Cheesecake and more: Eli's market includes produce, activities

You could have your cheesecake and eat it with tofu at the Eli's Cheesecake Farm Stand & Fresh Market.

Launched on June 16, the Thursday market will run through Aug. 25. It takes place at 6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive) in Chicago.

The market has existed for more than a decade. It is open from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. Thursdays.

"We're local, and we're involved in the community," said Marc Schulman, president of Eli's Cheesecake. Schulman is son of the late Eli Schulman, the company founder.

The June 23 market included Nichols Farm & Orchard of Marengo. Recipe cards by Eli's Cheesecake proclaimed broccoli as the featured vegetable, perfect for the "Bodacious Broccoli Salad." Broccoli was sold at the Nichols stand but, "right now, it's the peak of raspberry season," vendor Chad Nichols said.

Zach Ryan, marketing intern at Eli's Cheesecake Company and a 2012 Notre Dame College Prep of Niles graduate, stopped by the Nichols booth, where produce filled tables. Ryan, a 2016 Illinois State University graduate, studied food industry management.

"Without farmers, we wouldn't have food," Ryan said. "We should all know how to grow our own food."

Honey was sold at a booth staffed by Estela Escobedo, Jayla Willis and Amy Sundquist, all of Chicago, who represented Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. Raw honey sourced by the school's beekeepers was being sold for $1.50 per container.

Also available was a vegan cheesecake from Eli's, which used tofu from Phoenix Bean.

"Tofu's the new protein," said Jenny Yang, owner/CEO of Phoenix Bean. "It's very gentle, very balanced for your health."

New Horizon Center, an agency that serves children and adults with developmental disabilities and autism, staffed a booth. The agency, which has about 50 students, is next door to Eli's.

"For our students, it's terribly important to have community interaction and to also develop vocational skills," said Kathy Nelson, New Horizon Center principal.

A children's activity area includes bubbles and hula-hooping. For information, visit www.elicheesecake.com.

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