Monday market starts the week off right

From berries to baked goods, stands offer delicious treats to tempt the summer palate

Series: Summer days | Story 3

The weekly farmer's market on Chicago Avenue between Garfield and Washington streets has been part of Hinsdale for 48 years, and Rob Pondelick's family has been present for every one of them.

Pondelick is the fifth-generation owner of Theis Farm Market in Maple Park, one of several farm-based businesses in Pondelick's family and one of two produce-producing farms to participate in the Monday market offered by the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce.

"For a Monday morning, it's not too bad," Pondelick said of the crowd seeking his stand's fresh fruits and vegetables. Speaking from years of experience, Pondelick expects the crowds to get even bigger after the Fourth of July, when the variety of produce expands.

"That's when it really gets poppin,' " he said.

Pondelick rises at about 3 a.m. each Monday to prepare for the hour-long trip to Hinsdale. It's one of five markets on his weekly schedule.

While Pondelick is traveling east, the folks from Kugel Farms of Berrien Springs, Mich., are making their way around Lake Michigan in time for the market's 7 a.m. start.

The Kugel Farms stand is a favorite on Laila Alamuddin's weekly outing to the Hinsdale market. She said she's been visiting the market since 2011 to stock up on homegrown, fresh food. That includes eggs and meat from Farmer Nick's.

"We love it," she said. On this particular Monday, Alamuddin stocked up on fresh berries for smoothies and ingredients for a gathering she had planned for later in the week.

While Alamuddin comes to the market for healthy food she can make herself, vendor Maple & Yam offers up prepared dishes made with those same simple, healthy ingredients. Married couple Bob Lewandowski and Diana Luna of Clarendon Hills began the business just seven months ago, naming it after one of their most popular creations - yams seasoned with real Vermont maple syrup. It, along with barbecue meatballs, pot roast sliders and breakfast sandwiches made with organic eggs, is hot and ready to go every Monday.

Lewandowski said he spends about eight hours a day cooking the food he sells at area markets each week. He uses ingredients like grass-fed beef, organic eggs, fresh vegetables and real butter.

"We want to stay true to the 'farm-to-table,' " and support local farmers, Luna said.

Located next to Burlington Park, the market offers plenty of room for people to gather for a chat or relax with a treat from one of the market's nine food trucks. That's where 10-year-old Sloan Allegretti chose to enjoy her acai bowl from Bao Acai.

"There's always a new stand," said Sloan, who called her first acai bowl "awesome."

Sloan's mother, Barbie, said the market is a great way to spend a summer morning with her children.

"It's a nice family outing," she said, and a chance for her daughters to try new foods and fresh, seasonal produce. Sloan said she's looking forward to enjoying the peaches, plums and nectarines she remembers from last year's offerings.

Among the market's nearly 30 vendors are bakeries with freshly made treats and local businesses selling products from home improvements to houseplants. New to the market this summer is Hestia Grinds, a brother-sister team bringing signature-blend coffees to the market. Samuel and Alex Cardenas said they work with family farms all over the world to create their brand's unique flavors. Shoppers can grab a cup of cold or hot brew, a bag of whole or ground beans or even a growler or cans of coffee to go.

The market continues every Monday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Oct. 14. New, seasonal items will become available throughout summer and into fall.

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean