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Federal Plaza Farmers Market (pics)

Federal Plaza Farmers Market (pics)
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  • Federal Plaza Farmers Market (pics)

    Post #1 - May 16th, 2006, 4:01 pm
    Post #1 - May 16th, 2006, 4:01 pm Post #1 - May 16th, 2006, 4:01 pm
    After stopping by the hotdog rally at Clark and Randolph, I walked over to Dearborn and Adams to check out the market. It was around 2 o'clock-an hour before they close-and people were getting ready to close up, I think, because it was rainy and windy. A pretty good selection, although I didn't really look closely at everything because of the weather. There were a couple of bread stands- one with some organic and non-organic sandwich sliced bread and banana nut loaves, one with artisinal type loaves. I sampled a slice of whole wheat from the first one, and it wasn't that good. Dry, kind of bland, and cost $4-$5 for a small loaf. I bought a big Ciabatta loaf($3) from the other guy.
    Image
    The crust isn't very crusty. The inside is very moist and chewy and flavorful, though. I tried it with some with e.v.o.o. and balsalmic vinegar, and I liked it a lot. He also had Pumperknickel w/ raisins, Cheese Sourdough, and several other kinds, with samples.

    There were a couple vegetable stands. One mainly had asparagus- the thick kind with deep purple tops. The other one had herbs, spring onions, arugula($3 for a small bag), fingerling and other small potatoes($2 a lb.),asparagus, and organic spinach($3 a bunch or $5 for 2)
    Image
    I haven't tried it yet, but it's very pretty. I want to have it for dinner- anyone have a good recipe?

    I also saw cheese, honey, flower, and soap stands. The flower stand had potted herbs-pretty big-for sale.

    I left in a hurry because the rain was picking up. As soon as I get home- I look out the window and all I see is sunshine!

    Federal Plaza Farmers Market
    Corner of Adams and Dearborn in the Loop
    Tuesdays from 9am to 3pm
  • Post #2 - May 16th, 2006, 4:06 pm
    Post #2 - May 16th, 2006, 4:06 pm Post #2 - May 16th, 2006, 4:06 pm
    This has been my primary farmer's market for the past couple years and I've been pretty happy with it.

    As the season moves on, there will be a very good selection of tomatoes, peaches, and berries, along with a variety of onions, garlic, eggplants, etc.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #3 - May 16th, 2006, 4:44 pm
    Post #3 - May 16th, 2006, 4:44 pm Post #3 - May 16th, 2006, 4:44 pm
    Good I'm glad to hear that.:D I'm going to check out the Daley Plaza one on Thursday to see how they compare. I'm especially happy about the onions and garlic- Dominics and PT market have had the RANKEST ones all winter and spring. It's like they bought a huge amount at once to save money and just have 'em sitting around in the back for months.
  • Post #4 - May 17th, 2006, 7:44 am
    Post #4 - May 17th, 2006, 7:44 am Post #4 - May 17th, 2006, 7:44 am
    bnowell724 wrote:Good I'm glad to hear that.:D I'm going to check out the Daley Plaza one on Thursday to see how they compare. I'm especially happy about the onions and garlic- Dominics and PT market have had the RANKEST ones all winter and spring. It's like they bought a huge amount at once to save money and just have 'em sitting around in the back for months.

    Even Edgewater Produce had onions that were dried out -- shriveled at both ends. I hope this was a one-year fluke. (But I can't assume it was...)
  • Post #5 - May 17th, 2006, 7:51 am
    Post #5 - May 17th, 2006, 7:51 am Post #5 - May 17th, 2006, 7:51 am
    bnowell724 wrote:I'm going to check out the Daley Plaza one on Thursday to see how they compare. I'm especially happy about the onions and garlic-


    There is a vendor that sets up at the north end of the market that sells a good variety of onions including white and purple knob onions, sweets, etc. This vendor also sometimes has purple Italian garlic.

    Others around the market will have a good variety of Michigan Sweets.

    FWIW, I was at Stanley's at North and Elston last week and I picked up some of the most beautiful and tasty Vidalias that I've had in years.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #6 - May 17th, 2006, 8:06 am
    Post #6 - May 17th, 2006, 8:06 am Post #6 - May 17th, 2006, 8:06 am
    Bob S. wrote:
    bnowell724 wrote:Good I'm glad to hear that.:D I'm going to check out the Daley Plaza one on Thursday to see how they compare. I'm especially happy about the onions and garlic- Dominics and PT market have had the RANKEST ones all winter and spring. It's like they bought a huge amount at once to save money and just have 'em sitting around in the back for months.

    Even Edgewater Produce had onions that were dried out -- shriveled at both ends. I hope this was a one-year fluke. (But I can't assume it was...)


    Well, to put on my Alton Brown cap, you know there are two types of onions. There are onions with thin, elastic and moist skins and there are onions with dry, crisp skins. The former include the sweets, the latter most other onions. Sweet onions DO NOT save/last and are thus a highly seasonal product. Because sweets are growing in various parts of the world, the supply of them is changing in the market--Caputo's has been selling Mexican sweets for a while. Still, you really cannot expect sweet onions in the winter.

    Hey, BTW, I'm curious if people find any difference or like one more than the other between Federal Plaza and Daley. I bought from both last summer, and without paying a lot of attention to the differences, found them both very good markets. Their quality is underappreciated I think. (Well, until this thread!)

    Rob
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #7 - May 17th, 2006, 8:18 am
    Post #7 - May 17th, 2006, 8:18 am Post #7 - May 17th, 2006, 8:18 am
    There are onions with thin, elastic and moist skins and there are onions with dry, crisp skins. The former include the sweets, the latter most other onions.


    Woah. I don't think I've ever had a "fresh" sweet bulb onion, then. Even the Vidalias and Walla Wallas I've tried had dry papery skin. Must have been out of season. Now I'm even more excited for all the markets!
    Last edited by bnowell724 on May 17th, 2006, 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #8 - May 17th, 2006, 11:23 am
    Post #8 - May 17th, 2006, 11:23 am Post #8 - May 17th, 2006, 11:23 am
    Vital Information wrote:
    Bob S. wrote:
    bnowell724 wrote:Good I'm glad to hear that.:D I'm going to check out the Daley Plaza one on Thursday to see how they compare. I'm especially happy about the onions and garlic- Dominics and PT market have had the RANKEST ones all winter and spring. It's like they bought a huge amount at once to save money and just have 'em sitting around in the back for months.

    Even Edgewater Produce had onions that were dried out -- shriveled at both ends. I hope this was a one-year fluke. (But I can't assume it was...)

    Well, to put on my Alton Brown cap, you know there are two types of onions. There are onions with thin, elastic and moist skins and there are onions with dry, crisp skins. The former include the sweets, the latter most other onions. Sweet onions DO NOT save/last and are thus a highly seasonal product. Because sweets are growing in various parts of the world, the supply of them is changing in the market--Caputo's has been selling Mexican sweets for a while. Still, you really cannot expect sweet onions in the winter.

    Understood, Rob. These were generic white onions, and were dried out to the point that even just sitting in the bin, the layers had withered and had large gaps.
  • Post #9 - May 17th, 2006, 2:41 pm
    Post #9 - May 17th, 2006, 2:41 pm Post #9 - May 17th, 2006, 2:41 pm
    bnowell724 wrote:
    There are onions with thin, elastic and moist skins and there are onions with dry, crisp skins. The former include the sweets, the latter most other onions.


    Woah. I don't think I've ever had a "fresh" sweet bulb onion, then. Even the Vidalias and Walla Wallas I've tried had dry papery skin. Must have been out of season. Now I'm even more excited for all the markets!


    Are you sure you were picking up the sweets? The sweets may have a swath of brownish color, but it's usually not papery. Most sweets have an almost translucent skin that is, as described above, quite elastic.

    I have to second the poster who commented on the good quality Stanley's sweets lately. I just had one last night that was exceptional. And at 39 cents a pound, the price was right, too.
  • Post #10 - May 30th, 2006, 11:59 am
    Post #10 - May 30th, 2006, 11:59 am Post #10 - May 30th, 2006, 11:59 am
    The Federal Plaza farmer's market looked primarily the same today as last week, but a couple different stands told me that they'd have some berries starting next week.

    I picked up some beautiful purple spring onions and French breakfast radishes today.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #11 - May 30th, 2006, 2:11 pm
    Post #11 - May 30th, 2006, 2:11 pm Post #11 - May 30th, 2006, 2:11 pm
    eatchicago wrote:The Federal Plaza farmer's market looked primarily the same today as last week, but a couple different stands told me that they'd have some berries starting next week.

    I picked up some beautiful purple spring onions and French breakfast radishes today.


    I bought some radishes too. that's good to hear about the berries. I was hoping for some fruit today, and maybe some tomatoes. Have you been to the Daley Plaza f.m. yet?

    So I'm trying to get most of my food from the markets this season. I need help coming up with recipes that best showcase the quality of the produce, bread, dairy and eggs I'm getting. Today I bought:radishes(are these good cooked?), parsnips, field lettuce(i think), skinny asparagus, flat parsley, mushrooms, morel jack cheese, and a huge ciabatta loaf.

    I'm going to be getting more over the next few days from other markets.

    I tried asking the farmers, but they didn't have much to say about what to cook. Anyone have any ideas? What are you cooking this season?
  • Post #12 - June 3rd, 2006, 9:36 am
    Post #12 - June 3rd, 2006, 9:36 am Post #12 - June 3rd, 2006, 9:36 am
    bnowell724 wrote:I bought some radishes too. that's good to hear about the berries. I was hoping for some fruit today, and maybe some tomatoes. Have you been to the Daley Plaza f.m. yet?


    I have not, but in my past experience all the downtown markets are basically the same.

    bnowell724 wrote:So I'm trying to get most of my food from the markets this season. I need help coming up with recipes that best showcase the quality of the produce, bread, dairy and eggs I'm getting. Today I bought:radishes(are these good cooked?), parsnips, field lettuce(i think), skinny asparagus, flat parsley, mushrooms, morel jack cheese, and a huge ciabatta loaf.


    Simple is often best with high quality fresh ingredients. Radishes I often eat raw with salt, in a simple salad, added to a soup at the end, or on a slice of bread with mild farmer's cheese

    There are countless things you could do with fresh produce. If you really want to showcase quality, keep it simple. My purple spring onions were added to a dish of pan-fried dark meat chicken with parsley and garlic. I added them after the heat was off so they barely cooked--just enough time for them to slightly soften and release their impressive perfume.

    bnowell724 wrote:I tried asking the farmers, but they didn't have much to say about what to cook.


    I think Andy Rooney once said, "I never ask a butcher how to cook a piece of meat. If he knew, he'd be a chef." :)
  • Post #13 - June 3rd, 2006, 2:58 pm
    Post #13 - June 3rd, 2006, 2:58 pm Post #13 - June 3rd, 2006, 2:58 pm
    The fresh radishes are showing up this week in the markets here in Montreal. The other night TODG and I did a classic simple French thing: trim both ends of the radish, give it a wash, dip into some good salt (Maldon in this case), dip or otherwise affix a bit of really good butter (and that's the trick part, isn't it??!) to the salted radish, and promptly chew it all up.

    Man, Spring tastes don't get much purer than that.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #14 - June 3rd, 2006, 4:29 pm
    Post #14 - June 3rd, 2006, 4:29 pm Post #14 - June 3rd, 2006, 4:29 pm
    Thanks for replying :) . I tried a bunch of different new things with my stuff. I made quiche for the first time, using fresh eggs, herbs, and mushrooms from the markets. It also had spinach, cheese, and onions. Turned out pretty and tasty, but the texture was kind of weird and curdled. I didn't use a recipe really, so the egg to milk ratio must have been off. Any experienced quiche makers out there?

    I also did a french potato salad using market potatoes, the radishes and a bunch of herbs. Very tasty, will definately make it again.

    Then with the bread, asparagus, cheese and herbs, I made a chimichurri sauce and broiled the veggies with it. Had a nice little platter with some toasty bread. So tasty I had to make it again a couple days later.

    Today I made a delicious alfredo for some terragusto wheat pasta I bought. $5 for a 1/2 lb. seemed like a lot at first because it came in such a small box. It made a big plate that fed 2 1/2 pretty well, though. That's a lot cheaper than what they're charging at the cafe, I think.

    There are countless things you could do with fresh produce. If you really want to showcase quality, keep it simple. My purple spring onions were added to a dish of pan-fried dark meat chicken with parsley and garlic. I added them after the heat was off so they barely cooked--just enough time for them to slightly soften and release their impressive perfume.


    That sounds great. I bet that little touch of the fresh onion at the end really added a lot to the dish.

    I definately want to try the radish with butter thing. Never heard of doing that before- butter on raw veggies.

    I really feel good eating this way- everything tastes better and is more fulfilling. I don't think I'll be able to stop, now!
  • Post #15 - June 3rd, 2006, 4:46 pm
    Post #15 - June 3rd, 2006, 4:46 pm Post #15 - June 3rd, 2006, 4:46 pm
    bnowell724 wrote:
    There are countless things you could do with fresh produce. If you really want to showcase quality, keep it simple. My purple spring onions were added to a dish of pan-fried dark meat chicken with parsley and garlic. I added them after the heat was off so they barely cooked--just enough time for them to slightly soften and release their impressive perfume.


    That sounds great. I bet that little touch of the fresh onion at the end really added a lot to the dish.


    It did :) The particular base recipe is from Jacques Pepin's "Fast Food My Way" and it is one of my favorite recipies, not only because of its taste but because of its adaptability. More about it here. (I highly recommend this cookbook).

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #16 - June 3rd, 2006, 5:01 pm
    Post #16 - June 3rd, 2006, 5:01 pm Post #16 - June 3rd, 2006, 5:01 pm
    It did The particular base recipe is from Jacques Pepin's "Fast Food My Way" and it is one of my favorite recipies, not only because of its taste but because of its adaptability. More about it here. (I highly recommend this cookbook).


    I think I would agree about that book. Every time I see his show on PBS, I drool over the food. He makes it look so simple, yet he sticks to tradition. In fact, I bet it's just what I need to help me out. Okay. I'm getting this book. Thanks for the tip.
  • Post #17 - June 6th, 2006, 7:37 am
    Post #17 - June 6th, 2006, 7:37 am Post #17 - June 6th, 2006, 7:37 am
    eatchicago wrote:The Federal Plaza farmer's market looked primarily the same today as last week, but a couple different stands told me that they'd have some berries starting next week.


    They weren't lying. Strawberries were out in full force at the market today along with bing cherries at one stand (near the SE corner).

    Mushrooms were also new today--button, crimini, shiitake, oyster.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #18 - June 6th, 2006, 9:07 am
    Post #18 - June 6th, 2006, 9:07 am Post #18 - June 6th, 2006, 9:07 am
    Strawberries were out in full force at the market today along with bing cherries at one stand (near the SE corner).


    Crap! I'm not going to make it there today. How do they taste? Any other fruit?
  • Post #19 - June 6th, 2006, 8:24 pm
    Post #19 - June 6th, 2006, 8:24 pm Post #19 - June 6th, 2006, 8:24 pm
    bnowell724 wrote:How do they taste? Any other fruit?


    Those were the only new items that I saw today.

    As for the taste, I can only speak to the strawberries which were slightly below the sweetness level I was hoping for. This was made up for by their very clear freshness and juciness. They taste like berries that were just removed from the plant. :)
  • Post #20 - June 6th, 2006, 10:11 pm
    Post #20 - June 6th, 2006, 10:11 pm Post #20 - June 6th, 2006, 10:11 pm
    In case anyone needs to be tipped over the edge to check out the market, keep in mind that there are a number of radio stations in the Prudential Building.

    If you keep your eyes open you might see a random celebrity or two stopping in for an interview. WCKG (105.9), WJMK (104.7), WUSN (99.5) and WBBM (780am) are all in 2 Prudential Plaza. During my duration at one of those stations Cameron Crowe, Candace Bushnell, Dennis Rodman, and a few Playmates all stopped in.

    During the time when I was there, I saw a number of great looking veggies, nuts, and even flowers in the plaza. It's worth checking out. Maybe even Steve Dahl will berate you for no good reason.
  • Post #21 - June 20th, 2006, 10:13 am
    Post #21 - June 20th, 2006, 10:13 am Post #21 - June 20th, 2006, 10:13 am
    Lots of peas out today. I paid a bit extra for about a pound or so of shelled sugar snaps. Can't wait to cook them.

    I got some very good Shitake, Oyster & a Portobello mushrooms at the Wicker Park market on Sunday and the same vendor was at Federal Plaza today.

    Tons of cherries & strawberries (most looked a bit on the small side) as well.
  • Post #22 - June 27th, 2006, 11:33 am
    Post #22 - June 27th, 2006, 11:33 am Post #22 - June 27th, 2006, 11:33 am
    The Federal Plaza farmer's market has kicked it into another gear today with some firsts:

    *White and purple fingerling potatoes
    *Zucchini (75c each, simply beautiful)
    *Blueberries and raspberries. (Expensive) I don't know how to carry raspberries home on the CTA without winding up with puree, but I did buy some blueberries.

    I also picked up a head of purple cauliflower.

    All I'm really waiting for now is the explosion of tomatoes (there are a few now)and peaches.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #23 - May 15th, 2007, 11:28 am
    Post #23 - May 15th, 2007, 11:28 am Post #23 - May 15th, 2007, 11:28 am
    Back in business for 2007! I've just returned from my first Fed. Plaza trip. While it's still small, I picked up some nice asparagus, rhubarb, and purple spring onions.

    The return of the farmer's markets always lifts my mood.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #24 - May 15th, 2007, 11:47 am
    Post #24 - May 15th, 2007, 11:47 am Post #24 - May 15th, 2007, 11:47 am
    I stopped at Federal Plaza on my way in to work today. I got a lovely bag of spinach from Nichols Farm and some fresh asparagus from someone else, I can't recall which vendor.

    It's very empty and I can see from my window that there aren't many shoppers today. I did not see Green Acres today and am wondering where all the other farmstands are. I hope it starts filling up in the next few weeks now that I work across the street!
    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #25 - May 15th, 2007, 11:53 am
    Post #25 - May 15th, 2007, 11:53 am Post #25 - May 15th, 2007, 11:53 am
    As I recall from the past few years, it takes a few weeks before it's in full swing with all the vendors.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #26 - May 15th, 2007, 12:11 pm
    Post #26 - May 15th, 2007, 12:11 pm Post #26 - May 15th, 2007, 12:11 pm
    I grabbed some regular and smoked string cheese from the "Got Cheese?" booth and a 16 oz jar of 2006 Heirloom Tomato Salsa from River Valley Ranch. The jar says the salsa is a Rick Bayless recipe made using Amish Paste and Brandywine tomatoes harvested late summer of 2006. Sounds good to me!
    Jamie
  • Post #27 - May 17th, 2007, 11:29 am
    Post #27 - May 17th, 2007, 11:29 am Post #27 - May 17th, 2007, 11:29 am
    To go with the chicken meatloaf I whipped up last night, we had half of the asparagus and the fingerling potatoes from Nichols that I picked up during my lunch hour on Tuesday. The asparagus were terrific -- very sweet and tender. My husband kept saying, "Boy, these are the best potatoes EVER." I just threw them in the oven with a little olive oil, kosher salt and pepper in a separate dish while the meatloaf was cooking. They were really good. I'll have to get more next week.

    Tonight we will have the spinach and the rest of the asparagus with our grilled chicken. I love the Farmer's Market.

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #28 - June 26th, 2007, 1:00 pm
    Post #28 - June 26th, 2007, 1:00 pm Post #28 - June 26th, 2007, 1:00 pm
    This morning, hoping to beat the steamy heat and the crowds at lunchtime, I stopped by the Federal Plaza Farmers Market and picked up some English peas from Nichols Farm. I bought several boxes last week and my daughter shelled them with me for dinner. They were wonderfully sweet and delicious. I keep sneaking handfuls to eat at my desk and at this rate, I will not have any peas left for our dinner tonight! :oops:

    I noticed that Green Acres showed up one week and then did not show up the next -- they are there today.

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #29 - August 7th, 2007, 11:25 am
    Post #29 - August 7th, 2007, 11:25 am Post #29 - August 7th, 2007, 11:25 am
    Most of the Michigan-based growers are reporting that this is the last week to get sweet cherries.

    If you have not had the opportunity to have any of the bing cherries from a farmer's market this year, do yourself a favor and find a market this week and get some. This year's cherries have been as good as I can ever remember them being.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #30 - August 7th, 2007, 11:34 am
    Post #30 - August 7th, 2007, 11:34 am Post #30 - August 7th, 2007, 11:34 am
    I've been a regular at Nichol's Farm on Tuesdays to get their baby pattypan squash. We've been eating it at least twice a week for dinner, sauteed with onions and mushrooms in a little olive oil with kosher salt and pepper. And we've also been eating a lot of the chinese eggplant from Green Acres. I've been sauteeing that in peanut oil with a little sesame oil and soy sauce for taste, along with some fresh ground pepper and fresh garlic. It's outstanding.

    We ate the last of my frozen English peas on Sunday night. Next year I'm freezing a lot more of those!

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa

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