The Evanston Farmers’ Market returned this weekend for its 48th season.
Saturday, May 7, opening day for the season, brought crowds to 1800 Maple Ave., where dozens of vendors sold a variety of products including locally grown fruit, flowers, herbs, cheese and baked goods.
Seven new vendors and 47 returning vendors are signed up this season. New vendors include Mindful Baking Café, a vegan gluten-free baker; Simply MI, a farmer selling maple syrup and jams; and Thao Garden, a family farm from Wisconsin.
Market Manager Myra Gorman said that few fruits or vegetables are ripe in early May but shoppers still enjoy being together and perusing the market, even if many products are not available yet.
“People are very, very happy to just walk around,” Gorman said. “It’s kind of like the beginning of summer for them.”
The return of the market represents the start of the main season, said Amanda Berry, a staff farmer at The Talking Farm, a nonprofit teaching farm in Skokie.
This time can be a bit stressful for farmers, and Berry said she is feeling simultaneously overwhelmed and excited.
“This is the main way that our farm, as well as most farms here, get to communicate with their customers and sell their produce,” she said.
Shopper Lail Herman said she has been looking forward to the return of the market.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she said.
The market also featured Spud Club, which encourages children to eat healthy while providing fun and educational activities.
Gorman said that compared to previous years, this year’s market will feature more tents for the market’s sponsors, including the Evanston RoundTable, Trulee Evanston and Evanston Community Bank & Trust.
Starting in June, the market will also include a Home Grown Artist area, where local artists can sell their art.
The market will run from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday until Nov. 5. Senior and disabled shoppers may come earlier, with an exclusive window from 7 to 7:30 a.m.
“We’re back again!” Gorman said.