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Farmer’s Market returns to Grayslake as reminder that better weather-is just ahead

Grayslake-4/6/13 Sat./Downtown Grayslake Pierre Steygers wife Karine Steygers Lake Barringtvisit annual Grayslake Farmer's Market with their dog Marjot Saturday. |

Grayslake-4/6/13, Sat./Downtown Grayslake Pierre Steygers, and wife Karine Steygers, of Lake Barrington visit the annual Grayslake Farmer's Market with their dog Marjot Saturday. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 7, 2013 2:23AM



Grayslake kicked off its annual Farmer’s Market on Saturday, a harbinger of the growing season.

“It’s a sure sign of spring after a long cold winter. No doubt, the weather will get better,” said an optimistic Carol Wagner who was snacking at Something Brewing, a downtown café and bakery, a short walk from the market, with her 14-year-old son Charlie.

“We wanted to warm up before we go see this year’s spring farmer’s market,” she added.

It was cold and windy, with a hesitant sprinkle that quickly dried up. Many shoppers were bundled up in winter clothes. Largely because of the weather, attendance at the inaugural was not what had been expected by its organizers. Donning a farmer’s overall with a bright orange sweatshirt topped with a straw hat decorated with fruit, Dave Coulter, the market’s official greeter, said he expected a turnout of 1,000 people for the four-hour market that started at 10 a.m. Well, there was no official head counter.

But the venders were upbeat. There were farmers from Wisconsin selling produce and meats, bakers with their irresistible doughnuts and muffins, and others offering eggs from free-range hens, pickled asparagus and specialty teas.

Carol Crowley of Des Plaines stopped by on her way to a craft show at the Lake County Fairgrounds. She bought a loaf of multi-grain sourdough bread at the Wild Flour Bakery from Milwaukee.

“I love Grayslake. You get a country feel here and it’s very clean. People are friendly and outgoing,” said she.

“The farmer’s market is just adorable,” she added.

Howard Glazer of Vernon Hills came with his wife, Maxine, and their dog, a Staffordshire terrier. The couple bought some bison meat at the tent of Lester’s Bison Farm near Salem, Wis. “It’s lean, healthy and tastes good,” said Howard.

Ron Lester, 82, the owner, elegant in a white outfit topped with a white cowboy hat, said he has participated in the farmer’s market every year for the past 12 or more years. He keeps a herd of 85 bison on his 140-acre farm where he also raises chickens, lambs and pigs. On display in his tent managed by his son, Charles, were freezers filled with meats and pies from the farm.

On a table outside of the closed Last Chance Saloon were framed pictures of Gary Cooper and Mae West, and prints of the Old West that once graced the restaurant. Several shoppers went inside to look for memorabilia for sale.

Among them was Charlotte Renehan, president of the Grayslake Historical Society. She urged people to visit the Abraham Lincoln exhibit at the Grayslake Heritage Center & Museum. To promote the exhibit, a life-sized cutout of the 16th president was on display at the farmer’s market.

Sean Devanie who managed the sale of the memorabilia which included lamps, artwork and knickknacks said it attracted plenty of collectors.

“We’ve sold 75 percent of the stuff,” he said.

And what’s a farmer’s market without vegetables?

Well, Marshall Larson of Geneva Lakes Produce Farm from Burlington, Wis., filled the bill with a stand selling herbs, onions and potatoes. It was so windy that he said he decided not to put up his tent.

“It’s going to be OK,” he said when asked how his business was. And he promised he’ll bring more vegetables to sell next Saturday.



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