Saturday I finally had a chance to visit the Chicago Green City Market, something I have been wanting to do for months. I was excited when I first found out they do the markets on Saturdays, because I work a typical 9-5 job during the week and have to save my foodie excursions for evenings and weekends.
I should warn you that I had high hopes going into this market, because I've had a lot of market experience on my travels in Europe. I did not get to explore any of the markets in Chicago last summer, so Saturday was my first experience around the area. While it was not a bad market at all, I was expecting a lot more out of a city this size. The fact that is was in a grassy park struck me as odd-- I picture markets to be in a square or on a blocked off street. This may be a silly thing to criticize for, but it just didn't fit with my vision of what a market is like. I also had not considered that the local crop is not that exciting so early in the season, so there was not a ton of selection. At the same time, this is also something that's cool about this market-- everything there is local, organic, and sustanible. It was interesting to check out what the various vendors had available, and I do think I'll head back to the market in the next month or so, to see how things develop as the season progresses.
Here is a sampling of what I bought this weekend, to give you an idea of what was availiable.
I bought some beautiful tomatoes on the vine, and had to eat some for lunch when I got home. I made the sandwich with organic sourdough from a bakery out of Evanston.
I love asparagus, so when I saw purple ones I knew I had to try them. Their color faded when I roasted them, but they still tasted great.
I got some fingerling potatoes that had a rich, buttery taste when roasted, and some fresh lettuce that made a beautiful salad dressed simply with a vinagrette. I was most excited about the free range chickens I bought, because Joe and I have been talking about trying to buy more naturally farmed meat. It's from TJ's Free Range Chicken in Piper City, Illinois. They're required to sell it frozen at the market, so I haven't tasted it yet, but I can't wait to see if I taste any difference. I may have given up on Omnivore's Dilemma because it felt too much like a textbook, but I still am motivated to move away from processed and corporate farmed food as much as possible. If I like this chicken, I might have an excuse to visit this market more often!