Chard from The Urban Canopy
Freshness always counts, but with leafy greens it’s utterly crucial, says Richard Samayoa of Nana. That’s why he gets his from a grower right in the city—less time in transit.
Markets: Columbus Park, 95th Street, and others
Beets from Froggy Meadow Farm
This tiny, off-the-grid Wisconsin farm makes Bruce Sherman’s favorite produce. “Jerry Boone is an über-perfectionist,” the North Pond chef says of the farm’s owner, “and it shows in his beets.”
Market: Green City
Tomatoes from Tomato Mountain Farm
Tomatoes are this Wisconsin farm’s raison d’être. “They take such good care of them, setting them out like little babies,” says Sandra Holl of Floriole. “They’re always full flavored and delicious.”
Markets: Andersonville, Logan Square, and others
Raspberries from Seedling Fruit
This Michigan farm’s approach is obsessive and scientific: Farmer Pete Klein measures the sugar levels of all his fruits before they go to market. The result? “The berries are intense and awesome,” says Ethan Pikas of Cellar Door Provisions.
Markets: Green City, Lincoln Square, and Wicker Park
Apples from Green Acres Farm
What makes these Indiana apples great, says Marissa Janz of Willow Room, is that they’re “rarely mealy or grainy, like you see sometimes with organic apples.”
Markets: Evanston, Green City
The Insider’s Guide to Farmers’ Markets
Our savvy tips and picks will help you make the most of summer’s bounty—starting with these eight chef recommendations for the best produce.
Cauliflower from Nichols Farm & Orchard
These Illinois-grown beauties stand out for their texture, says Lee Wolen of Boka: “They’re not as tightly headed and woody as the ones you find in the store.”
Markets: Daley Plaza, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and others
Snap Peas from Leaning Shed Farm
Whenever he can get his hands on them, Kitsune’s Justin Behlke picks up the “sweet, never starchy” snap peas from this Michigan farm.
Market: Green City
Cantaloupe from Genesis Growers
Paul Fehribach of Big Jones declares these downstate-grown melons “the most perfectly balanced—just luscious, almost like custard.”
Market Oak Park
Top pick: Summer in Chicago isn’t really summer until you’ve bitten into the season’s first perfect peach from Mick Klug Farm (at Green City, Lincoln Square, Division Street, and other markets). Klug’s stone fruits are the stuff of legend among avid marketgoers. Their flesh is tender, juicy, and never mealy, with a nectar-like sweetness.