How to "Romaine Calm" (at the Farmer's Market)!

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Some people relax by roaming in nature, on a beach, in a forest, or maybe browsing through the local shops. I relax best by meandering through a Farmers Market! It honestly makes my week when I know I can squeeze in a visit to the Farmers Market. Why? Because it means I'll have had some time to myself, I'll have had some great chats with local business owners who are passionate about their produce and their trade, and it means I will have inevitably stocked up on some fresh and delicious food to enjoy throughout the week with my family. 

I have two primary Farmers Markets that I visit; one on a Wednesday afternoon or one on a Saturday morning. I typically don't do both every week, but I love them equally for different reasons!

On Wednesday afternoons, I will typically wrap up a full day of work while both my kids are in daycare and I hit up the Market before I go grab them. My Wednesday market is St. John's Farmers Market in Naperville at 750 Aurora Ave. and it is compact, yet mighty. I inevitably always stop first for a fresh-made juice at Gandi, the lemonade is made right there in front of you with fresh lemons, apples, some ginger, and some light spices - it's so refreshing and delicious. There are some fantastic dining options at The Grumpy Gaucho that I have taken away for the family (empanadas anyone)?! One of the top reasons I go to this Market is for the fish at E&S Fish Company. I can't articulate enough how their smoked trout fish dip transports me straight back to Ireland where my mom used to make this every year as a Christmas appetizer, wrapped up in cute little bundles of smoked salmon! They also have a smoked salmon dip that has tons of veggies and cranberries in it, so unusual and so yummy! The ceviche is as good as I have had in any fish restaurant right on the coast! It's just amazing. They go above and beyond by wrapping up your purchases up neatly with a bag of ice to keep them cool for your drive home - such a special touch!

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On Saturday mornings, my experience is different, but just as good. I am either running solo to the Market right after my morning work-out, or I am bringing the kids and husband along - turning this into a family outing, which of course, the kids love (mainly because there are apple cider donuts!) This second Market is the Naperville Farmers Market on 200 E. 5th Ave (the old Metra train station building) and is much larger with tons of stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables. You can pretty much get anything you are looking for here along with plenty of options you haven't tried before. I just purchased and cooked with sour cherries for the first time last week (rhubarb and sour cherry upside cake…yum!) On Saturdays, there is always a live band welcoming you into the Market. My kids have danced around with sugar covered faces many times on a sunny Saturday morning here! When I come to the Saturday market, I can't say it is fresh healthy squeeze juice I go for…no…it is a breakfast slider from Peep Inc. (the ONLY vendor I use for any pork products that enter my house these days!) The slider comes with their homemade biscuit, pork breakfast pattie (the flavor of this pork is just unreal), some cage-free organic eggs (from Peep Inc.'s farm) and some gooey cheese! This slider takes breakfast sandwiches to the next level (actually maybe to a level ten levels up!) What I love about Saturdays is that we are less short on time and I can take my time and chat with the vendors. I have gotten into deep conversations with Peep's owner about the importance of good farming. I sampled way too much cheese while chatting with the always super-friendly people at The Cheese People and I have bonded over oat milk at the coffee stall! However, it's not always food conversations that are occurring, it's about people and community and supporting those that are taking a risk in today's industrialized world to do their part in trying to bring us back to our roots. These are just good people that you can chat to about family, your weekend plans, heck even your Netflix queue! My kids love going to the Farmers Market because they equate it with friendly people who make them laugh, who value kids having fun, and who give them delicious treats! 

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I am already dreaming about next week where I plan to visit the Market on Wednesday, have fish dip and crackers for dinner on Thursday and potentially make a peach & strawberry cake next weekend! Even if you are someone that prefers the convenience of the standard supermarket, I encourage you to visit your local Farmers Market, chat with some of the vendors, sample some of the food and just soak it all in. I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Now it’s your turn…Complete this week’s Pause. On. Purpose. worksheet (P.O.P.sheet) and let us know what you discover about your local Farmer’s Market!