Fresh approach in Chicago Ridge: Farmers market debuts
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com June 2, 2014 6:36PM
Joanna and Lukasz Szklarz, of Chicago Ridge, visit with John Bailey, of Altorf, who has been keeping bees for honey for 41 years. | Steve Metsch/Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 4, 2014 6:25AM
Alice Roberts-Seliger, of Chicago Ridge, was thrilled Monday that she could walk just a few blocks from her home to the new farmers market in the American Legion parking lot.
After rain swept through earlier, the skies cleared and the sun came out for the market’s debut. Curious residents and serious shoppers came out as well, checking out what was available.
They found herbs, plants, fresh honey, breads, hormone-free meats and a couple of snack stands.
“I was so happy to hear we were getting one. I’ve been going to Oak Lawn’s farmers market for years. I’m from the hills of West Virginia, and I believe in farm produce and good stuff,” Roberts-Seliger said.
She bought a loaf of walnut and raisin bread and some croissants from Aurora-based Katic Breads.
Village Trustee Dan Baden said the market “is a nice thing for the residents and people who travel through the community.”
He likes the 2 to 7 p.m. time, which organizers hope will appeal to people who work 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. shifts. Baden had his eye on kettle corn and was seen buying a large bag.
Mayor Chuck Tokar gave Village Clerk George Schleyer credit for the idea of starting a farmers market. Schleyer said he did it because he wanted more community involvement for residents.
“I think it will take off. There was a nice group here today, and as the season progresses, you’ll see more vendors here,” Tokar said.
Joanna Szklarz, husband Lukasz and their son Patrick, 4, enjoyed checking out the various jars of honey offered by John Bailey, of downstate Altorf, who has been keeping bees since he was 10.
Joanna, holding a jar of honey, works in downtown Chicago. She said the timing is perfect for her.
“There are times I get off at noon,” said Joanna, who plans to shop the market often. “I like the fact that it’s pretty much organic.”
This is the fourth farmers market Bailey has signed on for, and the closest to his home in Kankakee County.
Mike Bagniewski, vice president of Prospect Federal Savings Bank in Worth, is a director with the Chicago Ridge-Worth Chamber of Commerce and stopped by because he enjoys farmers markets.
“This provides the local residents with healthy alternatives, things that are better for you than some of the processed items. It brings business to the community and brings out folks,” he said.
The Southside Garden Novices, based in Chicago Ridge, had a table set up to sell plants and herbs. Club president Dorothy Gass gave the market a good review.
“I think it’s great. Having it later in the day, the people who work have a chance to do some shopping,” Gass said.
The plan seemed to work as there were about 50 people milling around the market at 5:45 p.m. Included where Pat and Ed Maloney, of Tinley Park. They bought honey and eggs.
“It’s good to have this in the evening, or we wouldn’t be here,” Pat said. They are longtime parishioners of Our Lady of the Ridge Catholic Church, which offers its parking lot for shoppers to use.