Farmers Markets - red and yellow peppers

Farmers markets can be irresistible, with the lure of fresh-picked sweet corn, green peppers, ripe red tomatoes and green beans to sort through on a summer day. However, that shopping experience has become more than buying food. It’s become a way to meet your neighbors, says Veronica Resa, spokeswoman for the Chicago Farmers Markets.

“The farmers markets are very popular because they’re more than just a marketplace,” Resa says. “It’s a link to the community where you can see your neighbors, and buy great locally grown fresh food.”

Her challenge, as with farmers markets throughout the United States, is to find enough farmers to supply produce.

“Farming is a calling, a way of life,” Resa explains. “We have stabilized the supply of produce for our markets, but it will be difficult to grow them. Farmers are leaving because the price of land is so valuable.”

She has reached out to farming operations in neighboring states – Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin as well as Illinois. “You need 10 farmers for one market,” she adds. “Sometimes, that’s very hard to find.”

Markets typically require a certain percentage of a farmers’ products to be produced on their farm – 80% in the case of Chicago’s markets.

Asking questions of the farmers who sell their products is a tip for farmers market shoppers wanting to eat locally. The vendors can often provide recipes and insight on how to cook with the foods shoppers are buying.

These local shoppers cover a wide demographic of people – men and women, young and old, and a wide range of incomes, too.

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“We’re not sure who actually shops at our farmers markets – we’ve never studied zip codes,” says Resa. “We know they aren’t the answer to food deserts – areas where there aren’t supermarkets – but they do play a role.”

Resa says popular items at her markets in Chicago include sweet corn, fresh pretzels from the “bread guy” from Labriola Breads, and egg noodles and “whoopee pies” from the Amish. What’s your favorite local food item at your farmers market? Let us know in the comments.

Find more about Illinois farms at Illinois Partners.


  1. Imagine a world where people were developing illnesses just because of the fact that they are consuming food. Current farms are increasing the use of chemicals in their crops in order to improve their growth rate and their resistance to diseases and pests. As a result, supermarket shelves are being loaded with contaminated food, which bring us to wonder: “Is organic food the solution?”
    In fact, it is firmly confirmed that organic food is much healthier compared to those in which pesticides were used during their growth. Another benefit of organic food is that its flavor and quality overcomes the ones of non-organic, which makes it more pleasant to our palate. Needless to say, consuming organic food is undoubtedly a way for us to not only preserve our health but also help environment healing. In other words, the production of organic food helps the world become greener.
    However, organic food production costing outweighs the costing of non-organic, which takes farmers to prefer the conventional method. Moreover, organic crops are more susceptible to pests and diseases, which means that they require more care. Another drawback is that organic food output rate is low, therefore, it ends up being charged for a high price, making it be considered a high-society food.
    In conclusion, although organic food is a considerable solution to bar contaminated food consumption, it is yet difficult for farms to produce sufficient quantity that would be able to feed the entire planet. We need to focus on studying a way that could help organic food output increase in a way that it equalizes non-organic. Naturally, its costing would decrease and it would become affordable for the whole society.


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