Last Thursday I had the opportunity to stroll through the newest addition to Westfield Old Orchard, the French Market, operated by Bensidoun USA. Located between the north entrance of Macy’s and the Old Orchard Professional Building, the market features a wide variety of items.
Among the vendors participating in the market were B True Bakery, which is based in Oak Park and produces a wide variety of baked goods using locally-sourced all-natural ingredients; The Bleu Olive, which sells dozens of oils, vinegars, spices and much more; Hahn’s Bakery, based in Geneva, which sells many different types of pastries, scones, cupcakes, cookies, etc., as well as breads; The Wayward Book, a little book stall that sells a variety of books for both children and adults, including (according to their website) “rare, out-of-print, used, secondhand and other hard-to-find books,” ; St. Roger Abbey, which produces a number of French Style gourmet baked goods including cakes, cookies, “viennoiseries,” breads, and much more, all made using organic sugar, organic flour and organic vanilla extract; and Mystic Shire, which sells a variety of unique handcrafted goods.
Also at the market were The Cheese People, which offers an amazing array of cheese, including cheese made from goat and sheep’s milk, cheddar, jack, swiss and gouda, aged asiago, parmesan, brie, havarti and more, many of which are suitable for vegetarians; ¡Gracias!, a shop that sells crafts made by artisans who were living in poverty, enabling them to earn a fair wage and improve their lives and the lives of their families and neighbors; and KAP Farms, whose produce you can see pictured in this article.
I have to say one of my favorite aspects of the French Market at Westfield Old Orchard has to be that much of what is sold there is locally-sourced and locally-produced. The benefit of this being a drastically reduced carbon footprint. Ordinarily, when you go shopping at your local supermarket, the produce (and many other products) are shipped in from many miles away, which means that it spends much more time in-transit, which, in turn, means more pollution, more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which only contributes to climate change. Locally-sourced, locally-produced items spend less time in-transit, and thus create far less pollution. Additionally, items that are locally-produced benefit the local economy, which I’m sure is something that virtually everyone will agree is a good thing.
In all, the French Market is one addition you won’t want to miss. Between all of the fresh produce, baked goods, books and one-of-a-kind handcrafted items, you are sure to find a new favorite product for yourself or that unique gift you’ve been searching for. Note, however, that the French Market is only open on Thursdays, June 14 through September 27, from 2:00 PM - 7:00 PM. So, if you were planning on stopping by the mall to get some shopping done, and you are interested in checking this new market out as well, Thursday would be the day to do it.
Westfield Old Orchard is conveniently located just off of I-94 (Edens Expressway) at the intersection of Old Orchard Road and Skokie Boulevard in Skokie. You can find out more about Westfield Old Orchard, including the French Market and other upcoming events, by visiting their website, www.westfield.com/oldorchard or call 847-673-6800.
Update: If It's been a while since you stopped by The French Market at Westfield Old Orchard, be sure to check out the newest additions including The Bakeman, offering a variety of gluten-free baked goods, and Twin Garden Farms, the "home of TGF Mirai sweet corn." You can find out more about these vendors by visiting www.thebakeman.com and www.twingardenfarms.com.
Please note that the vendors that participate in the French Market may change from time to time.
Photos: Andrew DeCanniere