Again, You Can Find Local Food with This Local Calendar

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February 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm

This week a reporter asked me, “It’s the dead of winter; is it possible to eat locally this late in the game, or do I have to wait until spring?”  I responded, essentially, “What do you want to eat and how far are you willing to go to get it?”  It is always possible to eat locally in the Chicago area, even if one has not stored or preserved anything.  We have a list below of stores that sell local food year round.  There are a few winter’s farmer’s markets.  You can find Michigan apples at Caputo’s.  There are Wisconsin potatoes all over the place.  How much do you like mushrooms?  You can grow your own sprouts or micro-greens pretty easily.  If you are gung-ho, maybe you can drive to Madison, WI where an ample farmer’s market runs year round.  Our Local Calendar remains your guide to eating good food.  Use the resources listed below.
 
Maybe next year you will have made more efforts to store and preserve for this time of year.  Freezing food is easy, although it requires a certain amount of capacity.  Canning food is a chore but can provide the pleasures of summer tomatoes in the cold.  Storing food is hardly complicated if you can find someplace cold and damp.  And if you cannot do that, winter squash store at room temperature.  It just takes a bit of effort and forethought.  Then, you combine that with any and everything you can find from the winter markets and locally focused retailers.
 
It is satisfying to eat with the seasons, including a season called winter.  I’ve written on the Local Beet about how we have been fooled into thinking fresh produce was always the best, but your local food, processed well, will most likely be better tasting this time of year.  In the summer have a tomato salad.  In the winter have tomato sauce.  The winter larder is full with root veg, cabbage, apples, pumpkins, potatoes.  Supplement with indoor grown produce like cucumbers, rocket, chard.  Also, during the winter eat more meat.  It does not have to be a time of privation even if your daughter’s boyfriend’s mother served her asparagus in January.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

We remain in the part of the year where it is not a question of what’s “in season”, it’s a question of “what’s available.” The following items may be found, depending:

Indoor grown vegetables: lettuces, spinach, micro-greens, mushrooms, cucumbers, herbs, rocket; root vegetables: beets, carrots, celery root, sunchokes; storage crops like onions, potatoes, and apples,winter squash and cabbage.

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

It’s open! Eat locally butchered meat at the 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.

WHAT TO DO NOW

Saturday – February 5

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

Sunday – February 6

Chicago – 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

Oak Park – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at St. Giles Church – 9 AM – 1 PM – 1025 Columbian, Oak Park

Chicago – Melissa Graham, the Sustainable Cook  and head spear of Purple Asparagus, along with the Little Locavore, Thor Graham, will show parents and kids how they can practice sustainable techniques to create fantastic meals to be shared by the whole family.  They will be joined by special guest, Sara Gasbarra from Green City Market, who will explain how to connect your kids with their food at the Market and in the garden.  At the Kenmore Studios  – 678 N. Wells, Chicago – 2 PM

Wednesday – February 9

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

WHAT TO DO SOON

Chicago – Green City Market – Theme: Meat & Potatoes – 8 AM – 1 PM – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum -

SAVE THE DATE!

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

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