Farmers market keeps producing

Now in its 47th year, the village venue is a summertime pleasure for many

Henry Fredian, 2, was the picture of delight as his newly acquired string-tethered balloon floated above his head at the Hinsdale Farmers Market on Monday.

Contentment was abundant on the warm, sunny August morning, as people perused and stopped at the vendor stalls along Chicago Avenue. Families took advantage of one of the final days before school's resumption to let kids frolic around the fountain in adjacent Burlington Park.

Henry's mom, Hinsdale's Gabriele Fredian, said she's a weekly market patron, favoring the fresh produce trucked in by participating farmers as well as bread from ButterCrumb Bakery and heat-beating selections from Gandi the Juice Guru.

"I really appreciate that there are real farmers here with fresh fruits and vegetables," she said. "There's always something for the kids to enjoy, and we love getting a yummy juice, too."

In her stroller was 6-month-old James, getting early exposure to the sights and sounds of the market. Suddenly Henry makes the sound of a boy who has lost grip of his balloon. He laments as it floats up, up and away.

No worries, as representatives at the Great American Exteriors booth have a replacement inflated and ready to go.

"Another one's on the way!" Gabriele assures him.

Happiness is restored. Nearby fellow Hinsdalean Jennifer Schwartz restocks her supply of olive oil and balsamic vinegar at Olivaceto. Schwartz, accompanied by soon-to-be preschooler Oliver, 3, and daughter Sophia, 1 1/2, said the market never disappoints.

"The kids have a ton of fun here, and (I like) just the variety of things," she said, praising the quality of the products she finds.

Her mom and sisters will even venture out from the city on occasion to take in the suburban amenity.

Olivaceto owner Josie Rivas remarked how even the kids have a taste for the oil/vinegar blends she specializes in. She estimated she's been a Hinsdale market vendor for eight or nine years.

"It's a one-stop shop," she said of the annual May-to-October open-air attraction sponsored by the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce. "You come get you veggies, your eggs, your meat, your cheese."

Rivas offered up a tasting cup of Tuscan herb olive oil paired with an 18-year Trebbiano grape-derived balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy.

"It's going to be sweet, but it doesn't have any added sugar," she advised. "The sugar comes only from the white Trebbiano grapes."

Surprisingly sweet for such a combination. Rivas said there's a sweetness also in the relationships she's cultivated with market customers over the years.

"I get my usual customers, and I've seen their kids grow up, since they were born," she said, citing the Schwartz family as a case in point. "That's the wonderful thing - you get to know their names."

Resident Jill Dart, completing her purchase at ButterCrumb Bakery, said she doesn't mind queuing up when necessary.

"This one is worth the wait on Mondays because it is the best one in the area," Dart said, citing a couple of other area markets she frequents. "It has just the right amount of everything and the perfect vendors."

It's a short walk from her home, and her young son, Finn, avails himself of the chance to splash in the fountain.

ButterCrumb Bakery's Natalie Komperda said the season has seen strong sales, particularly of her sourdough and cinnamon raisin breads.

"And the pretzel bread, for sure. The kids love that, it's one of their favorites," she said. "(Customers) usually get the same things."

The line at Magic Crepes lengthens as the lunch hour draws closer. That's where Clarendon Hills resident Joelle Brower and twin 12-year-old daughters Reese and Kendall have just taken possession of their tasty-looking orders.

"We come for the crepes and the (Lincoln Land Kettle Corn) popcorn and fresh fruits and vegetables," Joelle said of their typical stops. "There's a lot of options for a lot of different things here. It's always really friendly."

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean