May 18th, 2012 6:00 AM
Scott Koster of Geneva Lakes Produce takes you behind the scenes at the Oak Park Farmers Market.
Sheila Essig, left, serves a customer at the Tomato Mountain salsa stand last fall. There will be plenty of jarred and preserved fruits, honeys and vinegars to choose from when the Farmers Market opens tomorrow.
By Lisa Browdy
One of my favorite things about Oak Park is our wonderful weekly farmer's market. Farm-fresh produce alongside a bluegrass band and friends to bump into make it a destination worth dragging yourself out of bed for. Many customers get there when the market opens at 7:00 a.m. to get the first "pick" of the crop. Others meander over later to enjoy a donut and a cup of coffee from whichever organization is serving that week.
Most produce doesn't really appear until later in the season, but May and June should have a lovely selection of early lettuces and other greens, along with spring produce like asparagus and rhubarb. You'll find preserves and honeys that were put away last fall, along with some cut flowers and seedlings.
It's not all vegan fare: you're likely to find some excellent cheese, and at least one farmer brings meat and eggs to sell.
One great thing to do early in the season is to get to know the different farms and talk to the farmers if things aren't too busy. All of them are local, family farms but some are certified organic, others not. Of those that aren't, many may use sustainable practices but just haven't done the paperwork and jumped through all the hoops yet. If that is something you care about, or just want to learn more about, there's no better person to ask.
The Farmer's Market will be open every Saturday from now through October, in the parking lot of the Pilgrim Church at 460 Lake Street. Hours are 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.