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Making a Splash

Checking in at the Chicago International Produce Market

In 1883, Mark Twain wrote, “It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago. She outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them.” When Twain penned those words, Chicago was less than 50 years old—yet the Windy City had already blossomed from a small trading post into one of the largest cities in the nation.

A number of other well known personalities were inspired by Chicago—from architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright to French actress Sarah Bernhardt and poet laureate Carl Sandburg. Bernhardt characterized the city as “the pulse of America,” while Sandburg referred to the thriving industrial metropolis as the city of “Big Shoulders.” A more recent addition to the lore was present-day actor Michael Douglas, who said, “I’m impressed with the people from Chicago—Hollywood is hype, New York is talk, Chicago is work.”

All of these words ring true. A thriving hub of international trade, Chicago attracts billions in business and an estimated 86 million visitors each year—and continues to grow, evolve, and reinvent itself. This includes Chi-Town’s vibrant downtown and famous landmarks, such as the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture (created by Anish Kapoor and generally referred to as ‘the Bean’) in Millennium Park and the lovely Charles F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain, one of the world’s largest fountains, in Grant Park.

Then there’s the culture and nightlife, with more than 200 theaters, nearly 200 art galleries, and a remarkable 7,300 restaurants. These restaurants—large and small, world-famous or just starting out, pricey or inexpensive—boast a number of world-renowned chefs who are continually experimenting and looking for the next big thing.

And when these culinary artists are looking for fresh produce, they know where they can find a veritable treasure trove of fruit, vegetables, nuts, spices, and herbs—at the nearby Chicago International Produce Market.

A Modern Market…with a Century-Old Legacy
Huddled in the lower west side, the Chicago International Produce Market (CIPM) is a state-of-the-art facility consisting of just under two dozen merchants. The current site is the CIPM’s third location, but the market itself is more than 100 years old—and many of its merchants are third- and even fourth-generation family businesses.

Chicago International Produce Market Basics
2404 S. Wolcott Avenue
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 376-5454

Open year-round, Monday through Friday
8:00 am to 12:00 pm (individual business hours may vary), call for further details

Though steeped in history, CIPM is anything but old-fashioned—it is a cutting-edge facility designed for today’s high-tech business world. The ‘new’ terminal market, on South Wolcott Avenue, opened in 2002 and replaced the historic South Water Street location (which was later transformed into apartments).