Liz Abunaw, the owner and operator of Forty Acres Fresh Market. | Courtesy Forty Acres Market

As the weather warms up, farmers markets are sprouting all over Chicago and the West Side is no exception.

The markets are usually organized by local nonprofits and often with the city’s support. The exact times and frequencies vary a great deal depending on the market. And while in the past, one of the major issues with farmers markets was that they don’t accept LINK and SNAP cards, many now do. 

The acceptance of LINK and SNAP is particularly important on the West Side, where grocery stores that offer any kind of produce are few and far between.


Forty Acres Market in Austin

In Austin, Special Service Area 72 and Forty Acres Fresh Market are teaming up to hold monthly produce markets. While the exact dates for July and August aren’t currently available, this month, the market will take place on June 14 through June 16, at 5051 W. Chicago Ave. On Friday, it will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On both weekends, it would end at 4 p.m., but the start times are 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.  

According to the flier, along with the “large selection of affordable fresh produce,” the market will have cooking demonstrations, free recipe cards and free samples. The flier also notes that they accept LINK cards.


Markets in Austin’s parks

Starting this July, several weekly farmers markets will pop up throughout Austin area parks on weekdays, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. In Columbus Park, at 500 S. Central Ave, it will run on Tuesdays, between July 9 and Sept 3. In LaFollette Park, at 1333 N. Laramie Ave, it will run on Wednesdays, between July 10 and Sept. 4. And on Thursdays, a farmers market will be held at Austin Town Hall Park at 5610 W. Lake St. 


Garfield Park Farmers Market

Meanwhile, in East Garfield Park, the Garfield Park Farmers Market kicks off its summer season at the Hatchery food incubator, which was built on the market’s original lot at 135 N. Kedzie Ave. The summer season officially kicked off on June 8. As in the past, the market will run every second Saturday, from 10a.m. to 2 p.m., and every following Thursday, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. It is currently scheduled to run through October.


Herban Produce’s urban farm

A little further southeast, at 2900 W. Van Buren St, East Garfield Park’s Herban Produce urban farm will be holding monthly Farm-to-Turntable events. The farm’s website describes them as “daytime dance party meets farmers market,” where shoppers can buy produce grown on the farm, as well as garden plants, food and snacks from local vendors while listening to House music and checking out art installations. Farm-to-Turntable will take place on June 15, July 20, Aug. 17 and Sept. 21. While the exact times for the July through August events are not clear, the June event will take place from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. There is no indication whether the farm will accept LINK and SNAP cards.


North Lawndale Farm Stand

In North Lawndale, Lawndale Christian Health Center is running the Lawndale Farm Stand from its Green Tomato Cafe at 3750 W. Ogden Ave. It will operate every Wednesday, from June 14 through October 11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The nearby Farm on Ogden will continue to host its own year-round farm stand at 3555 W. Ogden Ave. every Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 


West Humboldt Park

Finally, starting June 26, West Humboldt Park Farmers Market will be held on Saturdays at 3601 W. Chicago Ave., within walking distance of the controversial new Joint Police and Fire Training Center. The market is organized as a collaboration between the city and the Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago non-profit organization. It will run from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the final market will be held on Oct. 5.  


Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Austin Weekly News since 2015. His work has also appeared...