The Elusive Tastes of Spring on the Local Calendar

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April 14, 2010 at 9:09 am

Believe us, this won’t be the last you hear from us on how hard it is to find those damn tastes of Spring.  The problem with seasonal eating this time of year is not so much product but where to find it.  As you will see below, the Local Calendar does not have a lot on it this week, at least not in the way of markets.  On the other hand, we know that food is out there, those harbingers springing out of the ground: shoots and leaves, plants edible for a limited time like nettles and ferns.  And the thing is, even if we had more robust Spring markets, we have few vendors bringing these items to us.  Thus, the tastes of Spring mostly elude us.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

This time of year is all about the earliest risers: ramps and nettlesfiddlehead ferns, onion shoots, dandelion greens, garlic mustard.  We’ve heard that Cassie at Green Grocer has some ramps, but otherwise we do not know commercial sources for any of these things.  These early season items could be slightly more accessible:  sorrel, cilantro, watercress and green garlic.  The warming weather has hoophouses more productive and area farmers are getting lettuces, spinach, chard, rocket and micro-greens from them.  You may also find turnips, beets and similar root vegetables from the h-houses.  There may also be over-wintered carrots or parsnips still.

As stuff is coming, a bit remains: apples and potatoes also a bit of cabbage, celery and sunchokes.   

Continue to use quality preserved items.  Tomato Mountain and River Valley Ranch are good sources for canned goods, and Freshpicks has frozen fruits and vegetables from Michigan.  You might find dried fruits.

Local foods also include our great cheeses, meats, grains, beans, nuts, milk, eggs, etc.  There’s even local tofu at some markets.

Need ideas for your Spring produce, check our our seasonal recipe collection.

Let us know what other local goods you are still seeing for sale.

 WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

WHAT TO DO

MARKETS  AND EVENTS THIS WEEK

 Wednesday – April 14

Last Soup and Bread of the year is tonight at the Hideout – 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago – 530 – 8 PM

Saturday – April 15

Community Winter Market – 11 North 5th Street, Geneva 9 AM – 1 PM

Grayslake Farmer’s Market – Downtown Grayslake; Vendors are located on Center Street and Centennial Park – 10 AM – 2 PM

Sunday – April 18

Let’s Retake Our Plates  – Whole Food Earth Month Film Series – No Impact ManEntrance donation is $10 and all proceeds will be donated to The Talking Farm. Location: Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark St., 2nd Floor, Chicago. In celebration of Earth Month, join Whole Foods Market for two award-winning documentaries paired with locally produced food and beverages, green goodie bags, and an expert panel discussion following each film, including those from The Talking FarmClick here to buy tickets or get them at the Whole Foods Market Sauganash.

Monday - April 19

Three Course Earth Day Menu – Vie – 4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs

Tuesday – April 20

City Provisions Supper Club – Earth Day Dinner

Leslie Cooperband at Pastoral – You do not need to go for from Urbana to find idyllic farmland (which unfortunately now stands threatened). From this patch, Leslie and her husband Wes Jarrel, raise and milk goats. They make several varieties of goat cheese. They also get sheep milk from a neighbor and make an outstanding fresh cheese from that. Leslie will be discussing all of this and more at Pastoral’s French Market location. She promises plenty of time for questions. I’d suggest at least one of the questions be, when do tickets go on sale for your farm dinners. – Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine – Chicago French Market, 131 N. Clinton, Chicago – Demo 530-6 PM, free tasting until 7 PM.

Wednesday- April 21

Three Course Earth Day Menu – Vie – 4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs

MARKETS AND EVENTS COMING

Thursday- April 22

Go Green Day Management Earth Day – Flair Tower – 720 N. Franklin, Chicago

Three Course Earth Day Menu – Vie – 4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs

Friday – April 23

Earth Day Dinner, Heritage Prairie Farm – Menu – 2N308 Brundige Road, Elburn – 6 PM

Saturday – April 24

Chicago Green City Market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m (Directions) – The theme is Cheese.

Portage Park – Irving Park and Central, Chicago - 10 – 2 PM

Community Winter Market – 11 North 5th Street, Geneva 9 AM – 1 PM

Grayslake Farmer’s Market – Downtown Grayslake; Vendors are located on Center Street and Centennial Park – 10 AM – 2 PM

Wednesday – April 28

Bell’s Beer Dinner – Branch 27 – 1371 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago – 730 PM

 

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