Sunday, October 11, 2009

June and Oct @ Wicker Park Farmer's Market

When the Wicker Park Farmer's Market began on June 8th, The Pipeline was called Street Scene. 

... For the farmers, not much appears to have changed except for the fact Rick of River Valley Ranch, and Celeste of Celestial Kitchens are now battling unseasonably cold weather. And, there's lots of fall produce like pumpkins, and Montree's gourds from La Porte, Indiana that look like swans. Next weekend will be the last Sunday of the Farmer's Market season. While rumors have circulated about taking the market indoors, nothing concrete has emerged from the rumors, and no, I didn't start them.

Following is a story that appeared in the June 10th issue of Street Scene, along with photos of Rick, and Celeste, then, and now.

Sunday morning kicked off the season for many city markets, including our very own Wicker Park Farmer's Market.
Some of the regulars were present, like Rick of River Valley Ranch, pictured below, with the last of the day's asparagus. New this year were laminated labels for his button, shitake, and portabella mushrooms, and an additional table. When asked about the larger space, Rick told Street Scene that he always had the room in his tent for a second table, but was "too lazy," though he was probably just being self deprecating. Lazy farmers aren't too common 'round these- or any- parts.

Heidi of the Huntley, IL based family farm, Garden Offerings, preferred that Street Scene take a shot, or two of her colorful peonies, rather than herself, and her mother, Nancy, whom was working alongside Heidi on Sunday, tending to buckets full of stems, and tying bouquets for a steady stream of customers. Heidi reported to Street Scene that she's been participating in the Wicker Park Farmer's Market since its inception. Along with her husband, Heidi tends to five of her family's acres. Another 24 acres are farmed by Nancy, and her husband. All acres are pesticide free.

Celeste of Celestial Kitchens, pictured below, is surrounded by baked goods, and once again occupying the vendor booth near the sidewalk exit, perfect for a dessert on the way out, or in. If her cookies, and pastries look familiar, that's because they can be seen, and enjoyed in neighborhood shops throughout the year like Cippolina, Goddess and Grocer, and many others. In fact, it's possible Cippolina's Easter cookies, featured in a past newsletter, were the work of Celestial Kitchens.

A round loaf of sourdough bread from vendor High Rise Bakery (formerly Fulton Street Bakery), onions via Nichol's Farm, paper bagged shrooms from River Valley, and flowers from Garden Offerings are all pictured below in the arms of local resident, and Charleston, S.C. native, Aaron, at right. Streets of Wicker followed Aaron from the farmer's market, and into his Wicker Park kitchen to see what he was going to cook up with all that produce.

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