LINCOLN PARK — The calendar said December, but the Green City Market resembled a spring day on the weekend with vendors set up outside bringing in three-to-four times what they would likely sell this time of year.
McKinley Park resident Fernando Diaz, 45, and his 9-year-old daughter Lesly, were happy to tend to the steady line waiting for their organic apple cider donut holes.
"It's been like three times better than last week," Diaz said of the sales for Zullo's. "It's getting better."
Jon Bissell of North Park, said he tries to go to the market once every other week during the summer, but hadn't been to Green City since it moved indoors on Nov. 3.
"I hadn't been in a month and the weather's so nice," he said.
This is the first year Cookies and Carnitas is participating in the winter version of the Green City Market, and co-owner Mikey Taormina, said up until Saturday the pork focused vendor had not had much success with their indoor setup.
Cookies and Carnitas, which was selling a pork shoulder chili and cookies baked with organic pork fat, had been selling their products inside a dimly lit, tough-to-find room at the museum before this weekend.
"They put us out here today and it's banging," Taormina, 39 of Ravenswood, said.
The market continues to hold its popular demonstrations with acclaimed Chicago chefs throughout the winter to draw customers to the market, but even Rick Bayless can't pull the crowds in when temperatures drop.
"This is a market where if there is any inconvenience, people don't come it," said Jordan Rose, who runs the River Valley Market Grill. "If there's a snow storm we know it's going to be dead."
Rose, a 30-year-old Ukrainian Village resident, said he sets his stand up outside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum every Saturday so he can grill, but this past weekend, the other vendors followed his lead. He said the winter market, which is held inside the museum, usually sees about a sixth the foot traffic that the summer market does in Lincoln Park.
Rose said on a good summer weekend, the outdoor market has between 8,000 and 10,000 customers, but four out of five people he tells to come inside for the winter market, are unaware the market continues year round.
"We are outside 'till I lose a toe," Rose, a third-generation mushroom grower, said. "It's just been us out here because we grill. Everybody else followed us out."