UPDATED: Go Out and Shop with Our Local Calendar (Seasonal Changes in the Local Calendar)
It is time to shop. Time to market. Eat local now. Sure, only a few markets exist now. Find them. It’s Spring, and an especially warm spring. Get out. You should be able to find a wide array of local produce from asparagus to rhubarb. Methinks you might even find some especially early strawberries somewhere. It’s almost like we live in California. No?
Use the Local Calendar. Use it with our market locator too. Use our resources a bit different this time of year. For a good part of the time in our area, us locavores are limited to a few winter markets, and our in-season produce can practically be counted on our fingers. During that time of year, we can pretty much list it all the Local Calendar, all the markets, all the local foods. As the markets start a-rollin’ in May and then really in June, it makes no sense to list them all. It would make the Local Calendar pretty bulky, and keep you from noticing good stuff. Instead, we will highlight each week a few markets, maybe a market just opening for the season or a brand new market. Use the locator to find other markets. As to what’s in season, as the markets fill up with produce, do not expect a comprehensive assessment. Again, instead, weekly we will point out a few things; something unique or new, or something available for only a short time. Look to these seasonal changes going forward in the Local Calendar. Oh, and don’t forget to watch for our Market Watch by Robin Schirmer. She’s right there keeping track of all the new happenings too.
WHAT TO BUY NOW
Can we say, eat local. We see ramps at Whole Foods as well as at a few other sources. Asparagus has already been around for a few weeks, how are you serving it. What makes Spring taste as it does, green and fresh. Our stores of dried onions and garlic wane, and we cook now with green garlic and green onions, and we season with early herbs like sorrel and cilantro. My friend Farmer Vicki likes to point out that in Spring, our bodies crave the cleansing virtues of greens, especially the limited crop, nettles. Look also for wild watercress. Other greens you may find include turnip greens, chard, rocket, lettuces (you can cook lettuces and rocket), spinach and Asian items like tsao choi. We still see over-wintered parsnips.
Local apples and potatoes, last year’s crop, are still around and eatble. Although apples may not be the only local fruit now, you may find rhubarb and strawberries.
UPDATE: Oops, we forgot a major spring fling. The morel mushroom. While you’ll save yourself a lot of money finding them yourself, you can find this limited crop at select markets and locavore shops. If you might find yourself in Madison, Wisconsin this weekend, you might get better deals.
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 – May 7
Chad Nichol’s informed us in the comments that he will be setting up a special early season shop at Eli’s Cheesecake to take advantage of the early Spring bounty. I’m pretty sure I’ll be there. – 6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive, Chicago
Saturday – May 8
Evanston Farmer’s Market – One of the best (if not the best) markets likes to gets a head start on its competitors for the top spot. The Evanston market is the only place to buy the wide variety of produce from Henry’s Farm, and they promise much now. Two other produce vendors at Evanston, Green Acres and Nichol’s Farm also bring in a wide variety of produce. There’s a good source for local meat there and a few sources for local eggs. It is one of the few markets around where one can find organic apples. If you do not usually have a local market to shop, maybe make this weekend the weekend to check out Evanston. – Intersection of University Place and Oak Ave, Evanston – 730 – 1 PM
UPDATE: When the Local Calendar went to press, we were stood confused by the information being put out by the Geneva Farmer’s Market as to their availability. We have since confirmed that yes that there is a market this Saturday, still inside, 11 N. 5th St., Geneva, IL – 9 AM – 1 PM – Expect popping corn, eggs (turkey, duck, chicken, AND goose), Cornish hens, lettuce (assorted varieties) and more.
Sunday – May 9
Some commentators on LTHForum have spoken well of the Frankfort Country Market. Take mom for a nice Sunday drive to the far southside happening. The Frankfort Country Market is located at the intersection of Oak & Kansas Street, adjacent to Breidert Green in historic downtown Frankfort. 10 AM – 2 PM
Wednesday – May 12
After a short break (to tidy up?), Green City Market offers up a wide array of local goodies. The meat this year is better than ever with two chef favorites Dietzler Farm and Becker Lane Pork (yes the one you used to need an ultra pricey subscription to obtain) offering carne con gusto. Chef Phillip Foss of Lockport does the demo at 1030, and hopefully he’ll forsake that great meat for some Shanghai bass recipes. Lincoln Park, along Clark, north of North – 7 AM – 1 PM
UPDATE: City Provisions Supper Club at Nichol’s Farm – We here Lloyd Nichol’s got some new lawn furniture for this gala.
UPDATE: Swing into Spring to benefit the Peterson Garden – 4740 North Western, Chicago
Growing Power Benefit – Chicago Cultural Center
June 23, July 28, and August 25