Report from the Field: The Farm on Damen Avenue

By Pat McParland

The Farm On Damen Avenue

That’s right!  A new farm, well really a farmer’s market, has arrived at 4900 N.  Damen (the Ravenswood Evangelical Covenant Church parking lot) and is open on Wednesdays from 4:00 to 8:00 pm.  Thru Sept. 14, a variety of vendors offer food, games, entertainment and a lovely opportunity to relax and talk to your neighbors.

Actually meeting neighbors is the focus of this market according to Janelle Arendt, the Market Manager and church member.  Janelle’s passion to be of service to her community led her to the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce which had similar social goals.  Janelle’s research of Chicago’s farmers markets, church members, local volunteers, the Chambers support and the backing of SSA31 and the Ravenswood Community Council led to a flexible market that responds weekly to what our neighbors want.

And what is it our neighbors want?  Lets start with

FOOD

Tamales Express: Didn’t make dinner? Forget it!  Just pick up a chicken, pork or black bean tamale.  Or how about a steak, or fish or chicken taco.  Wrapped and hot and ready to go with no dirty dishes.

Victory Hemp Foods:  Want more protein, amino acids and omegas?  Try these hemp oils, seeds and proteins by one of the first hemp processing companies.

Benton Harbor Bee Company:  Plump blueberries and other fruits grown with sustainable farming.  Their honey is harvested on their farm also.

C & D Family Farms:  This is where Ferdinand the Bull would have loved to grow up. A consortium of farmers, each specializing in free range raising of one animal (pigs, cattle, buffalo, lambs, chickens or  turkeys) join forces and offer you these products.

Yoberry Gourmet Yogurt: Rich yogurt blended with seasonal local ingredients creating constantly changing choices.

Patyks Farms:   Fresh local produce like green beans, lettuce, kale, flowers and much more.

Hilary’s Cookies:  Made from scratch, all natural cookies and scones.  They also create new flavors  and offer vegan cookies.

Stamper Cheese Company:  Great cheeses for snacks and meals.

WasteNot Compost:  Professional advice to help you encourage your own food to grow

GAMES (kids)

Each week, volunteers create a new game,  science project and craft to entertain and educate the little ones.  Water balloons, making paste or drawing, etc.  And to use up some extra energy, the church opens their playground around 5:00.

ENTERTAINMENT:

A band, singers, or musicians appear each week including a childrens’ singer in the last week of July.

FRIENDS:  This includes not just free water for us but water and free treats for our dogs.  Also a food box for the needy is provided so we can buy these products and donate them immediately.

So come meet your neighbors, eat, shop, be entertained and greet new vendors at this unique and expanding market.

About FWDCHI

Forward Chicago, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, envisions our neighborhoods as model communities for people of all ages, where residents can age in place while remaining active, engaged and influential.

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