Local Calendar – Think Ahead

Posted: November 25, 2009 at 12:54 pm

In your stupor from your local, heritage turkey, you won’t find as much on the Local Calendar this coming days.  Neither Green City nor Logan Square will have markets this weekend.  Likewise, Geneva will not have their winter market on Thanksgiving.  Still,  the 61st Street Market  and Grayslake will have markets on Saturday, November 29.  Do think ahead for plenty of winter buying opportunities.

Green City is back in action a week from today, Wednesday December 2, with a demonstration from Brian Huston of Publican, and Geneva is back in business on December 5.  There will be a winter market in Chicago on December 6 in Andersonville and one at the Chicago Botanical Garden also on December 6.  End a busy day of winter shopping with a bunch of beef at Mado’s Family Dinner  on December 6.

I’m getting a sneak peak of the downtown French Market next Monday, and Daley will be cutting a ribbon on December 3, so do pencil this opportunity in soon.

SAVE THE DATE: Family Farmed Expo and Chicago Food Policy Summit – March 11-13 2010.

Keep you eye on Local Beet as we have all your winter needs covered.

Going Soft from Local Drink

Posted: November 24, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Rob asked me for a post about what I was thankful for. In order of importance:

 Family and friends savoring good health and happiness.

 My aunt, Harriet Keith, a well-acclaimed artist, who recently turned 97, is still sharp, and has a most wonderful smile.


This somewhat fanciful watercolor of downtown Chicago in 1937 has never been publicly displayed before.

 More to the point of my beer beat on The Local Beet:

Any beer drinkers in the city have to be thankful for the recent uptick in craft beer activity in Chicago – particularly Metropolitan Revolution (maybe open by Christmas?).

Half Acre (possibly an unfair review ), and Goose Island’s specialty beers … the Clybourn Heritage Collection (Red Felt, Demolition, Naughty Goose) and Belgian-style beers (Matilda, Pere Jaques, Juliet, Sofie). Any city should give thanks to such a great variety of craft beers, particularly for a large city that was a craft beer wasteland (excepting Goose Island, and not counting suburban offerings) a mere five years ago.

 And, vaguely related, Chicago should be thankful for its new distilled beverage scene. Koval is making many interesting, hand-crafted spirits, as is North Shore. And it would be irresponsible to leave out the South Side’s own meadery and winery, Wild Blossom.

 And I give thanks that many consumers seem to be headed in a more local direction for much of their eating and drinking needs – a trend I look forward to seeing grow in the coming years.

 Hey – was this too soft? Am I not being my usual irascible self? Giving thanks is kind of a mushy topic. But it’s not my fault. I blame Editor-at-Large Rob Gardner for suggesting it.

Thanksgiving Countdown: Giving Thanks

Posted: November 24, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Thanksgiving has always been the neglected, middle child of the holiday family. Every year we seem to skip right over it and go straight from the gluttony of Halloween to the overindulgence of Christmas. Holiday decorations go up right after Halloween’s came down and in some cases side by side. In this tough economic climate, some retailers seem to think that if they foist the holidays on us sooner, we’ll buy more. I was horrified to watch Wal-Mart play what I sincerely hope was its first Christmas ads during the Halloween night game of the World Series. Instead of overspending, let’s give the Jan Brady of the holidays our love this year – enjoy a sustainably-raised turkey and some locally grown veggies, spend time with loved ones and count our blessings.

But before the holiday has come and gone and we’re fighting crowds on Black Friday, I’d like to share a few of things for which I’m thankful.

Today? A big freezer.

I very much sympathize with the anxiety Thursday’s big meal induces. When I was an attorney working long and unpredictable hours, having company was always a challenge. Finding time to shop and prepare the type of meals that I wanted to make required extensive lists and long nights. Nowadays, things are a bit easier. I can’t claim to be any less busy, but a lot of my prepation can be squeezed into my work days. I need a pie crust for a client – make two. I’m testing a recipe for an event or this blog and it turns out well, save it for later. These are the perks that can be preserved with a big freezer or two.

For our gratitude-inspired meal, I’m planning on Beet Choux Puffs with Goat Cheese Mousse and Red Kuri Squash Samosas. While I’ll need to mix up the mousse and make a chutney, the major components are done, waiting to be revived, sleeping in the deep freeze. As is our first course, the family favorite – Delicata Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce. Five minutes to boil the water and another 5 to finish the sauce and I’ve got a plateful of popularity.

Dessert is Pumpkin Pie and Apple Tart Tatin, pastry dough, puff pastry, and pumpkin puree waiting to be defrosted.

Our main course will require considerably more effort. Turkey with French Fry Stuffing (more on thihs later), White Wine Gravy, Brussels Sprouts with Salad Turnips, Pomegranate, and Pistachios, Spinach and Mushroom Gratin, Mashed Potatoes and Cranberry Sauce. But with my focus only on these dishes and an extra set of hands with my mom in town, our dinner will be both feast-worthy and stress-free. Thank you freezer!

Weekly Harvest of Links

Posted: November 24, 2009 at 10:30 am

News and other stuff from around the world of local foods:

Can they say suck on NBC?

Our eat local challenge Padrona is taking the Dark Days Challenge

In Kansas City, eat local for the holidays.

Even in Huntsville, Alabama, they’re eating local.

Heh indeed! – When no one’s looking.

Wisconsin cheese sophisticated.

Not Green Beans – A Thanksgiving Experiment

Posted: November 24, 2009 at 8:14 am

For Thanksgiving at my parents, we were requested to bring green beans. Typically baked to a mush in a casserole dish blended in cream of mushroom soup and crowned with onion strings, this dish screams “I came from a can” nearly as loud as the can-shaped cranberry sauce mould.

Little about the dish bespeaks Pilgrims, autumn or gratitude. True, both beans and onions might have been on the first Thanksgiving menu. But the onions are now battered, dried and fried beyond recognition and the beans are concealed by the mushroom sauce to the point where most kids will happily eat them.

I’m not ragging on the green bean casserole. It’s a reliable stand-by. However, as the black sheep of the family, I am breaking with tradition to bring an underground dish I’ve never before seen served at our November holiday (or made before). I will roast an array of root vegetables (few of which come from my garden) but all of which might have been stowed in a cellar or beneath the earth by our foredads and foremoms at some point in the past, to be dug up as needed.

An Internet search pulled up several recipes with squash and peppers as the central ingredients. While not a root, the squash is permitted in the dish because of its historical authenticity. Peppers, a Central American, heat-loving fruit neither the British nor the Wampanoag would likely have eaten, have no place at the table this week. And so, roasting along with generous heaps of onions and garlic will be carrots, parsnip, turnips, taters, rutabaga and whatever root vegetables I find at the produce store tomorrow. Some sage and marjoram have survived in my herb spiral until now, so I’ll throw them in as well. Pretty much whatever’s fresh and available and fits in the theme goes in the casserole dish. (Yes, this is how I cook. My wife covers her face in shame at the thought of me serving untried recipes to other people).

Which brings me to my thoughts of gratitude. When I talk with people whose parents and siblings reside in another state or are no longer with us, I feel so blessed to still be surrounded by family in northern Illinois. Family who will forgive my culinary experiments and humor my agricultural obsession.

To live in a region not ravaged by war, famine, flood or fire. To have the freedom to pursue my passions. To watch my children grow and stay healthy. Despite this miserable financial crisis, to enjoy a prosperity unseen by hardly anyone before us in history. To have access to open land, fresh food and clean water. We may choose to take these for granted, or we may choose to see them as precious gifts. I am grateful for the luxury of having that choice. Have a joyous Thanksgiving and enjoy the bounty before us.

Sequels (Cold Winter Recipes – Mustard Greens)

Posted: November 23, 2009 at 10:41 pm


There are two types of sequels. The first, like Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter, keeps the gang together. In movies, I like that sequel. In food, not so much. No, I like to play with combinations, substituting one or two or even three ingredients within the same theme.

Last week, it was Franks, Beans and Greens. Pork, beans, and greens are a classic winter combination. Frost sweetened greens paired with rich beans simmered in stock enriched with pork. It’s a warming and winning alliance of ingredients. Tonight, a variation on this.

Last weekend, I’d made a beautiful Faith’s Farm Pork Roast, enormous, meaty, and bone-in. We turned the extra chops into schnitzel, soon to make its appearance here. Early this week, the bone covered with water, mixed with celery, carrot, and onion, paired with parsley, bay and thyme became broth. A few days later, I soaked and simmered beautiful black and white beans from Spring Valley Produce called Ying Yang. Tonight I partnered these two with some of the best and freshest mustard greens, I’ve ever tasted that we sampled earlier this morning from Growing Power.

Together this became Pork, Mustard and Bean Soup. Simmered together with a bit of salt and a shake of cider vinegar, it was a satisfying Saturday night supper. And, yes, yet again, we fished out the greens for our little locavore who ate the decidedly non-local cucumbers.

Pork bone from Faith’s Farm (IL)
Celery, carrot, and onion from Genesis Growers (IL)
Parsley and thyme from Smit’s (IL)
Beans from Spring Valley Produce (WI)
Mustard greens from Growing Power (WI)

RECYCLED – Giving Thanks

Posted: November 23, 2009 at 9:50 am

Oh, believe me, you won’t be spared a new maudlin Local Family post, but before that, pretty much everything that warmed my heart last year works this year too.  Of course reading this, I find a few things altered.  Red Hen moved to Oak Park this year, and we had decent bread again at the market.  Cassie’s wise decision to carry local booze lost her, her accoutn with Bruno–he won’t share his stuff where liquor is also sold.  We did not go to Detroit this year; instead it was Pittsburgh where local food means fried potatoes in many forms.  About the rest remains the same.

Thankful for Local Food

It aint fun to dwell on bad decisions made over the years. I like to kvel in the good ones, like the one to eat local. Eating local is something I like to celebrate over and over. For the most part (Nigerian eggplants aside), I know we eat exceedingly well in the Bungalow. I know we are doing our part to manage the Earth’s resources and conditions. I also know that I can be confident in my products. I support my community. I support practices that matter to me. Local. I am grateful for those who make the local life possible, better, easier.

I’m not gonna beat around the bush and throw a few ringers up top. Rather, I will start with the best. The local adventure would not be at all possible without the support and assistance of the rest of the Local Family. These are kids that willingly eat the Sheila Special: Wisconsin cranberry cheese, microgreens, jam for lunch all winter long, and they find it cool that Dad packs some tye-dye radish in that lunch. Mom works her butt off. This year she canned bushels and bushels (literally) of tomatoes. Put away spiced peaches and chutnized others. She even realized my long dreamed fantasy of drying our food, doing a few batches of tomatoes. Many an early morning, one arose with me to assist in carrying our food home from the market . We roadtriped to Wisconsin for cheese and spent hours at Detroit’s Eastern Market. Local is a family venture for the Local Family.*

I like nearly every farmer’s market I visit. I discovered this summer that maybe Evanston’s market is technically better than Oak Park’s: more vendors, more of my favorite farmers like Henry’s Farm and Green Acres, organic apples, better bread (grrr–inside Oak Parker thing). Still, I am extremely grateful to have the market we have each Saturday in Oak Park from late May through October. It is a buyers market; I mean it is a market that people actually buy, and it is stocked accordingly. My go to farmer is Vicki and her Genesis Growers, but I love the variety of Nichols, the stone fruits of Hardin Farms, the shelled peas from Stovers, a bunch of fruits, especially berries, from Walt Skibbes, other organic things from Sandhill. I bought my hog from Dennis and Emily Wettstein, and I should buy more cheese than I do from Joe at Brunkow. The greatness of the Oak Park Market got me to eat local in the first place. Could not do it now without it.

This was the year that my local shopping options extended mightily. Winter eating became so much easier–to balance a salad, from any lettuce, even water grown, against a diet of onions and potatoes really helped–because of the emergence of the winter markets thrown together through the hard work of Robin “Winter” and the Church’s Center for Land and People. Robin not only got me food to eat in the darkest months, she introduced me to a bunch of local products I did not know like Ted’s Grain’s from near DeKalb.

Robin was not the only woman working her tootsie off, making local food more available to greater Chicagoland. Cassie opened Green Grocer, the only store in Chicago with it’s raison d’etre as local food. As much as I like farmer’s markets, I also want local food available seven days a week, through normal retail hours. Besides carrying farmer’s produce, Cassie carries the full array of local foodstuffs: Blue Marble Dairy milks, Trader’s Point Creamery yogurts, Mint Creek lamb, local eggs, pastries baked up by the very large Bruno clan. She manages to get a lot into a not very large space.

My wife and I stumbled into the best program of local food this summer when we happened to stop by the Eli’s Cheesecake Farmer’s Market. For several weeks in July and August, they presented a local superstar: Lloyd Nichols of Nichol’s Farm; Terra Brockman of the Land Connection, Stan Schutte of Triple S Farm, local food activist, Lynn Peemoeller. My wife and I made it a point to be there each week to learn.

OK, when I say best, maybe it was the free cheesecake they plied us with, the closeness to the speakers, and the whole serendipitous nature of finding the program, but the Eli’s Cheesecake series does have some competition for local food program top-ness; that would be last week’s Family Farmed Expo. You’ve read a lot about it already, and expect to read more about it one of these days.

And, I’m running on forever. There’s much to be thankful for. I’m glad to live only a few hours from the nation’s best market in Madison; glad that my local boundary includes so many fine cheeses, glad that there is a newly expanded cheese store in Oak Park (Marion Street); glad that in nearly everywhere I turn, I can find better products by finding the local products.

I cannot stop. What about all the local chefs. I’m not just grateful for the good things Rob and Allie do in the kitchen at Mado, I’m quite grateful for the opportunity they are giving my wife to assist them. I always admire the things Paul Virant does at Vie. Lula’s really expanded the local food on their menu and it shows.

MikeG has given local food a much wider platform with his well received Sky Full of Bacon podcasts.

I’m quite grateful to the groups that gave me a platform this year to spread the message of local eating; the League of Woman Voters, Dilettante Ventures, Highland Park Cable Access (!); Midwest Foodways Alliance, Oak Park Temple, MENSA, the Chicago Tribune; WBEZ, the Oak Leaves, and the aforementioned Family Farmed.

Finally, obviously, to Michael and the Local Beet for putting a little more ooph, a lot more design and resources into the local eating publishing industry. I’m quite happy blogging here, and I look forward to many future posts.

Happy Thanksgiving

*SPECIAL BONUS COMMENTS FROM THE REST OF THE LOCAL FAMILY: “those Nigerian eggplants were the worst things we ever ate” “it’s so embarrassing getting weird food in our lunches” “it’s so boring all the time at the markets” “why do you use aint in your writing” “we are never going near another Nigerian eggplant the rest of our lives” “can we just go to Five Guys”

Local Beet’s Guide to Winter Eating – UPDATED

Posted: November 22, 2009 at 8:54 am

Here at the Local Beet, as much as we enjoy some late warm weather, we worry about the state of our apples.  We are well into preparing for winter eating, local style.  We have prepared a variety of resources for you for the colder times.  In addition, we will be adding new materials in coming weeks to help you cope.  Not only cope through winter but through the three stages of winter eating [new].  

Each week we publish a Local Calendar highlighting winter markets and other ways and means to live the local lifestyle.  The latest Local Calendar is here

The Local Calendar highlights winter markets that change week to week.  On a regular basis, you will always be able to find local food during the winter at Cassie’s Green Grocer and the Downtown Famstand.  Green City Market and Geneva have year round farmer’s markets.  Further out west than Geneva, Heritage Prarie Market also has local foods all winter.  There will be a winter market at the Chicago Botanical Gardens on December 6 and 20 plus January 3, 2010.  Irv and Shelly have a virtual farmer’s market year round, always with something local.   A couple more places you should be able to find local foods in the the cold are the Dill Pickle Coop in Logan Square and Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park.

Keys to cold weather eating

A list of winter food recipes

Look to the Local Family and the Sustainable Cook for insight on how they manage to stay local.  

Here’s a list of foods to put in storage.

Build your own root cellar.

Our listing of Fall/Winter CSAs

Making the Most of the Seasonal Bounty

Composting through winter

Bloggers from around the country taking a “Dark Days Challenge“, and in Kansas City, they are encouraging everyone to eat local for the holidays.

Please tell us what other resources you need for winter.

Last Week on the Local Beet

Posted: November 21, 2009 at 5:24 pm

We try to have new material up Monday through Friday, but we do not always meet our goals. We also know that you do not always come here Monday through Friday. Here’s a re-cap of what’s gone up last week on the Local Beet.

We are madly preparing to eat local this winter. We think it is very doable, just follow these keys

We are putting all our Eat Local Winter material together in one handy post.    To date we have besides your keys:

Besides getting you ready for winter, we got you up to date on what the locavores are doing in jail.

We have our Local Calendar to help you know what’s still out there and where to find it. 

We told you about Mado’s butchering class shortly before it sold out, but you still have tons of time for the FamilyFarmed Expo and Chicago Food Policy Summit in March of 2010.

Melissa also found a new use for beets and a seasonal way to treat waffles.

Tom got a comment and changed his view on Half Acre’s retail store.

Rob reminded us of one of the best decisions he’s made.

Thanks for eating local with us.

Last Week’s Local Calendar: Was Time For Pears

Posted: November 20, 2009 at 10:01 am

We spent a good amount of time yesterday at three Chicago farms.  We will have a report up soon, and what we will report is that these three farms have fresh, local food for you all year.  All three have stuff growing in their hoophouses, but they also have stuff thriving away in their fields.  It is November but there is local.  So, we knew there would be spinach.  We knew there would be carrots and beets, turnips, rocket, lettucesPears, we did not expect pears.  Seedlings Orchard in Michigan has kept some of their pears for late markets.  Cassie had some yesterday at her Green Grocer.  I bet some will also be at the Downtown Famstand.  For sure, you can find some at the Seedlings booth at Green City.  Besides the cold weather crops, you should be able to find apples, potatoes (sweet too), winter squash, mushrooms, celery root, herbs, onions, garlic.  Here’s your shopping list.

Our pal Robin “Winter” Schirmer has no markets this weekend.  Check back with us for updated information on the winter markets being held by Faith in Place.

As we mentioned already, Green City is a-going at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.  Elaina Vazquez of Boutique Bites offers a demonstration on Saturday.  Getting you inspired to put a pig’s head on your Thanksgiving table, Rob and Allie Levitt of Mado offer a demonstration next Wednesday, and the following Wednesday following in offal footsteps is Brian Huston of the Publican.  NOTE: There will be no Green City Market on the Saturday following Thanksgiving (Nov 28). 

Even without Robin, you have other great buying opportunities to get local for Thanksgiving.  There’s a couple of markets just this forthcoming weekend.  On Saturday, November 21, there’s an indoor market, 8 AM to 1 PM in Evanston at Immanuel Lutheran Church.  On Sunday, November 22, there’s a market at the Portage Park Fieldhouse from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Then, there’s the markets running through the end of there year like the Logan Square Farmer’s Market (Sundays/no market on 11/28), the 61st Street Market (Saturdays), and Grayslake (Saturday).   Running through the end of the year and beyond, your virtual farmer’s market at Irv and Shelly”s Fresh Picks.  For background on the 61st Street Market, we’ve moved Melissa’s profile over to the blog.  Alan Lake, who we mentioned above, also has some interesting background on the market.

On December 6 and 20 and January 3, the Chicago Botanical Garden has a winter market.

Will the Dill Pickle Coop in Logan Square be open this weekend?  Not sure, but there will be a benefit for them tonight (11/20) at Quenchers.

Celebrate local cheese on Sunday at Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park.  James Norton and Becca Dilley, authors of the newly published Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin, will be signing books from 2-4 PM this Sunday, November 22. 

A menu of specials featuring Michigan squashes and pumkins and a whole bunch of local beers now on tap over at Brasserie Jo.

Seedlings/Three Floyds Brewery dinner November 24 at Province

Mado Family Dinner  on December 6.

SAVE THE DATE: Family Farmed Expo and Chicago Food Policy Summit – March 11-13 2010.

One Comment

SAVE THE DATE – Family Farmed Expo/Food Policy Summit

Posted: November 20, 2009 at 8:36 am

The Local Beet is very excited to be involved again with the Family Farmed Expo.  Both Melissa Graham and Rob Gardner will be working with the Expo’s Advisory Committee, and our friend Alan “Jazzfood” Lake is in charge of putting together the gala Localicious party.  This year’s expo will take place from March 11 through March 13, 2010 at the UIC Forum.  On March 12, 2010, the Chicago Food Policy Summit will also have their day of meetings and celebrations.  Keep your eye on the Local Beet often for news and updates on this gathering of local food experts and enthusiasts.

Keys to Cold Weather Eating

Posted: November 18, 2009 at 10:19 am

If we say one thing at the Local Beet, we say we are for a practical approach to local eating, but if we have to say another thing, we say, the reasons to eat local do not go away when the weather turns cold.  Do not despair from winter.  Follow the Local Beets KEYS to cold weather eating.

  • Use stored and preserved food
  • Find local food at winter markets and speciality markets
  • Adjust your habits
  • Eat seasonal foods


Let’s start with the most obvious key.  Eat whats in season.  Just as we have tomatoes and peppers at the peak of summer, we eat potatoes and root vegetables in the dead of winter.  In many parts of the world, winter crops come from the fields.  In places like Chicago, winter crops come from two places: storage and greenhouses.  Center your winter diet around potatoes, apples, turnips, beets, celery root, yet it won’t be so plain with indoor lettuces and other goodies you might run across.  Last year, for instance, there was indoor grown raspberries and indoor grown zucchini at various times.  Our stocking up list provides a good start to what will be in season.  Remember, through late fall, field crops remain including hearty greens like kale and Swiss chard and all sorts of members of the cabbage family. 


Winter is not just about types of food, it’s about a way of eating food.  It makes sense in the heat of summer to eat less meat.  It weighs us down, and who wants their ovens going for a big roast or long braise.  On the other hand, come cold, we want things that warms us from the inside.  A purring oven just means less heat from the furnace.  Beyond meat, there are other adjustments.  Use those seasonal foods.  When in doubt, you can roast, you can grate and dress in a salad, and you can boil with a good heaping of Wisconsin butter.  Use all your repertoire.  Onions can play the part of your vegetable, mushrooms can play the part of your main course, and sprouts can make for your salad. 


There are always places to find local food in the Chicago area.  Check our Local Calendar often for the latest news on winter markets.  Besides these markets there’s Cassie’s Green Grocer and the Downtown Famstand.   Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park has the types of local foods that should center your winter table like farm eggs and local cheese (fondue for dinner?).  Irv and Shelly”s Fresh Picks will show you local as much as possible.  In December (knock on wood) the French Market at MetraMarket will be a thriving source for our kind of foods.

Consider also a little road-trip for local food.  The Dane County Market in Madison runs year round and always has stuff.  Other year round markets within a short drive include South Bend and Ann Arbor.  We highlight local food trips in the Local Calendar all the time, and we will soon publish a listing of winter markets within driving distance of Chicago.

You never quite know what you will find while shopping.  One week, there may be a fresh harvest of indoor crops; another week a farmer may be selling her last root vegetables.  Apples and potatoes should be available always. 


As we just said, we still cannot predict what you will find at winter markets.  Ensure you have what you want and need by preserving the harvests.  It is never too late to set aside.  The greens and broccoli in the markets now can be easily frozen for later use.  What about making sauerkraut?  In addition, grab apples, potatoes, onions, garlic, squash, etc. while you can and put them in cold storage.

Want ideas on what to do with your pickles and other preserved foods.  Check often what Paul Virant does.

Do not stop eating local.  Use our KEYS to find success this winter.

One Comment

Continue to Stock Up – A Shopping List (UPDATED)

Posted: November 18, 2009 at 7:50 am

A few weeks ago, we told you how to start stocking up for the colder, leaner times.   Continue to accumulate foods that will make it possible for you to eat local.  Here’s a list of foods to buy in the coming weeks.


You will find the following items at area markets but consume these within a week

  • Lettuces
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Collard greens
  • Bok choi and related
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Smaller radishes


The following items will last with good handling for about a month:

  • Pears, especially Asian style pears
  • Larger radishes such as black radishes
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes


The following items will last through winter with good handling:

  • Kohlrabi (use the greens within a week)
  • Turnips (use the greens within a week)
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Beets
  • Rutabaga
  • Celery root
  • Parsley root
  • Onions
  • Winter squash


The following items will last you through early spring or beyond with good handling:

  • Apples (Note: McIntosh apples are ver poor keepers)
  • Potatoes

mado pig butchering demo – SOLD OUT

Posted: November 17, 2009 at 6:51 pm

UPDATE: The demo is sold out.  Look for information on additional demos soon.

Since its opening over a year ago, Mado has been butchering whole animals for use at the restaurant.  Chef Rob Levitt is expert at making use of the whole beast, from tossing a few ears into a salad to making testa from the whole head.  What cannot go into dishes goes into sausages.  A lot of people have asked him to demonstrate his butchering skills, and Rob and Mado have finally complied.

This Monday, November 23, 2009 at 6:30pm, Chef Levitt will give a demonstration.  Each attendee will also get a sampling of the cuts of pork that will be butchered.

 $50 per person – limited to 10 spaces

Call or email Mado for reservations.  More information here.

773.342.2340  madorestaurant@att.net

(One of the) Best Decisons I’ve Made

Posted: November 17, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Boy, do I know some doozie of decisions I’ve made over the years.  I can balance them out with some good ones.  One decision I am especially pleased with is my decision to go local over three years ago. I like eating local.

My family and I embarked on our eat local odyssey before we knew of any eat local challenge and before we heard of the word locavore.  It’s been a good journey.  If we began as much for the challenge, could it be done, we continue for a few simple reasons.

Michael provides some excellent reasons for eating local.   And another eat local vanguard, Jen Maiser, has ten good reasons.  I can distill it down to two factors.

  1. Local food stands for food grown, produced or manufactured in ways that matter to me.  It means food that does not waste fuels getting to me.  It means animals raised and slaughtered humanely.  It means food created with care and a sense of artisinalship.  It means respect for the land, sustainable farming practices.  All the isms and buzz word that matter, that matter to me get rolled up in the words local food.
  2. I like to eat, perhaps I like to eat too much, but I like to eat.  The best way to eat well is to eat local.  Local gets you food that is fresher, arriving soon after harvest.  This, of course, means food that could be picked at its peaked moments.  Local also means the ability to get foods that taste good but make lousy supermarket fare.  It may have limited mass appeal (the gooseberry) or may crush and splatter too easy (like a good heirloom tomato).   Moreover, my vendors have the ability, nay the luxury to grow twelve kinds of potatoes and twice that in apples.  All those “things that matter” mentioned above, well I find those things also bring fourth great taste too.  I am a happy eat local eater.

I can boil it down more by saying local repersents food I know.  Maybe all I know is where it was made, but often that is enough.  I know I can learn more.  I know most of the farmers that sell me my produce.  I know where my beef, pork and lamb got raised (I even got to meet my cow).  I know I am happy to be eating local.


What’s “Practically” New @ The Local Beet Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
Cold Weather Recipes – Pumpkin Waffles Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
The 61st Street Farmers Market – STILL OPEN! Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
Beet-licious Monday, November 16th, 2009
In the Jailhouse Now Monday, November 16th, 2009
Half Acre is Hip – not Flawed Anymore? – REVIEW Monday, November 16th, 2009
Winter Markets on the Local Calendar – (Last week’s) Monday, November 16th, 2009
It’s Never too Late for the Local Calendar Friday, November 6th, 2009
Beet Links Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Morton Grove Farmer’s Market Has a Site Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Back and Fightin’ Over $400+ Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009