Farmers Market Opens in Woodlawn

May 19, 2008

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Several farmers markets in Chicago kicked off their selling season this weekend. One organization launched their first ever market in the Woodlawn neighborhood in Chicago's South Side.

The 61st Street Farmers Market in Woodlawn takes up about a blocks length. Between Dorchester Street and Blackstone Avenue, about a dozen tents are set up selling herbs, cheeses, and even soap. Connie Spreen executive director of the Experimental Station says the market is on 61st Street for a reason. That's the dividing line between toney Hyde Park and Woodlawn, a neighborhood sometimes known for its rough edges.

SPREEN: It's about connecting with your farmers and discovering who it is that's producing your food. But it's also about discovering who your neighbors are and realizing that coming south of 60th Street is not a dangerous proposition.

Joan Hopkins sells greens for the Windy City Harvest, an urban environmental project.

HOPKINS: It's good for the community because they can get fresh vegetables, they don't have to travel far and they don't have to spend a lot of money.

But not all market prices are cheap. For instance, would you pay 8 bucks for a 16 oz jar of organic salsa? Spreen says a Market School tent is set up to explain things like costs and food preparation.

SPREEN: The educational component I think is extremely important in understanding why it's worth paying the extra  costs for what you get here that ultimately in certain ways that if you put it all together you're not paying more.

Spreen says the market accepts food stamps and other programs. The 61st Street Farmers Market is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday until October 25.