Herbs, planters and a variety of flowers were popular items at Dotson's Farm during the first Evergreen Park Farmers Market on May 2. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Herbs, planters and a variety of flowers were popular items at Dotson's Farm during the first Evergreen Park Farmers Market on May 2. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Shoppers welcome back Evergreen Park Farmers Market

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Gwen Strutzenberg, who owns and designs “Gwen’s Garden Plates,” shows a customer one of her many designs during the opening of the Evergreen Park Farmers Market on May 2. 

By Joe Boyle

Rain was forecast for the morning of May 2, but nothing could dampen the spirits of customers who dropped by the Evergreen Park Farmers Market.

The large crowd that attended were instead greeted with mostly sunny skies. Beth Novotney, director of the Evergreen Park Office of Citizen Services that oversees the market, was delighted with the turnout at the Yukich Field parking lot at 89th and Kedzie.

“We have a lot of vendors out today,” said Novotney, noting that the warmer weather was an enticement for customers to visit. “We have about five new vendors this year. We are going to try a few things. I am excited.”

The initial Evergreen Park Farmers Market is usually greeted with much anticipation by customers and vendors alike. It is the first farmers market to open in the southwest suburbs.

“Yeah, we are the first farmers market,” Novotney said. “I think it always started early because some of the vendors, like Dotson’s Farm, want to get out early to sell flowers for Mother’s Day.”

Employees of Dotson’s Farm, based out of Beecher, were busy during the first hour of the farmers market. Many of the customers were buying plants and flowers for Mother’s Day.

Kelly Duffy, the village clerk for Evergreen Park, was one of them. She likes to plant and was looking over a vast selection of garden choices that Dotson’s Farm offered.

“It’s great to have this back,” Duffy said. “I enjoy coming here.”

More vendors will be coming in the next month. But visitors were also greeted by the Six Generations Farmin’ Local, which had a vast array of fruits and vegetables to choose from.

Martha’s Kitchen, based out of Shipshewana, Ind., will return to the Evergreen Park Farmers Market just after Memorial Day. They always have a variety of fresh pies, breads, and assorted bakery.

Krazy Kluckers Farms, which is located in Danville, was also at the farmers market. A man who just referred to himself as Jay represented Krazy Kluckers Farms. He said this is the second year for him at the Evergreen Park Farmers Market, which is in its 20th year.

He offers beef and chicken, including grass finished black angus beef. Jay noted that he also has pasture raised chicken. He will be at the farmers market each week.

“It’s good here,” said Jay. “I did well here last year. I enjoy coming here.”

Gwen Strutzenberg has been at the market the past nine years. Her business is called “Gwen’s Garden Plates” and she sells a variety of plates in various themes and colors. She designs them herself.

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A variety of vegetables ranging from red peppers, red onions and shallots were on display for customers from Six Generations Farmin’ Local at the first Evergreen Park Farmers Market. The market will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Thursday at the Yukich Field parking lot, 89th and Kedzie.

Many of the items on hand at the opening farmers market focused on Mother’s Day.

Strutzenberg grew up in Evergreen Park and later moved back to the community in 1982. She loves the atmosphere of the local farmers market and lives just a few blocks away from the site.

“This is the only farmers market I do,” Strutzenberg said. “The only other event I go to is an art show at Ridge Park (in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood). But I really like it here.”

She said the organizers of the farmers market are the main reason she comes back every year.

“They are very supportive and they are very reasonable,” Strutzenberg adds.

While new vendors are being added, many familiar businesses are drawn to the market. A mainstay and popular destination point is El Coyote Restaurant, which is located in Alsip. The restaurant offers a variety of Mexican food.

Seed Living offers freshly grown microgreens that the staff said provides more nutrients for the adult diet. They are back this year at the market.

Other vendors provide various breads, cupcakes and treats, and flavored olive oils. A wide assortment of food is available at the market, along with plants and flowers.

The Evergreen Park Farmers Market is open every Thursday through October from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot at Yukich Field.

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A customer waits to pay for flowers she purchased at Dotson’s Farm at the Evergreen Park Farmers Market on May 2. Dotson’s Farm will be at the Evergreen Park Farmers Market every Thursday through the fall. 

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