What Should and Should Not Be on Your Local Calender

September 25, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Rob Gardner

Yesterday I walked through the Daley Plaza Farmer’s Market on a lettuce buying mission.  Of course, I could never buy just lettuce and came home with rocket, jalepeno’s and softball sized “20 ounce” apples.  And I espied the one thing that should not be on your agenda this week. 

While picking a favorite farmer’s market is a bit like picking a favorite child, I hold no such conniptions when in comes to local produce.  I do not feel guilty in the least telling you that those pretty, bright red Nigerian eggplants you may see at your market, avoid.  Avoid.  Stay away.  They have all the bitterness of a raw eggplant without any of the ability to soften up with cooking.  I have no patience to fiddle more with this vegetable (really a fruit), but I can tell you after a couple of tries, a couple of methods last year, that there is no easy way to make this item edible.  I’m not saying that there is not a tasty recipe for this small eggplant.  There may be a special Nigerian way of cooking them.  It’s just my serious guess that it is not really worth the effort.  Instead, you can fill your to-do lists with much good stuff.

My friend Oriana the Papple Lady is now selling her papples, and perhaps by this weekend, her paw-paws and black walnuts, at Green City Market.  Make a note.

This may, likely will, be the last week for local peaches.  We’ve given you more than forty ways to use your local peaches.  Make a note.

You may have heard your foodie friends talk about the Chicago Gourmet Festival in Millenium Park.  Tell them real foodies spend their time finding markets, using the Local Beet’s Market Locator.  Put it in your book.

If you send an email and pay a decent fee, you can find one of Rick Bayless’s secret gardens and then eat with him afterwards.  Something to consider.

Something else you can do if you send an email; you can tour the new Logan Square Kitchen, a source for many local food purveyors.  Open house there Saturday and Sunday, with food supplied by Lula’s and City Provisions.

What else is filling up the pages of your local calender?