Updated Local Calendar: 19th Annual Green & Growing Fair, Wicker Park Market @ Big Star begins, Green City Market Moves Outdoors
I’m filling in for Rob this week as he’s stuck in New Jersey eating bad food. No snow this week, and the big news is that the Green City Market moves outdoors beginning this Wednesday! (Note the temporary location below.)
WHAT TO BUY NOW
You can find three types of items in season now in the Chicago area. First, see the first Spring crops: radishes, watercress, ramps (only a couple more weeks for these), sorrel, fiddle-head ferns, nettles, green onions, and green garlic. Look for curly wild chives sprouting up from your lawn. Second, there is a robust crop of indoor vegetables: lettuces, spinach, micro-greens, mushrooms, herbs, rocket, carrots, turnips and beets. Finally, there’s what’s left in storage crops: onions, potatoes, celery root, beets and apples. Do continue to resist the tyranny of the “fresh” for a few more weeks. 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 FOR KEENLY)
Morels. Asparagus after that.
WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS
These stores specialize in local foods:
City Provisions Deli in Ravenswood, Chicago
Downtown Farmstand in the Loop, Chicago
Green Grocer in West Town, Chicago
Dill Pickle Coop in Logan Square, Chicago
Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park
Butcher and the Larder in Noble Square, Chicago
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.
We are still seeing Michigan apples at Caputo’s. We’ve also espied storage beets from Midwestern farms there.
WHAT TO DO NOW
Saturday – April 30
Chicago — 19th Annual Green and Growing Fair. Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave. 10 am to 2 pm. Special market with Nichols Farm, many other vendors, in the Conservatory. More information and schedule here.
Evanston – Free Screening of Lunch Line, Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Screening starts at 2:30 pm, doors open at 2 pm. (Lunch Line is about the history of the school lunch program. The screening will be followed by discussion with Hardy Murphy, District 65 superintendent of schools; Debbie Hillman, chair of the Evanston Food Policy Council; Rochelle Davis, president and CEO of the Healthy Schools Campaign; Carl Caneva of the Evanston Health Dept., and Friend of the Beet, Michele Hays, a District 65 parent who writes a blog about food education and food security.)
Geneva – Geneva Community Market – Inglenook Pantry – 11 N. 5th Street, Geneva – 9 AM – 1 PM
Grayslake – Spring Farmer’s Market – Downtown Grayslake – 10 AM – 2 PM
Sunday – May 1
Chicago — Wicker Park Farmer’s Market @ Big Star. Nichols Farm will be there this Sunday and every Sunday through June. 10 am to 4 pm. 1531 N. Damen. Get spinach — and tacos.
Tuesday – May 3
Chicago – Tuesday Funk @ Hopleaf, 5148 N. Clark, 7:30 pm. So you didn’t get tickets to 3 Floyds’ Dark Lord Day, don’t despair. Go drink local beer at Hopleaf, and hear readings from Paul McComas, Tim W. Brown, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Brooke Wonders, and Scott Smith.
Wednesday – May 4
Chicago – Green City Market – 7 AM – 1 PM – *note temporary location* N. Clark & W. Wisconsin (just north of normal outdoor location). (From the Green City Market on their temporary location: Green City Market is currently working on a number of improvements to our site in Lincoln Park, including a new drainage system, improved pathways, and greater accessibility . We’re all very excited about this project and hope that you will be as well. The renovation project was slated to be finished by May 3rd, in time for the opening of the Market. Unfortunately, due to the cold, wet weather we have been experiencing over the past few weeks, groundbreaking has been delayed. As it stands now the project will likely be finished in late May.)
Chicago – Edible Gardens at Lincoln Park Zoo, 10 am to 1 pm, open to all.
Thursday – May 5
Chicago – Ecuadorian Chocolate Tasting with Slow Food Chicago to benefit the Kallari Foundation, Fine Arts Building, Curtiss Hall, 410 S. Michigan Ave., 6-8 p.m ($10 for Slow Food members, $15 for non-members). Kallari is the world’s only chocolate that is 100% owned by the indigenous cocoa growers and processed at a factory only a few hours from the farms. The Amazon-based chocolatiers will teach attendees about regional chocolate flavor profiles and illustrate the process of chocolate-making from cocoa seedlings to chocolate bars. The eye-opening, sensory-stimulating lecture will help guests distinguish chocolate characteristics, discern roasting techniques and recognize regional origins, all while sampling gourmet chocolates from around the world. Purchase tickets here.
SAVE THE DATE!
May 7 – Purple Asparagus, Visit with best-selling author of World Without Fish, Mark Kuransky, to discuss the importance of marine conservation and what we do to make sure that we don’t live in a World Without Fish. Special guests include representatives from the Shedd Aquarium who will lead us through an interactive activity to show how interconnected we are with all of the world’s species. Demonstration by Dirk Fucik of Dirk’s Fish and Gourmet who’ll treat us to a delicious dish made with sustainable seafood. Free. Peggy Notebaert Museum, 2430 N. Canon Drive, Chicago. 11 am to 1 pm.
May 19 – Slow Food Chicago, Farm-to-Table Series, Big Jones, Chicago, 5-course menu featuring local farms. $49 includes tax, gratuity, and a $10 donation to Slow Food Chicago. Optional beverage pairings: $25. More information here.
May 25 – Savor the Seasons Tasting Fesivals: Lettuce, Green City Market, Chicago, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. June 7 – Taste the Great Lakes Dinner – Freshwater fish dinner at Dirk’s Fish with Slow Food Chicago. More information here.
August 3 — Outstanding in the Field with Paul Virant of Vie and Bare Knuckle Farm, Northport, MI. There are a lot of great farm dinners with local farms this summer with Outstanding in the Field, but join The Local Beet in making the trek north for this one, as it promises to be special as anyone who has tasted Bare Knuckle’s pork belly from Duroc Cross hogs can attest. More information here.