Put Local Food on Your Holiday Table, Give the Gift of Local Food with This Local Calendar

December 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm

The holiday season really gets a-goin’ this weekend.  We implore you to find local foods to serve your family and guests, and we implore you to present your friends and relatives with gifts of local foods.  Look below to WHAT TO BUY NOW for what we mean.  If you need more holiday gift ideas, see Wendy’s excellent resource here

We strive to make this your best source for knowing what’s in season and where to find it, but we very much appreciate any ideas, suggestions, inclusions and omissions.  Please leave us comments for a making a better Local Calendar.


You can easily build you holiday menus from what is in season still (as in what’s being sold at area farmer’s markets and retailers).  This is mostly the season of root vegetables: beets, rutabagas, carrots, celery root, sunchokes.  Stock up on these because you will not see them at markets much longer.   You may or may not be able to find indoor grown greens like rocket (a/k/a arugula), chard, spinach or lettuces.  About running out are radishes, winter squash, cabbages (and cabbage relatives like Brussels sprouts and kohrabi).  Through the winter there should be storage crops like onionspotatoes, and apples. All winter you should find micro-greens/sprouts and mushrooms.

The gift of local food.  If you showed up at my door with a rutabagas like these, I’d be like, wow, what an excellent gift, but most people want something a bit, well, less vegetal.  As I’ve noted above, we’ve put together an excellent list of eat local gift ideas.  I’m not going to give you a whole new set of suggestions, nor am I gonna list all of the many companies that offer good food.  Rather, I’m just going to throw out a bunch of categories of things you can find when shopping this coming week at farmer’s markets and the like:

  • Jams and jellies
  • Pickles, relishes, chutneys, and salsas
  • Candies and pastries
  • Popcorn, caramel corn
  • Ice cream


These stores specialize in local foods:

We await the opening of Butcher and the Larder.

C&D Pastured Pork’s sales around town.

We bet, if you look around, you can also find local foods at various grocery stores, especially local apples, onions, winter squash and potatoes.


Saturday – December 18

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

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM.  Demonstration at 1030 by Jason Hammel of Lula’s and Nightwood

Sunday – December 19

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

1st Annual Chicago Local & Fair Trade Holiday Gift Bazaar – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N Cannon Dr. on Sunday December 5TH and Sunday December 19th, 2010 from 11-5 pm – Details here.

Winter Farmer’s Market at the Chicago Botanic Garden – 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe – 10 AM – 2 PM

Wednesday – December 22

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM.  Demonstration by Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris of Prairie Fire and Prairie Grass Cafe


Wednesday – January 5

Soup and Bread at the Hideout benefiting local food pantries – 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago – 530 PM – 730 PM

Sunday – January 9

Palatine – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at the Countryside Unitarian Universalist Church

Monday - January 10

City Provisions Supper Club with Casa Noble Tequilla – Email supperclub@cityprovisions.com for details and reservations.

Saturday - January 15

Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum from 8 AM to 1 PM. Theme: Snout to Tail

Oak Park – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at Unity Temple – 875 Lake, Oak Park – 9 AM – 1 PM

Saturday – January 22

Beekeeping class at Hull House offered by Chicago Honey Co-op - 800 S. Halsted, Chicago – 10 AM – 3 PM


March 17 – 19 – Familyfarmed.org Expo including Financing Farm to Fork, Chicago Food Policy Summit, Localicious Party and Consumer Day.