Farmer’s markets planned for area
by BRIAN NADIG
A farmers’ market which features sustainable goods will be held each Sunday from May 25 to Oct. 26 in the Belmont-Cragin shopping district in an effort to bring more shoppers and businesses to the area.
"We’re trying to get more local people here," market organizer Kelly Rauch said. "We feel like we’re losing business here, and we want to elevate the business area. We’re looking for opportunities for businesses."
Rauch, who owns an antique and restoration business in the area, said that the commercial district has faced gang problems and that she is hopeful that the markets will encourage residents and merchants to have a renewed sense of pride in their community. She said that some business owners were unhappy when a special use permit was issued to allow a pawn shop to open at 5454 W. Belmont Ave.
The market will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Sunday in the PNC Bank parking lot of PNC Bank, 5455 W. Belmont Ave. About two dozen vendors have signed up for the markets, although not all of them are expected to be at each one.
Rauch said that all of the food vendors are certified organic farmers or follow sustainable organic practices. The items will include meats, mushrooms, fruits, honey and flowers.
The markets also will feature hand-milled soaps, freshly brewed coffee, breads and chocolate confections. Rauch said that artisans will make household items out of "recycled and re-purposed" materials.
Rauch said that vendor fees will be used to pay for permits, marketing materials and other expenses. More information is available at www.belmontcraginmarket.com
Also in the area, markets will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every other Sunday from June 8 to Oct. 26 at Jefferson Park, 4822 N. Long Ave. The markets will feature produce, art, baked goods, food trucks and entertainment. More information is available at www.jeffersonparksundaymarket.com.
The Friends of Portage Park will hold a farmers’ market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, June 1, 15 and 29, July 20, Aug. 3 and 17, Sept. 7 and 21, and Oct. 5, at Portage Park, near 4100 N. Long Ave. More information is available at www.friendsofportagepark.org.