The Time to Eat Local is Now – Our Weekly Local Calendar

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April 23, 2010 at 8:39 am

We know that Earth Day inspired many people to do more for the world around them, and we know that one of the best things they can do for the world is change the way they get their foods. 

Five Ways Eating Local is Green:

  1. All the studies and percentages fail to convince us that Food Miles matter; if not every time, on every item of food, then most of the time.  Reduce the distance it takes your for your food to arrive.  The less your food travels, the less fuel used and the less greenhouse gases emitted.
  2. Local food has Less Packaging, meaning less solid waste.  And do your part, bringing your own bags to the farmer’s markets.
  3. You pay the real costs for local meat, practically forcing you to Eat Less Meat.  Listen, we love a big juicy steak, aint tired of bacon and revel at the rush of good, new hamburger places, but we do believe that meat should be a luxury eaten less often.  Reducing meat consumption may help the world more than reducing food miles.  You do not have to eat local to eat less meat, but when meat is a luxury it should be local.  (Local meat is also produced in more humane ways,)
  4. For a host of reasons, local farmers tend to use Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable Farming Practices.  If you know your farmers, they are accountable to you.  More, when in doubt, go visit the farm.  What about the fact that many local farms are not Organic with a big O.  That is and is not an issue.  On one hand, we can cite instance after instance where large scale farms compiled with the regulations but did not produce good results.  What about all the large scale penned in dairy farms that skated by on lax rules (now being changed).   On the other hand, there are local farms that can do better, for instance trying to spray less; that is change to organic pest control methods.  If you create the demand, however, the local farmers will comply.  All in all, we believe that the farmers we think of as “local”, those at the farmer’s markets, use good agriculture practices that make a real difference.  Support them.
  5. Eating local Fosters Community and Builds Local Economies.  Local eaters know how their decisions affect those around them, including how those around them are treating the earth.  They also know their decisions provide local jobs, preserve existing infrastructures and retard the decay facing our rural areas.  It matters to keep farmland green, and this will happen when there are jobs for farmers.

We also know that eating local produces the best tasting foods.  The time to eat to eat local is now.  Our weekly Local Calendar gives you what you need to be on the locavore path.   We tell you what local foods to buy now, and we tell you where to buy them.  

Besides what is on the Local Calendar below, how ’bout starting a garden this weekend.  Brad provides five tips to get you going.  Or go check out the local beer at Lunar Brewing.  Tom thinks highly of it.  It’s not just beer, Wendy makes the Case for Local Wine.  And what goes better with wine than cheese, follow Keighty’s suggestions to make a local cheeseboard.   Robin’s Market Watch covers several Earth Day activities coming after Earth Day itself.  When you finally get back home, use our Spring recipe collection for kitchen inspiration.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

Yes!  The local food is starting to arrive.  Ramps have been spotted around town.  Even better, the warm weather has asparagus arriving awfully soon this year.  You should be able to find  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 are also over-wintered carrots or parsnips still.

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

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

 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

Sunday – April 25

Find a lot of our favorite vendors like Jim Vitalo’s Herbally Yours vinegars and Joe Burn’s Brunkow cheeses at the Frankfort Country Market - The Frankfort Country Market is located at the intersection of Oak & Kansas Street, adjacent to Breidert Green in historic downtown – 10 AM – 2 PM

Let’s Retake Our Plates – Earth Month Film Series – Food Inc, – Whole Foods Market, Sauganash (6020 N. Cicero, Chicago) – 5m PM – Entrance donation is $10 and all proceeds will be donated to The Talking Farm! 

Wednesday – April 28

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

 

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