Images, Impressions from Local Farmers Markets

By Stewart, Laura | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 10, 1999 | Go to article overview

Images, Impressions from Local Farmers Markets


Stewart, Laura, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Laura Stewart Daily Herald Staff Writer

On the bridge leading from summer to autumn, farmers markets provide a place to stock up on produce - a place where one can squeeze freshly picked tomatoes and sample sweet jingle bell and hot Hungarian peppers.

They are places where children in wagons share their seats with bags of corn and onions. A place where dogs on leashes sniff bins of sunflowers while at the other end of the leash, their owners discuss the weather with the farmers.

Recent time spent at two local farmers markets provided the following images.

Libertyville Farmers Market in the morning

Hanging over the edge of bins, packed together like large, brown open umbrellas in an umbrella stand are the giant portabella mushrooms.

"You can't get mushrooms like these at the store," said vendor Michele Anderson of River Valley Ranch in Powers Lake, Wis.

One red-haired boy approaches Anderson's table, points a skinny finger and remarks to no one in particular, "That's a big mushroom."

Anderson, known as "The Mushroom Lady" to many patrons of the market, said she hears that throughout the day.

* * *

Pint after pint of blueberries and crimson raspberries line one end of a table manned by Kevin Lee of Three Oaks, Mich., who makes the 2 1/2-hour trip every week to the Libertyville farmers market.

Passersby stop to squeeze the sweet cherries, testing their firmness. Lee doesn't mind. He recites what produce is in or out of stock with ease - the produce seasons guide his calendar.

"These are the last of the tart cherries," Lee said. "The strawberries were only here two weeks. The asparagus is gone - done. Blueberries will be here for another month or so."

Inspecting the straight rows of red fruit lines in front of him, Lee said, "If I don't sell all the raspberries, I have to make jam out of them when I get home."

* * *

At a nearby table, customer Karen Bouas of Libertyville is loading up two plastic bags of corn on the cob.

"You can really stock up here. We'll probably have this for dinner tonight," Bouas said as she paid for her selections.

* * *

Debbie Titus of Titus Farms in Libertyville stands beside her bins of giant softball-size tomatoes and white vidalia onion bulbs. Each one started out the day still attached to the soil.

"We pick them in the morning and bring them right to market," Titus said.

* * *

Scott Adams, chairman of MainStreet Libertyville, said the Libertyville farmers market, now in its 19th year, has stayed popular because it has remained simply a place where farmers come to sell their fresh fruits and vegetables. …

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