The Evanston Farmers’ Market returned this weekend for its 48th season.
Saturday, opening day of the season, brought crowds to 1800 Maple Ave., where dozens of vendors sold a variety of goods, including locally grown fruit, flowers, herbs, cheese and baked goods.
Seven new suppliers and 47 returning suppliers are enrolled this season. New suppliers include Mindful Baking Café, a gluten-free vegan baker; Simply MI, a farmer who sells maple syrup and jams; and Thao Garden, a Wisconsin family farm.
Market manager Myra Gorman said few fruits or vegetables are ripe in early May, but shoppers still enjoy browsing the market, even though many products are not yet available.
“People are very, very happy to just walk around,” Gorman said. “It’s like the beginning of summer for them.”
The market’s return represents the start of the main season, said Amanda Berry, a farmer at The Talking Farm, a nonprofit teaching farm in Skokie.
This time it might be a little stressful for farmers, and Berry said she’s feeling both overwhelmed and excited.
“This is the main way our farm, like most farms here, is able to communicate with its customers and sell its products,” she said.
Shopper Lail Herman said she is looking forward to the market’s return.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she said.
The market also featured the Spud Club, which encourages children to eat healthy, providing fun and educational activities.
Gorman said that compared to previous years, this year’s market will feature more tents for market sponsors, including Evanston RoundTable, Trulee Evanston and Evanston Community Bank & Trust.
Starting in June, the market will also include a Home Grown Artist area where local artists will be able to sell their art.
The market will be open from 7:30am to 1pm every Saturday until November 5th. Elderly and disabled shoppers can arrive earlier, with an exclusive window from 7:00 AM to 7:30 AM.
“We’re back!” said Gorman.