Evanston’s downtown farmers market is known for bringing fresh produce to the public, but it also provides customers with an experience money can’t buy.

(See more farmers market pictures from photographer Matthew English in the photo gallery.)

At last Saturday’s weekly session of the 35-year-old market, Jarrett Dapier said that he comes “to spend time with the family, and be in the community setting.”

The Dapier-Middleton family along with other families also enjoy when the market offers special events for the children. “Once they had a mini tennis court, I wish they had more of that or at least a big gated area for them to play,” Dapier added.

John Hoffman from Hoffman Greenhouse said the market is “definitely getting people excited to get outside for the summer.”

The Kettle Moraine String Band, along with other entertainment, helps to provide those who come to be apart of the market’s community with amusement.

“I like the music players and the environment, you can’t beat the parking” said Callin Day, “I just wished it stayed open longer” added Lisa Day.

“People come from all over the city and suburbs to be a part of the farmers market” said Elizabeth Middleton.

Cedric White, salesman from Nuffle Family Farmers, said that because the market accepts link cards, and also offers senior discounts, “the market brings in people who can’t afford the market or the grocery store.”

Although the market offers a feeling of community it may be able to reach into other parts of the Evanston community if it were located in a different area.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing it in a place like the Dempster-Dodge parking lot” commented Dapier. However, others feel that the markets location is beneficial because it’s just a few blocks away from both the Metra and CTA stations.

Along with the sense of community, market customers say they appreciate that the produce is locally grown. Customer Lisa Day said, “I like that the farmers aren’t growing too far away.”

Sean Morran, a salesman from Nuffle Family Farmers, adds that “it’s nice to be able to look the person in the eye who created the produce.”

Morran said, “It is more harmful” to the environment “to buy organic produce from the grocery store than to buy non-organic foods that are locally grown.”

Evanston’s downtown farmers market is open from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays in the parking lot behind the Hilton Garden Inn at University Place and Oak Avenue.

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