Is Local Still Affordable and Accessible
Yes. Yes, yes, especially if you like apples, but yes, based on the inserts in the Oak Park Edition of the Chicago Tribune and visits to the Angelo Caputo’s location in Elmwood Park, there remains local food to be found around town. Let’s go to the papers.
Before hitting the whats, let me say that the how much works too. All of the local mentioned below is priced at under $1/lb, and there are big bargains, like apples at Caputo’s for 59 cents/lb. Affordable? Check.
For Dominicks, with many area stores, and Tony’s Finer Foods, with four locations; local means Michigan apples. For Ultra Foods, with six area locations, local also means apples but also green beans and Michigan peaches. Ultra ties reigning Champion Angelo Caputo’s, with six area stores, for local this week. Caputo’s advertises local cabbage, apples and string beans. Total losers this week are Jewel and Food4Less, with no local food advertised. On a whole, though, accessible holds.
That’s the scorecard based on the inserts, what about in-store. I can gladly report that the local remains very high at Caputo’s. They are still selling Michigan tomatoes, by the pound and by the bushel. They sell local eggplant, summer squash, cucumbers, various peppers, grapes and peaches–at least. I would look for these types of items at your neighborhood grocery. In addition, there is an excellent chance that you will find Wisconsin potatoes and local onions around. Do start stocking up.
This is the time for reaping and storing. The Local Beet should have its guide up soon. Even before you read the guide, note that green beans freeze well, cucumbers and eggplants make excellent pickles and relishes, and apples, potatoes and onions can be easily stored in someplace cool and dark. For those a bit more capable or at least more adventurous, tomatoes can be canned or dried. Additional instruction and insight is available at Cassie’s Green Grocer, where Melissa Graham will teach a class on preserving the harvest tonight ( September 17) at 6 PM.
There will come a time when local will not be quite as accessible and affordable. The easiest way to deal with those times is to shop heavily now.