Superbug and the Morality of Eating Confinement Animals

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Posted: November 26, 2010 at 9:28 am

I just read a really scary book.

It wasn’t written by Stephen King or James Patterson . It wasn’t even fiction. But the tales of necrotizing pneumonia and pus filled abscesses caused by a virulent strain of antibiotic resistant bacteria made my hair stand on end.

Maryn McKenna, an award-winning science and medical writer, has created a terrifying and vivid portrayal of drug-resistant staph in Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA. The book has the style of a crisply written detective novel from its first paragraph, comprised of one line:

“Tony Love’s knee ached.”

This ordinary knee ache resulted from a collision on the volleyball court in the Chicago school gym where he scraped his elbow. From this small ordinary childhood injury, came a knee so swollen that this healthy teenager could not put weight on it. The first visit to the ER resulted in a prescription for Motrin and hot towels. A few days later, the teen was in so much pain that he could not walk, go to the bathroom, or even eat. The family made a second visit to the ER where they were referred to U of C’s children’s hospital. Within minutes of their arrival, Tony’s condition worsened and he crashed into septic shock. His body was wracked with infection – a voracious antibiotic resistant staph known as MRSA. Tony ultimately recovered after months of treatment and a few more months of rehab, but the story of how a little bit of bacteria felled an otherwise healthy kid is just the beginning of McKenna’s nightmarish portrayal of the infection that could hit any one of us at any time.

MRSA stands for methicillan-resistant Staphyloccus areus. As the historians among us will recall, the antibiotic era began during World War II. Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the mold that birthed penicillin on a culture dish of Staphyloccus (staph for short) in 1928. Twelve years later, a set of researchers proved the drug’s value to U.S. pharmaceutical companies who then manufactured the drug and sent it to Allied troops curing battlefield infections that previously were fatal. The public saw penicillin’s release in 1944. While it was heralded as a wonder drug, even its creator was beginning to fear the ability of the bacteria to circumvent the drug’s protection.

Given the wont of Americans to overdo, this fear was justified. Penicillin was added to face soaps and body creams and was prescribed to excess. The nimble bug evolved, getting stronger. Much of the book follows the bacteria and its aftermath. Appearing first mainly in hospitals where the patient’s resistance is weak, the bacteria then developed a community strain, infecting individuals with no connection to hospitals, either patients or workers, killing, in some instances, healthy children within hours.

The real story, however, is not the spread of this superbug, but the system that we constructed to give it life. The over prescribing of antibiotics by busy doctors, overcrowded prisons, and poor hygiene are part of this perfect storm that we’ve created. While these are large contributors, we must not forget the livestock industry.

Between 70 and 80 % of the antibiotics used in this country are given to animals raised for food. While some of these drugs are given to sick animals, the majority is provided either preventatively (i.e. so that otherwise healthy animals will not get ill under the wretched confinement system that they are forced into) or as sub-therapeutic doses to help the animals gain weight so that they can reach slaughter sooner. Despite connections made between the antibiotics used in livestock production and resistant bacteria that infects individuals working with these animals, the livestock industry has claimed that this relationship is not proven with absolute certainty. (Whatever ever happened to the precautionary principle in science?). Their case is growing weaker by the day.

In the late 2000’s, a strain of MRSA know as ST398 emerged in the Netherlands. For years, the Netherlands instituted a stringent “search and destroy” policy to prevent the spread of MRSA. Anyone suspected of carrying MRSA (a patient previously admitted to a hospital in a foreign country or with a leaking wound) went immediately into isolation upon arrival to rid them of the offending bacteria. The system worked. According to McKenna, in 2000, only .03 % newly admitted patients in the Netherlands were carrying MRSA as compared to 2.6 percent in the U.S.

Then the young daughter of a pig farmer arrived at a hospital colonized with MRSA. A doctor from the Netherlands interviewed by McKenna stated that “I saw twenty patients colonized in a year, max, and in every case we knew the source. I had not seen a MRSA infection in fourteen years. Yet here was this little child, who had not been in a hospital abroad. It was amazing.” And, as McKenna adds, unnerving.

It turns out that the family were pig farmers, part of a network of small family farms being “subsumed by large American-style operations with thousands of animals.” The researchers surmised, correctly, that the pigs acquired MRSA and passed it onto the farmers and their families. As this superbug is apt to do, the strain spread from the Netherlands to Canada and then to Iowa. The fear is that this not only will this bacteria act like ordinary staph, colonizing on the skin and in the nose, but that it could potentially act as a contaminant causing foodborne illness. How scary is that?

Before reading Superbug, the question of confinement raised animals was an ethical one for me – whether the misery inflicted upon animals and, for that matter, the humans working in those facilities by the putrid conditions outweighed the need to eat cheap meat. Even the environmental degradation resulting from the inevitable careless management of CAFOs seemed a distant and intangible casualty. For me, Superbug has changed the argument from one of ethics to a moral imperative. In every hamburger of unknown origin, I see Tony Love’s face or even worse that of Carlos Don IV.

Carlos was another healthy kid who left on a school trip to the mountain and returned with a 104°F fever. The first doctor diagnosed Carlos with walking pneumonia so his mother kept him home bundled and hydrated until she realized that he was beginning to hallucinate. She rushed Carlos to the hospital and the doctor’s ultimately diagnosed his condition as MRSA. A long slow death march ensued during which Carlos’s lungs dissolved and clotting choked off the blood to his lower intestines, legs and arms. In two weeks, he was dead.

After reading Carlos’s story late in the evening, I woke a bewildered Thor from a dead sleep to scrub his hands clean. I hugged him as tightly as I could.

Here at the Beet, we like to have a local or personal angle. I just came back from Portland where I was speaking with a friend from Berkeley. She’s devoted to sustainable causes and eats well – I think she may even largely keep a vegetarian diet. Yet, she told me about the antibiotic staph infection she contracted after staying in the hospital for post-op. She eats well, she takes care of herself and yet, she has been impacted by this terrible scourge caused by the misuse of antibiotics. This isn’t about you or me or our personal choices, but how we protect society at large, our children in particular.

On the same trip, I had the pleasure to hear Ruth Reichl speak and she implored the audience to stop eating confinement raised animals. As she put it, if everyone stopped buying them and eating them, the practice would be history. Knowing what I now know, I think it’s our moral duty.

For more on this issue, read this recent New York Times Op-Ed piece by a former USDA head: Cows on Drugs.


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CULINARY CONVERSATION WITH DANIEL TUCKER – December 1 – Book Release Event at the Downtown Farmstand

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Posted: November 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm

The Downtown Farmstand continues its “Culinary Conversation” series with Daniel Tucker to celebrate the release of his new Farm Together Now, a book he co-authored with Amy Franceschini.  Joining the discussion will be local farmers profiled in Tucker’s book, including representatives from Angelic Organics Learning Center, God’s Gang, and On the Fly Farms. Book signing, local food samples and after-hours shopping will follow.  The event is free but visit www.chicagofarmstand.com or call 312.742.TIXS (8497) to reserve seats.  

Farm Together Now, part-travelogue, part-oral history, part-creative exploration of food politics, introduces readers to growers and producers who are challenging the conventions of industrialized farming.  For more information, visit www.farmtogethernow.org.

Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand, located at 66 E. Randolph, Chicago is a year-round storefront offering food grown or produced within 250 miles of Chicago. The Farmstand is operated by the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, visit www.chicagofarmstand.com or call 312.742.8419. Open 6 days a week: Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.




Gratitude

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Posted: November 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Thanksgiving gets a bum rap. The Jan Brady of holidays, it’s sandwiched between the two most over-merchandised days all year. While it’s been overlooked and underappreciated in the past, 2010 has taken it to a new level. I’m watching the Black Friday ads punctuate television shows announcing that some popular stores will now open at 4:00am. Even more despicable, Toys R Us, is opening Thursday night. Shove that food down your gullet, it’s merely fuel to spend, spend, spend. Just like Rodney Dangerfield, Thanksgiving “gets no respect.”

I find this all very sad. While it has been a tough few years for many of us, we still can find things to be grateful about. Most of us beet eaters will be enjoying a feast of locally sourced delicacies, pasture raised turkeys partnered with farmers’ market produce. As Newsweek effectively reminded us this week in “Divided We Eat,” these are luxuries that many Americans cannot afford. I’m painfully shown this fact several times a week during Purple Asparagus’ education programs where we visit some of the most underserved communities in Chicago.

I know that when I sit down tomorrow at my Thanksgiving table, I won’t be making my shopping list for Christmas. I’ll be enjoying our delicious feast and more importantly the pleasure of my family’s company. I hope you’ll join me in giving Thanksgiving its due – focusing on what we have as opposed to what we can buy.

At our table, we’re having a Southwestern themed Thanksgiving. One of our family traditions is for my son and I to collaborate on a new recipe. This year, the little locavore suggested a black bean dressing, which we’re making with Floriole’s yeasted cornbread, Cedar Valley’s chorizo, and Three Sisters black beans. I can’t exactly give you the recipe as it hasn’t yet been made, so instead, I’ll share our Pumpkin Cheesecake, made with a pepita crust.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Mascarpone Cheesecake
Serves 10-12

1 ½ cups finely ground whole wheat graham cracker crumbs
½ cup pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
1 pound mascarpone at room temperature
1 ½ c. sugar
5 large eggs
1 ½ c. unsweetened pumpkin puree, canned or home made
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup heavy cream

• Preheat oven to 350° F.
• In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the pumpkin seeds for 5 minutes or until just slightly colored. Let cool.
• In a food processor, finely grind the pumpkin seeds with the whole wheat graham cracker crumbs and the turbinado sugar.
• Add melted butter and process just until combined.
• Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan.
• Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.
• Increase the oven temperature to 450°.
• Place cream cheese and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.
• Add the mascarpone, beat for another minute.
• Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after the addition of each one.
• Add the pumpkin, mix until well combined.
• Add the spices, lemon juice and cream, mix until combined.
• Mix by hand with a rubber spatula to insure that all ingredients are incorporated.
• Pour into the spring form pan.
• Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 225° F and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. The center will not be completely set. Turn the oven off, open the door to the oven, and leave the cheesecake in for another half hour. The top will likely crack. Remove the cheesecake and let cool on a rack for two to three hours. Refrigerate overnight before serving.




UPDATE: Scratch That, There are a Bit Less After Thanksgiving Markets on this Local Calendar

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Posted: November 24, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Update: We did not pay close attention when we posted our Local Calendar this week.  It turns out that neither the Logan Square Market or the Glenwood Market will be open this Sunday.  You still have a few options for Saturday as well as the various stores specializing in eat local fare.

We hope you used our last local calendar well. We heard that a lot of shoppers filled Green City Market.  We know bargains filled the last Lincoln Square Farmer’s Market (man we have a lot of squash in the Bungalow).  We know that this Saturday, you won’t have a Green City Market, but we know that you still have places to gather your local foods  one or two places to find local food .  And god yes, there is much local food to be had.  Really.  Get out there and continue your locavore ways.  

Please note, as we mentioned last week, please don’t be afraid to let us know what we have left off the Local Calendar.

To get the most out of your winter farmer’s market experience, use our handy set of tips

Need to know what winter will taste like, the three phases of winter eating, see here.

If you want to get out and about, we have a big list of Midwestern locavore roadtrips (to be updated really soon!).

WHAT TO BUY NOW

Have we mentioned that there is much local food to be found?  Your only limitation comes in fruit.  Your only option for fresh local fruit is apples.  You can still find many varieties of apples around, both at farmer’s markets and at other sources.  Still, we said fresh fruit.  Your chances of eating great local fruits increases when you extend your boundaries beyond the tyranny of the fresh.   For instance, Seedlings offers their fruits in dried and frozen forms.  Make a fried pie with some dried fruit.  Wait, did we say apples were the only fruit around?  There are still local cranberries, and you can use them after Thanksgiving.  Our latest Beetnick, Ava George Stewart, wants you to rise the the challenge of using cranberries more.

If there are very few local fruits, there are more than enough local veg.  You can get your greens like rocket (a/k/a arugula), chard, spinach or lettuces.  There will always be micro-greens/sprouts.  There may be some herbs  like cilantro; we saw locally grown basil at Angelo Caputo’s.   The last of the cabbage families remain: white and red head cabbages, Asian greens like bok choi, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, kohlrabi and more.    Then, there are other root crops: lots of radishesbeets, rutabagas, carrots, celery root, sunchokes.   Of course there are the alliums: onions, garlic, leeks, shallots.   We are not positive, but you might still find hot peppers. Finally, there are those classic storage crops: winter squash and potatoes (including sweet potatoes).  And as always, there are mushrooms.

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

We await the opening of Butcher and the Larder.

C&D Pastured Pork’s sales around town.

As we noted above, we continue to see local foods at various grocery stores.  Besides the aforementioned basis, we have seen local apples, onions, winter squash and potatoes.  There’s probably more if you poke around.

WHAT TO DO SOON

Saturday – November 27

61 ist Street Farmer’s Market at Experimental Station – Variety of breads, meats and produce from our friends at Genesis Growers. 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., Chicago 9 AM – 2 PM

Woodstock - We learned of this market when we went out to McHenry to give a talk.  At the Extension Office/Farm Bureau office in Woodstock (1102 McConnell Road), this market promises pastured meats, winter produce and other fun stuff  9 AM – 12 PM through December.

Olivia’s Garden – Find Tomato Mountain (sold by the Cook Book Addict), Mint Creek, C & D Pastured Pork, honey from the Pullman community garden and other goods at this Beverly garden center  10730 S. Western, Chicago – 9 AM – 1 PM through

Geneva Community Market – Inglenook Pantry – 11 N. 5th Street, Geneva – 9 AM – 1 PM

Meeting outdoors, the Grayslake market continues with meat, vegetables, cheese and other goodies – Downtown Grayslake in Centinial Park – 10 AM – 2 PM

WHAT TO DO LATER

Wednesday – December 1

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM. Demonstration by Cleetus Friedman of City Provisions at 1030 AM

Culinary Conversations with Daniel Tucker, celebrating the release of his new Farm Together Now at the Downtown FarmstandBook signing, local food samples and after-hours shopping will follow.  The event is free but visit www.chicagofarmstand.com or call 312.742.TIXS (8497) to reserve seats.  The Downtown Farmstand is located at 66 E. Randolph, Chicago

Friday - December 3

The {Office} Holiday Party…Mad Men Style - Get your thin tie on and join West Loop Studio to celebrate Mad Men style in their designed “office.” Retro inspired food (vegan and GF friendly) from FIG Catering, classic holiday booze by Vinejoy, tunes from Ultimate Photobooth by West Loop Studio, {perhaps a visit by Santa}.  The Mad Men inspired publicists say you don’t have to see these people tomorrow in the office, so any social faux pas that ‘might’ occur are less embarrassing!  Buy your here as they will not be sold at the door. $70 per person – 730 PM – 1130 PM – 17 North Elizabeth, Chicago

Saturday – December 4

Meet the Beet and learn how to be a four season locavore with our friends at Green Grocer Chicago.  Me, Rob Gardner, will give a talk at 10 AM on how you can eat local through the winter and beyond.  1402 W. Grand, Chicago

Sunday – December 5

Logan Square Farmers Market – 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 – 2 PM – All sorts of things on for Sunday including Otter Creek cheddars, Mint Creek lamb, and Tempel Farms eggs; Otter Creek Organic Farm also has grass fed beef and pasture raised organic pork and chicken – Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 AM – 2 PM

Deerfield – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the North Shore Unitarian Church, 2100 Half Day Road, Deerfield – 10 AM – 2 PM

Sunday – December 12

Chicago/Ravenswood – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the First Free Evangelical Church – 12 PM – 3 PM

Chicago/Glenwood (Rogers Park) – This well received, new market goes indoors with sausages, apples, and more including organic produce. The market  will continue to accept Master Card and Visa and is extending our Market for All matching fund program for Link/SNAP guests.  The Glenwood Sunday Market is located at the intersection of Glenwood & Morse Avenue (1400W-6900N) in Rogers Park, conveniently located at the Morse “L” stop. 9am -2pm


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Rising to the Challenge of Cranberries

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Posted: November 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

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As some readers may know, I’m from the south, where the holiday season means collard greens, not green bean casserole, sweet potato pie, not pumpkin, and cranberries aren’t really food, they are just something you put on the table as a garnish (no one ever eats them, right?).

So how did I find a way to make cranberries palatable?  I wanted to be a good guest, that’s how.  This was a true challenge.  It would have been far easier had I been asked to come up with a meat-based dessert, and I don’t even eat animals!  I’ve been enjoying a monthly dessert exchange since last spring.  Each month we meet at someone’s home; the host serves a light vegetarian meal, and then… it’s on!  Everyone brings a dessert that they made from scratch.  No slice-and- bake, or just add egg, oil, water, and mix would do in this setting.  This Dessert Exchange is an opportunity to share your favorites, or try that dish you’ve been meaning to get around to. The Exchange has been great for me in the latter category especially.

This month the host threw down the gauntlet and asked that we try to feature cranberry desserts.  It wasn’t a requirement, but she adores cranberries.  WTW!  I don’t like them at all.  Then I started thinking, “okay this will be great for my waistline, and I’ll make something I don’t like.”  Then I realized I did like cranberries two ways.  I like them dried in vegetable salads, but not too many.  I also really like Cran-Orange Juice.  Several light years away, I worked at a coffee shop in Evanston.  They served this really refreshing drink; it was Cranberry Juice Cocktail and fresh squeezed orange juice.  Each day, while most folks were asleep, one of my roommates (and now a dessert exchange participant) would be getting a workout squeezing a case or two of oranges to start the day and make Cran-OJ.  I drank this like there would be no tomorrow.  So I pondered what I could do with cranberries and oranges in a dessert.

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This was still a struggle for me because cranberries aren’t like other berries.  They are not to be plopped in one’s mouth raw, and enjoyed.  You can tell they are supposed to be good for you because they can’t be consumed in their raw state in large quantities.  That’s probably why, unlike every other seasonal fruit now available year round; you only see cranberries readily available during the holiday season.  It’s not that you can’t find frozen cranberries year round, but my goodness, who on earth wants to eat them?

So I landed where only a chilled-to-the-bone-at 67 degrees Fahrenheit southerner could land, and decided I was going to make an ice cream with cranberries. It took some figuring but it works.  I wanted whole fruit, swirls and warm bits of orange in this wonder.  This stuff is fantastic.  There’s still time to pull this showstopper out for the Thanksgiving offerings, and then repeat it at the remaining celebrations of Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Winter Solstice.

Cranberries and Cream Ice Cream with Candied Orange Peel

Unlike peaches and cream ice cream or any other berries and cream ice cream, you cannot use raw fruit.  I think it is just too sharp, bordering on bitter, and will be inedible to all but your most diplomatic guests.

Cranberry Syrup w/ Whole Cranberries Infused with Orange

1/3 c sugar
3/4 c fresh or frozen whole cranberries, chop half of them
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. orange juice

Caramelize the Sugar: Place sugar in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat.  The pan must be completely dry when you add the sugar.  Also, you cannot multi-task while you are doing this step.  It requires you literally standing over the pot and watching the sugar.  Once the sugar is in the pan do not touch the pan.  Just use your nose to guide you in determining when the sugar is melting.  Of course it won’t start to show that it is melting at the thin edges, because that would be too much like right.  It should start melting at about 5-6 minutes.  Once the melting begins, stir it until the sugar is a beautiful amber color (think clear maple syrup). Slant pan add cranberries, orange juice, and water (the addition of the cool and wet ingredients to the hot pan will cause the contents to bubble, hiss, and spit).  Simmer over low heat, stirring, until the hardening pieces of caramel (a lot like hard brown sugar) have fully dissolved.  Remove from heat, and then pour syrup through a sieve into a stainless steel bowl. Push the berries with a spoon to release more juice.

Make Ahead: Store the cranberries separately from the syrup.  You can make this a couple of days before and refrigerate it.

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Candied Orange Peel

1 large thick-skinned orange (navel is perfect for this)

½ c. cold water

2 T. sugar

Cut peel from orange in 1 in. wide strips.  Make sure you cut close enough to the orange that you don’t have any pith (white membrane) on your peel.  Each peel should be about 2 in. long.  Blanch peel in small pan of boiling water for 1 minute.  Drain.  Rinse peel in cold water.  Blanch, drain, and rinse two more times, for a total of three times.

Mix water and sugar in small sauce pan over low heat. No stirring required, just lift and swirl pan until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Bring this simple syrup to a simmer.  Add peel and cook until the pan is almost dry, about 15 minutes.  This is a bit sticky, but place individual bits of peel on a waxed-paper lined surface.  Do not let the bits of peel touch or overlap.

Make Ahead: Store covered at room temperature up to 2 days ahead

Ice Cream Base

3 c.  Heavy cream

2/3 c. sugar

3   egg yolks

½ t. vanilla extract

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Heat cream and sugar over low heat in a heavy saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.  Take half a cup of this hot cream and whisk slowly into the egg yolks.  Then take the egg yolk mixture and whisk completely into the remaining cream mix in the saucepan.  Stir this mixture, using a figure eight movement, and preferably a wooden spoon just until the mix coats the spoon, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and pour crème anglaise into a bowl.  Chill completely, place in the refrigerator overnight. Tip: Place ice cream storing container in the freezer overnight as well.

Process the crème anglaise in your ice cream freezer according to the directions.

Place a couple of tablespoons of the syrup in the bottom of the ice cream storage container.  Then top with a layer of ice cream.  Then add a few more tablespoons of syrup and cranberries.  Sprinkle candied orange peel over the top.  Continue to layer the ice cream, syrup and cranberries, and finish with a sprinkle of candied orange peel on top.  Place ice cream back in freezer to ripen.


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It’s Not Too Late for a Local Thanksgiving

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Posted: November 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Thanksgiving arrives too late.  I have the feeling that the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving so late in the year is that the Pilgrims and the Indians could not find a mutually agreeable date amongst their busy holiday schedules.  In fact, that may even explain why it occurs on a Thursday and not on a weekend.  I mean, why celebrate the harvest so far after the harvest.  Us Jews put out Thanksgiving festival, Sukkot, at the beginning of fall.  The Canadians say lets get it over with by the second Monday in October.   Do you know that if Thanksgiving happened closer to the harvest our tables would be filled with summer squash and tomatoes and sweet corn, bell peppers and eggplants.  Because we wait so late for our National Holiday, we might not be able to rely on our seasonal bounty.  Is it too  late for an eat local Thanksgiving?

Of course, the late arrival of Turkey-day does not prohibit us from filling the table with locavore goods.  Nearly all the standard  sides fit right into seasonal eating, even seasonal eating in November.  What do we eat for Thanksgiving besides turkey?  Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, squash (seemingly always in the form of soup); onions (creamed), cranberries, apple pie, all of these items can be found at area farmer’s markets or sourced from local farmers in the Chicago area in November.  The one area where I see menus falter, the habit, the need, to put something “green” on the table.  Of course we want variation from all the sweet, heavy, starchy, yet yellow sides.  We expect something green that appears healthy.  Traditionally, it seems, this health component comes from green beans smothered in cream of mushroom soup, Durkee onions on the top.  Modern Moms put awful asparagus on the table because it captures the green without needing the barest whiff of goo to appear edible.  Don’t.  You can augment your meal with many available crops that are green or purple or white or something not orange.  Our local markets overflow now with kale.  Why not put green kale chips on your table.

Your bigger problem, we suppose, is getting that local food to put local food on your Thanksgiving table.  We hope that you have been stocking up on hard squash all fall.  We hope you took advantage of the Nichol’s Farm sale last week at Green City Market of 10 lbs of sweet potatoes for $10 (we splurged on 21 lbs for $21).  A good portion of those traditional foods could have been held for a period from a time when markets were flush.  And you supplement your table with home canned relishes and pickles.  Good for you.  Or you still want to make your meal local.  It’s not too late.

You can find local foods between now and Thursday.  Shop the Lincoln Square Farmer’s Market on Tuesday from 7 AM to 1 PM.  Our market sources insist there is stuff to be had.  We know there will be much to be had at Green City Market on the day before Thanksgiving including ample carrots, beets, apples, squash and many variations of green–kales, collards, spinach, chard, lettuces, rocket, beet greens, sprouts–to put a rainbow on your spread.  Besides those two markets, you have Green Grocer Chicago, the Downtown Farmstand and Dill Pickle Coop for local foods.  You can find stuff for Thursday.  It’s not too late for a local Thanksgiving.

And if you still need ideas for what to do with your local foods, we can address that too with a few ideas from our archives.  No one recognized the failure of green bean casserole more than our Backyard Farmer Brad, and last your he bolted to an easy roasted veg (the results here).   Melissa’s beet hummus will wow your guests.  She also suggests you put your stuffing in your squash.  Use our search box to find other recipes and ideas.

Do, do drink local this Thanksgiving.  Wendy thinks you should locapour with these suggestions of Michigan wines.  Tom sez you can easily drink beer with your repast and if you do, it better be local beer.  He gives you some choices here.

Please share with us how you are making your Thanksgiving a local Thanksgiving.




RECYCLED – The Three Tastes of Winter

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Posted: November 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Editor’s Note: At the Local Beet, we firmly believe in re-use and recycle, and we know that much of what we have put up on the site remains valid the next year.  As the weather may finally turn cold for good, soon, we want to remind you what winter will taste like.

 It may finally be cold enough [soon] for my apples in the attic. Will it taste like winter in the bungalow? Well, it depends on when in winter we are eating.

Winter eating covers three periods: it begins with the final accumulations, goes through storage and preservation and ends with hanging on and renewal. Winter eating lasts longer than the calender’s definition of winter. The season of winter eating begins, has begun by fall and lasts full bore until at least the end of March. These three periods lead to different types of produce. Throughout the winter, though, it is the time to eat meat, dry beans and stored grains.

When Winter Tastes Like Fall

The first part of winter, now, eating is roughly akin to the way it has been the last month or so. That is, the few operating markets, like Green City, will have the same stuff this week as in the last few weeks. The markets include the last of the field crops, the heartiest brasicas and sturdiest roots, as well as the things the farmers have, that have not sold, the hard squash, the potatoes, the apples. Maybe if you expect the over-abundance of a summer market, you will find the markets bare now. I find them quite ample (look at Irv and Shelly’s site for an idea what’s around). Right now, it is still possible to eat each week from what can be purchased. It is also possible now, to continue to stock up for later weeks. We continue to buy apples to put aside and pick up more squash than we can immediately eat. This Local Family is pretty comfortable in garlic and onions but is yours?

Stored and Preserved Foods

It will not be that long until the Chicago area markets empty of food. Oh, there will be  Winter Markets and some version of Green City and Cassie and all, but these markets will not be brimming with food. It will become harder to eat each week from the market purchases. Thus, we go to the stores. We eat the beets and turnips and ‘tato’s we have around. We eat from the cans; we eat from the freezer. Local winter meals can still include green salads, maybe not as many, but they mostly taste hearty, classic winter food, things like a good mash-up of assorted roots along side some braised meat.

The Hungry Months

Then it ends. It not so much ends, as there is only so long stored food, even in good conditions, lasts. By February it will be hard to find, either in your improvised root cellar or in the markets, the beets, the celery roots, the rutabagas that kept you alive for the last few months. It is survival time. The leanest time for the locavore. Hopefully, your freezer contains something because there will not be a lot of local food to buy. There are, however, foods that will last even this long. Right about now you start discovering your best onion and potato dishes–this Jamie Oliver one is especially good. Cultivated mushrooms are always around, and in the Bungalow mushrooms become at least a once a week treat. There is also sprouts and micro-greens that grow indoors, and before you turn your nose, think about finding anything else green. Finally, always, there are apples. For the most part, the later apples are not the Turley Winesaps, the Arkansas Black and other heirloom varieties. But the locavore can always find a Michigan red delicious apple when needed. We hang on. Our spring CSA starts in April. Right before that, we will have tasted the first the ground offers, watercress that can appear while snow still sits and ramps and nettles and maybe some morels. A turnip will never have tasted so good.




What To Locapour On Thanksgiving

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Posted: November 19, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Thanksgiving is an American holiday, no? More than that, it is typically celebrated with regional specialties, such as oyster stuffing in the Northeast, and cornbread stuffing in the South. So, for one day, to celebrate this holiday of regional American food, take a break from the foreign wines and pour something not only American, but local.

How about sparkling wines from L. Mawby? Larry Mawby’s méthode champenoise Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs are great ways to start the day. (Sold at Binny’s throughout Chicagoland, Pastoral, Green Grocer, Whole Foods, and Good Grapes in Glencoe & Winnetka.) A light on the palate, clean-finishing sparkler, that is ideal for pouring while guests are milling about early in the day, is Good Harbor’s Moonstruck (70% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Gris, whole-cluster pressed). (Available at Fine Wine Brokers and Good Grapes in Glencoe.)

The thing with Thanksgiving is that, the diversity and multitude of dishes served — from the rich, herbaceous gravy and stuffing to the tart, acidic cranberry sauce — can make pairing wine headache-inducing. Likewise, serving a dark, inky, tannic, and highly-structured, high-alcohol red from California can overwhelm the lighter dishes in the meal. This is a perfect time to experience a lighter- to medium- bodied Michigan red, such as Black Star Farms’ Arcturos Pinot Noir (sold at Green Grocer) and or Cabernet Franc from Domaine Berrien, Peninsula Cellars (both sold at House Red and Dobby’s Worldwide Liquors), or Black Star Farms (sold at Green Grocer and some Whole Foods). [Note: Both reds benefit from opening about an hour prior to serving.]

Dry Michigan white wines tend to exhibit a lot of tart green apple, which makes them refreshing counterpoints to all the rich dishes on a Thanksgiving table. Good Harbor makes a really affordable easy-drinking white table wine called “Fishtown White,” available at Pastoral, Fine Wine Brokers and Good Grapes in Glencoe. Also try a Fenn Valley Riesling (available at Evanston First Liquors).

Finally, don’t forget to serve some of Fenn Valley’s “42” Ice Wine to go with your desserts, especially your apple desserts. (Available at House Red and Dobby’s Worldwide Liquors.)

If you’ve found some good locapours for the upcoming holidays, please share and we’ll compare notes!

Sources:
Binny’s
Locations throughout Chicagoland

Dobby’s World Wide Wine & Liquors
15 S. Brockway
Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 359-0400

Evanston First Liquors
1019 Davis Street
Evanston, IL 60201-3609
(847) 328-9651

Fine Wine Brokers
4621 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625-2007
(773) 989-8166

Good Grapes
685 Vernon Ave.
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 242-9800

Good Grapes
809 Oak Street
Winnetka, IL 60093-2500
(847) 446-8000

Green Grocer
1402 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60642-6303
(312) 624-9508

House Red
7403 W. Madison
Forest Park, IL 60130
(708) 771-7RED

Pastoral
Locations in the Loop, Lakeview and the French Market

Whole Foods
Locations throughout Chicagoland


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From Cleveland with Love, From Keighty

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Posted: November 19, 2010 at 11:49 am

I just got back from a trip to Cleveland. All I knew about this city was what I’ve learned on 30 Rock and those ridiculous Cleveland videos on YouTube. We went there for a wedding so we didn’t have too much time to sight-see, but let’s say it’s not like Liz Lemon describes it.

Regardless, we did get to see a few places. One being the Great Lakes Brewery Company. Their beer is delicious and I’ve been drinking it for years but I’ve never seen where it is made. Truly proud of Cleveland and the Mid West, this company names all their beers after less than fortunate events that have happened nearby, including Burning River Pale Ale (named after the fact that the beaches of Cleveland are so polluted you can light them on fire) and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (named after the greatest disaster in Great Lake shipping).

The brewery was settled on an adorable street right near the West Side Market which was our next stop. This place is very similar to the big market in Seattle except this one is completely enclosed. When we got there it was so packed and we instantly lost our friends in the crowd. But my  husband and I walked around looking for what I’m always looking for: a new cheese to try.

 We found a few booths selling cheese but could only stop at one so we chose the Cheese Shop. When I walked up and asked the clerk if they had any local cheeses for sale, he sighed and pointed me to the few he had. The recent surge of “locavores” has probably caused him to hear that question 20 times a day. He didn’t seem too pleased with my questions so I just looked around myself. I found a number of cheeses from Wisconsin and Indiana, a few from Ohio (Amish style), and one from Michigan ( a gouda). The labels did not say which dairy farm produced each product. The local cheese selection consisted of cheddar, goat, gouda, blue – the standards.

 I was eager to try some but alas, no samples. I decided on the Michigan gouda to snack on with our giant loaf of bread we bought at another booth. Transaction over with, we hurried outside to try the cheese. When I opened the bag it was actually a 3 year-old gouda from Holland. I went back to tell the clerk the mistake but she said that was what I ordered and they would not take it back. Rather than spend all my money at this place buying more cheese, I took my Dutch cheese and left.  On a side note, while it wasn’t local, this cheese was delicious with crunchy bits of calcium deposits created after the years of aging.

 It was definitely a weird experience at the West Side Market but all that to say, if you find yourself in Cleveland and in search of local cheese you can find it at the Cheese Shop. I’ll give the employees the a break as it was very crowded in there and it was nearing closing time. Maybe visit the shop early in the day when tempers are calmer. Customer service aside, they did offer local cheeses and while I didn’t try them they looked delicious!

 Love,

Keighty




From Our Beet Reporters – My Summer in Food – 2010

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Posted: November 19, 2010 at 11:36 am

As I look back on it, my entire summer focused on food from sourcing to growing to selling. Just a few years ago, I worked at a fast-paced advertising agency and my summers were my busy times, full of deadlines, trade shows and late-night client dinners. Today, I’m a stay-at-home parent to a very active 18-month-old boy and I’m reconnecting with nature. It’s been quite a ride.

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose

In May, I started getting the taste for strawberries. After spending hours spent on the Internet, I found Mulberry Lane Farm in Loda, IL. The Aardsma family employs organic practices on their farm, growing mostly berries but also vegetables and chickens. On the day of our picking appointment, my family piled in the car and made the short trip to the tiny town of Loda. I spent several happy hours picking berries with a few other visitors and the Aardsma children while my husband and son admired the chickens. I picked over forty pounds of berries, packed the car and headed home. A few minutes after we arrived in Chicago, I checked my messages. Apparently, I’d left half my berries at Mulberry Lane. I felt pretty dumb, but the next morning we drove back down to Loda where I picked up the rest of my berries plus more “seconds” perfect for making jam. Then we traveled on to Champaign for some family time and geocaching.

I made a similar trek in July, this time west to Blueberry Ranch in Mishawaka, IN. This organic blueberry farm welcomes pickers throughout the season. The first time I visited, I ended up with 30 pounds of Bluecrop berries priced at $1.50 a pound. I visited the farm again later in the season for another 20 pounds, plus a box of frozen berries for my mother-in-law.

This September, I’d hoped to be heading out to Berrien Springs, MI to Earth First Farms to pick apples. We’d been there last Columbus Day and loved the quality of the fruit. I leased a tree for just $50. All the bounty from my Empire tree would be ours. However, certified-organic Earth First Farms suffered a devastating insect infestation which wiped out their entire crop. That’s the risk in being invested in sustainable and local agriculture; there’s reward and there’s risk. We hope to lease a tree for next year.

Gardening As Metaphor

My son was born last April, just as I put my garden in. Through the summer, my garden grew out of control as I struggled mightily with postpartum depression and the isolation of being a new mother. When I started my seeds this February, I was determined to do better with this year’s carrots, beets, herbs, lettuces, peas, beans, tomatoes and zucchini. I had visions straight out of propaganda posters — me and the boy, side by side, working and playing in our flourishing garden.

But the long cool spring was not on my side. My zucchini fell to some kind of disgusting mold or fungus and I lost most of my Roma crop to blossom end rot. However, my son absolutely fell in love with ground cherries, one of the few things I planted that actually did really well. He’d sit in my garden boxes, choose the choicest ground cherries and pull back their tomatillo-like husks while I weeded and plucked ripe veg. No, it wasn’t everything that I’d imagined but my three garden boxes ended up giving me more than just food.

In addition to our backyard plot, we also participated in the allotment-style Peterson Garden Project. This community garden, located on the site of a WWII Victory Garden, brought together like-minded novice and master gardeners to grow food, share knowledge and just have fun. During the summer, we enjoyed potlucks and parties, fashion shows and season-end foraging. Watching the impact that the Peterson Garden Project had on its participants inspired us to start a demonstration garden in the park near our house. This project at Eugene Field Park will start next spring.

Friendship and Food

My friend Rachael works a full-time weekday job and works at several farmer’s markets on the weekends for Lehman’s Orchards of Niles, MI. She wanted some help at the Portage Park Farmers Market, held on alternating Sundays. Since I don’t get to talk with adults as often as I’d like, I jumped at this opportunity.

Every other week, I’d put on my apron and head over to Portage Park to help her set up the table, tent and merchandise the goods. Over the season, we moved bushels of peaches and apples, baskets of tomatoes and raspberries, bottles of honey and cider. I grew to look forward to the regulars’ raves and new customers’ questions as much as the few hours away from being a caregiver. It didn’t hurt that we took home whatever didn’t sell or was damaged so at the end of the season I ended up with pints and pints of peach and apple butter. 

On the Subject of Jam

I love jam, jelly, preserves, conserves, marmalades, you name it. We go through so much jam that I decided that I could probably cut down my consumption of this sugary wonder if I made it myself. I figure that with each spread of the knife, I’d recall how much work it requires and use it more sparingly.

When we returned from Loda with my strawberry haul, the great jamsperiment began. At the end of a long evening, I ended up with eight huge quarts of fresh strawberry jam. A neighbor asked me to pick her gooseberries and currants for her this summer, as she was too busy to keep up with the crop. I repaid her with a pot of redcurrant jelly for glazing game and gooseberry jam. She returned the gooseberry jar within the month after her three-year-old devoured the contents with peanut butter. My blueberries became jam, too, albeit a looser, less sweet variety than in stores. All of these jams smack of summer and, hopefully, love.

Looking Forward

I’m already planning the next of my food adventures. This month, we built covered boxes for growing winter crops. These boxes, made with windows reclaimed from the curb, will hopefully produce mache, tatsoi and spinach to keep us crunching on salads through a good chunk of the winter.

I’m hopeful that next year’s growing season will be long and productive, yes, but more than that, I look forward to more experiences that enrich my soul and build family memories.

Shylo Bisnett lives in the Albany Park neighborhood in Chicago and is currently planning a vegan Thanksgiving menu that will please even her carnivore brother.


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Beer? At Thanksgiving?

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Posted: November 19, 2010 at 10:09 am

Bah. Humbug. (Oh, wait, that’s for Christmas. I’m getting ahead of myself. Local Beet editor Rob asked me to write something about beers for Thanksgiving. Oh, well.)

But I’m not doing much of a Thanksgiving this year (big family event the following weekend). I’ll probably just go out to a restaurant and drink wine, like everyone else.

But in an ideal world, I wouldn’t be like everyone else. I’d drink beer for Thanksgiving. (Well, I might have some food along with the beer, too).

And, in an ideal world, I’d have lots of friends and family over for Thanksgiving. Of course, I’d have a turkey, probably a heritage breed, like a Bourbon Red from Caveny Farm in Monticello, IL.

And I’d probably get some cranberries from a grower near our summer place in Northern Wisconsin. (Did you know that Wisconsin is the world’s leading producer of cranberries?)

I’d skip the overcooked green beans with canned fried onions, and instead, maybe, serve some braised tat tsoi from Henry’s Farm in Congerville, IL.  (available Saturday morning 11/20 at the last-gasp of the Evanston Farmers’ Market at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 616 Sherman in Evanston). I’d make it with onion and Nueske’s Bacon.

So, I’m imagining an ideal world.  Obviously, there would be beer.

Lots of beer. Many varieties of beer. Especially local beers.

Turkey can be somewhat on the bland side, but the Caveny birds have much more depth of flavor than your typical supermarket bird. A Domaine DuPage, from Two Brothers in Warrenville, would provide the complexity associated with the beers of Northern France, to go along with the complexity of the heritage bird.

Cranberries aren’t innately sweet, but their preparations usually involve enough sugar to keep many dentists happily employed, and to finance the yachts that they’ve recently had to put in storage for the season. There are two ways to go with this. You could contrast the sweetness with something truly bitter and hoppy, like Lincoln Avenue’s Half Acre Daisy Cutter or Munster, Indiana’s Three Floyd’s flagship, Alpha King. Or maybe you’d want to complement the sweetness with a Scottish Ale. Get a growler of Skara Brae from Revolution Brewing in Logan Square. It’s billed as a sweet and malty Scottish Ale, featuring 8 different malts with a warming, caramel flavor.

The tat tsoi, without other additions, would have a subtle, slightly cabbage-y flavor. I’d match that subtlety with a köslch, like Krankshaft, from Metropolitan Brewing, in Ravenswood. But amped up with onion and bacon, you’d need something a bit more assertive and roasty, like Flossmoor Station’s  Pullman Brown Ale.

For dessert? The obvious choice would be a fruit lambic, from Lindeman’s – cherry, raspberry, or peach. A more local choice might be New Glarus’  Belgian Red or Raspberry Tart beers. (But New Glarus isn’t officially distributed in Chicagoland – you’ll have to cross the cheesehead border to get them. Woodman’s in Kenosha [I-94, exit 344, east] is a good source.) Or, now for something completely different (apologies to Monty Python), you might try a mead (honey wine) from Chicago’s South Side Wild Blossom Meadery.

It’s amazing how we can easily get so many beer styles brewed locally, and brewed well, in the Midwest.

Maybe it is an ideal world, after all.


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Get Your Great Lakes Drink Fix At Watershed

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Posted: November 18, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Drinking local has never been so easy since the opening of Watershed has about two months ago – and it seems to be fitting in nicely in River North, a highly commercialized area replete with national chains that are anything but local. Despite looking a little bit like the library of a country estate, the otherwise casual and cozy lounge (tucked away in the bottom of Pops For Champagne) is known for being the only cocktail bar in Chicago to serve wine, beer and spirits made exclusively in the Great Lakes region. Wine is served from makers such as Shady Lane, Brys Estate, August Hill, L. Mawby and Good Harbor; spirits from Koval, Death’s Door, North Shore Distillery and Farmer’s Organic; beer is from well-known makers such as Founder’s, Bell’s and Goose Island, and as well as lesser-known Dark Horse from Marshall, Michigan.

This week, Tasting Table honored Watershed in its list of the 15 Best Cocktails And Where to Drink Them. Watershed’s contribution, the Shake In The Hay, is made from North Shore gin, green chartreuse, cucumber and lime.

Watershed
601 N. State Street
Chicago
(312) 266-4932




The Return of the Local Calendar

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Posted: November 18, 2010 at 10:49 am

We have a good reason and a bad reason for the disappearance of the weekly Local Calendar from the Local Beet.  Which do you want first?  Or you decide which is the good reason.  It’s hard keeping up with all this stuff, and around May or so, there’s too much stuff to note.  Or put it this way, by Summer you need less prompting to get out and find local food.  And now, we are back in the period where some of you need a certain amount of prompting and prodding to get out and about.  You may believe there are no farmer’s markets left.  You may believe there is no good local foods to be found.  Well, we got the Local Calendar up and running again to let you know how wrong you are.  We may not be able to defend our failures to post a more regular Calendar, but we want you to use the heck out of the calendars we do post.  (Don’t be afraid to let us know what we have left off the Local Calendar either.)

To get the most out of your winter farmer’s market experience, use our handy set of tips.

If you want to get out and about, we have a big list of Midwestern locavore roadtrips (to be updated).

The weekend before Thanksgiving finds several Chicago area markets still a-goin’ as well as a one time, stock up for the holidays, market in Evanston.Your Local Calendar is below.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

Don’t let the colder weather fool you at all.  There is still much produce to get.  Plus, more than a few farmers have told me in recent weeks how the cold weather enhances crops, making them sweeter and more robust.  For one thing, you will find much greenrocket (a/k/a arugula), chard, spinach or lettuces as well as micro-greens/sprouts; herbs around now include especially cilantro and a few others here and there.   For another thing, there is much in the cabbage families: white and red head cabbages, Asian greens like bok choi, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, kohlrabi and more.    Then, there are other root crops: lots of radishesbeets, rutabagas, carrots, celery root, sunchokes.   Of course there are the alliums: onions, garlic, leeks, shallots.   Look around, you might find hot peppers. Finally, there are those classic storage crops: winter squash, apples and potatoes (including sweet potatoes).  And as always, there are mushrooms.

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

We cannot wait for the opening of Butcher and the Larder, a locally focused butcher [ed., you mean a butcher focused on local]!

C&D Pastured Pork’s sales around town.

Besides the above stores, we continue to see local foods at various grocery stores.  Look especially for local apples and potatoes wherever you shop, but we are also seeing local herbs, chard, squashes and peppers at places like Angelo Caputo’s.

WHAT TO DO SOON

Saturday – November 20

61 ist Street Farmer’s Market at Experimental Station – Variety of breads, meats and produce from our friends at Genesis Growers. 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., Chicago 9 AM – 2 PM

Annual pre-Thanksgiving un-official extension of the Evanston Farmer’s Market.  This indoor/outdoor event features full spreads from Nichols, probably Henry’s Farm, and many other vendors from the Evanston summer market.  Immanuel Lutheran Church, 616 Lake Street, Evanston – 8 AM – 1 PM

Woodstock - We learned of this market when we went out to McHenry to give a talk.  At the Extension Office/Farm Bureau office in Woodstock (1102 McConnell Road), this market promises pastured meats, winter produce and other fun stuff  9 AM – 12 PM through December.

St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral – 835 North Oakley Boulevard, Chicago – We have no additional details on this farmer’s market and artisan fair.

Olivia’s Garden – Find Tomato Mountain, Mint Creek, C & D Pastured Pork, vegetables and honey from the Pullman community garden and other goods at this Beverly garden center  10730 S. Western, Chicago – 9 AM – 1 PM through

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM. Demonstration by Matt Maroni of Gaztro-Wagon at 1030 AM

Geneva Community Market – Inglenook Pantry – 11 N. 5th Street, Geneva – 9 AM – 1 PM

Meeting outdoors, the Grayslake market continues with meat, vegetables, cheese and other goodies – Downtown Grayslake in Centinial Park – 10 AM – 2 PM

Sunday – November 21

St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral – 835 North Oakley Boulevard, Chicago – We have no additional details on this farmer’s market and artisan fair.

Logan Square Farmers Market – 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 – 2 PM – All sorts of things on for Sunday including Otter Creek cheddars, Mint Creek lamb, and Tempel Farms eggs; Otter Creek Organic Farm also has grass fed beef and pasture raised organic pork and chicken – Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 AM – 2 PM

Chicago/Glenwood (Rogers Park) – This well received, new market goes indoors with sausages, apples, and more including organic produce. The market  will continue to accept Master Card and Visa and is extending our Market for All matching fund program for Link/SNAP guests.  The Glenwood Sunday Market is located at the intersection of Glenwood & Morse Avenue (1400W-6900N) in Rogers Park, conveniently located at the Morse “L” stop. 9am -2pm

Glencoe – Chicago Botanic Garden – The Botanic Garden affiliated Windy City Harvest is one of the best indoor growers in the Chicago area, and they will be stocking this market.  On the down side, parking costs a fortune.  10 AM – 2 PM

Wednesday – November 24

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM. Demonstration by Scott Walton of Markethouse at 1030 AM

WHAT TO DO LATER

Sunday – December 5

Deerfield – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the North Shore Unitarian Church, 2100 Half Day Road, Deerfield – 10 AM – 2 PM

Saturday – December 12

Chicago/Ravenswood – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the First Free Evangelical Church – 12 PM – 3 PM




Our Biggest, Bestest Listing of 2010-2011 Winter Markets (So Far)

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Posted: November 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Here at the Local Beet, we are not prideful over our knowledge of local food happenings.  We strive to get you the best, most complete information to live the eat local life, but when we see we can do better, we strive to do that too.  No sooner had we put up a listing of winter markets last week, did it seem that we were finding out about other winter markets, winter markets not listed on our site.  So, we are working hard to get you the biggest, bested listing of 2010-2011 winter markets for the Chicago area.  We have listed the markets we know below, in alphabetical order by location.  We also plan, shortly, on re-instituting our Local Calendar, which will provide a more chronological orientated listing of winter markets, as well as listings of other great eat local events.  Finally, we will work hard to update our list of “roadtrippable” area markets.  If you know of a Chicago area winter market not listed below, please let us know.

Except as noted, all the of the markets below convene through November and beyond.  There are several one off markets too, such as the annual pre-Thanksgiving market at Evanston’s Immanuel Church.  Also, there are several one off markets scheduled for 2011 that we will add later in the year.

Chicago/Beverly – Olivia’s Garden – Saturdays

Find Tomato Mountain, Mint Creek, C & D Pastured Pork, vegetables and honey from the Pullman community garden and other goods at this Beverly garden center  10730 S. Western, Chicago – 9 AM – 1 PM through December (and possibly longer).

Chicago/Lincoln Park - Green City Market – Wednesday’s and Saturdays

At the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM – 1 PM through December 22.  Details here.

Chicago/Glenwood (Rogers Park) – Sundays

This well received, new market goes indoors with sausages, apples, and more including organic produce. The market  will continue to accept Master Card and Visa and is extending our Market for All matching fund program for Link/SNAP guests.  The Glenwood Sunday Market is located at the intersection of Glenwood & Morse Avenue (1400W-6900N) in Rogers Park, conveniently located at the Morse “L” stop. 9am -2pm all winter.

Chicago/Logan Square – Logan Square Farmer’s Market – Sundays

All sorts of things on for Sunday including Otter Creek cheddars, Mint Creek lamb, and Tempel Farms eggs – Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee – 10 AM – 2 PM through March 2011

Chicago/Ukrainian Village – St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral – Saturday/Sunday November 20-21 ONLY

We have no additional details on this farmer’s market and artisan fair.

Chicago/Woodlawn – 61st Street Farmer’s Market  – Saturdays

At Experimental Station – Variety of breads, meats and produce from our friends at Genesis Growers and others. 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., 9 AM – 2 PM through December

Chicago/Ravenswood – Winter Market – Saturday December 12 ONLY 

Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the First Free Evangelical Church – 12 PM – 3 PM

Deerfield – Saturday December 5 ONLY

Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the North Shore Unitarian Church, 2100 Half Day Road, Deerfield – 10 AM – 2 PM

Evanston – Immanuel Luthern Church – Saturday November 20 Only

Annual pre-Thanksgiving un-official extension of the Evanston Farmer’s Market.  This indoor/outdoor event features full spreads from Nichols, probably Henry’s Farm, and many other vendors from the Evanston summer market

Geneva – Geneva Community Winter Market – Saturdays

Community Winter Market.  The market meets on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  They say the tables include squash, lettuces, broccoli, kale, chard, onions, potatoes, leeks and cabbage as well as meat vendors with humanely raised chicken, pork and beef, and both chicken and duck eggs.  Curds & Whey Cheese Company has it’s stand in the building, featuring local and imported artisan cheeses.  The market is in the Inglenook Pantry building at 11 N 5th Ave in Geneva.  This market will run through all winter; check the website for current information on hours and availability.

Glencoe – Chicago Botanic Garden – First and Third Sundays

The Botanic Garden affiliated Windy City Harvest is one of the best indoor growers in the Chicago area, and they will be stocking this market.  On the down side, parking costs a fortune.  10 AM – 2 PM through December.

Grayslake – Saturdays

Meeting outdoors, the Grayslake market continues with meat, vegetables, cheese and other goodies – Downtown Grayslake in Centennial Park – 10 AM – 2 PM through Christmas

Wheeling – Wheeling Farm Stand Market – The Last Tuesday in January through May 2011

Winter market will be at the Olde Church at Chamber Park.  This is a totally new happening for us and we have a bit of time to learn more.  We will update when we know more. 

Woodstock

We learned of this market when we went out to McHenry to give a talk.  At the Extension Office/Farm Bureau office in Woodstock (1102 McConnell Road), this market promises pastured meats, winter produce and other fun stuff  9 AM – 12 PM through December.


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When Life Offers You Rutabagas Take the Biggest Ones – A Good Day of Winter Marketing

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Posted: November 16, 2010 at 11:28 am

brussels and rutabegas

 

Any November Saturday that takes me to two winter markets is a good Saturday, but when I walk away with change from ten after getting oh about 15 pounds of rutabagas as well as a tree’s worth of Brussels sprouts, and let me tell you about the greens included, it’s a good Saturday of winter marketing.

I got my first pleasant surprise of the day just past Cermak, driving south on Cicero.  My wife, on her way to sell for Tomato Mountain Farm, in the car with me (actually given her responsibility I was in the car with her), mentioned how Cermak seemed so far away yet we had so far to go to get to Beverly.  “Yeah”, I responded and did the math on how many more blocks we needed.  But my math did not equal her math, and this time it had nothing to do with sloppy calculations on my part.  I had us going to 95th.  My wife said drive to 108th.  Mmmmm.  The winter market I knew, the one that sent me an email, the one I mentioned the day earlier on the Local Beet, was in Beverly.  We were driving to Beverly.  She said drive to 108th.  OK, as alluded to above, the South side of Chicago neighborhood of Beverly contained two winter markets on November 13, 2010.

My wife worked the market I did not know, at Olivia’s Garden.  This market included pastured pork from Crystal and her C & D Farm; more good local meats from Mint Creek, the fine products from our friend Jim the Vinegar Guy Vitalo, and produce grown in the community garden of Pullman.  In addition to the local goodies, the market included two people selling humus and two people selling pita bread and a third selling pita chips.  I could live with all three pita vendors.  I found the pita chips, covered in cheeses and spices, incredibly addictive.  From another pita vendor, I found also fresh made (still warm) flat pies of spinach, feta and garlic; so I can safely proclaim the final pita vendor, sold by a Susan Sarandon doppelganger, about the best pita bread I’ve every had.  It’s like when my friend Steve P talks about how the French make better risotto than the Italians, I’m telling you know one knows how to improve pita like the French.  The pita from Olives 4 You is fluffy yet still substantial, not too heavy yet a lot more substance than most other pitas.  Seek this out.

Around 10 AM, I left my wife and her array of salsas and other organic tomato products for the winter market I knew, the one a block north of 95th in a Beverly Church.  Here, I found a very full booth from Chicago Botanic’s Windy City Harvest. Amongst the offerings, recently harvested rutabagas.  I marveled over the size of the one one the table.  “You think that’s something, look at this.”  This would be the result of leaving a rutabaga root in the ground as things got colder.  This would be a rutabaga just under the size of a basketball.  And no there is nothing woody or starchy or watery about a big rutabaga.  It is not like a summer squash where big is not better.   On the contrary, I figured, as the rutabagas were being sold by the piece, not by the pound, why not get the most gigantic.  More value.  All I had to lose was time it would take to cook.  If I tried to cook this baby whole, it would take the whole afternoon.  So, chunk it up I though.  Besides all that root, Windy City Harvest sold me the entire rutabaga plant.  I had never seen anyone sell rutabaga greens, but I figured why not eat those greens too.  I mean a rutabaga is just a variant of a turnip, and we eat turnip greens.  Some google revealed that I assumed correctly.

Then, to go with rutabaga, I picked up Brussels sprouts.  Like the rutabaga, Windy City sold me the entire plant.  I never realized, being not much of a gardener, how much there was to a Brussels sprout plant.  Even when you get a stalk of sprouts, it turns out that you are only getting half of the actual stalk.  With some serious cleaver action, I now have two stalks worth of sprouts.  And leaves too, as with the rutabagas, this cabbage variant also has a huge amount of apparently edible side leaves, leaves that look a lot like collards.  I understand from Twitter that Top Chef Stephanie Izard, has already wowed the world with Brussels sprout leaves.  All of that food, it cost me $2 for each rutabaga and, I believe, $2.50 for the Brussels sprouts.  If I wanted to spend more money at Windy City Harvest, I could have purchased lettuce, beets, spinach, kale, herbs and probably a few other things I did not note.  Also at the Beverly winter market, I could have purchased from about eight varieties of apples at Seedlings.  I chose the one, Courtland, that went best for the girl next door to Seedlings making to order, caramel apples.  Earlier in the day, from the Pullman Gardens woman, I got tiny carrots and hot peppers.  I came home Saturday with a lot of food for the larders.

I’m glad I got so much for my rutabagas and Brussels sprouts as I had done so little cold weather shopping until this Saturday.  When I hit the last Oak Park farmer’s market of the year, do you know what I walked away with?  Tomatoes and bell peppers.  Just the other day we finished the last cucumbers in the house.  I’ve tried as long as possible to reject the change in seasons.  Still, as the inevitable chill settles in, I find myself pleased with our winter market options, including the options I did not know.

It would be bad enough that my wife was working at a winter market I did not know about in Beverly.  It turns out that during the course of the day, I learned that the City of Chicago market at Lincoln/Damen/Irving would be continuing through November, and the the Tuesday market in Lincoln Square, where my wife also worked, would also continue through November.  It seems like winter marketing should be good for a lot of you.




From Our Beet Reporters – What I like about Congress (Logan Square Winter Market) Monday, November 15th, 2010
Crystal and Her Pastured Pork (and other Meats) Available All Winter Monday, November 15th, 2010
Those Last Green Tomatoes Need a Place in Your Kitchen Friday, November 12th, 2010
Your Winter Markets Return – Several Options for this Weekend Friday, November 12th, 2010
Take the Challenge for Evanston’s Talking Farm Thursday, November 11th, 2010
Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand Shows Why Chicago Is Such a Good Place for Eating Local Thursday, November 11th, 2010
Fall Harvest Market and Artisan Fair, Sunday in Elgin – Nov 14 Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
Weekly Winter Market, Weekly – Geneva Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
Local Turkey Now and Local Produce Still at Angelo Caputo’s Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
November not the end of local farmers market Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
First Logan Square Indoor Market This Sunday (Nov 7) Friday, November 5th, 2010
You Can Find Local Food This Weekend – Evanston, Green City, Etc. Friday, November 5th, 2010
Skokie Farmers Market: 10/31/2010 Final Market Update Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Election results mean school lunch bill will have to get passed in lame duck session Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Another Opportunity To “Tweet & Taste” Local Wine: Sparkling Wine With Black Star Farms On 11/16, 6:30 pm CST Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
How Chicago Does and May Do Zoning for Urban Ag Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
Make It Last – Ideas for Preseving Your Last Market Purchases Monday, November 1st, 2010