Will This be the Week to Taste Spring with the Local Calender

April 17, 2009 at 10:11 am

Rob Gardner

After several months of the decayed foods of  winter, we get spring, young and alive.  To me, no season tastes as pointed as spring.  Those first plants shooting for the sky are packed with vegetal power.  You really do taste the de-toxing.  It is not just in your mind.  In spring we replace our last stores of onions and garlic with fresh, new onions and green garlic.  Seasoning with these ingredients helps impart that distinctive taste of spring.  The problem is, remains, we know what it tastes like, we just cannot seem to find that taste.  Will this weekend be different.

We got Green City.  The last indoor incarnation of Green City convenes this Saturday.  The market continiues their bacon and eggs theme–since I have yet to go to GCM this April, I cannot tell you quite what that means.  GCM is advertising the following products this week: potatoes, root vegetables, eggs, meat (beef, lamb, chicken, pork), sprouts, dried fruit,black beans, bread, honey, milk, cheeses, cornmeal, salsas, jams, caramels,  apples, scones, lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale, greens and much more!  Do you see ramps, nettles, morels and other tastes of spring? VERY IMPORTANT NOTE IF YOU PLAN OF GOING.  THE MARKET RECENTLY ADVISED:  

We just received word that The Wrigley “Start Early Run” Race is going to take place this Saturday at 8:00am. Cannon Drive will be closed from 7:15am-9:00am. The Fullerton and Lake Shore Drive exit will also be closed from 7:15am-9:00am. Parking along Cannon Drive will reopen at approximately 9:00am. If you plan to arrive at the Market before 9:00am, we strongly suggest using public transportation: CTA Bus 151 or Diversey Bus 76.

Where else might you find the true tastes of spring? The Local Beet’s Market Finder is so achingly close to being ready, at least in a beta version. If it existed, would it be of much use? Well, not really, the market listings for this week are pretty much the same we see in every local calender: Geneva, Heritage Prairie and Grayslake.

I hate to say this but your best shot at spring flavors may be at a chef’s hand.  I heard that Mado is getting another big shipment of ramps in.  You can try them as part of their aniversary family dinner this Sunday at 6 PM.  I’ve spotted morels on the menu at the Gage, the Loop gastropub (although I highly doubt they are local morels as chefs find our morels too pricey).

Of all places, your best shot at spring food may be Whole Foods.  I have not yet seen it this year, but in years past, Whole Foods has brought in tons of ramps from Wisconsin’s Harmony Valley farm.   There may or may not be ramps, but the Sauganash Whole Foods (Cicero and Peterson) is having a local vendor fair this Satuday.

Of course, there’s one store that’s always local not just on vendor fair day, Green Grocer Chicago.  And Cassie DID have ramps last week.  Her spring stock is always a-changin’.  Shop there often, you might just find that elusive taste.

Earth Day is next Friday and the Local Calender will be much fuller, so I will post next week around Wednesday.  If you have any Earth Day events or other eat local happenings, please let us know.


One Comment

  1. tqbf says:

    Fresh Picks just delivered 20 bunches of ramps to me in Oak Park, which ramps are now filling my fridge in anticipation of being pickled, ground into pesto, frozen, and sous-vided with meats over the next two weeks. They’re young and pretty small (is the crop delayed this year in the midwest? My friend is getting big fat ones in NYC.), but still ramp-tastic.

    You’re welcome to a bunch, Rob.

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