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Preview of the Geneva Green Market

Farmers markets are back! Tomorrow we’ll bring you the updated Go West Guide to Farmers Markets, which features a market nearly every day of the week in the far western suburbs. The guide will also list nearby farm dinners, farm stands and a few pick-your-own places. 

But first, we have a Q&A with Izabella Kowalski, a farmer who is heavily involved with one of our favorite farmers markets – the Geneva Green Market.  The Geneva Green Market’s 5th season will get underway tomorrow, Thursday, June 2, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The market is held in downtown Geneva at 75 N. River Lane, in a parking lot on the west side of the Fox River and just a block north of Route 38/State Street. It will run every Thursday morning through October.

Kowalski was kind enough to answer a few questions via email, especially helpful for those who haven’t visited the Geneva Green Market before.

Q. Can you tell Go West readers what makes the Geneva Green Market unique from many other farmers markets?

A. We visit all the farmers and producers.

We have more requirements then other markets. This includes no reselling; the farm/product must be grown/produced under 200 mile radius from Geneva; and farmers are required to provide a sustainability statement. ... We do not allow chocolate or tropical fruits.

We strive to be as green as possible and educate our customers.

We feature Kids Corner, which is a partnership with Delnor Hospital and Fit For Kane, that offers assorted activities for children of all ages related to food and agriculture, encouraging children to sample fruits and veggies, try to grow some of their own, etc.

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June's Early Literacy Activities Calendar

Here's the Early Literacy Activities Calendar for June, courtesy of one of our favorite libraries, the West Chicago Public Library. We re really enjoying this monthly calendar in our house; I hope those of you with young children are, too!

Photo by catd_mitchell on Flickr.June 1: Read a Mother Goose rhyme together.

June 2: Run your finger along the print as you read a favorite book.

June 3: Sing a song together.

June 4: Throw a large sheet over the kitchen table and read a book underneath.

June 5: Pitch a tent or stack some pillows on a blanket and read outside.

June 6: Count the houses on your block.

June 7: Sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider song, making the spider with your fingers.

June 8: Make a grocery list together.

June 9: Write the first letter of your child s name, talk about the sound that letter makes.

June 10: Sing the Alphabet Song together.

June 11: Take a nature walk together looking for bugs.

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The June 'Go Guide' to Outdoor Pools and Splash Parks

Ready or not -- swimsuit season is upon us! Here at Go West Young Mom, we're gearing up the “Go Guides” again for this summer, and first up is our guide to pools and splash parks in the Fox Valley. If you know of a pool or splash park in the far western suburbs that's open to the public but not on this list, please share. We'd also love to hear your personal take on any of the pools and splash parks below.


The toddler pool at Otter Cove Aquatic Park is enclosed by a gate. Photo by Tara Burghart.Otter Cove Aquatic Park, part of the St. Charles Park District
Address: Located in James O Breen Community Park, at the corner of Campton Hills and Peck roads in St. Charles
Hours: From June 4 through Aug. 14, open swim is weekdays from noon to 8 p.m. On Saturdays, open swim is from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Residents and pool pass holders can swim earlier; check the site for details. Shorter hours are in effect from May 28-June 3 and Aug. 15-Sept. 4.
Closing date: Sept. 4.
Amenities: A zero-depth entry activity pool; 25-yard swimming pool; body slide; tube slide; two diving boards, lap lanes; some sprayground-like features; gated toddler pool; lazy river; concession area; family restrooms and a children’s sand play area.
Admission Rates: For non-residents, $12 for children ages 15 and under, $13.50 for adults. (Check the site for resident rates.) Twilight rate is $5 for all ages, whether you're a resident or not. It's from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. everyday but Sunday, when the twilight swim is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Go West’s Take: This 9-acre facility has been in the planning stages and then under construction for several years, so I'm sure St. Charles residents will be especially eager to see the results. I got a sneak peek of the pool in May before it opened and was impressed. You can read that story by clicking here. If you've visited the park already, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Swanson Pool at Pottawatomie Park, part of the St. Charles Park District
Address: 8 North Ave., St. Charles
Hours: Note that the newly renovated Swanson Pool will reopen for the season on June 4. Open swim through Aug. 14 is weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:3 p.m. On Saturdays, open swim is from noon to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. Residents and pool pass holders can swim earlier; check the site for details. Shorter hours begin Aug. 14.
Closing date: Sept. 5.
Amenities: A zero-depth entry activity pool; 50-meter pool; two waterslides; drop slide; a diving board, lap lanes; some sprayground-like features; concession area; family restrooms and a children’s sand play area.
Admission Rates: For non-residents, $7.50 for children ages 15 and under, $9 for adults. (Check the site for resident rates.) Twilight rate is $3 for all ages, whether you're a resident or not.
Go West’s Take: My daughter and I enjoyed a beautiful twilight swim here  last July. Swanson Pool is more than 70 years old, and has a true sense of history in lovely Pottawatomie Park. I'm eager to see the renovations done while it was closed in 2010-2011. But even last year, it struck me as a very nice, general-use pool the whole family would enjoy.

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She'sWrite: Semper Fi -- A Marine's Run

We usually run the guest columns of She'sWrite on Wednesday mornings. But as you'll discover, this column just had to be published on Memorial Day.

Looking to change up my exercise routine, I ran a race Sunday that honored those in the military. The real honor came at the end when I cheered for Yuyri Zmysly, a man who doctors said could forever be in a vegetative state.

Photo courtesy of Salute, Inc.It was Salute Inc.’s “got freedom?” run. My crazy-runner friend texted me on Friday to see if I was running it. I smirked, running it, ha! I hadn’t even heard of it. At 5:30 race morning, I decided to give it a go.

I left the boys at home and headed out. At the starting line, I stood there, feeling pretty proud of myself for leaving the boys to go run a 5K on a whim. (There was a 10K option, which naturally I didn’t do.) Then the starting gun went off. And we were off.

The weather was cool and it was strangely foggy. I felt good the whole race and there was a quaint sense of community as several event volunteers were local high school kids or Girl and Boy Scout troops. Also, many people stood in their front lawns with their pajamas and morning coffee cheering us on. One woman even turned on her garden hose to mist us.

Soon the race was over. Me and my crazy-runner friend (who ran the 10K) were gabbing over bananas, when we noticed the crowd at the post-race party grew quiet and walked over to line the last few blocks of the course.

We followed suit and heard shouts of: “Here he comes!” “There he is!” Standing on my tippy toes, I saw him. He was in a wheelchair, his body was thin, his fingers were slender and gripped the air. Wow. I wonder what happened.

He had a mini-entourage around his wheelchair. Well before the finish line, they all stopped and a burly man stood in front of the chair. The man helped Yuriy to his feet, held out his arms for support as Yuriy took a step. We all held our breath.

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Spring Memories: Many Mays and the Who

The purpose of Memorial Day, of course, is to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. But it's also a day that prompts many of us to think about beloved family and friends who are no longer with us. In this guest column, Jennifer Downing of Nourish reminisces about a series of special days spent with her grandmother. 

Twenty years ago, I imagine a long-distance phone call between mom and grandma, making plans for my brother and I to visit. Every year in June, or so it seemed, we visited our favorite grandparents for a week. Between history-based day trips, holly hock dolls and walks to Maggio’s for candy, we went strawberry picking. The field was a short drive down Route 45 from their post-war Cape Cod and as I recall, adjacent to a trailer park. Grandma always took the effort seriously, explaining the how-to’s of the task at hand. Most important was to remember to move the flag, signifying what row had been picked and to what point. Still, the scent of tiny, local strawberries warm with the sun renews wonderfully fragrant memories. I attribute some of my passion for food to those experiences.

Photo by nij4 on Flickr.This month, Doug and I are celebrating our 16th anniversary. The blooming of the lilacs usually coincides with our celebration and that May many years ago they were stunning. I cut a huge bouquet to dress the dining table to welcome my grandparents. Well into their eighties, they drove from Champaign to be at our wedding. We dined on fancy hors d’oeuvres and champagne. Grandpa had beer even though his doctor said he shouldn’t. The cake was ridiculously expensive – and perfect.

Fifteen years ago this month I was pregnant with our first child due in July. My grandmother, a widow by then, and I had made plans for a weekend together and it included strawberry picking. While it would be June until the berries were ready plans were at hand. Just beginning to have more time in the kitchen I wanted to make homemade jam use a hot water bath process. Grandma bestowed the virtues of paraffin wax and freezer jam.

Last week, I was in the attic putting up winter clothes and came across a bin of our wedding keepsakes and family things. Like the pile of pictures one stumbles upon at an odd moment that brings the day to a screeching halt – so this discovery left me. Teetering on the edge of a Christmas decoration box, pile of boots and sweaters at my feet, something fluttered in my chest – the joy of nostalgia. Stuck in a pile of cards and wedding announcement clippings I found a letter from my Grandma. Light blue with a deckled edge, I received many letters upon this stationary through our years of correspondence.

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