Start of farmers market indicates season of bounty
Barb Flanagin of the North Suburban YMCA in Northbrook checks the time on her cell phone about a half hour into opening day of the Northbrook Farmers Market. | Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 29, 2012 4:26PM
At 7:01 a.m., the breeze was just right. Balmy temperatures, all was calm, kind and gentle, as Wayne Miller of Coloma, Mich., placed pints of berries on a long table.
“We have amazing strawberries, they’re ripe, they taste wonderful,” said Miller, offering a passer-by a sample.
Miller’s 40-acre farm also grows raspberries, sold here at Our Lady of the Brook Catholic Church where the Northbrook Nine-sponsored event was reportedly packed by 9 a.m.
Northbrook Village President Sandy Frum cut the ceremonial opening day watermelon by mid-morning.
“It’s fabulous,” said Dale Duda, market manager, of this season’s opener. “One word — ‘fabulous.’
“We have really good vendors this year and we have community ownership of this thing (market),” Duda said.
“I heard someone say, ‘Our farmers market.’ I was absolutely thrilled to hear that because the farmers market belongs to the community.”
Meanwhile, Kyle Froehlich of Sunny Harvest Farms in Berrien Center, Mich., arranged his farm’s produce under a booth canopy.
“All I do is fruit and vegetables,” reported Froehlich.
“I just graduated from college, Central Michigan University, we have 25 acres (on the farm).
“Just graduated with a business degree,” he said, smiling, his hands not stopping while he chatted.
Busy hands curated earthly masterpieces on tables groaning with goodness like tart cherries, perfect for baking pies.
“I’m a fifth-generation farmer, I grew up on a farm,” Froehlich said, proudly.
“This is my first time here,” he said, looking around, satisfied, noting arriving patron traffic.
“Looks like a lot of vendors.”
By 7:17 a.m., Rachelle Bergersen toted plats of colorful begonias transported from Geneva Lakes Produce in Burlington, Wisconsin.
“We have four greenhouses,” she said, “and a bunch of high tunnels, they’re like a greenhouse, and we roll up the sides (in warm season).
During winter: “It’s (the sides) just to get the plants started (on the fields).
“You can drive a truck through it,” Bergersen said, of the high tunnels over soil.
At 7:20 a.m., Mike Green of Farmer Nick’s (Walworth, Wis.) held court over freezers of protein.
“We raise all the animals ourselves,” said Green.
“None of the animals are given antibiotics, hormones or steroids.
“And they’re all pasture raised,” he added, chuckling, “free range, the old fashioned way, the way they should be.”
Across the market, at 7:25 a.m., Bob Garbowicz of Bolingbook, in his tall chef hat, promoted his Presto Pasta business probably the best way.
By sizzling aroma.
“I’m making some crepes,” said Garbowicz, readying pans on his dressed to grill.
Today’s crepes featured pesto or jam filling, your choice, $5 each.
“We’re going to do some burgers, hot dogs, carrot dogs and Cajun smoked pork chops,” Garbowicz said.
Sounds good, especially when your booth neighbor is Tony Durante, the singing knife sharpening man.
“Usually I sing,” said Durante, smiling as the morning rose, sharpening a small knife.
“Opera, anything romantic,” he promises to croon to future fans.
Want to fall in love with the Northbrook Farmers Market? It’s easy, always free. Staged each Wednesday, the market, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. is open through Oct. 10.
The Our Lady of the Brook Catholic Parish is located at 3700 Dundee Rd. Visit http://www.olbparish.org/FarmersMarket.html or www.northbrooknine.com