Eat Local Everywhere with This Local Calendar

July 31, 2009 at 9:01 am

Rob Gardner

We at the Local Beet strongly believe that eating local is not a warm weather activity.  Of course we think you need to make some effort now to eat local later.  That said, this surely is the season of eating local.  It is everywhere. 

There are farmer’s markets all over the Chicago area, stretching through the whole state of Illinois, into Northwest Indiana, across into parts of Michigan and the bottom part of Wisconsin all collected and mapped out for you in the Local Beet’s Market Locator.

Another way to find local food is to visit a farm stand.  Here’s a list that should get you started.  Just last weekend, I visited Pontious Farm, not too far from Champaign to pick berries and veg.  There’s something just Jungian, the way it hits, being on a farm, picking your food.

You will be surprised how much local food you can find just shopping your neighborhood grocery.  If your neighborhood is around Grand and Ashland you wont be surprised as Cassie and her Green Grocer make a concerted effort to always have the best in local food.  Or if you are in the Loop, you have the Downtown Farmstand.   Those are easy.  The last time I was in my neighborhood Whole Foods, I found an array of local stuff from Illinois peaches to Michigan blueberries and many green products from Wisconsin’s organic Harmony Valley Farm.  I find much Michigan produce at the Caputo’s stores including peppers, zukes, cukes, tomatoes and eggplants.  The Sunset Food stores carry product from Illinois’s Didier Farms.  See what’s local by you.

Don’t just see what’s local by you.  Explore.  How ’bout a trip out to the Seedling’s Farm in Michigan.  You can visit that farm and sample a gourmet feast through Outstanding in the Field program.  I’ll warm you, it’s pricey, but I’ve always heard great things about the events.  One of the two programs at Seedlings, the one on August 9 has openings.  There are a few other Outstanding in the Field’s available nearby that are not soldout.  This weekend, they are near Madison, West Star Farm and at Kinnikinnick where Top Chefer Stephanie Izard will cook.

Explore what is right in the city, City FarmTake a tour Sunday, and also take a tour of Chicago’s Honey Coop.

Explore an interesting new local dairy.  Kilgus Dairy started marketing their milk from Illinois raised Jersey cows (Jersey cows are known for their richer milk).  I’m not sure it’s yet in the Chicago area, but maybe Pontiac’s not too far away.  I know I’m due a post on Champaign-Urbana.  When I do, I’ll tell you that you can get the Kilgus Dairy at Urbana’s Common Ground Co-op.

Congragulate Chefs Rob and Allie Levitt of Mado for being named one of the ten best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetite.  Nagrant had it a lot earlier.

If you did not have enough reason to see Food Inc., Ruhlman will have you crying.

Come to the Country Chef Challenge next Thursday, 8/6 in Daley Plaza.  Yours truly will be one of the judges.

Mark your calenders: August 22, Seven Generations Ahead’s Microbrew Review; August 26 for the Eat-In in Daley Plaza; August 30 for the Purple Asparagus Benefit; September 10, Tomatofest; September 20 for the Local Beet Farm Dinner; October 25, Baconfest.

Where else are you finding local food these days?