[Update: Since this article about Green City Market’s virtual farmers market was published on March 17, additional vendors have signed on to participate. Also, other local farmers markets have launched their own virtual markets, and information about them has been added to this article.]
Farmers markets specialize in health- and wellness-focused food, but they nonetheless have had to cancel market days to protect against the spread of COVID-19. But thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of Green City Market, Good Food lovers in and around Chicago can participate in a “virtual farmers market” by purchasing from 27 of their vendors online.
Fresh local food fans can find links to these farms at this page on Green City Market’s website. Many of the vendors will deliver directly to homes; others are taking orders for pickup.
The participating vendors, in alphabetical order, are: Alden Hills Organic Farm, Arize Kombucha, Avrom Farm, Bennison’s Bakery, Bungalow by Middle Brow, Bushel and Peck’s, Chicago Maple, Cookies and Carnitas (email firstname.lastname@example.org), Ellis Family Farm, Finn’s Ranch, Garden Offerings and Petals Farm, Gayle V’s Best Ever Grilled Cheese, Jacobson Family Farms, Jake’s Country Meats, Joe’s Blues, Mint Creek Farm, Nichols Farm & Orchard, Oriana’s Oriental Orchard (email email@example.com), pHlour Bakery, Phoenix Bean/Jenny’s Tofu, Quality Organic (Brian Severson Farms), River Valley Ranch, Smits Farm, Three Sisters Garden (email firstname.lastname@example.org), Tomato Bliss, Tomato Mountain Farm, and Underground Meats.
A special FamilyFarmed/Naturally Chicago shoutout to Phoenix Bean/Jenny’s Tofu (Jenny Yang is a graduate of the Good Food Accelerator and is a member of the FamilyFarmed and Naturally Chicago boards); Mint Creek Farm, also an Accelerator graduate; Tomato Bliss, a member of the current Accelerator cohort; and Naturally Chicago member Brian Severson.
Since we originally published this article, we have learned of other farmers markets that have gone virtual. Within the city of Chicago, they include:
Logan Square Farmers Market: Lists 16 vendors with a mix of delivery, pick-up, and community supported agriculture (CSA) subscription options.
Plant Chicago: Lists 16 food and five non-food vendors, most providing delivery and/or pickup options.
Tips from a Good Food Finder
In addition, here are tips for finding local food shared by Paul Sippil, whose passion is finding and document sources of locally produced foods. The findings here are Sippil’s and have not been independently verified by Naturally Chicago:
Small Grocery Stores
A few grocery stores I go to are Plum Market in Old Town, Dill Pickle Co-op in Logan Square, and Local Foods in Bucktown. They haven’t been too crowded during times when larger grocery stores like Whole Foods were packed. If you want the convenience of efficiently ordering food sourced from local farms and purveyors while maintaining social distancing, Local Foods provides a great option, as they have become a NO CONTACT store as of today for the indefinite future. You can order online, call them at 312-432-6575, or e-mail them at email@example.com. They provide both delivery and curbside pick-up at specified times.
Some of my favorite items at Local Foods are Publican Sourdough Bread at only $5.99 for a loaf, Gunthorp Farms Chicken, and their fresh spinach. I especially like getting the sourdough bread and chicken because it’s not easy finding pastured chicken or high quality bread. In fact, there’s even a documentary that provides more information on how this bread is made. For more information on buying chicken, beef, and eggs as well as the the importance of pasture-raised animals, see a few of my FlavCity guest appearances here, here, here, and here.
Due to the closure of farmer’s markets, Naturally Chicago has provide a list of farms that you can order directly from. If you want more resources, I have compiled an extensive list of over 200 Midwestern farms with detailed information on each farm, including rating/certification information by independent third parties. I can also send this in Excel format for those who are interested.
Home Delivery Options
Mick Klug Farm has a wide variety of produce including frozen blackberries and blueberries (sometimes strawberries and cherries as well) for only $15 for a 4 pound bag, and they offer free home delivery in Chicago and a few suburbs.
Mint Creek Farm has eggs that are pastured, certified organic, non-GMO, and soy-free, which is especially important as explained here and here. These kinds of eggs aren’t easy to find, so I wanted to let everyone know they are available. These are the best eggs that I know of.
Seven Sons Farms has a wide variety of meat available at two Chicago pick-up locations as well as home delivery. I love having the convenience of ordering what I want there instead of having to order a box of pre-selected items. They also have sales on occasion, so you may want to follow them on social media.
Apsey Farms also has a wide variety of meat and typically has ground beef sales twice a year. I am on their e-mail list so I can stay posted.
Pre is another great option for beef if you don’t mind eating globally. They are based in Chicago, but source from Australia, which is known for its high beef standards.
Brian Severson Farms offers non-GMO and stone ground grains and flours. I just ordered 10 pounds of their oatmeal for only $2.80 per pound including delivery.
I get my food from each of these places, so I can personally attest to their quality. Many other farms offer home delivery options as well.
Green City Market Announcement
Here is the Green City Market announcement, unedited:
For more than 20 years, Green City Market has been the leading source of local, sustainable food in Chicago. Tens of thousands of Chicagoans depend on our markets as the place to buy the best food in the Midwest while nurturing relationships and building community.
With statewide guidelines strictly limiting the number of people who can gather together, we are faced with an uncertain future for the remainder of our Indoor Market Season.
Nourishing food and the farmers who grow it are, and have always been, essential.
Our farmers have upheld a steadfast dedication to ensuring the highest quality products, as well as their commitment to environmental stewardship and the responsible treatment of animals.
Simply put, the food Green City Market vendors offer for purchase is the safest, most nutritious food available.
We’ve been working around the clock alongside our hardworking farmers to “go virtual” and connect you with a growing list of local, sustainable farmers who are ready to deliver farm fresh goods, right to your doorstep.
Visit our vendors virtually on the Green City Market website where you will be able to place orders with 20+ vendors who are currently making deliveries to the city or are offering quick pick-up options.
Now that we are able to connect you, our valued Green City Market supporters, directly to the farmers you know and love, we invite you to build community with us online.
Please, place an order with a farmer (or two!) this week and share a nourishing meal with us online.
#WashYourHands and then post photos of your dishes on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag: #GCMGoesVirtual, tag @GreenCityMarket, and the farmers who grew the ingredients used in your dishes.
More than 85,000 people follow Green City Market online and together, we have the purchasing power to show our farmers that we stand with them, always.
Together with you, Green City will continue to lead the effort to support all those impacted by our mission — especially our farmers, students, and those who rely on Green City Market for access to healthy food.
May you be nourished in the days ahead,