Advanced Thoughts

April 7, 2009 at 8:26 am

Rob Gardner

On the heels of a new dog induced Spring Break, I have another rather discombobulated week ahead of me with Passover and all.  I am not sure how much posting I can do between now and Friday, so in advance, here’s some stuff to read and mull.

And participate too.  Wednesday April 8, is the 4th Annual Chicago Food Policy Summit.  Take an active part in making our local food systems better.  If you come, come say hi to me (if in doubt try @LocalFamily on Twitter).  On the other hand, what’s a more passive way to participate than by watching TV.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that CBS Channel 2 will air the local food story on their 10 PM new on Thursday, April 9.  Somewhere in between, myself and the Sustainable Cook, Melissa Graham, are presenting today at Wrigley on eating locally and sustainably.  Let us know if you want a presentation for your company or organization.

Eat local food out.  I will post summaries of recent meals at Mado and Vie, I promise.   Some interesting local foods on the menus around town: at Vie, Paul Virant is using Washington Island wheatberries; at Naha they are getting their wheatberries from Illinois’s Spence Farm but go to Door County for whitefish caviar. 

Eat local in.  The bollito misto returns to the menu for the first night of Passover, where we plan to use up some odds and ends of cow still whiling away in our freezer.  The second night we have more guests and we plan on using the excellent Indiana air-cooled chicken parts now available at Whole Foods as well as a Wettstein lamb shoulder.  Expect the overwintered carrots and parsnips to show up on the table.

Drink local.  Gapers Block gives a rundown on our many good options for local booze.

Eat local cheese.  I’m not convinced that the results of a cheese competition in Wisconsin, sponsored by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association is the most fair competition in world, but at the recent United States Championship Cheese in Green Bay was totally dominated by local cheese.  See the results here.

The opposite of local.  A factory farm is a factory farm, even one in the Midwest.  In fact we have many around here.  Find factory farms at this site.  Why it matters to eat local over factory?  Read this from Sustainable Table.  Tom Philpott also argues for a less efficient food system.

Like me, still totally confused by the proposed food safety laws in Congress and how they’ll effect local foods?  Here’s some overview and ideas to consider.

I’m a firm believer in the don’t make yourselves nuts school of eating local.  I mean I just finished my morning joe (with local milk though!).  James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, however, do it the hard way.  100 miles or less for them.  The Canadian version of TVFoodnetwork is filming James and Alisa as they bring some of their neighbors into the 100 mile fold.  The first episode aired this week in Canada and is on the TVFoodnetwork Canada site, but I cannot seem to get the video to play in the Bungalow.  Read about the series here.

Ramps for the commonfolk.  Cassie comes through yet again.  Wild ramps from Indiana for sale at Green Grocer Chicago.

Eat local blueberries.  “He said Michigan’s family run operations withstand cyclical fluctuations better than farms run by investors, who often abandon the blueberry market when it turns downward”  Good article on some issues with the berries this year.

More Mado.  Mado annouces their next family dinner on April 19 to celebrate their one year anniversary.  Details here.

Beet poetry.  (Thanks Sharon)

More thoughts on food safety laws proposed.

Beet to come: our world’s best market finder should be up very, very soon; expect some other big announcements of new features soon.