Want to sweeten up your summer while doing something sweet? Support small businesses by attending your local farmers market. Each vendor has its own empowering backstory, and we had the privilege of profiling five different dessert vendors who can be found at farmers markets throughout Chicago and the North Shore.
Growing up, Diane Joseph watched her mom excel in the kitchen—particularly through the renowned success of her baklava. Diane continued to bake baklava with her Mom while growing up, and eventually, asked her parents for their blessing in starting her very own business. Throughout her journey, Diane has channeled her ongoing passion for sharing this important piece from her childhood. Her business Sheekar Delights is known for its Seasonal Tastes: for July and August they’ll feature their Sour Cherry and Peach baklava. You can try some of their delicious baklava at the Evanston Farmers Market on Saturdays through November 6 or the Logan Square Farmers Market biweekly on Sundays through October 24. Their baklava can also be found at all the Sunset Foods locations and the Dill Pickle Co-Op (in Logan Square).
Nena was born and raised in Serbia and Montenegro, and learned to bake when she was little from her grandma and mom. In 2018, she founded Nena’s Cupcakes as a hobby, which quickly turned into a small business. Nena began baking for neighborhood picnics and family parties, gaining more and more confidence with each dessert she made. In the future she’d love to open a bakery, but for now, you can taste her homemade cupcakes and macaroons (all made from scratch!) at the Evanston, Skokie, and Ravenswood Farmers Markets.
After briefly studying psychology in graduate school, Brigid Novak decided to switch gears and follow her passion for food and hospitality. After receiving certificates in these fields and a 10 year stint at a catering company, Brigid pursued her love of baking and created Cookieyum. Their best-selling cookie flavors include celebration sugar, lemon blueberry, tye-dye, brookie and chocolate caramel pretzel—but stay tuned, as they’re always coming up with new, fun flavor combinations! You can try some of Cookieyum’s delicious cookies at the Ravinia Farmers Market each Wednesday from 7 am to 1 pm.
At the age of 10, Katherine began her work in the world of artisan confections: she used cream from the cows on her family’s farm to create caramels that she sold at her Dad’s office. These soft, old-fashioned caramels soon became highly-anticipated gifts every Christmas. By fall of 2006, Katherine decided to open Katherine Anne Confections—which immediately received “rave reviews.” Some of their signature items include their “drinking chocolate”, a rich ganache-based drink made with local Illinois milk and cream, and their truffles, with popular flavors such as Salted Caramel and Raspberry Champagne. Aside from their store in Logan Square, Katherine Anne Confections can be found at the Evanston Farmers Market every Saturday and the Logan Square Farmers Market every other Sunday.
Graciela Schargorodsky moved from Caramarca, Argentina to America. With her, she brought along many of the South American flavors and treats she grew up with. After graduating from the French Pastry School of Chicago, Graciela founded Dulce Caramel Co. On Saturday mornings, you can sample one of Dulce Caramel Co.’s tasty alfajores or caramels at either the Deerfield, Evanston, or Winnetka Farmers Market. Specifically, be sure to try their Dark Chocolate Alfajores, Maple Pecan Caramels and Candied Orange Chocolate Bars. If you can’t make it in person, you can also order alfajor and caramel gift boxes on their website.
More from Better:
- Chicago Farmers Markets: Where to Shop Local and Support Farmers in the City and Suburbs
- 15 Restaurants With Great Rooftops and Patios for Outdoor Dining in Chicago
- Convito Cafe in Wilmette Shares the Unique Story Behind One of Their Favorite Sauces
Alexa Weinberg is a summer intern for the editorial staff at Better. She is currently working toward a Cognitive Science and Psychology degree at the University of Michigan with a minor in Writing. At school, she works to promote her love of writing through various organizations, including Project WriteOn and WOLV-TV. In her free time she enjoys running, reading, and spending time with friends and family.