Michael Romain/Staff

Loretta Kirksey, a resident of west suburban Maywood, perused a colorful garden of plucked produce on Feb. 17 inside of a facility in the suburb that had been transformed into a makeshift bazaar that featured greens, snap peas, carrots, tomatoes, apples, bananas, grapes, mangoes and other fresh produce.

The one-day, 10-hour-long affair was the first-of-its-kind winter pop-up produce market for the town. 

“I think this is a great idea — the fresher the better,” Kirksey said. “I think Maywood should continue to do something like this for the community. I love this. It’s great.”

If Kirksey’s satisfaction is any indicator, the market, which also debuted on Feb. 18 in Austin inside of St. Paul Lutheran School’s gymnasium, 846 N. Menard Ave., the concept could have some staying power. 

Elizabeth Abunaw, the founder and operator of Forty Acres Fresh Market, the organization that behind the winter markets, said that the focus of her efforts is to provide “fresh, affordable produce in under-served communities.”

The goal, she said, is to open a permanent low-cost produce market in Chicago’s West Side Austin community within a year, and possibly more.

“Phase one of that goal is operating pop-up markets where we sell a full selection of fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price,” she said in an email.

Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr., who did his own shopping, said that the market fills a void both locally and nationwide.

“This fills more than a void in the community, it feels a void across the nation in terms of people having access to nice, wholesome food to live on,” Norfleet said. “People are interested in getting nice, wholesome food at very reasonable prices.”

For more info on Forty Acres Fresh Market, visit: https://twitter.com/40acresfresh. 

CONTACT: michael@austinweeklynews.com