Two Richard Russells greet returning customer Nancy Zordan at the Ridgeville Farmers’ Market. The father and son brought herbs as well as early vegetables to the Wednesday market from their farm in Michigan.

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Lanky and green with a close-set top, this fellow asparagus seemed to win the popularity contest at the two Wednesday farmers’ markets that opened last week.

At the Central Street Market in Independence Park, Sarah Frigo was “buying more asparagus.” Lake Breeze Organics had brought plenty,  along with bunches of pink spring garlic and other early produce. Said Ms. Frigo, “We’re CSA [Community-Supported Agriculture] members, and my family – even our dog – are eating asparagus.”

At the Ridgeville Farmers’ Market, on the park grounds at Ridge Avenue and South Boulevard,  Nancy Zordan greeted the two Richard Russells (father and son) of Lyons Farms with, “Where have you been all winter?” as she inspected the bunches of asparagus and nearby rhubarb.

The West End Market opened on Saturday morning with music, local vendors and produce about as fresh as possible: It came from just across the Second Chance garden across the street, behind BooCoo. As customers were arriving, Cozeake Nelson, supervisor of the garden, was still bringing plants and produce from the garden. Second Chance helps ex-offenders become re-rooted in the community by helping them develop
employable skills, such as gardening and snow-clearing.

Early vegetables, herbs and flowers were also the staples at the downtown market, which opened in early May.

Coming soon, say the farmers: strawberries and blueberries.

Market Days and Times

• Downtown Farmers’ Market:     Oak Avenue at University Place: Saturdays,    7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. through Nov. 5

• West End Market:     Church Street at Dodge Avenue:     Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. through Oct. 29

• Central Street Market: Independence Park     (Central Street at Stewart Avenue):     Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m. though Oct. 26

• Ridgeville Farmers’ Market: Ridgeville Park    District (Ridge Avenue and South Boulevard):    Wednesdays, 3:30-7 p.m through Oct. 12

A dinner plate half-filled with vegetables is said to be the new food-guide icon, replacing the food pyramid. With four weekly farmers’ markets offering fresh – in some cases, organic – produce, Evanston residents should have little trouble piling their plates with vegetables.