The Local Beet, Your Practical Approach to Local Eating

April 11, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Rob Gardner

Welcome aboard.  While this weekend saw the last Winter Farmer’s Market of the season, the mild temperatures signaled spring for sure.  We hope and wish you all made it through the winter on a diet of rutabaga and apples, but we know it is not always easy to maintain the locavore lifestyle.  We see, however, more and more people stopping by our site, because we know about now, hope springs eternal for local food.  The Local Beet is here for you with its practical approach.

We call our approach practical for two reasons.  Firstly, most importantly, we believe in flexibility.  We believe there is no more important rule to eating local than the one that says do not make yourselves nuts.  We do not preach 100 mile absolutism.  We are modest in our expectations.  We believe in eating local, but we do not believe that every morsel must be blessedly local.  Secondly, we are practical in what we provide.  We guide you to a catalogue of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) choices.  We list each week what is in season and where to find it.  We share how we do it, and we share the fun in how we do it. 

Here’s our regular roster of contributors.

Tom Keith finds all that is interesting with local beer, and keeps us well informed with brewery tours and news.  Of course his expertise goes to making beer too, being one of the country’s leading experts on beet beer.  His latest piece reports on local brewers more active now in Belgium than Chicago, but looking to do some interesting things here soon.

Vera Videnovich co-owns with her family, a small farm in Michigan.  She draws on her Serbian heritage for certain speciality crops and products like the pepper relish ajar.  She also raises sheep and hand spins the wool.  Besides updating us on the farm, she reports from the various markets where she sells.  At this time of year she finds it hard to stay away from distractions.

The Local Beet is privileged to have Melissa Graham along side.  It seems there is barely a good food cause, organization, drive or effort without Melissa playing a role.  Beyond playing her part to better school lunches and increase family participation in local eating, she is an accomplished cook.  If she is not reporting on an event, she is dishing out something enticing.   We’ve collected her Spring recipes here.

Brad Moldofsky started as our Backyard Farmer, trying to feed his family cheaper through the plants out back.  He’s found his real calling, however, as our general assignment reporter.  You will find him much more in our features slot, checking in on the FamilyFarmed Expo or the future of food with Homar Cantu.  Just this week, we get to follow Brad on a behind the scenes tour of the local taffy apple shop.

A foodie friend, Wendy Aeschlimann, said that we need to have local wine in our diet.  We thought so too, and asked her to help make the Case for Local Wine.  Being the modern woman, Wendy is not just writing about local wines, she can be found twittering about it too.

We’ve been applauding the work of farmer’s market junkie Robin “Winter” Schirmer for ages, and trying to get her on board for ages too.  We finally convinced her to share a regular Market Watch with our readers.  For instance, here, she updates us on some forthcoming markets.

Our latest regular is Keighty Alvarez, who wanted to share the fun she was having making cheeses.  She also agreed to taste cheeses and tell us what she though in her Cheesy Conversations. In her latest installment, she makes fresh mozzarella.

I’m the Local Family.   Rather, I should say that I write on behalf of the Local Family.  Mom’s the Cookbook Addict who one day shall share her obsessions, but in the meantime does not bulk of the cooking.  The two local kids play their parts by tolerating slices of daikon radish in their school lunches and a never ending supply of apples.  We try to relate our regular efforts to eat mostly local mostly all the time.

We are not restricted to the regulars.  Food advocate Chad Rubel has been stopping by a lot these days.  We welcome all sorts of other voices like that of a local lamb getting fleeced.  You do not even have to have ideal experiences going local.  We found it invaluable to learn that Ronnie “Suburban” Kaplan was not hog wild with his local meat.  You always have a place to voice your opinions in the comments, and we wholly open to your articles and inputs.  If you do not know how to reach us, there’s a contact us in very small print way at the bottom of the page.

Also, way at the bottom of the page, you’ll find a search box.  We know we are lousy with tags and ways to grab hold of our previous pieces, but without too much work you can Google your way into a wealth of videos, recipes, photos, lists, tours, tastings and experiences in the practical approach of the Local Beet.