A Bit of Catching Up in Time for the Local Calendar

April 10, 2009 at 11:47 am

Rob Gardner

I forewarned a busy week with limited postings, and I got that right.  Good thing there’s not a lot to the Local Calender, because even now, I’m very much on the harried side. 

Did anyone stay up for the CBS 10 PM news looking for local food last night?  Carol the Producer e-mailed me mid-day to say that the story got pushed aside due to some investigative piece.  I noted the delay on my Twitter (@LocalFamily), sorry if anyone missed that.  A new date for the story has not been scheduled.  I’ll post here and on Twitter when I know.

The area’s best market finder from the Local Beet is just about there.  Expect a launch any day now.  Still, the best market finder cannot make markets happen, and your efforts to find ramps, nettles, green garlic from outside and beets, carrots and the like from hoophouses is pretty limited.  If you got spoiled with the extra Green City Market, this week will get you back to reality.  It’s the other in every other, so no market.  The options remain Geneva, Heritage Prairie and  Grayslake

Make your reservations now.  Although Green City has a market next weekend, you should really make the effort to hit the first outside Dane County Farmer’s Market in Madison on April 18th.  I know, you think, spring’s even worse up there, what can they have.  You will find a very complete market.   For instance, Harmony Valley reports they’ll have ramps and nettles, spinach and parsnips, and I’m guessing it will be a lot more.  Beyond that, the market allows for vendors who set up shop only a few times.   You should be able to find a few morel hunters around the square.   Look also for the earliest wild watercresses.  This Local Family scores very well on Madison hotels with Priceline.   A $50 bid should get you a nice hotel, usually the Concourse right downtown.

Did you sign up for a spring CSA?  If you did, like me, you would already have an abundant supply of local foods.  We received our second box of the season this week, and Farmer Vicki just loaded it up with stuff.  Two bunches of red radishes (saved one set of tops for salad ala Fergus); two large heads of bok choy, which I’ll come back to in a second; two significant bunches of baby turnips with their greens, the bottoms have already been boiled and served with Wednesday’s bollito misto; more carrots to help me eat them, several large red onions, more parsnips, more beets, and abundant bags of mint and thyme.  One place you could have got a box like this is the Downtown Farmstand.  When I was in there the other day, they mentioned to me that they have a few slots still open for the summer CSA.  You can see the full range of your CSA choices in the Beet’s CSA guide.

Have I told you about the Local Beet’s Market Finder?  Best around?  Well, one of the things about our finding markets is that it seems like these days, we learn about a new set of markets each day.  One of the things I loved from attending the Chicago Food Policy Summit (beyond hearing Jim Braun speak; he’s one of those guys, like my Representative Danny Davis, who are a pleasure to listen to, regardless of what they are saying that day.) is hearing about the new markets.  Cicero’s going to have a market on Sundays, check that one out.  Something I think is a fantastic idea, Uncommon Ground will be hosting a market on Fridays from 4-8, with artists, drinks and local foods.  The place also has a complete rooftop garden, but I do not believe they will be marketing that produce.  With our ace market finder finder, Robin “Winter” Schirmer collecting data all the time, stay tuned to the Local Beet for all sorts of market updates and reports. 

My home town market [ed. should that be home village market?] has a couple of nice additions this year.  Actually, the first addition is more of a re-addition.   Red Hen Bakery sold breads at the Oak Park market two years ago.  Then, some Village politics pushed them off the lot.  For a few reasons, they are back this year.  I may have a few other breads I like in Chicago, but there will be no other bread for sale in Oak Park that I like as much as Red Hen.  The second addition is also a slight re-addition.  Leslie Cooperbrand and Prairie Fruit Farms have sold before at the Oak Park Market, but according to Village sources, they will be a regular at the market this year.  Not only will they sell their outstanding goat cheeses and newly created sheep’s milk cheeses, they will sell their fruits, at least that’s what I’ve been told.  Color me slightly skeptical.  Keep your eyes posted for some other news associated with the Oak Park Market.

I did say this was a short post right.  Two more things to get out.  First, I have to give a huge shout out to my wife who found a way to use a ton of 1/2 good apples in a passover kugel (She based her recipe from Matthew Goodman.  I’ll try to post her version soon.)  Believe it or not, we are running pretty low now on stored apples.  Second, I want to mention my newest project that probably will not get very far.  I’m pretty obsessed with Korean salads or I guess I should say, Korean salad dressings.  It started with a meal at Hae Woon Dae, where as good as the meats were, I went home dreaming of salad.  Then, when at Chicago Food Corp recently, where I was contemplating how many of the panchan I could buy without giving up my locavore roots, I came to the realization that I could just make my own.  Not kimchee.  I mean not burying something in the yard and waiting two weeks.  I mean making dressings to dress various seasonal vegetables.  At Chicago Food Corp we found a couple of cook books–nicely, one of them had a recipe for a ramp salad.  The salads do not seem that complicated.  They rely on a few ingredients, especially Korean chile paste and Korean red pepper.  We picked up what we thought we would need.  This summer, the panchan’s on me.

UPDATE 1: Ann Fisher reports on LTHForum that the Wettstein’s will be in Oak Park on Saturday, April 11, selling their products.  They have some spring specials too.

UPDATE 2: Another farmer’s market to follow, the Geneva Green Market: @genevagreenhat

UPDATE 3: Check out the blog for the Fresh Taste Initiative: Good Food for All.

UPDATE 4: Don’t forget to reserve for Mado’s Anniversary Gala on April 19


As always, any additions or comments to the Local Calender are very welcome.