Dining Chicago

Market Series: Logan Square Farmers' Market is an Artisanal Food Court

The Logan Square Farmers' Market is one of the markets I visit the most, primarily because it is a few blocks from my apartment, but also because it makes for a great Sunday ritual. Once the market begins its outdoor season, I spend just about every Sunday there, meandering up and down the crowded street and grassy sanctum. What I really love about it is the fantastic mix of produce and meat vendors, along with those hawking all sorts of knick knacks and provisions. Then there's the prepared foods. Logan Square Farmers' Market is unrivaled in its prepared foods department, with enough food and drink to constitute an artisanal food court. 

Logan Square Farmers' Market
(Logan Square Farmers' Market. Photo: Matt Kirouac)

This past weekend marked Logan Square's market debut, and boy did customers come out in droves. Pathways were packed at mosh pit capacity as families, couples, and dogs wove from vendor to vendor (the dogs weren't shopping I don't think). My Sunday tradition is to swing by New Wave Coffee right next door to grab an iced coffee before I hit the pavement. I'm clearly not alone in this ritual, because lines are perpetually long. The chilled caffeine helps me tolerate the noisy hordes. As of now, spring produce is slim pickings here, though herbs and mushrooms are plentiful (save for morels, the elusive mirage of mushrooms). There's also a lot of meat vendors, offering sausages, beef cuts, and the like. Pastries and breads are scattered throughout the market, essentially making the farmers' market one big cafe. I'm infatuated by the array of household products and pantry items, from olive oil soaps and goat's milk soaps to hot sauce, syrups, preserves, and even liquor, all locally sourced of course.

Goat milk soaps from Gretta's Goats
(Goat milk soaps from Gretta's Goats. Photo: Matt Kirouac)

What really sets Logan Square apart for me is the prepared food. Smoke billows from bustling grills towards the back of the market. From snacks and sweets to grilled meats and beverages, there's something for just about everybody. On a warm day like yesterday, horchata from Cherubs is where it's at, paired with some of their tacos. I find it deliciously ironic that vegetarian Chicago Diner is situated directly next to Publican Quality Meats. So while one serves sandwiches with seitan, the other fills the meaty deficit with porchetta. One eye-catcher this weekend was the chilled drinking chocolate being served by Katherine Anne Confections. This isn't just hot chocolate that's been chilled, it's a thick, pudding-like concoction infused with flavors such as blueberry-lavender and salted caramel.

Horchata and tacos
(Horchata and tacos. Photo: Matt Kirouac)

Logan Square Farmers' Market offers the perfect mixture of fresh ingredients and freshly prepared foods. The great thing is that while you wait for particular ingredients to come into season, you've got plenty to eat in the interim.

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