Beginning in August, Andersonville residents can look forward to fresh local foods, typically found at summer farmers markets, year-round. Urban Orchard, a market that features local, organic and sustainable products from throughout the Midwest, is set to open at 5212 N. Clark St.
“My business partner and I both enjoy fresh food and farmers markets, and we’re into healthy lifestyles,” said Eric Mazzone, co-owner with Jim Machniak.
Both men are from Cleveland and were inspired by their home city’s West Side Market, a permanent, indoor farmers market where you can get fresh produce, cheeses, meats and artisan products. Mazzone and Machniak saw an opportunity to bring this concept to Chicago.
“We also want to be sustainable and support local farmers and businesses, pulling from local sources as much as we can,” he said.
After scouting locations in Chicago, Mazzone and Machniak were interested in Andersonville and were reaffirmed after they reviewed an Andersonville community survey showing that a market with local produce topped the residents’ list of desires.
They will also open a location in West Town at 688 N. Milwaukee Ave. in September or October.
Urban Orchard will offer fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, breads and anything that you would find in a standard market, but with a local flare. Mazzone said they will offer as many products from the Midwest and locally as possible. The market will also have a full-service café that serves Chicago’s Metropolis coffee.
Shoppers who welcome seasonal variety can sign up for the produce basket program by pre-paying to receive a basket of fresh produce when it’s in prime season.
Adam Reppert, a dietitian at Swedish Covenant Hospital, recommends taking advantage of seasonal produce in the summer, when those who eat locally can buy the widest variety of fruits and vegetables.
“Variety is always important because each fruit or vegetable offers a different nutrient profile. That’s why we tell people to eat different colors,” he said, adding that summer options include berries, melons, asparagus and leafy greens.
These and many other items will be on the shelves when Urban Orchard opens.
After handing out fliers at Andersonville’s Midsommarfest on June 11 and 12, Mazzone and Machniak felt there was already a buzz in the neighborhood about their business.
“It seems that the residents are very excited,” Mazzone said.
Kate Welborn, Andersonville resident and president of the Lakewood Balmoral Residents Council, couldn’t agree more.
“It’s nice to have healthy and local options that are within walking distance, especially since it’s along an urban strip,” she said. “It gives us an option outside of seasonal farmers markets.”
Can’t wait until August?
Visit the Andersonville Farmers Market, which is held on Wednesdays, June 22 through Sept. 7 (3 to 8 p.m.), and Sept. 14 through Oct. 19 (3 to 7 p.m.) on Berwyn Ave. between Clark St. and Ashland Ave.