“We could almost do this outside today,” said a shopper Saturday at Evanston’s winter market in the Ecology Center.

With temperatures approaching 40 degrees, definitely a rarity here in January, vendors, selling everything from honey to baked goods to mushrooms, were delighted by the throngs that greeted them.

Mushrooms from River Valley Ranch

“Evanston has always been a good market for us,” said one vendor, “but this warm winter has certainly been a help.”

The winter market is new for Evanston. After an uncertain start, when a different location fell through, the relocated market at the Ecology Center appeared to be made to order for the winter experiment.

Brandell with honey from bees living in recycled school buses

In fact, John Brandell, of Patz Maple & Honey Products, noted that his bees actually live in recycled school buses, which accord them protection from predators as well as offering five-star accommodations, at least as far as bees are concerned.

But despite the fact that winter is definitely not your best growing season, farmers and artisans still have root vegetables, honey, mushrooms, baked goods, and cheese for sale, and Joseph Schmidt of To the Point, is always on site to sharpen your knives.

Joseph Schmidt, the knife sharpener

The market, which started Dec. 3, but took a break for the holidays, has resumed on a regular weekly basis from now until April 28, open each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The Ecology Center is located at 2024 McCormick Blvd., at Bridge Street, where there’s ample free parking.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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