Chicago Market, a community co-op

Mark Your Calendars: May 7 Spring Pop-Up

Chicago Market hosts its third Pop-Up market from 2:30-5:30 p.m. May 7 at The Belle Shore, a beautiful historic building in the Bryn Mawr Historic District at the heart of Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood.
This spring pop-up will feature potted plants, tomato seedlings, early-spring produce and much more. Be sure to save the date!

tomato plants

Meet Pop-Up Market Vendor Bob Zeni

Bob Zeni has been growing tomatoes for nearly two decades. He’ll be bringing plenty of his tomato starts to Chicago Market’s next pop-up market on May 7 (see details above). Bob’s a tomato guru … Best of all, he’s offering a dollar off per plant ($4 instead of $5) to all Chicago Market Owners who purchase at the pop-up.

“My daughter lives in Chicago Market’s area,” Bob says. “She’s self-employed and very busy. I want her to have a dependable place to get healthy, high-quality food. Chicago Market will do that … Maybe she’ll let her parents have some.”

Zeni’s plants at the pop-up will be about two feet tall and ready to transplant. All are heirloom tomatoes, started from seed without herbicides, pesticides or growth treatments.

Bob says you should wait until mid-May to plant your tomatoes. After that, put them in the sunniest spot possible. Keep the soil evenly moist to avoid cracking or fungus. And be sure to buy sturdy tomato cages so the heavy plants have support as they grow. (He likes the ones from

Site Selection Update

Site Selection Update

Your Site Selection team, along with the rest of the Chicago Market Board, is hard at work finding the best location for the co-op. We talked with Site Selection team member Mark Alheim to get the latest on his group’s progress:

“We looked at the universe of sites and narrowed it to three to five stronger candidate sites that best fit our criteria,” Mark says.

In recent days, many Board members have toured the prospective sites and are giving their assessments on them.

cThe process is fluid, though, because — as is always the case with real estate — properties can get scooped up by others and new properties can come on the market.

Next up is further research and negotiation around those sites, followed by site inspections and estimates on build-out and design.

The team is currently interviewing architects, with a keen eye toward those who’ve previously designed grocery stores. “Planning a grocery store is much more intricate than people think,” Mark says.

After the site and architect are chosen, Chicago Market’s contractor will get to work getting the store ready for shoppers.

“One of our criteria is to be near the center of gravity of our current ownership,” Mark says. “No site is perfect. But, I think, in the end, we’re all going to be really happy.”

Jeremy House

By Ellen Kamps, farmer at Foxtrot Organic Farm

Jeremy House began his farming journey when he was a child. He grew up not far from Meadow Haven Farm, about two hours west of Chicago, surrounded by 20 dairy cows. He farmed corn and soybeans with his father.

Originally founded by retired holistic veterinarian Allan Sexton and his wife Jeanne, Meadow Haven Farm’s guiding objectives include raising grass-fed and grass-finished beef, as well as pastured-organic chickens, turkeys and eggs. Jeremy and his wife, Cherie, joined a couple years after the formation, and now serve as the farm managers.

Earlier this year, Jeremy posted a color-coded map on Meadow Haven’s Facebook page. It explained the crop rotations for the upcoming season. Along with certified organic corn for chicken and pig feed, he prioritizes growing crops that capture the most sunlight. In his fields, one can find corn, oats, peas, red clover, white clover, triticale and rye at different times of the year, all offering a variety of benefits.

Meadow Haven Farm

After listening to Jeremy’s farming philosophies and practices, it’s clear how Meadow Haven Farm harmonizes with Chicago Market’s purchasing values of sustainability and locality. “One of the things I try to convey to my customers is that it’s our farm,” he noted. “I’m not able to do what I do, unless someone is willing to buy our product. As Chicago Market grows, and the people that invest in it, that’s exactly what we want to see as farmers.”

He also explained the value to supplying co-ops like Chicago Market, which allow him to put more hours in at the farm. “My biggest talent is being a farmer,” he said. “I don’t want to be a delivery man. There needs to something in the middle to bring the two ends together,” he said.

When discussing how customers can be more in-tune with how to support their farmers, Jeremy explained how American author and environmental activist Wendell Berry helped shape his ideologies. “Every time we eat, that’s how we choose the farm,” explained Jeremy. Very much consistent with the Chicago Market’s process of selecting products for the co-op grocery store, Jeremy and Meadow Haven Farm believe in community-involved and supported agriculture.

Meadow Haven Farm
Save the Date

May 21 BBQ Pop-Up

Yes, Chicago Market is hosting a pop-up market May 7 (see above). But we want to launch you into the summer season the right way … so, we’re also hosting a barbecue-focused pop-up market May 21 at the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville. Details are still being worked out, so stay tuned!

April Pick and Click
A: Ramps
B: Asparagus
C: Morels
D: Pea Shoots

Thanks to everyone who responded to March’s Pop Quiz! Here are the results:

When you shop for groceries, what’s most important to you?

Low Prices: 23 percent
Organic Offerings: 40 percent
Locally Grown: 37 percent

See the resutls of our latest poll in next month’s newsletter.