By Mason Dowling
Residents in Chicago’s Rogers Park can get a fresh taste of the Midwest at Loyola University Chicago’s annual Farmers Market. The market, located in the lot on 6590 N. Sheridan Road, hosts several different private vendors of fresh produce, baked goods, and homemade necessities.
The Loyola Farmers Market operates every Monday from 3-7 p.m. through Sept. 24. Then, the fall market operates from 2:30-6:30 p.m. from Oct. 1 through Oct. 15. The market is closed on Labor Day.
The farmers market is an effort by Loyola to promote both local growers and artisans, as well as Loyola’s own ecology campus. Not many students are aware of the summer-only campus in Woodstock, which offers a peaceful location for students to retreat to. Ecology retreats allow students the chance to slow down and enjoy nature, while rejuvenating the mind, body, and spirit.
Crops grown on this campus, as well as those from select local producers, come to Loyola’s Farmers Market, an open-air tent market right across from Lakeshore Campus’ St. Joseph’s Seminary and Campion Hall.
The Farmers Market originated from a student project for Loyola’s Solutions to Environmental Problems class, and has only grown since. Students worked with Loyola to reach out to local farmers and producers, to bring fresh, local produce to an area of the city that doesn’t always have access to cheap produce.
Alexandra Vecchio, a 20-year-old senior, serves as the assistant manager to the farmers market for Loyola.
“You can really connect with the people who are growing the food,” Vecchio adamantly explained, citing that it brings members of the Loyola community together for the benefit of the Rogers Park area in a new way.
While the wide selection of freshly grown fruits and vegetables was the primary attraction, several small vendors also sold specialty wares. One of the new features Loyola offered this year was Sharpening By Dave, which would aid growers by keeping their tools in top condition. Another interesting service was the Dirty Business Bath Company, which specialized in homemade, natural soaps and bath products.
“Rogers Park has other farmers markets, and it’s a great way for Loyola’s student farm to come here, and other businesses that might not necessarily have the funds to make it into the larger farmer’s markets,” says Amanda Hitterman, a 29-year-old Loyola graduate who helps run the Bath Company, all while serving in her position as the Director of Campus Operations for Loyola’s ecology campus.
For all producers interested in getting involved with Loyolas Farmer’s Market for next season, feel free to visit the market’s website, as well as contacting Gina Lettiere at glettie@luc(dot)edu.