Elaine Corn: Terre Johnson already can’t imagine his neighborhood without its new farmers market.
Johnson: It’s a natural fit.
EC: Every Saturday since mid-May, instead of an empty plot at Broadway and 35th, Johnson finds a food carnival.
Johnson: This last weekend, it was incredible. It was really full and vibrant. Because they had music. We had the tamale lady. And SHE sold out.
EC: And then there’s the honey.
Johnson:They had blackberry and almond flavored honey. Everyone knows what honey tastes like, and when you get a burst of the berry, it was just awesome.
EC: The Oak Park farmers market manager is Jonie Titherington. She says opening day was a smash.
Titherington: Our vendors sold out three times over. It was a lucrative day for them, but it also was great kickoff for us.
EC: Titherington discovered quickly that Oak Park crowds think of the market as more than just a quick stop. That’s why she added Yolanda’s Tamales, so there would be hot food.
Titherington: They come to socialize as well and have something immediately to eat.
EC: And low-income customers can use food stamps at the Oak Park market.
Titherington: It kind of evens the playing field for folks where they haven’t been able to have access to very, very fresh fruits and vegetables.
EC: Titherington doesn’t just manage the market, she’s using it to improve her own health. She’s spending a year eating 80% of her diet from farmers markets.
Titherington: I’ve lost 30 pounds since the market opened.
EC: As for the new farm stand opening this weekend in nearby McKinley Park, Titherington isn’t concerned about competition. She says it all benefits the neighborhood.
What a great way to have fresh fruits and vegetables at their fingertips.
The Oak Park farmers market runs through October. Elaine Corn, Capital Public Radio News.