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Farmers' Markets of the Heartland

Janine MacLachlan

Publication Year: 2012

In this splendidly illustrated book, food writer and self-described farm groupie Janine MacLachlan embarks on a tour of seasonal markets and farmstands throughout the Midwest, sampling local flavors from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. She conducts delicious research as she meets farmers, tastes their food, and explores how their businesses thrive in the face of an industrial food supply. She tells the stories of a pair of farmers growing specialty crops on a few acres of northern Michigan for just a few months out of the year, an Ohio cattle farm that has raised heritage beef since 1820, and a Minnesota farmer who tirelessly champions the Jimmy Nardello sweet Italian frying pepper. Along the way, she savors vibrant red carrots, slurpy peaches, vast quantities of specialty cheeses, and some of the tastiest pie to cross anyone's lips. _x000B__x000B_Informed by debates about eating local, seasonal crops, organic farming, and biodiversity, Farmers' Markets of the Heartland tantalizes with special recipes from farm-friendly chefs and dozens of luscious color photographs that will inspire you to harvest the homegrown flavors in your own neighborhood.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Heartland Foodways

Title Page

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pp. 1-12

I cannot remember when I first started shopping at the farmers’ market, but I can tell you when my official food crush began. It must have been late May in the early 1990s at a farmers’ market in Chicago. Thinking about dinner, with my mind maybe on carrots...

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pp. 13-42

Because my romance with farmers began here, and because it was home base for my research road trip, we will begin in Chicago, the largest city in the Midwest. At first glance, Chicago’s urban canyons may not seem the most likely place to explore agriculture. But this metropolis is a center for food advocates...

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pp. 43-68

My home state of Michigan may always be the Automobile State, no matter what the highs and lows of that industry are. It is the birthplace of the assembly line, and American carmakers are still based around Detroit. Men of a certain age—like my father—remember when new models traveled to...

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pp. 69-94

Ohio is known for rolling hills, rich soil, and a deep agriculture history. The state presents a unique mix of markets located in urban alleys, in quiet neighborhoods, even in a national park. And Ohio ventured early into cottage laws, which allow food...

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pp. 95-114

Indiana’s local food community is so deep, there’s an entire book to describe it. Home Grown Indiana: A Food Lover’s Guide to Good Eating in the Hoosier State is written by university professors Christine Barbour of Indiana University (Bloomington) and Scott Hutchinson of Purdue. The authors remind us...

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pp. 115-140

In the 1970s, federal farm policy encouraged farmers to consolidate their crops and focus on commodities. Illinois farmers tell me that at that time, the United States Department of Agriculture decided the fertile soil of Illinois was best suited for corn and...

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pp. 141-162

Missouri is the Show Me State, and it certainly has a thing or two to show us about local food and small, diverse farms. And Missouri is no slouch when it comes to farmers’ markets, either. Anchored on either end by metropolises surrounded by rich...

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pp. 163-182

I enter Iowa on a drenched day by crossing the mighty Mississippi River. Driving east on I-80, which bisects the state, I find farmers’ markets, big and small, that tell the story of this place. Even in the blustery drear, I am struck by the vibrant russet colors of the Iowa...

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pp. 183-202

Residents of warmer climates may expect little variety from Minnesota, but quite the opposite is true. Minnesota farmers offer a wide diversity of foods to sell at the farmers’ markets, including unexpected items like wild rice, house-milled...

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pp. 203-226

By the time our journey leads us to Wisconsin, it is clear that the Midwest has a dynamic local food scene, despite the challenges facing small farms. Every farmers’ market has vegetables and fruits; bakeries; often meat, poultry, and eggs; and...

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What Is Next?

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pp. 227-238

What is next for America’s farmers’ markets? The path was laid for the current explosion in 1976 by an act of Congress, which makes sense, given the back-to-the-land movement of the time, the elevation of food prices, and the disillusionment...


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pp. 239-248

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780252094194
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252078637

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Heartland Foodways

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Farm produce -- West North Central States -- Marketing.
  • Farm produce -- Middle West -- Marketing.
  • Farmers' markets -- West North Central States.
  • Farmers' markets -- Middle West.
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