Fresh For Summer: 4 Farmers’ Market Musts

Supermarket scene: Rifling pyramids of bruised, waxy Gala apples. Blech...who needs it! Even though we wish our fruit and veggies could be super-fresh all year long, summer is truly the time to indulge in farm-fresh produce that's literally right at your fingertips. Since summer has finally decided to join us (we felt it, did you feel it?!), we're going full-green ahead and making the switch from grocery store produce to weekly selections from Chicago's freshest farmers markets. Get all lofty about it and think about how you're helping our veggie-growing planet by buying produce locally, saving fuel, and supporting Midwestern farmers. Or, just bite into that tomato right there and do a little happy dance in your t-strap sandals because it is so delicious. Bring a friend, bring your sweetie, and bring some reusable shopping bags. You're going to need them.
Logan Square Farmers Market
Head West to check out the weekly gem that has families and singletons alike making huge strides, and huge messes, in their kitchens. Real talk, anything that puts us in close proximity to Lula and Longman & Eagle is okay by us. The first Logan Square Farmers Market installment of 2011 begins this Sunday, June 5, at 10 a. m., and you can get prepped by checking it out on Facebook. As if they needed more cool points, vendors at this market will accept credit cards, so if you accidentally over-tipped your cabbie last night, it's cool. Logan Square Farmers Market, North Milwaukee Avenue at Logan Boulevard.

Chicago French Market
Okay, so we're not technically cheating here. Yes, the Chicago French Market is open all year, and no, its not a tent city full of cardboard crates and cash-only transactions. If you're looking for the pop-up experience, try one of our other faves. Our reasons for including the Chicago French Market in this list are twofold. One, it's still a farmers market full of delicious, seasonal produce. Two, Strawberry Festival 2011 is this Saturday and our hearts would break wide open if we thought you might miss it. It's a festival of strawberries. Strawberries! Jams, pies, popsicles, margaritas, come on! If you're not sold on this one, we just....we just can't.
Chicago French Market, 131 North Clinton Street (at Randolph Street);

Lincoln Park Farmers Market
Anyone who lives, works, or walks a dog in Lincoln Park has strolled by this fruit and vegetable smorgasbord and craved, at the very least, an orange or two. Every Saturday from May 19 to October 29, Lincoln Park residents (and outsiders brave enough to look for parking), can pick their favorites from among Lincoln Park Farmers Market's 26 vendors. Get there early, the market runs from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and plan ahead. A little cook time and some scrumptious market finds could have you eating better than everyone else in the lunchroom all week. Lincoln Park Farmers Market, Lincoln Park High School Parking Lot at Armitage Avenue and Orchard Street.

Green City Market
This is the teacher's pet portion of our tour. The pride and joy, the ace, the apple of our eye (literally). Each year we are balanced on the edge of our ergonomic chairs waiting for Green City Market to take to the outdoors. While the market sells produce all year, there is no time like the summer. This haven features more than just local fruits and vegetables. It also has a a huge education component, especially for the kiddies, that we really admire. Having a better understanding of where your food comes from and how it got to you makes cooking, eating, and sharing so much more delicious. Rally up some pals and shop for your summer dinner party right here. Green City Market, South end of Lincoln Park between Clark Street and Stockton Drive; 773-880-1266.

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