Friday, July 22, 2011

SmallTown, Big Market

We were in Kankakee, Il. this past weekend for a wedding, a town I thought I'd never heard of until I was told it was called out in the lyrics of The City of New Orleans. I love that song. No recollection of Kankakee in it, though. In any case, as we hung about Saturday morning, I jumped on the opportunity to join in a trip to the local farmer's market.

The market is actually quite large, particularly for the size of Kankakee - about 25,000 from what I can find. They had great live music and places to sit and eat. There were a variety of vendors from produce to canned goods, bread, and gifts. I am always curious what the most unusual items will be at the markets I visit. In this case, there was a man selling various types of pickled beets. Like all sorts of weird combinations. My husband's cousins (my cousins-in-law?)  bought horseradish beets for their dad.
The market at Kankakee

There was also a really nice cheese stand. All their cheese was from Wisconsin, which is local enough to Illinois in my book. The cool thing, which I guess probably isn't a surprise coming from Wisconsin, is that the cheeses were really artisan varieties. They had nettle cheddar and apricot brie, and a host of other varieties both simple and fancy. It was definitely reminiscent of a European market stand.

great music stand at the market

It's Illinois, so of course there is corn !
And for those twisting their brains to recall those lyrics that Arlo Guthrie (corrected!) made so famous.. they are due to Steve Goodman...

Riding on the City of New Orleans,
Illinois Central Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders,
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail.
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
Rolls along past houses, farms and fields.
Passin' trains that have no names,
Freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.

Good morning America how are you?
Don't you know me I'm your native son,
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

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