Chicago's Downtown Farmstand
Chicago's Downtown Farmstand opened in October of 2008 offering residents and visitors to the area and opportunity to eat locally grown food and edibles produced here, year-round. By April of 2009 after hearing about it on Twitter I went looking for the place but never wrote down the exact address. I knew it was on Randolph St. but that was about it. I walked up and down Randolph St. between Michigan Ave. & Clark St and couldn't find it. I finally decided to start asking the employees of businesses on Randolph between Michagan Ave. and Wabash if they knew where it was, and nobody knew.
Chicago's Downtown Farmstand seemed to be Chicago's best kept secret.
The last place I walked in to ask about the location of the Farmstand turned out to be the place I was looking for. It being April there wasn't much produce available but the shelves were packed with locally made foods of all kinds and some packaged goods. I'm accustomed to shopping in corner stores where you interact with cashiers through plexiglass or at large grocery store chains where you're lucky if the person taking your money ever bothers to look up at you.
So you can imagine my surprise when the girl holding down the fort was eager to make conversation and tell me about the products & the stories behind the people who made them. I've since be there two or three times since my first visit and the experience has been the same every time.
The products are all made within 250 miles of Chicago and you're bound to find some great locally grown fruits, veggies and foods. Just because it is a "Farmstand" doesn't mean you have to be a health nut to have a reason to stop in. The Easter themed cookies I bought for a nephew were a hit and even had the adults asking if I had brought extras. There really is something for everyone.
One feature I really like about the Farmstand is the monthly highlights of local ethic flavors. On specific days during lunchtime they have cooking demonstrations and they usually have samples of various things offered so you can try them before you buy. Go and see for yourself. Chicago's Downtown Farmstand is located between Michigan Ave & Wash on the north side of Randolph.