Over the years Chicagoans have shown a greater desire for locally grown, seasonal food and as a result the popularity of open air food shopping has grown substantially. Today the city hosts over 30 farmers' markets across many different neighborhoods with farmers from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin participating. Shopping at a farmers' market can be a family affair for both shoppers and farmers. It's not uncommon to see an entire family of farmers with children and adults alike helping customers, especially in the busy summer months when children are out of school.
Most, but not all, of the markets are sponsored by the city and occur on one day of the week, with the exception of a few of the more popular ones, such as the Green City Market. Each market is open from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., unless otherwise indicated. Over time the locations and days of some markets have shifted as the city is constantly working to provide balanced coverage to different neighborhoods throughout the week. The only day that no markets are open is Friday. While most markets begin on the first week of the month listed, shoppers should check their local market before visiting, as a few begin in the second week of the month.
One farmers' market which serves Chicagoland, open daily and year-round, is Home Grown Cow. It is a virtual farmers' market; orders are delivered directly to customers from the farms.
For many people the first things that come to mind when thinking of a farmers' market are fruits and vegetables, but the variety is actually much greater than that. At most markets one can also expect to find flowers, baked goods and even specialty meats like piedmontese beef. Many of the markets also appeal to those concerned about sustainable farming with a focus on certified organic produce and free-range meats. While each market is different, shoppers can expect to find some of the following fruits and vegetables during the months listed.