Northbrook Farmers Market opening for 10th season

Two fans of the Northbrook Farmers Market, after the annual watermelon-cutting opening ceremony in 2017. (Irv Leavitt, Able Mouse Media)

The only all-volunteer farmers market on Chicago’s North Shore reopens June 20, as one of the area’s most successful farmers markets of any kind.

The Northbrook Farmers Market — managed without salary by local activist Dale Duda and her crew of “Onion Head” volunteers — attracts upwards of 2,000 visitors on good-weather Wednesdays through mid-October. It’s celebrating its 10th season this year, with, as usual, a list of farmers and other sellers on a waiting list to break into the Northbrook lineup.

The Onion Heads are a local force to be reckoned with, with many fighting for the survival of Monarch butterflies, bees threatened by neonicotinoid pesticides, and leading in other community issues.

The market’s biggest produce purveyor has big news: all of the fruits and vegetables of Sunny Harvest Farms of Berrien, Mich., are now Certified Naturally Grown. Previously, Sunny Harvest had achieved the designation for only a few of its offerings.

Foods with the CNG mark must employ holistic practices to address pest, disease and nutrient challenges, and not use synthetic chemical fertilizer, pesticide or fungicide. They also are forbidden from using chemically-treated seeds.

Two new vendors have managed to squeeze into the 2018 Northbrook fold, both bakeries: Gluten Free Spirit Bakery and Bridge N’ Sweets Gourmet Bakery. Returning, however, will be the Katic Bakery, for years the favorite stop for those seeking naturally-baked bread and rolls.

The market starts, as usual, at 7 a.m. June 20, and continues until 1 p.m. But opening day is always an event, starting with the annual opening-day Watermelon Cutting Ceremony by local leaders at 10 a.m. That’s followed by short speeches, and free watermelon, in the parking lot of Meadow Shopping Plaza, Cherry Lane and Meadow Road.

First-day visitors will also get free ice cream bars from Northbrook Dairy Queen (while supplies last), free RC Juggles balloon creations, face painting by Lindsey Lee, music by Northbrook singer-songwriter Steve Zane, and free handouts from Northbrook police and fire departments and event sponsor NorthShore University HealthSystem.

The market is open 7 am. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays, June 20 to Oct. 17, rain or shine, except in severe weather.


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=— Northbrook Farmers Market opens 10th season June 20  —–