It’s May! Which means the long-awaited return of local farmers’ markets. It means asparagus, flowers, rhubarb, and peas. It means weekly bike rides to my suburban Wheaton French Market.
Yeah, I know, the suburbs are “terrible.” My friends can’t say the word without a certain tone that conveys how subcool the suburbs are. I get it. Suburbs lack diversity, character, grit. I don’t disagree.
But allow me to briefly stick up for my home of the last 6 years. Wheaton’s got a fair amount of character. It’s been around since the 1830s, and a lot of homes and giant trees date back about as far. Victorian homes on shady streets abound. It’s got a quaint downtown centered around the UP West line that gives it a small-town feel instead of the soulless feeling that many suburbs offer with their broad expanses of parking lots and strip malls. And now that Wheaton no longer a dry town (since the mid 80s), you can barely notice the conservative influence of the very Christian (but nonetheless prestigious) Wheaton College.
And then there’s our French Market, which holds its own when stacked against other fine markets.Maybe it’s no Green City Market. But your average farmer’s market doesn’t offer goose eggs and doughnuts fried while you wait. And we have those.