Oak Park is known for several things: the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway, the home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright, that high dive pool where “Backdraft” was filmed. But maybe most importantly, Oak Park is known for its “farm fresh” donuts served Saturday mornings, May – October, at the Oak Park Farmers’ Market.
I’ve had plenty of donuts in my day: bacon-topped, lemon curd-filled, organic sprinkle-encrusted, but none NONE compare to to the hot-out-of-the-fryer-rolled-in-a-bucket-of-cinnamon-sugar-goodness that are the Oak Park Farmers’ Market donuts. They give you a reason to get out of bed early on a Saturday morning. The give you a reason to live.
Here’s what to do:
1) don’t sleep in – this only happens from some very early time until 1pm – it you miss it, it’s over and you’ll be so so sad.
2) wait in line on the yellow donut road.
3) order a dozen donuts – you’d be a fool to only order one. (they have plain, powdered sugar, or the aforementioned best of the bunch: cinnamon).
4) have at it. no one will look twice when you start in on the 3rd or 4th donut with crumbs and sugar all down the front of your shirt; it’s totally accepted.
5) peruse the stalls for some apple cider to wash it all down.
6) buy some cheese curds and and corn and gigantic zucchini and whatever else is looking good (everything).
Lest you think I’m somehow biased here, let me assure you of my unwaivering journalistic ethics: I have brought many objective sources along to try out these donuts over the years, and it has been unanimously agreed upon that they are superior. No need for cronuts or red velvet or a facade of Lucky Charms. Just a time-tested/no-fuss recipe/technique used by the volunteers to make the batter and hand the trays of fresh donuts through a window (from a basement with only a few fans/no AC in the Midwest summers), to be rolled in giant tubs of sugar so the patient line of ‘healthy villagers’ can bite into a hot, crisp on the outside, fluffy cake on the inside donut……mmmmmm.