Packed into a parking lot, the farmers market bustles. Children are pushed in strollers while couples, young and old, walk the aisles. Potted plants line the pavement. Mounds of leafy greens and fresh fruit are piled on tables. Workers in company T-shirts rush to explain what a certain vegetable is or whether it is locally grown.
During the Medill cherubs program, the downtown farmers market takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday. About 60 vendors set up tents in a parking lot behind the Hilton Garden Inn. Vendors sell everything from bowling ball-sized cabbage to origami art.
As Ava Rotondo of McLean, Virginia, walks by a fruit and vegetable booth, she’s tempted to take a bite.
“Don’t you want to just sink your teeth into some fresh produce?” Rotondo asked.
Cherubs who attended the market said smoothies, blueberries and crepes are some of the best items to buy. Prices vary from stand to stand, but many offer free samples.
Cherubs typically have downtime on Saturdays after a week of assignments. Maxine Giller of Bexley, Ohio, said she used the market to de-stress. One week, Giller bought $4 breakfast tacos from the Cocina Azteca stand and a $3 peach cobbler. Two weeks after, she returned to get her fill of the market’s fruit.
“I went for the sole purpose of trying to give myself a break,” Giller said. “I wound up buying two pints of blueberries for $7.”
For Clara Koritz Hawkes of Bethesda, Maryland, going to the market was how she first got in touch with the Evanston community.
“There are a lot of locals walking around, so you don’t feel touristy,” Koritz Hawkes said. “You feel like you’re one with the people.”
Koritz Hawkes, who was born in Berlin, went to a farmers market there in her younger years and always returns when she visits. She said the Evanston market was the closest thing in the United States to the Berlin market.
“It made me feel closer to Evanston after I went because it reminded me of something so nice from home,” Koritz Hawkes said.