Northfield Farmers Market begins Saturday
northfield, 8/20/11-Bunny Senne with nephew Connor Loftus and Red Barn Farm in Woodstock has been selling produce to the Northfield Farmers Market for 33 years. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Where: Across the street from New Trier High School’s Northfield campus, 7 Happ Road
When: Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., through Oct. 20
Known For: A variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers, plus ready-made items like sauces, olive oil and bakery goods
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:28AM
“If you want a tomato still with dirt on it, come to the farmers market,” said Market Manager John Bradley.
He said the Northfield Farmers Market offers fresh produce you can’t find elsewhere.
“The pick it on Friday and bring it to sell Saturday,” he said.
The market, held in the lot across from the New Trier Northfield Campus, begins Saturday and runs through Oct. 20. Official hours are 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; the Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of Commerce sponsors the market.
Bradley, owner of Raynor Door Company, said he and his committee try to secure vendors that offer products that complement other sellers.
“It’s not a French market,” he said. “We want people that you’re likely to see at a farmers market.”
This year the market will have two organic produce stands — Wright Way Farm and Klug Orchards/Green Organics — among its many fruit and vegetable stands.
New to this year’s market are several unique vendors including Soap Revolt that will sell its natural soaps and body products on limited dates at the market; The OliveTap that will offer olive oils and balsamic vinegars; and Presto Pesto, which sells its popular frozen pesto in several area farmers markets.
The market also includes several bakers.
“We may have four or five vendors selling bakery products, but they are all different,” Bradley said. “We have one bread person, one organic baker, one kolachki person, one gluten-free bakery.”
And each is spread out among the site to encourage customers to walk around the market, Bradley said.
Sharpening by Dave will be at the market on all September dates to hone knives, scissors and other tools.
Again this year the market will sponsor special events on selected dates. First up is Shred Fest with free document shredding offered by the village of Northfield on Saturday. The annual Corn Fest to benefit the Northfield Pantry and co-sponsored by the chamber and Sunset Foods is slated for Aug. 25.
Other dates set are North Shore Art League on Sept. 29 and Harvest Fest Oct. 6 with lots of child-centered activities. Other events with dates yet to be set include a book signing with The Book Stall, a Kids Day and the Antique Car Show.
But perhaps the biggest event of the season will be a series of mini farmers markets to be held at Hubbard Woods on a limited number of dates. These markets will have a more festive air. Slated for 4-8 p.m., they will include a smaller number of farmers market vendors and include merchant openings and live music. Bradley and his team hope to open a full version of the farmers market in Winnetka next year, probably during the week, and these mini markets will help gauge enthusiasm.
Better than most
Last year Winnetka-Northfield Chamber Director Terry Dason visited several other farmers markets to gauge how the local market was doing.
She came back convinced the local market was better than most at meeting the needs of its residents.
“This is a place where people grocery shop,” she said. “They come to this market to buy things for meals — bread, fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, eggs, sauces.”
Dason said Bradley has run the market for 12 years and has a passion for his job.
Bradley said he’s tried to quit several times, “But I was told I’m not allowed to do that.”
“It’s like having a child, when they’re 13, you can’t throw them out on the street,” he said. “Maybe when they’re 18, but then again, they’re always your kids.”
He said he got involved in the business because he wanted to give back to the community.
“I’m there every Saturday, but we have a complete committee to run this,” he said, noting that his business is in the neighborhood.
Bradley said he had no background in produce before he took the volunteer position: “I have a Ph.D. in economics, not in agriculture.”
But he has learned his lessons.
“I’ve learned things over time,” he said. “I spent six months learning that a tomato is not a vegetable.”