What’s so great about farmers markets?

Well, besides the fact that you’re supporting local farmers and not Big Ag when you get food there, it’s fun, the people selling are nice and helpful and friendly- and everything tastes so much better!

produce from the farmers market

If you’re new to Farmer’s Markets, or are intimidated or overwhelmed, the three things you should start with are tomatoes, corn, and peaches. You will never find tastier tomatoes, corn, and peaches anywhere unless you grow them yourself. Not even Whole Foods has better ones.

what to get at the farmers market

That’s it, now go, you only have a few weeks left.

farmers dinner

Please take my money

Attended a beautiful farmers market last week in Chicago’s Daley Plaza and bought a bunch of great stuff that we grilled that night on our patio. The array of vegetables and other treats available at this market was impressive.

Only a few of the merchants accepted credit or debit cards, though, which means we couldn’t give our money to a lot of earnest farmers who had such excellent produce for sale. Lucky for us, there were some earnest farmers with equally excellent produce who also lived in the 21st century and were able to take our money for their goods. Commerce!

Yes, the merchants who didn’t accept plastic avoided a small transaction fee, but they also avoided an entire sale (and judging by the number of people using credit or debit cards at this market, they avoided a lot of sales).

For people who are more visual, here’s a chart illustrating the percentage of money we spent at merchants who accepted our cards compared with merchants who didn’t.

One hundred percent of the money we spent at the Daley Plaza farmers market went to merchants who accepted credit/debit cards. Merchants who accepted cash only (or checks!) earned zero of our dollars.

One hundred percent of the money we spent at the Daley Plaza farmers market went to merchants who accepted credit/debit cards. Merchants who accepted cash only (or checks!) earned zero of our dollars.

This topic has come up before, of course, with Kimball’s Peak Three Theater in downtown Colorado Springs. A few years ago, a theater rep snidely told us and the Colorado Springs Independent that “cash is king.” But it looks like cash has been dethroned, since Kimball’s now takes credit cards. Welcome to the future, Kimball’s!

There’s still time to hit up the neighborhood farmers markets in Chicago!

Most of the markets run into the middle to end of October.  Our fave, the Green City Market is year round – once it gets cold it moves from the south end of Lincoln Park (approximately 1790 N. Clark) to inside the Nature Museum at 2430 N. Cannon Dr. in Lincoln Park. There are lots of other city sponsored markets, too! Chicago farmers markets are great- most of the vendors have signs explaining where the stuff came from and how it was grown. Lots of things come from less than 100 miles away! The best tomatoes and peaches outside of home grown come from these farmers markets- they are really really good. Sooo much better than the ones from the grocery store- even the ones that LOOK like they’d be tasty usually taste like nothing compared to locally grown super fresh ones.  So, yeah! There’s still time for you to grab some yummy fresh, local produce and make a salad or a pie.

colorful bell peppers from chicago farmers market
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farmers market sunflowers

farmers markets in chicago

farmers market sun flowers

Cemetery tours, Music in the park, Farmers Markets, ArtFarm

This summer there are a bunch of regular weekly events going on. Fun!

Mondays from 10-3 in Acacia Park downtown there’s a farmers market. This is a real farmers market with real farmers from Colorado selling their stuff. The farmers markets in Memorial Park and Old Colorado City are fake farmers markets with stuff that came all the way from California. That’s lame. So don’t go to those ones, go to the one on Mondays in Acacia Park.

Farmers Market in Acacia Park, downtown Colorado Springs

Farmers Market in Acacia Park, downtown Colorado Springs

Wednesdays from 3-7 at the Fine Arts Center on Cascade and Dale is the Colorado Art and Farm Market. Another market with real farmers from Colorado. Also, tasty snacks and cool art for sale.

Saturday evenings in Acacia Park are free concerts from 5:30-7:30. Each week there are two “indie” type bands playing. Bring a blanket and a picnic or go across the street to Paris Crepes and get some tasty crepes to eat on the lawn while you listen to the music. Here’s the lineup of bands.

Have a picnic in the park while listening to indie bands on Saturday evenings.

Have a picnic in the park while listening to indie bands on Saturday evenings.

Another really fun and interesting thing that’s happening are Evergreen Cemetery Tours on select Wednesdays and Saturdays. Pretty much anyone who was anyone in Colorado Springs is buried there. It’s really an interesting place and the grounds are very pretty. They have day and night tours- the night tours will highlight murders that took place in Colorado Springs-ooooh spooky! The day tours are $8 and the night tours are $10. Evergreen Cemetery is located at Fountain and Hancock. Visit the Evergreen Cemetery Society website for the tour dates and times and for more information.

Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs

Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs

So there you go! Lots of fun things to do this summer. Let us know about other fun things that are going on around town!

Southern California

Mike is napping on the couch. He has a thing for naps! This is the perfect day and place for a nap, so that’s good.
Here’s a recap of his visit:

Last time I updated we were in Solvang getting ready to have breakfast. Well, we didn’t do that. We were going to go to a fancy place but it wound up not being fancy so we left and went back into Los Olivos and ate at a place called Panino (sorry, I can’t find a link). I had a curry chicken salad sandwich with currants and pinenuts. DM had a ham and cheese on focaccia. YUM. Then we drove the scenic route past Lake Cachuma down to Santa Barbara. We didn’t stop. Then on home via 126 (I think that’s the highway) thru all the orange groves. We stopped and got pistachios and strawberries.

Then we got home and napped. Of course! Then on to the ‘rents house for wine and cheese and introductions. After that DM was a little frazzled (LOL) so we went to Columbo’s and had drinks. The hot tub broke last week and couldn’t be fixed so there WAS NO HOTTUBBING!!!!! Argh. That sucked. Anyhow I can’t remember what we did after Columbo’s. Probably went home and went to bed.

The next day we went to the farmers market and the grove for pancakes at du pars. Walked around the market and saw a celebrity. I forget his name but you’d recognize him. Then up to Melrose and walked around looking at all the trinkets. We wanted to go to Pinks for hot dogs but the line was, as usual, really long. Then we thought we’d go to The Formosa Cafe but it was closed. So we went to Musso And Frank (seems as if they’re too retro to have a website) instead. It’s a realllllllly oldy timey fancy place. We sat in the bar and had jack and cokes then went into the diningroom for lunch. The food has gone downhill. It’s still ok, tho. The atmosphere is really great.
Then home to nap! Then off to Kate Mantilini (also no website?) in Beverly Hills with the whole family. I love that place. I was still full from lunch so I just had a vegetable barley soup and an iceburg wedge salad with blue cheese dressing. It was awesome. Dessert was great, too. After that we went home and went to bed.

Friday we hung around the house, the yard, etc. Played some cards in the backyard, had some coffee, stuff like that. Then we went downtown to Philipe’s for lunch. French dip sandwiches. I usually get the turkey dip which is super good but this time I got the beef dip which was only just ok. Banana cream pie, too. That was good. Then a walk thru Chinatown then onward to home and a nap. Then we went to the wine tasting at Colorado Wine Company. THE wine tasting that you all have heard so much about. It was fun. We got a little drunk of course, then went to the infamous Chalet (too coooool to have a website?) and drank some more. Actually DM drank some more. I managed to restrain myself. After that we went to Casa Bianca, a really old, yummy Italian place nearby. I had eggplant pizza which DM thought would be gross but was really good- he even liked it. He had ravioli- delish, of course. Then we walked home. I love that all this stuff is walking distance from my house.

Yesteray we came down to Laguna, walked around downtown, had a frozen banana then came to the house and lazed around. Later we went to the beach and took pictures. I grilled some tri tip, made mashed potatoes and salad and we ate out on the deck. Then we went out to a local bar for drinks. Some cover band was playing. They were pretty good but neither of us was that into it. Too much drinking the night before, I think.

This morning we had coffee and played cards on the deck. Now he’s napping and I’m making this post. We have to leave at about 7:30 for the airport. This trip was way too short! But I’ll be back in Colorado next Monday and hopefully we’ll do all kinds of fun stuff this summer.