” said Stacey Christiansen, market sales manager for Wagner Farm. “Our eggs are never caged. They’re outside all day nesting and eating a natural diet of grass and bugs.”
Wagner Farm’s hens are not the only recent additions to the 2018 Glenview Farmer’s Market. Among the 22 vendors featured at this year’s seasonal market – which runs every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. from June 23 to October 27 – three are new, including Artesian Bread; Burlington, Wisconsin-based River Valley Farms, specializing in mushrooms; and Gourmet Sea Salt, a husband and wife team from Morton Grove selling exotic blends of sea salt, peppercorns and grinders.
The Glenview Farmers Market features several unique, family friendly amenities, including live music, complimentary red Radio Flyer Wagons, and a dedicated parking lot next to Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church.
Many young families combine a morning visit to the farmers market with a trip to Wagner Farm, which offers farm demonstrations, exhibits and a museum store.
Glenview Farmers Market regulars will also see many familiar faces among the rotating vendors featured at the market each week. Back for its third year is popular crepe vendor Sweet Memories, based out of Salem, Wisconsin. Mother and son team Gabriella Szmola and Zach Manon offer customers a choice of fillings and three different batters – including a gluten-free option – made from fresh produce supplied by other farmers market vendors. According to Manon, the most popular items on Sweet Memories’ menu is the Strawberry Banana Crepe and Lemon Berry Crepe, featuring berries from Berry’s Berries of Covert, Michigan – a regular vendor at Chicago-area farmers markets.
‘We like to promote other vendors we meet at farmers markets in the area and trade with them for fresh produce,” said Manon, who works the crepe griddle while Szmola interacts with customers.
On opening day, Geneva Lakes Produce, one of the largest fresh produce vendors at Glenview’s Farmers Market, was selling an early season harvest of zucchini, kohlrabi, asparagus and spinach, with warm weather produce like tomatoes coming later in the summer.
“We’ve had a milder, cooler start to spring and summer,” said Ted Peterson, who works for Geneva Lakes on weekends. “It put us a little behind, but we also have farms in southern Illinois where it’s been warmer and drier.”
Glenview Farmers Markets smallest vendor, Lake Forest Farms Micro-greens, was also one the busiest. From a table filled with trays of four or five varieties of leafy micro-greens, Elliot Hirsch did a brisk business while extolling the virtues of his miniature, vitamin-packed super foods. Hirsch offered passersby a free taste of his micro-green harvest, including bright red-colored Amaranth, which tastes like red beets, and Purple Rambo Radish.
“Micro-greens have four to 40 times more nutrition than a full-grown plant,” said Hirsch, a Lake Forest resident. “You can sprinkle them on salads, scrambled eggs…even pancakes. My son likes them on top of his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”
Here are some photos of a recent Glenview Farmers Market morning. PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOEL LERNER
Glenview Farmers Market, 1510 Wagner Road, Glenview. For more information about dates, hours, and vendors, visit https://www.glenviewparks.org/facilities-parks/glenview-farmers-market/