By Kristin Boza
Grab your reusable shopping bags and your appetite, then head to the 95th Street Farmers Market on opening day, Sun., May 6 in the commuter parking lot at 95th and Longwood Dr. The market is open every Sunday through Oct. 28 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine.
This year’s market will host many favorite vendors from years past, as well as some new ones, selling items that range from bedding plants for your garden, fresh produce, baked goods, cheese, homemade jams and sauces, hormone-free meat, fresh eggs, prepared foods, astisan-made merchandise and products, and more. Also expect to enjoy activities for the kids, live music, representatives from area organizations in the community tent, tasty treats, and more. Sponsors include Beverly Bank & Trust, Southtown Health Foods, 19th Ward Youth Foundation, State Sen. Bill Cunningham, State Rep. Fran Hurley, the 95th Street Business Association, Pacor Mortgage Corporation, BAPA and Ald. Matt O’Shea.
Erin Ross, director of the 95th Street Business Association, leads the coordination of the market. “Our goal is to create a destination that our residents don’t want to miss on Sundays,” she said. “They can gather with friends, have a bite to eat, shop for healthy items, and enjoy good music and camaraderie without traveling very far from home.”
Ross is excited to welcome back many vendors, while also welcoming some new ones. “Many of our vendors tell me that our market is their favorite in all of the Chicagoland markets they participate in. We take great pride in this because we have worked very hard to grow the market since taking it over from the City of Chicago.”
New vendors this year include Sitka Salmon Shares, Homebody Basics, John Bailey Honey, and B-Sides Coffee + Tea. Sitka Salmon is a fishermen-owned cooperative from Sitka, Alaska that will sell fish that is wild-caught and sustainably fished.
B-Sides Coffee + Tea will sell hot and iced coffee by the cup, as well as 12 ounce bags of coffee and 15 packs of Rishi Tea. “As customers and a family, we’ve always looked forward to going to the farmer’s market, and now we look forward to being a vendor representing our local business just four blocks away,” said Karen O’Malley who owns B-Sides Coffee with her husband, Kevin.
Returning vendors are looking forward to welcoming new and longtime customers for the new growing season.
Crystal Nells of C&D Farms sells meat and eggs free from antibiotics, steroids and hormones. She is happy to return to the market for her 11th year. “Beverly is my favorite farmers market,” she said. “I do markets all over Chicago and the people of Beverly are the most genuine. I don’t feel that any of them look down at farmers; I feel appreciated for what I do and what I provide.”
Frank Damiano of Breadman is another long-time vendor, selling breads and sweets made without artificial preservatives, colors or flavorings, and utilizing ingredients sold by other vendors at the market whenever possible. “The musical entertainment is one reason why I love the market. Each week is something different and occasionally I’ll sit in with my guitar for a few songs. Being a baker and a musician, it’s great when I can combine the two,” he said. “What I’m looking forward to most this year is to see how big the little kids got over the winter. I’ve been there so long I’ve seen families of three become a family of five. I get to see the kids going from the stroller one season to walking around the next.” Breadman offers whole grain breads, tomato basil bread, foccacia bread, and his two most popular: cinnamon raisin swirl and his famous zucchini bread.
Other vendors you’ll find at the 95th Street Farmers Market this year are: Blankenship Farm, Coco’s Tamales, Down to Earth Beverly, The Eating Well, Fountain BBQ, Gotta B Crepes, Madsen Farms, Noffke Family Farms, Not Just Cookies, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Pollo Locuas, Southtown Health Foods, Stamper Cheese, Sweet Freaks, Twin Gardens Inc., Urban Canopy, Homebody Basics, John Bailey Honey and Long Table Pancakes.
Stay up to date on the latest happenings by following the 95th Street Farmers Market on Facebook. Find out which bands will play and which local organizations will be hosting the Community Tent each week.