Brassicas in Your Bag this Local Calendar – UPDATED

June 26, 2009 at 10:21 am

Rob Gardner

Updates below

The last few weeks, the local re-usable shopping bag has contained cherries and peas and carrots.  When you use the Local Beet Market Locator you will still find those items.  In fact, not only will you find sweet cherries, but you will also find our local tart cherries.  We’re lucky to be in an area with this delicacy.  Take advantage.  Beyond that stuff, at the markets this week you will find all sorts of members of the brassica family, a/k/a cabbages.

According to my trusty source Wikipedia, this family of  plants  “is remarkable for containing more important agricultural and horticultural crops than any other genus.”  Wiki points out that we can get whole plant eating from the brassicas: turnip roots to kohlrabi stems; cabbage leaves to broccoli flowers.  Even the seeds, e.g., mustard, are culinarily used.  How can you not pass brassicas up this week at the market.  If nothing else, they usually offer the best deals.  Take the napa cabbages now for sale at Nichols Farm.  One cabbage will easily make six months worth of kimchee.

What to do with your brassicas when you return home?  Well, you can search the Local Beet’s archives for ideas and inspirations.  I’ll tell you this.  When in doubt, you cannot go wrong with mustard, pork or cream when preparing cabbages.  Penny’s Noodle Shop is not a place that I’ll often associate with words like “I” and “like”, but I do very much like one thing there, a salad of broccoli with a mustard-soy dressing.  Very easy to duplicate.  I’m forever making variations on cole slaw (although more often than not these days its my lemony-garlic version), but try this dish too.  Shred some cabbage.  Slice some bacon; lardons if you have ‘em.  Crisp up the bacon in a cast iron pan.  Remove the bacon.  Stir the cabbage in the grease for a few minutes.  Add a bracing dose of vinegar.  Jim the Vinegar Guy’s hot pepper vinegar if ya got it.

Besides shopping for cabbage and their relations this week, what else is in store?

Besides buying goat and cheese milk this weekend from Prairie Fruit Farms, I will take a trip to a farm.  One of the real benefits of CSA membership is the opportunity to visit the farmer and see the operations.  This Sunday, Farmer Vicki of Genesis Growers hosts a party for her CSA subscribers.  If you are Genesis Growers CSA member, I hope you take advantage of this too.  Stop by and say hi to the Local Family too.

Work for your local!  Our pals at Fork and the Road lead a bike tour this Saturday focused on local foods.

Beet Farmer Vera V is not quite sure what else she’ll have to sell at Logan Square besides fresh lavender.  Go find out then say hi.

Have you seen Food Inc. yet?  Deborah Fellinger, our first staff writer, has a nice review up.  In Chicago, Food, Inc. can be seen at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St.

Need another movie on our food systems.  No Exit Cafe in Roger’s Park has an exclusive showing of the film Fresh this Tuesday, June 30.

Looking at the Twitter while waiting for the family at the gym made me realize I should have mentioned the UnCommon Grounds Friday afternoon farmer’s market.  I really need to make it one of these days soon.

Before evening getting to Twitter, I realized I forgot Melissa and Purple Asparagus who will be at the Family Fun Tent at Millenium Park from June 29 through July 2.

Other than that, what else.  The now omnipresent Fruit Slinger says go out and get some strawberries before it’s too late.