When you walk into the Congress Theater, you are probably going to see one of the many different artists who perform there, ranging from Dweezil Zappa to Three 6 Mafia. But if you walk into the theater on a Sunday morning, during the winter months, you’ll experience something completely different: up to 20 vendors selling products ranging from pastries to cheese, and from bread to wheatgrass.
The vendors set up in the lobby of the Logan Square theater and begin selling their goods as early as 10 a.m. Even on a snowy morning with over 40 mph winds, residents of Logan Square and surrounding neighborhoods make their way to the theater to purchase goods from local farmers and food producers.
“I love this place,” said Denise Doctor, a 44-year-old Logan Square resident who has visited the market for eigh rt months, usually to buy apples, cheese, eggs and bread. “There’s nothing like the produce here, nothing.”
The Logan Square Indoor Farmer’s Market was started by the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses, and has been running for just over a year, said Manny Flores, the former 1st Ward alderman, who said he was visiting the market to show his support. “This [Logan Square Farmer’s Market] is actually started as a community initiative,” he said.
One vendor selling cheeses, sllaid that the Logan Square Farmer’s Marplpket helps customers and businesses in Chicago. “It gives them fresh locally produced food, and it supports local businesses,” said the vendor who did not want to be identified,, before he sold some cheese to Doctor.
There were about 50 people present at the market on Dec. 12, but some vendors and customers say that there are usually more. “It seems like there are less people,” said Jenny Theroux, a 23-year-old Old Town resident. “I would guess that would be due to the weather.” Theroux works for Tiny Greens Farm, an Urbana, Ill.-based company that sells sprouts and wheat grass as well as fresh produce.
Tim Keenan, who was with his wife at the market buying bread, said that it was the least amount of vendors he had seen at the Logan Square Indoor Farmer’s Market. “The guy’s not here today, Dave the knife sharpener,” said Keenan, a 44-year-old resident of Lincoln Square. “I’m very sad he wasn’t here today.”
Some vendors even use the Logan Square Farmer’s Market as their main place of operations. “It’s one of the two indoor markets in the whole Chicago area,” said Lucila Giagrande, the 39-year-old owner Lucila’s Homemade, LLC, an Argentinean pastry company. Giagrande doesn’t have a retail spot and has been using the Logan Square Indoor Farmer’s Market to sell her pastries for 5 weeks, said Giagrande. “Would you like to taste some of my dulce de leche?” said Giagrande to a customer walking by her booth.
The Logan Square Farmer’s Market certainly is prominent in the community, even attracting mayoral candidate Gerry Chico, who came to meet with voters and answer questions, said a supporter at Chico’s table, Cooper Thompson. “Logan Square is one of the areas in which he’s got a lot of voters who are interested in what he’s got to say,” said Thompson.
The Logan Square Market is a unique experience, and a great asset to people living in the neighborhood. “I walk here in the cold and I don’t care, because I look forward to it,” said Doctor.
The Logan Square Indoor Farmer’s Market operates from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays from November to March at the Congress Theater, at 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Chicago.
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