Naperville Farmers’ Market
- Begins Saturday, June 1 2013
- Ends Saturday, October 26 2013
- 7am to 12/noon
- Located at the 5th Avenue Station parking lot (200 E. 5th Ave – Naperville, IL – 60563)
- Phone: (630) 369-5638
- Street parking is readily available
The Naperville Farmers’ Market is an incredible place to find all types of great food items. Plus, it’s a great value as many farmers offer produce for prices lower than the local grocery stores. So, if you’re in the mood for finding great new items to try out, this Saturday morning, grab some hot coffee and an apple cider doughnut, and stroll through the wide array of vendors’ booths and farmers’ stalls.
To get you started, Wicked Good Café serves a great cup of joe, and they’re located right in the center of the market, not far from Barb’s Garden, home of the best apple cider doughnuts you can find outside the orchard. If you’re still hungry, take home one of Barb’s mini peach or apple pies, or try Breadsmith’s sweet or savory breads. ADOPT animal shelter has a variety of cookies for sale as well, and the proceeds go to the charity. Some days they even have gluten-free options, but stop by early if you want to grab these.
There are also a plethora of free samples available to taste as you shop. Avanti Foods, Hair of the Ferret, and Simply the Best Oils offer samplings of their products, and many of the farmers do, too.
In terms of seasonal offerings, what’s available depends on the weekend and the farm. Evergreen Farms still had musk melons the first weekend in September, but the farmer made sure everyone in the market knew they were his last. Meanwhile, they still have some of the most beautiful tomatoes and green beans (the largest of the season are making it to market just now). Noffke Farms has sweet ripe plums, and more apples and pears on the way in the next few weeks, but employees report that the season was rough for pumpkins this year. Lange’s Farm brought in an early crop of squash, but we may have seen the last of their watermelons.
Also getting an early start on the season, Lehman’s Orchard has a wide variety of fall fruits, including apples, pears, and doughnut-shaped peaches as well as their baked, dried fruit. Popular Honeycrisp apples will debut at the market mid-September, and in a few short weeks, they will carry freshly pressed cider.
As they say, good things come to those who wait. The fall harvest is no different. Although it isn’t always the farmer who is doing the waiting:
“So why are some of the pears still green”, one patron asked. A farmer replied: “All my pears are big, if you don’t pick ‘em, you lose ‘em.” Like most fruits, pears will ripen after they are picked. Leave them on the counter in a cool place, and in a day or two they will be soft and ready to eat. Another vendor warned a customer not to eat her plums until she reached her car. Hungry bees are attracted by the sweet juice. Despite the risk, the customer didn’t listen.
Some of the more unique offering at the Naperville Market include dog bones from Nickles Distribution, a meat distributor sourced from several Illinois farms, and a variety of fresh mushrooms from the River Valley Ranch. This past weekend, Evergreen Farms featured a large crop of lima beans and J & W Morlock and Girls had Greengage (yellow) plums.
Fabian’s Seafood doesn’t always make it to market, but when they do, you know the truck came directly from the east coast and is fresher than any fish you purchase in the supermarket. They typically carry crab, including some of the best jumbo lump crabmeat you can buy. This past week, the catch of the day included ruby red snapper. One thrilled shopper touted her purchase to a friend as if she had caught it herself!
Fall Farmer’s Market offerings are some of the best of the year. But if you want to hang on to the warm weather a little bit longer, one final suggestion: visit North Wichert Gardens and bring one of their colorful bouquets indoors. Their fresh cut lilies are inexpensive and long-lasting, so your home smells of summer all week long…long enough that you can pick up another bunch next weekend.
Naperville Farmers’ Market Vendors Typically Include:
- Tony’s Knife Sharpening
- Kettle corn and Italian ice
- Wicked Good Cafe
- Pappardelle’s Pasta
- The Pickle Guy
- Simply the Best Oils
- North Wichert Gardens (fresh cut flowers)
- Honey Trails
- Hair of the Ferret Salsa
- Barb’s Garden and Bakery (baked goods and jam)
- ADOPT (charity, gifts and baked goods for sale)
- Yuppie Hill Poultry
- River Valley Ranch (mushrooms, dips, and sauces)
- Avanti Foods (cheese)
- Fabian’s Seafood
- Nickle’s Distribution (meat from various IL farms)
- Ellis Farms
- Stojan’s Vegetables (see photo)
- Evergreen Farms
- Noffke Family Farms
- Lange’s Farm
- Gunderson’s Orchards
- Lehman’s Orchard
- J & W Morlock and Girls
This article was contributed by Your Naperville community member, Ridgely Dunn. You can write for us, too.