8 farmers markets in Chicago you’ll want to browse

By Nicole Bruce

Autumn's arrival is upon us—that time when urban dwellers turn their thoughts to the idyllic delights of apple-picking and pumpkin patches. But besides these forays to local (if not so nearby) farmland destinations, the season also brings some of the most exciting bounty of the year right into the city. Local farmers and producers market their goods in various pockets of Chicago throughout the year, but there's no better time than the crisp days of fall to reap this fresh harvest and all of its delicious stock. Here are eight of the best farmers markets in the city this season.

Daley Plaza Farmers Market
Centered around a fountain and 50-foot Picasso sculpture, the longest-running farmers market in the city features dozens of vendors, like Nichols Farm & Orchard, River Valley Ranch, and Labriola Baking Company, selling everything from first-rate seasonal produce to baked goods, cheeses, flowers, and even pierogi and whoopie pies. It's worth swinging by the plaza tents for a lunch or snack break at this convenient downtown spot.

When: Thursdays, mid-May through Oct, 7 AM–3 PM
Where: 50 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602

Logan Square Farmers Market
Located along the neighborhood's historic boulevard, Logan Square's fast-growing market features a diverse array of goods. Aside from the regular seasonal produce, farm-raised meats, and fresh-baked goods, they've continually sought out new talent, including local restaurants, to showcase up-and-coming food concepts, drawing vendors from Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois. Arrive early to beat the crowds (there's even a free bike valet service!) and to get the best pick of the produce, then relax over some vegetarian tacos or a classic grilled cheese on sourdough from Gayle's Best Ever Grilled Cheese.

When: Sundays 10 AM–3 PM, outdoor market mid-May through Oct and indoor market Nov through March
Where: Outdoor market: 3107 W. Logan Blvd., Chicago, IL 60647; Indoor market location TBD

Green City Market
The Green City Market showcases an impressive selection of organic, unsprayed produce alongside lively celebrity chef demonstrations, tasty samplings, and educational workshops, making the twice-weekly seasonal outdoor and indoor Lincoln Park markets a vibrant community resource. Its smaller West Loop offshoot also draws dozens of quality vendors on Saturdays. From humble beginnings in an alley to a multi-market operation, the nonprofit has stayed true to its vision of connecting Chicagoans to local farmers, producers, and restaurateurs like Chicago Honey Co-op, Hoosier Mama Pie Co., Growing Power, Ellis Farms, Nordic Creamery, and more.

When: Outdoor Lincoln Park market: Wed and Sat, May through Oct, 7 PM–1 PM; indoor market: Saturdays, Nov through April, 7 PM–1 PM (with some exceptions); West Loop market: Saturdays, June through Oct, 8 AM–1 PM
Where: GCM Lincoln Park outdoor location is on the south end of Lincoln Park (approximately 1817 N. Clark St.). The indoor market is located in the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The West Loop outdoor market is located at 211 S. Peoria St., Chicago, IL 60607

The Chicago French Market
The West Loop's European-style indoor market/food hall is the only one in the city that provides permanent access to the region's farm-fresh bounty and delicious grab-and-go options year-round. Nearly 30 local food and gourmet artisan purveyors work together to provide a fully stocked market. The Chicago French Market also hosts weekly live music and happy hour specials all under one roof, making it a unique community staple. The market recently welcomed Aloha Poke, a Hawaiian outpost specializing in raw tuna and salmon-based bowls, to its roster of vendors already slinging fresh-made crepes, lobster rolls, artisan cheeses, breads, wine and spirits, kosher meats, organic raw vegan foods, gelato, homemade truffles and more.

When: Year-round, Mon–Fri 7 AM–7:30 PM, Sat 8:30 AM–5:30 PM
Where: 131 N. Clinton St., Chicago, IL 60661

South Loop Farmers Market
The Prairie District's historical architecture is the backdrop for this up-and-coming market at Second Presbyterian Church. Between 25 and 40 vendors provide shoppers with specialty fruits and vegetables not easily found in supermarkets. In addition, market-goers can buy fresh flowers and plants, meats, baked goods, and prepared foods. Weekly activities like honey extractions by urban beekeepers Westside Bee Boyz and monthly cultural events (educational, literary, and musical) are held in the sanctuary of the beautiful church.

When: Thursdays, mid-June through Sept, 4 PM–8 PM
Where: Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60616

Andersonville Farmers Market
Stock up for the week or replenish your weekend reserves at this mid-week neighborhood market. Local musicians often perform while shoppers browse the small but well-curated assortment of farmers, bakers, and food vendors. You'll find everything here: Big Head Farm produce, Hillside Orchards fruit, Defloured gluten-free baked goods, Mint Creek meats and eggs, and even a vegan butcher appearing every third Wednesday of the month—Feed Your Head and Pirate Pastries. Filipino street tacos and noodles from Pecking Order and knock-your-socks-off pies from the nearby First Slice Pie Cafe are also crowd-pleasers.

When: Wednesdays, mid-May through Aug, 3 PM–8 PM and Sept to mid-Oct, 3 PM–7 PM
Where: 1500 W. Berwyn Ave., Chicago, IL 60640

Iron Street Urban Farm Market
Growing Power manages several urban farm projects in Chicago, which help train and employ city youth in urban agriculture and community food system development. Urban farm sites include the seven-acre Iron Street Urban Farm and warehouse on the South Side, which has eight hoop houses for year-round production and composting, an apiary, and pygmy goats. In its attached market, you'll likely discover produce you won't find at other markets until weeks later. Growing Power produce is sold at Green City Market and the Sixty-First Street Market, but it's worth visiting the farm.

When: Saturdays, May through Dec, 9 AM–3 PM
Where: 3333 S. Iron St., Chicago, IL 60608

Downtown Evanston Farmers Market
In downtown Evanston, just half an hour north of the Loop via Lake Shore Drive, this sprawling market has 58 vendors to explore for all kinds of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, milk, eggs, bakery goods, and fresh-cut flowers. Henry's Farm hauls in a variety of rare heirloom and Asian plants, The Cheese People will open your mind to cheeses other than mozzarella and Cheddar, and Gotta B Crepes whips up a mean crepe on the spot with fresh ingredients from local farms.

When: Saturdays, May to Nov, 7:30 AM–1 PM
Where: Intersection of University Pl. and Oak Ave. in Evanston, IL 60201

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