Will You Be Less Frustrated with This Local Calendar?

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April 8, 2011 at 9:00 am

In last week’s Local Calendar, we expressed full on frustration with Spring eating in Chicago.  Our frustrations stem from the  triple whammy: late growing season; what is growing now has  little ability to reach our markets, with hardly any markets during the Spring, and third our winter stores are about about gone.  It is not for nothing that early Spring is known as the Hungry Season.   We find Spring frustrating.  The locavore question, though, will we find this week as frustrating?

This weekend features farmer’s markets.  The Winter Market in Beverly (Chicago) associated with Faith in Place on Saturday promises some fresh produce including spinach, kale and carrots.  Green City Market themes this week’s market “Greens, Eggs and Ham.”  We hope that means there will be some things green for sale.  Green City should have some indoor grown crops and some storage crops to put a little dent in your Spring frustrations.

If nothing else, if you have the money and the time, Chef Paul Virant can meet your needs at Vie with this dinner  on the 13th featuring an array of ramp dishes.

With very limited offerings around Chicago, we encourage you to explore our region.  There is no greater bounty of local food than at the Dane County Farmer’s Market in Madison, Wisconsin.  Even this time of year, you will find a mix of indoor grown vegetables and stored items.  Then, when the market goes outdoors on April 16, you will find a wide selection of what Spring an actually offer in the Upper Midwest.  In fact, we that while a trip to Madison will satisfy your shopping needs, it will only increase your frustrations because something like that does not exist in Chicago.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

This is the barest time of year on the Local Calendar.  If you don’t have your own stores of food look for indoor grown vegetables:like lettuces, spinach, micro-greens, mushrooms, cucumbers, herbs, rocket; maybe you will find some  root vegetables : beets, carrots, celery root, sunchokes, while there should still be storage crops like onions, potatoes and apples.

Do continue to resist the tyranny of the fresh.  We expect you can find frozen and dried fruits from Seedlings at various markets.  Tomato Mountain does all sorts of things with its Wisconsin tomatoes, not just salsas; I love the pickles made by River Valley Kitchen.  The Downtown Farmstand sells Three Sisters Garden dried beans.  Use the local.

WHAT TO BUY SOON (OR LOOK KEENLY)

It’s about time for the first things ofspring: watercress, ramps, sorrel, fiddle-head ferns, nettles, and green garlic.    In addition, you may find farmers producing cold hearty root vegetables in their hoop houses; those in Spring CSAs, especially, may soon see turnips, beets, and radishes.  Let us know when you start seeing these products.

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.

New! We learned of an Indiana farm growing lettuces, basil and rocket (a/k/a arugula) indoors called Eden Farms.  They sell mostly now in Indiana, but they also sell to the Sunset Foods stores on the North Shore. 

Your local grocery may not be carrying living waters lettuces, but look around for what they may have local.  You can almost for sure find local apples and potatoes, maybe onions at various grocery stores. A recent visit to Angelo Caputo’s in Elmwood Park found a whole new rush of Michigan apples, including varieties not seen earlier this winter like empire and gala.

WHAT TO DO NOW

Saturday - April 9

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

Chicago – Winter market associated with Faith in Place at Beverly Unitarian Church-  12 PM – 3 PM

Chicago – Green City Market – Theme:– 8 AM – 1 PM – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum – The Local Beet’s Sustainable Cook, Melissa Graham gives a demonstration at 10 AM.

Chicago – Screening of the movie Lunch Line – 1030 AM  – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Chicago – Become a Backyard Orchardist – See our previous post here for details  and go here for tickets – 1 PM – 5 PM – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Sunday – April 3

Monthly Glenwood Farmer’s Market, Winter Market – 6956-58 N. Glenwood, Chicago – 9AM – 1 PM

Wednesday – April 13

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

WHAT TO DO SOON

April 16 – Green Metropolis FairMindful Metropolis and the Green Parent’s Network deliver a day focused on celebrating Spring, wellness and sustainable living.  Free entry! (non-perishable food donation requested).  Presentations on car-sharing, gardening, composting, CSAs, and more. Irish American Heritage Center - 4626 N. Knox, Chicago IL – 10 AM – 4 PM

April 17  – Slow Food Chicago Book Club – Come discuss a History of the World in 6 Glasses – First Slice Cafe – 4401 N. Ravenswood, Chicago – 2 PM – See the Slow Food Chicago calendar for additional details.

April 18 - Our friend Jon-David, the Mafia Hairdresser, made us aware of  GREEN CHICAGO @ Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa..
GREEN CHICAGO is an Earthday Celebration where “Social Media Royalty meet Chicagoland Green Groups” to mingle, have fun & learn about each other. Your ticket includes munchies, fabulous beverages & a special “Mafia-Mojito” made by jon-david.  Pepsi Refresh Challenge winner, Alicia Ontiveros, will be screening a portion of Meet the Gulf, her documentary about the people in the Gulf of Mexico affected by the BP Oil Spill.  All ticket and raffle purchasers go into weekly raffles leading up to the event and 1 lucky Ticket Event attendee will win a Hair Make-Over at Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa.  Mother Nature herself will be your special guest ambassador and show you how a salon can turn into a GREEN CHICAGO tradeshow and how a spa can turn into a screening room.  At this event green-guy/writer/hairdresser jon-david will be launching & signing his book, Mafia Hairdresser, and all proceeds will go to Climate Cycle, the May 22nd Chicago fun bike ride which put solar power in Chicago schools. You will also be able to sign up for Climate Cycle. Pre-Purchase your book and pick it up at Green Chicago, 1313 Ritchie Ct. anytime after March 31.  TICKETS now on sale VIA EVENTBRITE .  See also the Mafia Hairdresser site for more information.

April 30 – GreenNet’s 19th Annual Green & Growing Urban Gardening Fair – Garfield Park, Chicago

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2 Comments

  1. eric says:

    Hey Friends …

    Do you happen to know who carries fiddlehead ferns?

    Thanks!

  2. Rob Gardner says:

    Eric, I have kinda an answer for you. I have not seen local fiddleheads at a farmer’s market–at least partially because the season can predate the opening of the markets. Still, I did see, at Green City Market, a very good substitute. Green Acres Farm had another type of edible, wild fern. I am pretty sure they will be there at Saturday’s GCM as well.

    Beth from Green Acres does a nice job of foraging her farm for other edible treats. On Wednesday, I saw her selling garlic mustard and nettles too. She often has really delicious wild watercress. I wish more farmers would follow her lead and take what the land offers. After all, it’s free product.

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