Downtown Hyde Park Farmers Market opens for 2019 season

As her son Orem watches, Elizabeth Bartom prepares to purchase a Stevia plant from Melissa Dejong of Smits farm on opening day of the Harper Court Farmer’s Market. (Photo by Marc Monaghan)

Staff writer

Throughout Thursday morning, local Hyde Parkers walked through Harper Court, 5235 S. Harper Court Ave., buying food and enjoying entertainment as the Downtown Hyde Park Farmers Market opened for the season.

From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., community members were able to sample food, buy fresh fruits and vegetables from more than 20 vendors, many of whom were women and people of color with small locally owned business and farms.

Hyde Parker Kristyl Thomas of Bibi’s Shea, a line of homemade shea butter products, was excited to see how much the market has grown since the last year.

“I understand that this market has grown compared to last year. For example, all these vendors on this side weren’t here. I look forward to participating this year and seeing what happens,” said Thomas.

Even though the weather was uncharacteristically cool for a day in June, Veronica Wimp of Roni’s Nom Noms, homemade granola snacks, enjoyed her time as a vendor.

“I’m really enjoying it. Everyone has been nice. The atmosphere is perfect,” Wimp said. “Everyone has enough space to walk around and see what’s here. All the vendors have been sweet. The coordinators were amazing. I can’t wait to come back next week and do it again.”

Jenny Leflore, a Bronzeville mom and Founder of Mama Fresh Chicago, hosted a “Mama Fresh Family Day.” During the market day, children and parents were able to participate in yoga, story time and enjoy live music from Sarah Jayne Lane, a local children’s entertainer.

“This Farmers Market offers a chance for local Hyde Parkers to play an active role in their community by supporting local farmers and businesses, by shopping, meeting local families during Mama Fresh Family Days, and creating and building community by visiting each week,” said Leflore.

The Downtown Hyde Park Farmers market will be open every Thursday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mama Fresh days will happen the first Thursday of each month during the market, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. This year, the market also will add “Market Beats,” a series featuring 25 local DJs, including several teens, each week.