by Bob Benenson, Naturally Chicago

Even in a pandemic year when we all need to take heightened safety and health precautions with our Thanksgiving meals, you still want to have fresh, nutritious and delicious food on your holiday plate. And how much better if you purchase that food from our local farmers and vendors, building the local economic infrastructure in this challenging time.

Below is a short list of local food sources for Thanksgiving (or any time). If we have unintentionally overlooked a favorite market or vendor, please email bob@familyfarmed.org with the info.

Most of these vendors have expanded their home delivery or pickup options over the course of this year. That was the topic of Naturally Chicago’s November 12 webinar, Farm-to-You: Delivering on the Promise of Local Food. Our panelists — Mandy Moody of Green City Market; Irv Cernauskas of Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks; Hayden Holbert of Avrom Farm in Ripon, Wisconsin; Matt Wechsler of Village Farmstand in Evanston; and Tracey Vowell of Three Sisters Garden in Kankakee — all have taken innovative steps to facilitate consumer access to locally produced food. We invite you to view the video of the webinar, embedded below.

Farmers Markets

Green City MarketGreen City has one more outdoor market this season, this Saturday (11/21) from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at both its Lincoln Park and West Loop locations. While there will be no indoor winter market this year, Green City will continue to provide its GCM Delivered and Curbside pickup programs throughout the winter. Customers place orders with various vendors via the Whatsgood app or website. Visit the Green City Market website for details. Also, click on the Vendors tab on the Green City Market site, as many of the producers (including Avrom Farm and Three Sisters Garden mentioned above) have their own delivery or pickup options.

Logan Square Farmers Market: After plans to move to a new indoor location for the winter fell through, Logan Square Farmers Market currently plans to brave the elements by maintaining its outdoor market at 3107 West Logan Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Logan Square also has a “virtual market” on its website with a number of vendors who provide delivery or pickup options.

61st Street Farmers Market: Located in Hyde Park, the 61st Street Farmers Market has moved indoors at the Experimental Station, 6100 South Blackstone Avenue, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market’s website provides a list of vendors and their pickup/delivery options.

South Loop Farmers Market: This market is taking orders through Whatsgood for pickup on Thursdays at the Second Presbyterian Church (1936 South Michigan Avenue) and delivery to these zip codes: 60605, 60607, 60608, 60616 and 60615.

Plant Chicago: While its outdoor season in the Back of the Yards neighborhood has concluded, Plant Chicago is maintaining its Online Farmers Market. Click the Plant Chicago link to learn about the online market and other programs.

Daisies Market:  Located at Daisies restaurant, 2523 North Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square, Daisies Market is open Sundays and provide culinary treats from local producers and artisans.

Andersonville Farmers Market: This market is taking orders through Whatsgood for pickup at the regular location on Catalpa between Clark and Ashland this Sunday (11/22) from 1:30-3:30 p.m. The market is open only for pre-orders.

Local Farm Product Aggregators

Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks:  The husband and wife team of Irv Cernauskas and Shelly Herman was way ahead of the curve, launching Fresh Picks (based in suburban Niles) in 2006 to purchase from local farmers and deliver orders directly to home consumers. Fresh Picks delivers 365 days a year; click on the link to learn more and start shopping.

Village Farmstand: Village Farmstand takes orders from customers for locally produced food from farms — mostly located in east-central Illinois — with pickup at the store located at 810 Dempster Street in Evanston Thursdays through Sundays. Matt Wechsler, the store’s founder, is a documentary filmmaker who met a number of local farmers while creating his beautiful 2016 film Sustainable; one of these is Marty Travis of Spence Farm in Fairbury, Illinois, who is coordinating local farmers in his area to provide the products Village Farmstand packages for pickup.

Local-Focused Retail and Co-op

Local Foods: The retail market, located at 1427 West Willow Street in the Bucktown neighborhood, features top-quality, sustainably produced proteins and produce from the Midwest, including a number of farms in our Chicago region. After going to no-contact operations (delivery and pick-up only) in March at the onset of the COVID crisis, Local Foods recently reopened the store to socially distanced shoppers, while continuing to provide ordering for pick-up and delivery through the Mercato platform.

Dill Pickle Food Co-op:  This community-owned store at 2746 North Milwaukee Avenue has been serving the Logan Square and broader Chicago community since 2009, with a strong focus on local products. Home delivery is available through Mercato.

Green Grocer Chicago:  This retail store, located at 1402 West Grand Avenue in the West Town neighborhood, emphasizes organic and other sustainable food and sources from many local producers. Home delivery is available through Mercato.

Sugar Beet Food Co-op: Located at 812 West Madison Street in west suburban Oak Park, Sugar Beet is a locally focused, community-owned market that takes orders daily for next-day pickup.

Now get your orders in… and enjoy the Farm-to-You webinar video.