Five years ago my Jake’s journey started at Chicago’s Green City Market. At the time I was the Director of Events for Heritage Prairie Farm in Elburn, IL – a small organically run farm that specialized in hosting weddings and farm dinners. Our market tent was directly next to Jake’s Country Meats. At some point after introducing myself to the gentleman running the Jake’s stand we discovered that we had a number of mutual connections. That started, as they say, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
And now I’m back at the Green City Market again, but this time I’m the one behind Jake’s famous blue coolers. Joining me will be a revolving cast of characters, including my big kids – Benjamin and Lena – and joining the team is Jeffery, a culinary professional and former clown. (seriously)
Considered one of the top farmers markets in the country, the Green City Market has been increasing access to good food in Chicago for many years. One of the many things that sets GCM apart is that all of the vendors are producers and additionally they all carry some type of third party certification. For example, Jake’s is certified by Animal Welfare Approved. This ensures that consumers are getting a fair value and increases the transparency of the market.
A wide range of produce is offered at the market when seasonally available, or through vendors who can and preserve food. The first couple weeks are a little sparse veggie-wise, but that asparagus lets everyone know more goodness is soon to come. There are also many cheesemongers supplying the best the area has to offer from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. And, of course don’t forget the meat! It would be hard to find a better selection of pasture raised animal products than at the Green City Market.
Finally, one of my kids favorite parts of the market is all the wonderfully prepared foods that are available. Each food vendor does their best to source products directly from the market – for example Jake’s is used by Gayle’s Best Ever Grilled Cheese, Our House Pizza, Abbey’s Crepes, and Brunkow Cheese.
Additionally there are many educational opportunities at the market – cooking demonstrations from local chefs, Club Sprouts focused on teaching good food habits at an early age, and as always the opportunity to talk directly to farmers and producers.
Green City Market’s Lincoln Park location is every Saturday and Wednesday from 7AM-1PM from May through October. Stop by the market and say hi!