Market Mastery

A portable guide of the Midwest's best farmers' markets

There are ample farmers' markets compendiums online, The Local Beet's exhaustive Chicago guide being one of our most used.

But for lovers of the printed page, thumbing through Farmers' Markets of the Heartland ($25) is a tactile joy.

The new book from local author Janine MacLachlan references only a handful of Chicago markets, including Green City Market, City Farm, 61st Street, Logan Square and the Chicago Botanic Garden. The book supplements the Chicago section with farmer profiles and recipes from Hoosier Mama's Paula Haney and chefs Bruce Sherman and Sarah Stegner.

We plan on using the guide primarily as a touchstone for summer eating adventures. After reading the Michigan section, we've renewed our vow to (finally) head to Ann Arbor and Leelanau County, home of Bare Knuckle Farm and a tiny Friday market. Road trips to Indiana and Wisconsin will be undertaken after a quick consult to see which stands to hit along the way.

There are markets from farther afield, as well: Ohio, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota. Descriptions are interspersed with stories about heritage breed livestock and fowl, state history, farm associations and recipes from notable chefs across the region.

Let the edible exploration begin.