The Downtown Evanston Farmers Market

Farmers market brings an array of locally grown produce to the city of Evanston

A balding man speaks with gray-haired Sally Stover about the mounds of fresh, green asparagus covering a long fold-out table, while a man and his young son peruse stacks of jewel-colored fruit salsa jars.

Family-operated Stover’s Farm sells its freshly picked and prepared food on Saturdays at the Downtown Evanston Farmers Market. Stover has been coming to the market for over 30 years.

Rather than being transported from thousands of miles away, goods sold at a farmers market are locally grown and produced.

Located behind the Hilton Garden Inn at the intersection of University Place and Oak Ave., the Downtown Evanston Farmers Market vendors provide people with a variety of items such as fruit, vegetables, meat, baked goods, flowers, cheese, milk and eggs. The only vendor that provides a service is the knife sharpener.

The official market terms require that a vendor resides or operates locally, and sells items that are either “of the vendor’s own growing, cultivation, creation, production, or preparation,” or originating from another producer that gives explicit written permission to the vendor to sell on its behalf.

“It’s freshly picked,” says Stover. “We pick everything the day before we come to market, and so it’s nice and fresh for the people. It has a better flavor.”

Eating local food allows for face-to-face communication between producer and consumer as well as support by residents for local businesses.

“You know the farmer that planted, grew and picked that produce,” said Myra Gorman, Senior Program Coordinator for the City of Evanston.

Gorman is responsible for managing the downtown farmers market. The market provides customers with literature about what produce is in season for the locale and recipes using produce that is currently available in the market.

The produce available at Stover’s Farm’s booth shifts with the seasons. Romanesco cauliflower and Honeycrisp apples are popular in the fall, while Red Haven peaches fill customers’ bags in the summer. Dried cherries are the gem of the dried fruit selection. Right now, asparagus is the primary crop sold.

Although the availability of produce changes throughout the year, vendors establish consistent relationships with their customers. Many market visitors know that they will be able to find and purchase from a particular vendor every Saturday during the farmers market’s season.

“Most vendors do not like change! They don’t want their space moved because customers will not be able to find them,” said Gorman.

Friends of Evanston Farmers Market is an organization that exists to educate the public about the benefits of eating fresh, locally grown food and advocate greater access to healthy food for all community members. They organize demonstrations such as a workshop about growing herbs and an activity session for kids about bees.

“You can come to the market and shop, have breakfast or lunch and take in a demonstration while you are there,” said Gorman.

With diverse vendors and loyal customers, the farmers market is both a haven and a resource for the residents and visitor of Evanston.

The market takes place on every Saturday from May 4 through November 2, 2013. It opens at 7:30am and closes at 1:00pm.


Started in 1938, Bennison’s Bakery has provided the city with high-quality European-style pastries, cookies and cakes for many decades. Today, the bakery enhances its customer service by having a booth at the market to showcase its breads.


Lucas Hopkins, 22, and Chet Bauman, 23, play saxophone duets for the market’s visitors. As friends, roommates and fellow music students at Northwestern University, the duo enjoys practicing their craft, entertaining crowds and maybe even making a little money.



Former chefs Joe and Shannon Schmidt run To The Point Onsite Sharpening Service, which serves customers who need their knives and other tools sharpened. Their booth at the market draws in loyal customers as well as interested spectators.


The Downtown Evanston Farmers Market is accompanied by thousands of other farmers markets across the country. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the popularity of farmers markets is increasing, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm and developing personal relationships with the farmers who grow the food they eat.

farmers market graph


Crew Season Ends

The season is coming to a close for the rowers on the Northwestern Crew Team. Team members spent some of the last days of the season running a fundraising bake sale, deconstructing boats and storing equipment. Novice members talk about how they found their place at Northwestern by joining the team this year.



Ladd Arboretum

The Ladd Arboretum is located at 2024 McCormick Blvd in Evanston, Il. The Evanston Review planted the first tree, a ginkgo, in memory of its founder Edward R. Ladd. The arboretum includes a variety of trees such as birch, maple and pine, as well as a garden, a gazebo and a bird sanctuary. The Evanston Ecology Center houses nature education exhibits and offers nature programs for children and adults. Zoe Sing, 18, visits the arboretum to experience the natural environment and learn about the benefits of planting trees, particularly in urban areas.



A City Oasis: Lincoln Park Zoo

Founded in 1868, the Lincoln Park Zoo provides 35 acres where guests can stroll through the lush grounds and see animals such as monkeys, lions and polar bears. Unlike other sites in the Chicago area, such as the Brookfield Zoo and Shedd Aquarium, the Lincoln Park Zoo is free. Its year-round open gates make it accessible to all people, particularly children from families that cannot afford to visit more expensive sites.

Lincoln Park Zoo


Lil Boy Blue

Ventra: a new way to pay for the CTA

Chicago area transit riders will soon change the way they pay for transportation.

Starting in 2013, people will be able to pay for CTA train rides with a new Ventra card or their personal credit or debit cards.

Riders can purchase and load money onto a Ventra card at CTA rail stations, retail stations, online or on the phone, then register the card online or on the phone within 90 days. The card costs $5 but the amount is refunded as transit value upon registration.

Ventra also allows riders to use their personal contactless credit or debit cards to pay for CTA rides. Riders can set up a Ventra Transit Account for a credit or debit card, which can be loaded with money anywhere that Ventra cards can be purchased and loaded.

Riders who load money into an account on a Ventra card or a credit or debit card can either pay $2.25 for each ride or load unlimited-ride passes in 1-day, 3-day, 7-day or 30-day increments.

Riders using a Ventra card or their personal card can simply tap the card at the turnstile and go to the CTA train.

People will still be able to buy single-ride or one-day unlimited ride paper tickets. However, single-ride paper tickets will now cost $3 instead of the usual $2.25 per ride. One-day unlimited ride paper tickets will still cost $10.

DePaul University senior Sandra Denton, 22, welcomes the new system as a much needed upgrade that will reward frequent riders.

“While I can see how the price-bump for single-ride tickets could be a problem for some, I think it is a price increase that would have happened one way or another,” said Denton. “Instead of being across the board, however, it is instead encouraging people to buy multiple trips or use a re-loadable card.”

Ventra includes the Pace bus system, allowing riders to have a single card for both the CTA and Pace.

The new system will save CTA approximately $50 million dollars because less money will be spent on producing the re-loadable magnetic strip cards of the current system, according to CTA Media Representative Lambrini Lukidis.

When Ventra launches in the summer of 2013, CTA will still accept the magnetic strip cards.

“We are doing this strategically so we give people enough time to adjust to the new system and use up their balances on the magnetic strip system,” said Lukidis.

Ventra will completely replace CTA’s existing payment systems in 2014.

“We want people to be aware. People see signs at stations already. Information will be phased in periodically,” said Lukidis.

CTA has also started marketing Ventra by asking elected officials and stakeholders to inform the public about the new system.

Jennifer Reese, 19, has a Chicago Card Plus in the current system.

“I have to go to the station to load money onto my card, which is annoying. Being able to load money onto the Ventra card online will make things easier for me,” said Reese.

Northwestern University student Sarah Mustian, 18, rides the CTA frequently.

“For people who just want to buy a single-ride ticket, it’s going to end up costing more. There are people who literally can only pay ride for ride. Also, if people forget their Ventra card or don’t load money onto it, it will be more costly to just pay for a ride,” said Mustian.

Ventra will be the first open-fare system for public transit in North America.

“This will be more convenient and more flexible,” said Lukidis. “It’s up to the consumer to make a decision about what is best for them.”

CTA stations advertise Ventra and the coming changes. In addition, email notifications to registered customers will distribute information about the change.

CTA stations advertise Ventra and the coming changes. In addition, email notifications to registered customers will distribute information about the change.

A customer stands near a CTA vending machine at the Davis station near the Northwestern University campus.

A customer stands near a CTA vending machine at the Davis station near the Northwestern University campus.