Flu Ridden, Barely Revised Local Calendar

Posted: May 27, 2011 at 9:36 am

Here at Local Beet HQ, a bad flu bug ravished the staff, and output this week went down the root cellar.  We expect to be up and running soon.  Even from the depth of illness, however, we want to encourage your local eating.  Thus, we have mildly updated last week’s edition of the Local Calendar to serve as this week’s version.

A good deal of markets take their opening day around June1, and a visit to our searchable, sortable, Market Locator will give you an idea of these markets.   And now that you can shop away, don’t forget our farmer’s market shopping tips.


Its still very much asparagus and rhubarb season.  Asparagus recipe ideas?  Both Melissa Graham, the Sustainable Cook, and Chef Pat Sheerin, from the Signature Room, offer suggestions.  Still, may we suggest that you expand your produce vocabulary this week.  Mo’s hot on Spring turnips, and we’ve been right behind here, mostly using them raw in salads.  You cannot use Swiss chard raw (except for really baby chard), but it does not take much to cook up chard leaves.  Don’t forget to use the stems too.

Along with the fresh spring items, take advantage of good supplies of old potatoes.  Believe us, you will still find them plenty delicious.  Again, going back to Mo, those old potatoes combine well with the delicious early season turnips.


Strawberries, peas (sugar snaps, snow peas, shell peas)


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 Larder in Noble Square, Chicago

We saw Michigan asparagus at Whole Foods this week.


June 4 – Planting Day at the preSERVE Garden – 12th Place and Central Park Ave., Chicago – 10 – 1230 – Water will be provided. Bring a sack lunch and work gloves if you have them. Spaces are limited, please RSVP to slowfoodpreserve {at} gmail(.)com (Rain date will be Sunday, June 5th)

June 7 – Taste the Great Lakes Dinner – Freshwater fish dinner at Dirk’s Fish with Slow Food Chicago.

June 23 – 4-Course Slow Food Dinner and Goose Island Pairing Event Featuring Goose Island Beer Company Brew Master, Brett Porter – UnCommon Ground – 1401 W. Devon, Chicago

June 24 – Slow Food Chicago Summer Solstice Potluck – At the Chicago Honey Co-op. – Additional details here.

June 25 – City Provisions Farm Dinner with Dietzler Farms and Half Acre Beer – Bus leaves City Provisions Deli @ 1 PM

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.

Turnips take their turn from tip-to-tail

Posted: May 26, 2011 at 9:07 am

IMG_1203_2Turnips.  Oh I can just see your face, all scrunched in distaste at the mere mention of the word ‘turnip’.  Now don’t be hatin’, what did the poor turnip ever do to you?  Always getting a bad wrap…well time for the turnip to get a ‘redo’.

Admittedly the turnip hasn’t exactly been my ‘goto’ veg of choice.  Periodic appearances in soups, and, and well, not much else (assuming this stems from bad memories of severely overcooked, overcellared turnips).  But with the appearance of the beautiful baby turnips at the Farmers Markets this spring, all that is a changin’.

This humble root veggie, and member of the cabbage family, is not only tasty but is a pow-pow-powerhouse of health: the root is low in calories, high in fiber and vitamins C and the leafy green tops are packed with vitamins A, C and K, folate, calcium and lutein (a big preventer of cataracts and cardiovascular disease). Tender with a nice crunch (the older and larger versions tend toward a spongy texture) the baby turnips are sweeter and have a less pungent bite — I would liken more to a radish and mild enough to enjoy raw in salads or as part of a crudite platter. And the greens, long a favorite in southern kitchens, are similar to mustards: bite you in their raw state, but mellow when cooked.

In the Fall turnips are large and recognized by their purple topped white root.  This spring look for baby turnips that are no larger than 3” in diameter, smooth skinned and firm and in an array of colors: white, yellow, orange, pink and red.  This past week I found both white and pink baby turnips with perfectly unblemished tender green tops, a plus since I wanted to cook both the root and the greens.  I didn’t not expect a big taste difference but definitely taste the different varieties — the white was mellow and sweet the pink had a radishy bite.

I played around with an array of preparations and found the tiny spring turnips to be terrific:

-raw as a crudite (yummy paired with sliced fennel)

-Sauteed in butter alone or w/sugar snap peas, carrots and radishes

-a simple salad: paper thin slices of turnips tossed with warm rice wine vinegar, a bit of honey, pinch of salt, and a dash of red pepper.

-roasted with olive oil, butter, and some red wine vinegar

-pureed w/milk, butter and thyme.

And since the weather is still feeling more March than May, last nite I opted for comfort sides to my roasted chicken: turnips mashed with potatoes, and greens sauteed with bacon.

Smashed Turnips & Potatoes

1 lb baby turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2” pcs

1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2” pcs (I used Butterballs from Nichols Farm – yum)

3 T butter

2 T sour cream or yoghurt

1 cup chicken broth or cooking water

salt/pepper to taste

Cook the potatoes and turnips in a large pot of water til tender.  Drain the veg, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water (if not opting for chicken broth).  Put the drained veg back into the cooking pot. Add the butter, sour cream, broth (or water) and start mashing to your likeness — some of us prefer a chunky mash and others a smoother mash — your cooking so it is your call. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Eat Seasonal Food, Rhubarb, with Shakey-Shakey (What?)

Posted: May 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Eat seasonal food.  In season now, rhubarb.  Eat rhubarb.  The first fruit available at the markets.  Unfortunately, obviously, you cannot just gnaw on a rhubarb stalk.  Rhubarb needs mellowing.  Cooking mellows rhubarb.  Cooking mellows rhubarb only so much.  Rhubarb needs sweeteners.  Rhubarb needs shakey-shakey.  Rhubarb tastes good with shakey-shakey.

Every year about this time of year, I start riding my wife to serve me some rhubarb with shakey-shakey.  Rhubarb with shakey-shakey like I ate so often, so many years ago when spending graduate time in Cardiff, Wales.  During my Cardiff time, I had a relationship with a lovely Celtic girl.  Her family fed me often, lending extra specialness to our brief fling.  These days I think less of Sian and more of the shakey-shakey.  Welsh women may not be know for their fine fare, but the Welsh women in this family knew how to enhance a lot of things eaten.  Shakey-shakey.  It went on pie.  It rescued the incredibly awful coffee they served.  It went on rhubarb, which we seemed to have often.  Many a Sunday lunch ended with cooked rhubarb drenched in shakey-shakey.  That Sian, a lovely woman in many ways, had a some hip.  In fact, if you know the singer Adele, you’d know about the look of Sian.  A lot.  And I cannot say at all how Adele gets her womanly figure, but I could probably guess that Sian’s figure owed more than a some to her ample use of shakey-shakey.

Me, I’m on a bit of a fitness-yoga kick of late, hoping to reduce my girth.  Still, a bit of shakey-shakey can be handled.  Can’t it.  We have the rhubarb.  We have the shakey-shakey. Or do we.  See, oh so many years later. when memories of a Welsh gal merged into images of a popular young singer, I cannot quite remember what is shakey-shakey.

I know what it could be.  It could be evaporated milk.  Or it could be condensed milk.  They both come in a sealed can, traditionally opened with a pointed church key.  They are both shaken (I think).  They re both poured.  They are both sweet.  Yet, I cannot remember which is the shakey-shakey. I fear if I use the wrong one, it will be all wrong.  It will be like Adele singing a Journey song. 

I want to eat seasonal food.  I want to eat my seasonal rhubarb.  I want to eat my seasonal rhubarb with shakey-shakey.  I just don’t know what.

Help appreciated.  Especially help from anyone who knew me in Cardiff ca. 1986.

What to Preserve Now: The Sweetest Vegetable – Rhubarb

Posted: May 25, 2011 at 8:04 am

Rhubarb Oat Bars, recipe to follow

Although usually associated with desserts, rhubarb is actually a vegetable – one related to sorrel, a tangy green that I wrote about here. I love to watch rhubarb melt from hard fibrous chunks to velvety, pink-tinged mush. I also appreciate its ability to pair with both sweet and savory dishes whether as tart counterpoint to pork or duck, or as an accompaniment to its fairer and fruitier spring partner, the strawberry.

Given its versatility, be sure to put some up before it disappears. I preserve my rhubarb in two ways: in the freezer and as marmalade. At the start of this series, I talked about my Rhubarb-Grapefruit Marmalade, click here for the recipe.

Three Methods for Freezing Rhubarb

1. Trim and cut the rhubarb into 1-inch pieces. Pack in airtight bags or containers and freeze.

2. Trim and cut the rhubarb into 1-inch pieces. Cook with granulated sugar (4 stalks to 1/4 cup sugar) until soft. Cool and then pack in airtight bags or containers and freeze.

3. You can also freeze rhubarb after cooking sous vide, a process I described here. Seal it and cook at 140 F degrees for 45 minutes or until soft. Cool and freeze in the sealed bag.

You can use frozen rhubarb to sweeten up your winter in custards, pies, ice creams, and beverages (I love a mint-rhubarb cooler).

Rhubarb-Oat Bars
Serves 8 generously

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour, scooped and leveled
¼ cup cornstarch, scooped and leveled
2 tablespoons wheat germ, raw or toasted
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large stalks of rhubarb, sliced ½-inch thick
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup honey
1 sprig of rosemary, tied up in a cheesecloth bundle
½ cup rolled oats
5 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons butter, softened slightly

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment. Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a medium bowl, mix together flours, cornstarch, wheat germ, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for about 1 minute. Add vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Press the dough into the pan. Score lightly into 1-inch by 2 ¼-inch fingers. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until crust is firm to the touch. Cool slightly.

While the crust is baking, make the rhubarb filling. Pour the orange juice over the rhubarb in a medium saucepan. Scoop in honey and add rosemary. Cook until the rhubarb has broken down and the mixture has thickened, approximately 15 minutes. Remove the cheesecloth bundle.

When the crust has cooled slightly, spread the rhubarb over it.

In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter using your fingers, until the mixture just holds together. Sprinkle it over the rhubarb. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is golden about 15-20 minutes.

Let cool. Using the edges of the parchment, remove from the pan to a cutting board and cut into slices.

Rhubarb-Red Wine Sauce
4 servings

This was a delicious accompaniment to sole coated in a pecan-flour breading. I bet it would also pretty great on roast pork or duck.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
3 rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and rhubarb and cook for a few minutes. Pour vinegar, maple syrup, and red wine over the rhubarb and add grated ginger. Cook until the rhubarb is softened and the liquid is reduced, approximately 15 minutes. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and whisk in 1 one piece at a time. Season with salt and pepper.


Reflections on the pre-Market

Posted: May 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm

My co-volunteer on the Morton Grove Farmers’ Market committee wrote a personal essay about our pre-opening Mother’s Day Market. I don’t think I could have better summed up the spirit of why we put our time and energy towards helping our community buy and eat local. The following was written by Mary Longe.

It wasn’t cold; it wasn’t sunny; there weren’t fruits and vegetables. But it was the Mother’s Day preview of the upcoming Morton Grove Farmers’ Market and the elements of summer were falling into place. People were out in Midwest high fashion. A pleasant mix of Ugs and shorts, flip flops and ski parkas: the hopes and reality of May in Morton Grove, IL.

For me, desperation for the market set in on Thursday, when I’d parsed out the last of the honey I’d bought last fall from the beekeeper from downstate.  Greek yogurt and walnuts are truly foods of the gods when combined with his seasonal honeys.

Seeing the vendors and community organizations from last year felt like seeing old friends. And seeing the new farms and sellers created a whole new market. I left with tomato, basil and rosemary plants in anticipation of fresh, home grown bruschetta in 63 growing days. I’ll pick up the mozzarella from the Cheese People and bread from the bakery when the tomatoes mature.

As I visited the stalls and hung out at the Welcome Booth, the words of three separate conversations help me convey what the market means for me beyond restocking my honey stores and preparing for meals in a couple months.

First was a chat with a young mom who told me her Mother’s Day tomorrow would be spent at a friend’s farm outside Racine, WI. She and her friends celebrate a twenty-first century version of Beltane – the ancient ritual of the druids to welcome the new growth of spring. “It’s about honoring the earth—about the beauty of nature,” she told me. “And, the market is part of that, too. That’s why it’s important to me.”

A table alongside the Welcome tent held the supplies for face painters and a Henna artist.  A hugely talented artist named Asma, whose age is no indication of her stunning artistry, created designs on hand after hand. She told me she was named artist of the month at her middle school. (Seriously, have her Henna a Wind-Wish wheel for something small, or a full back-of-hand design to experience the fragrance of the Henna herbs and her artistry.)  At the other end of the table a little younger child sat painting a design with face paints on his own leg.

“My name’s Mary, what’s yours?” I asked him.

He kept his focus on the fire-engine red creature emerging from his paint brush. “Ethan,” he admitted.

“So, Ethan, you about… seventeen?”

He finally looked at me, incredulously, but straight eye-to-eye. (It always works.) “Nine. I’m nine.” He said as seriously as my statement to him.

“Not nineteen, then? Are you sure? And then he smiled a huge smile with big shining brown eyes. He recognized my teasing.

“What do you do with your summers, Ethan?”

“I go to a bunch of camps.”

“What kind of camps? Do you learn how to fix air conditioners?” He looked directly at me again.

“No, I go to nature camps.”

“How come nature camp, Ethan?”

“I love nature. I love the animals and I love the trees and plants and Earth. I like all the activities with the other kids there. I like it here.”

And, there it was. Ethan, the nine-year-old, gesturing at the Farmers’ Market, told me with conviction, he connected the market to nature.

Later, I took the opportunity to shop the stalls and talked to the farmer from whom I bought the tomato plants. “My family and I do nine markets a week,” he told me. “I take a couple; my wife and older son each take a couple too. Then we take Sunday off.”

“When do you have time to farm?” I asked.

“We have 27 acres. Three grow the produce we bring here. The others have hay and pasture for the cattle. We all work hard and we get the work done.”

“So, do you take Sunday off to rest after all that or for religious reasons?”

“Well except for picking a few zucchini and cucumbers when they insist on being picked, which we don’t clean ‘til Monday, we figure God had a good reason for setting aside a day to rest each week. We gather with other people on Sunday. We gather our family and make time to enjoy each other on Sunday. Imagine,” he said wistfully, “if everyone with all their busy lives did that. Imagine how we’d be less frantic and have better relationships. The world would be a better place; people would be happier.” He went on to tell me how he went to school and worked in the Chicago, then decided to go back to the country where he could see storms roll in and smell fresh air.

I was struck by the idea that this man loves his job and the life it provides his family. He takes a day from the fields or the other markets every week to spend a different kind of time with his family and his community. His day of rest allows him to come back to our market renewed. His love of the land and his self awareness of what it means to him and his family affected me.

And so a summer full of markets begins. Listening to the mom, the nine-year-old and the farmer, I got a better understanding of what brings me back, too. A common thread with nature, relationships to people and the food wove through each conversation. Now, I realize that’s what brings me back, too. That’s why I volunteer—for the regular reminder that our food comes from the hard work of people who live just down the interstate, for the people of all ages whom I’ve met and who share an interest in nature, and for the food I take home. The Morton Grove Farmers Market will be open again June 4th. I’m optimistic it will be warm and sunny and truly summer. See you there!

Local Shabbat Dinner [Pic]

Posted: May 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

zuni chicken

The Zuni bread salad enhanced roast chicken is surely one of the most beloved of foodie enterprises, like all 100 pages or so of the cookbook.  I have nothing much to say about the recipe besides I love it too.  That, and no one platter dish uses more dishes in its prep.  To gild the lily, we added some River Valley Kitchen asparagus.

Meet Me for Donuts, Oak Park Farmer’s Market, Early Saturday

Posted: May 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I don’t plan on an eat local weekend nearly as exhausting as the last one.  No cooking cholent for 100 (from twenty pounds of plate and twenty pounds of grass fed beef from Butcher and Larder); no buying parsnips and nettles at Green City Market waiting for my wife, no racing to McCormick Place, no time on Mike Nowak’s show on WCPT/820 AM. No just a nice long walk with Molly the Eat Local Dog, and the Local Kid, who spoils me with her company to the Oak Park Farmer’s Market as soon as the dog wakes up.  In other words, early.  Come meet me for a donut.

When I spoke at Green Festival last week, I confessed that donuts enabled me to reach my potential as a locavore.  When I moved to Oak Park, neighbors directed me to the market.  Yet, honestly, back then, back in the beginning, the market did not do much for me.  Of course, these days, the early season crop, with season extension hoop houses and all looks a lot different, but back then, I came away hardly wowed.  Those first market seemed so bare.  Why shop.  I returned, however, because I love donuts.  What the market could not offer me in Spring produce, it could offer me in fat and sugar.

I love the donuts at the Oak Park Market.  They are not, I will also confess, the best donuts.  Not even the best donuts along Lake Street, as Dunk Donuts, several miles west in Melrose Park exceeds the Market donuts.  With donuts, second best hardly matters.  These are fresh, simple, wholesome, and carrying the flavors of all the flowers, spring greens, local cheeses, duck eggs, and everything other aroma wafting through the market.  I will most likely have two.

Then, I will purchase some asparagus, probably some goat’s milk cheese, and even more probably, some radishes.  I may have come for the donuts, but I stick around now for the local food.

The Oak Park Farmer’s Market is at Piligrim Church, on Lake St. just west of Ridgeland.  The market opens at 7.

Eat Local with Our Weekly Local Calendar

Posted: May 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm

A few more markets roll out this weekend, including my hometown market in Oak Park; French Markets in the far South Suburbs (New Lenox and Homewood) and way on the other end of the spectrum, the Kenosha HarborMarket moves to its outdoor location.  Of course, in between, within Chicago, markets are happening in Lincoln Park, and Division Street.  You should not have to travel too far to find local food. To find the market right for you, use our searchable, sortable, Market Locator

As the outdoor markets roll out, the most stalwart of indoor markets holds its last session this Saturday.  The Community Winter Market in Geneva shines on each weekend, each week, all winter, allowing for local food all the time.  We rarely (if ever) can make it to Geneva, but boy do we love that they are there.  The market always features a mix of available produce,  meat vendors with humanely raised chicken, pork and beef, and eggs as well as the outstanding selection of cheeses from  Curds & Whey Cheese Company.   The market is in the Inglenook Pantry building at 11 N 5th Ave in Geneva.  

Bring our set of market shopping tips with you.


The novelty of spring greens may be wearing off, and in fact some of that earliest plants, like ramps, are probably gone.  Still, we feel you should capitalize on the short season of foraged crops like watercress, nettles, garlic mustard, wild ferns.  Grab these now.

We saw over-wintered parsnips last week at  Growing Power.  See if you can still find them.  Also, old but still very good look for potatoes and apples.

Spring! asparagus and  rhubarb.




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 Larder in Noble Square, Chicago

An Indiana farm growing lettuces, basil and rocket (a/k/a arugula) indoors called Eden Farms sells mostly now in Indiana, but they also sell to the Sunset Foods stores on the North Shore.

We are still seeing Michigan apples and Wisconsin potatoes here and there.


Other Eat Local Activities

May 19 – May 25 – Chicago Craft Beer Week – Tom tells you what he thinks here.

May 22 - Our friend Jim Javenkoski throws his next Locavore Dinner, which includes a screening of the new documentary, Ingredients, at Kitchen Chicago.  The dinner will include a 4-course dinner menu designed by Chef Derrick Wcislak of Pure Kitchen Catering.  More details and tickets ($65/$75) are available here.

May 25 – Savor the Seasons Tasting Festivals: Lettuce, Green City Market, Chicago, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

May 26 – Swing into Spring, a fundraiser for the Peterson Garden Project – 7 – 11 PM

May 29 – Slow Food Chicago Book Club – Epitaph for a Peach by David Mas Masumoto – First Slice Cafe (4401 N. Ravenswood)
 - 2 – 3 PM – RSVP to sfchicagoevents {at} gmail(.)com , if you plan to attend.

June 4 – Planting Day at the preSERVE Garden – 12th Place and Central Park Ave., Chicago – 10 – 1230 - Water will be provided. Bring a sack lunch and work gloves if you have them.  Spaces are limited, please RSVP to slowfoodpreserve {at} gmail(.)com (Rain date will be Sunday, June 5th)

June 7 – Taste the Great Lakes Dinner – Freshwater fish dinner at Dirk’s Fish with Slow Food Chicago.

June 24 – Slow Food Chicago Summer Solstice Potluck – At the Chicago Honey Co-op. – Details forthcoming.

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.

Help Launch the Chicago Lights Urban Farm Mobile Market

Posted: May 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm


The Chicago Lights Urban Farm has teamed up with Groupon in order to raise money for their Mobile Market Program. This program seeks to make available to the (former?) Cabrini-Green neighborhood fresh, nutritious, and local produce from the Chicago Lights Urban Farm. With the proceeds from these donations, $1,500 will go towards hiring a few teenagers and providing them bicycles and safety gear so that they can to deliver market baskets to customers. Additional funds will be used to setup mobile kiosk that will offer produce from the farm to those in and around the neighborhood.

Donations can be made in $10, $25, or $50 increments. Anyone donating $50 will receive the Urban Farm’s cookbook and a coupon worth 10% of the amount donated, redeemable for purchase of fresh produce the Farm Stand (open Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., June through October). All donations will be matched up to $5,000 by an anonymous donor.

Visit the Groupon page to donate! The deadline to donate through Groupon ends at midnight on Thursday, May 19.

Find a Farmer’s Market – 2011 Local Beet Market Locator

Posted: May 16, 2011 at 8:05 am

UPDATE 10.27.11: We have updated our Locator for certain markets that continue through the end of the year.  We have not included dates for markets in 2012.  Also note, our Locator does not include one-off markets such as the markets run by Faith Place.  For a compendium of winter markets see this post.

Our primary mission at the Local Beet is to provide a “Practical Approach to Local Eating.”  One of the main ways we do that is by providing you the resources you need to eat local.  What do you need to eat local?  A farmer’s market.  We put together a new market locator to help you find farmer’s markets.  The Locator includes Chicago area markets as well as select markets in places you may find yourself on day trips or roadtrips.

The Locator is fully searchable.  It is also sortable by its columns.  Use those columns to see if your market has opened (or closed) for the season or look for a market in your city.

Please let us know via comments or email if you know a market not included in our Locator.

Farmer's Market Locator

Find Farmer's Markets in your area by entering your neighborhood, town, or nearby towns in the search box.
1. Name/Occurrence
Web Site
City, STAddressDayTimeStart DateEnd Date
61st Street Farmers Market (Experimental Station) /Weekly
Chicago, IL6100 S Blackstone Ave
Saturday9 - 205/12/12

Chicago, IL1500 W BERWYN AVE
Wednesday3 - 806/13/1210/17/12
Aurora Farmers Market ATC/Weekly
Aurora, ILWilder Promenade
350 N. River St.
Saturday730 - 1206/02/1210/27/12
Aurora Farmers Market East/Weekly
Aurora, IL3500 McCoy Drive
Spring Lake Park
Aurora Farmers Market West/Weekly
Aurora, IL1901 W. Galena Blvd
West Plaza Shopping Center
Wednesday2 - 607/11/1209/12/12
Austin Town Center/WeeklyChicago, ILLake and CentralThursday1 - 706/28/1210/25/12
Barnharts Stone Corner Organic Farm Market/Daily
Barrington Farmer's Market/Weekly
Barrington, IL100 S COOK ST
Corner of Main and South Cook St.
Thursday2 - 706/14/1210/18/12
Bartlett Farmer's Market/Weekly
Bartlett, IL228 S. Main St
Village Hall Parking Lot
Friday2 - 606/01/1209/14/12
Chicago, ILRailroad Ave & Rantoul St.
Veteran's Park
Mondays excluding holidays3-706/11/1210/22/12
Bolingbrook/WeeklyBolingbrook, ILThe Promenade
Sandburg Way across from the Village Green
Bridgeport/WeeklyChicago, IL35th & Wallace (In parking lot)
Saturday7 - 106/16/1210/06/12
Bronzeville Community Market/WeeklyChicago, IL4400 S. Cottage Grove
Saturday8 - 106/16/1210/27/12
Buffalo Grove/WeeklyBuffalo Grove, IL951 McHenry Road.Sunday8-12:3006/17/1210/07/12
Burr Ridge/WeeklyBurr Ridge, IL701 Village Center DriveThursday10-206/14/1209/13/12
Chesterton’s European Market/Weekly
Chesterton, INBroadway and ThirdSaturday8 - 205/05/1210/27/12
Chicago Botanic/Bi-Weekly
Glencoe, IL1000 Lake CookSunday9 - 306/03/1210/21/12
City Farm Market Stand/Tuesday - Friday
Chicago, IL1204 N. Clybourn
Tuesday - Friday1-5:30pm07/10/1209/28/12
City of Zion/WeeklyZion, ILShiloh Blvd. & Sheridan Rd.Thursday11-706/21/1209/28/12
Columbus Park - NEW!/WeeklyChicago, ILHarrison and CentralTuesday1 - 706/26/1210/30/12
Covenant Bank - North Lawndale/WeeklyChicago, IL1111 S. Homan Ave.Wednesday8 - 106/13/1210/10/12
Crystal Lake/WeeklyCrystal Lake, ILDepot Park (next to downtown Train Depot)Saturday8-106/02/1210/13/12
Daley Plaza/Weekly
Chicago, ILWashington & Dearborn
Thursday7 - 305/24/1210/18/12
Dane County - Outdoor - Saturday/Weekly
Madison, WICapital SquareSaturday6 - 204/14/1211/10/12
Dane County - Outdoor - Wednesday/Weekly
Madison, WI200 blk of MLK, Jr. Blvd.Wednesday830 - 204/25/1211/14/12
Deerfield/WeeklyDeerfield, ILMetra Commuter Lot at Deerfield Rd. & Robert York Ave.Saturday7-12:3006/16/1210/13/12
Division Street/Weekly
Chicago, ILDivison & Dearborn (On Division btwn. State & Clark)
Saturday7 - 105/12/1210/27/12
Downers Grove Farmer's Market - Saturday/WeeklyDowners Grove, ILMain St. Metro Station, Lot B
1000 Burlington Ave.
Saturday7 -12:30 05/12/1210/20/12
Downtown Bloomington/WeeklyBloomington, ILN. Main, E. Jefferson & W. Center streetsSaturday7:30-1205/12/12
Downtown Elgin/WeeklyElgin, IL200 N. Grove Ave.Thursday10-406/07/1210/04/12
Downtown Racine Farmer's Market/WeeklyRacine, ILState and Erie StSaturday8 - 1205/08/1110/30/11
East Side Green Market/Weekly
Milwaukee, WI1901 E. North Ave
Beans and Barley Parking Lot
Saturday10 - 206/16/1210/13/12
East Town Market - Saturday/Weekly
Milwaukee, WICorner of Kilbourn & Jefferson (Cathedral Square Park)

Saturday9 - 106/02/1210/06/12
Eden Place Farmers Market/Weekly
Chicago, IL4417 S. Stewart Ave.Saturday7-12:30pm05/12/1210/20/12
Edgewater/WeeklyChicago, ILBroadway and NorwoodSaturday8 - 106/09/1210/13/12
Eli's Cheesecake/Wright College/Weekly
Chicago, IL6701 W. Forest Preserve Dr.
Thursday7 - 106/14/1210/25/12
Elk Grove Village Farmers Market/WeeklyElk Grove Village, IL1000 WellingtonWednesday7 - 105/09/120/7/25/12
EvanstonIntersection of University Place and East Railroad Ave.
Saturday730 - 105/05/12121/31/12
Evergreen Park/WeeklyEvergreen Park, IL9001 S KedzieThursday7-106/07/1210/25/12
Federal Plaza/WeeklyChicago, ILAdams & Dearborn Tuesday7 - 305/22/12
Forest Park/WeeklyForest Park, IL7824 Madison
The Grove
Frankfort Country Market/WeeklyFrankfort, ILDowntown Frankfort at Breidert Green Oak & Kansas St.Sunday10-204/29/1210/27/12
Galena Territory/WeeklyGalena, IL2000 Territory Drive (The Galena Territory Owners Club)Sunday7:30-12:3005/12/1210/13/12
Geneva Green Market/WeeklyGeneva, IL75 North River LaneThursday7-106/07/1210/25/12
Glenview/WeeklyGlenview, IL1510 Wagner RoadSaturday8-1206/23/1210/13/12
Glenwood Sunday Market/WeeklyChicago, ILGlenwood Ave. Just West of the CTA red line between Morse and Lunt in Rogers ParkSunday9 - 206/03/1210/28/12
Grayslake - Fall
Grayslake, IL149 CENTER STSaturday
10 - 210/13/1212/22/12
Grayslake - Spring/Weekly
Grayslake, IL149 CENTER ST
Saturday10 - 204/07/1205/26/12
Grayslake - Summer/Weekly
Grayslake, IL149 CENTER ST
Wednesday3 - 706/06/1210/03/12
Green City Market - Saturday/WeeklyChicago, IL1750 N. Clark St. at the South End of Lincoln Park btwn. Clark and Stockton DrSaturday7 - 105/05/1212/31/12
Green City Market - Wednesday/WeeklyChicago, IL1750 N. Clark St. at the South End of Lincoln Park btwn. Clark and Stockton DrWednesday7 - 105/09/1212/31/12
Green Youth Farm's North Chicago Stand - Saturday/WeeklyNorth Chicago, IL1215 North Green Bay Road (Greenbelt Forest Preserve)Saturday9 - 107/14/1210/08/12
Green Youth Farm's North Chicago Stand/Twice WeeklyNorth Chicago, IL1215 North Green Bay Road (Greenbelt Forest Preserve)Wednesday 9-107/11/1210/05/12
Harvard, IL19 N. Ayer St.
Saturday9 - 105/05/1210/27/12
Healing Temple Church/WeeklyChicago, IL4941 W. Chicago Ave. Sunday2 - 606/24/1210/28/12
Hinsdale Farmers Market/Weekly
Hinsdale, IL30 E Chicago Ave
Monday7 - 106/04/1210/08/12
Homegrown Bronzeville/WeeklyChicago, IL343 E. 51stSunday9 - 106/10/1210/28/12
Homer Glen/Weekly
Homer Glen, IL15833 S. Bell RoadSaturday9 - 105/05/1210/13/12
Homewood French Market/WeeklyHomewood, IL2020 Chestnut RoadSaturday8 - 1205/19/1210/20/12
Huntley Farmers Market/Weekly
Huntley, IL11704 E. CoralSaturday8 - 105/26/1210/13/12
Hyde Park/WeeklyChicago, IL52nd Place & Harper
Thursday7 - 106/14/1210/25/12
Illinois Products
Farmers' Market/Weekly
Springfield, ILCommodities Pavillion
Illinois State Fairgrounds
Thursday4 - 705/10/1210/18/12
Independence Park/2nd & 4th Sundays of the month
Chicago, IL3945 N. Springfield
Sunday9 - 106/10/1210/28/12
Jefferson Park Sunday Market/WeeklyChicago, IL5216 W. Lawrence AveSunday10 - 206/24/1210/21/12
Kankakee Farmers' Market/WeeklyKankakee, IL100 E. MerchantSaturday7 - 1204/28/1210/27/12
Kenosha HarborMarket - Harbor Market Location/Weekly
Kenosha, WI2nd Avenue between 55th and 56th Street (Temporary)Saturday9 - 105/19/1210/13/12
La Follette Park - New!/WeeklyChicago, IL1333 N. LaramieWednesday1 - 706/20/1210/24/12
La Grange Farmer's Market/WeeklyLa Grange, ILParking lot south of Village Hall, DowntownThursday7 - 105/12/1210/27/12
Lake Bluff Farmer's Market/WeeklyLake Bluff, IL40 E Center Ave
Friday7 - 1206/08/1210/12/12
Lake Forest Market on the Square/Weekly
Lake Forest, IL220 Deerpath Road
Saturday8am - 12:30pm06/23/1210/20/12
Lan-Oak Park District Farmers Market/Weekly
Lansing, ILPark Plaza (Ridge & Grant)Wednesday4 - 806/06/1208/29/12
Lemont Farmers Market/Weekly
Lemont, IL435 Talcott Avenue
Tuesday8 - 106/05/1210/30/12
Lincoln Farmer's Market/Weekly
Lincoln, IL316 S. Kickapoo St.Saturday7 - 1204/28/1210/27/12
Lincoln Farmer's Market/Weekly
Lincoln, IL316 S. Kickapoo St.Wednesday3 - 604/28/1210/27/12
Lincoln Park/WeeklyChicago, ILArmitage & Orchard
Saturday7 - 105/12/1210/27/12
Lincoln Square/WeeklyChicago, ILLincoln/Leland/Western (City Parking Lot adjacent to Brown Line Station)
Tuesday7 - 106/05/1210/23/12
Lincolnwood. Summer Market and Music in Proesel Park/WeeklyLincolnwood, IL6900 Lincoln
Thursday5 - 83006/21/1207/26/12
Lisle French Market/Weekly
Lisle925 Burlington AvenueSaturday8 - 104/28/1210/27/12
Logan Square/Weekly
Chicago, IL3107 W. Logan Blvd
Sunday10 - 306/03/1210/28/12
Loyola/WeeklyChicago, IL6542 N. Sheridan Rd.Monday2:30 - 6:3006/11/1210/15/12
Main Street Farmer's Market Downtown Aledo/WeeklyAledo, ILS. College Ave. (Downtown Aledo)Thursday4-606/07/1210/11/12
Main Street Farmer's Market of Olney/WeeklyOlney, IL202 E Main StreetSaturday7-1105/05/1211/17/12
Midtown Farmers Market/Weekly
Rockford, ILThe District 205 parking lot (the former Amcore/Harris/BMO building) right across from Katie's Cup 502 7th St.
Miller Beach Farmer's MarketMiller, IN667 S. Lake St
Mokena French Market/Weekly
Mokena, ILFront Street Metra Lot (Front Street & Wolf Road)

Saturday8 - 105/05/1210/27/12
Morton Grove Farmer's Market/Weekly
Morton Grove, IL6210 Dempster Between Harrer Pool and the American Legion Civic CenterSaturday8 - 106/02/1210/20/12
Mount Ebenezer Baptist Church/WeeklyChicago, IL3555 W. HuronSaturday10 - 406/30/1210/27/12
Mount Prospect Farmer's Market/WeeklyMount Prospect, ILNW Highway & Rte. 83 (SW Corner)Sunday8-106/17/1210/20/12
Mundelein Farmer's Market/Weekly
Mundelein, ILDowntown Mundelein One block south of Illinois 176 and one block east of Illinois 45Friday3 - 706/01/1210/12/12
Murphysboro Farmer's Market/WeeklyMurphysboro, IL1101 Walnut Street (City parking lot at 11th & Chestnut St.)Tuesday3-705/01/1211/01/12
Museum of Contemporary Art/Streeterville/Weekly
Chicago, ILChicago & Mies van der Rohe Way (On MCA Plaza)
Tuesday7 - 306/05/1210/23/12
Naperville Farmer's Market/WeeklyNaperville, ILFifth Avenue Station parking lotSaturday7 - 1206/02/1210/27/12
New Lenox French Market/WeeklyNew Lenox, IL1 Veterans Pky
Saturday8 - 105/12/1210/26/12
Northbrook Farmer's Market/WeeklyNorthbrook, IL3700 Dundee RoadWednesday7-106/20/1210/10/12
North Center - Browntrout MarketChicago, IL 4111 N. Lincoln Ave.Tuesday5-805/01/1211/20/12
Northcenter/WeeklyChicago, ILBelle Plaine/Damen/Lincoln
Saturday7 - 106/16/1210/27/12
Northfield Farmers' Market/Weekly
Northfield, IL6 Happ RoadSaturday730 - 123005/26/1210/20/12
North Lawndale Green Youth Farmt/Weekly
Chicago, IL3555 W. Ogden Ave.Wednesday3 - 607/04/1210/05/12
Oak Park/Weekly
Oak Park, IL460 LakeSaturday7 - 105/19/1210/22/12
Old Capitol Farmers Market - Saturday/Weekly
Springfield, IL500 E. AdamsSaturday8 - 123005/19/1210/27/12
Old Capitol Farmers Market - Wednesday/Weekly
Springfield, IL500 E. AdamsWednesday8 - 123005/16/1210/24/12
Old Dundee Farmers' Market/ Weekly
East Dundee, IL319 N. River Street
Saturday8 - 205/19/1210/27/12
Olde Schaumburg Centre Farmers Market/Weekly
Schaumburg, IL190 S. RoselleFriday7 - 106/08/1210/26/12
Oneida Farmer's Market/WeeklyOneida, IL221 US-34 (Across from DT Sales)Thursday3-607/01/1209/30/12
Orland Park/Weekly
Orland Park, IL14700 South Ravinia AvenueFriday730 - 106/01/1210/25/12
Oswego Country Market/WeeklyOswego, IL5 North Main StreetSunday9-106/03/1209/30/12
Palos Heights Farmers Market/WeeklyPalos Heights, IL12217 S. HarlemWednesday7 - 105/09/1210/10/12
Park Forest/Weekly
http://pfhealth.net/index.php?src=gendocs&link=fmarkethome&category=Farmers Market&PHPSESSID=7b373854a01d556cfa713b112d57b459
Park Forest, IL271 Lakewood
Saturday7 - 1205/05/1210/27/12
Park Ridge Farmers' Market/Weekly
Park Ridge, IL15 Prairie AveSaturday7 - 105/26/1210/27/12
Pawnee Farmer's Market/WeeklyPawnee, ILVillage SquareTuesday4-606/07/1210/27/12
Peoria RiverFront Market/WeeklyPeoria, IL330 SW Water Street (Liberty Park)Saturday8-1206/02/1209/29/12
Pilsen Community Market/Weekly
Chicago, IL1800 S. Halsted
Sunday9 - 306/03/1209/28/12
Portage Park Farmers Market/Weekly
Chicago, IL4100 N. LongSunday10 - 206/03/1210/07/12
Printers Row/WeeklyChicago, ILDearborn & Polk (Printers Row Park)
Saturday7 - 106/16/1210/27/12
Chicago, IL111th & Cottage Grove (In Arcade Park)
Wednesday7 - 1207/11/1210/31/12
Quincy Farmer's Market - Saturday/WeeklyQuincy, IL128 N. 5th (Washington Park)Saturday7-105/15/1210/27/12
Quincy Farmer's Market - Tuesday/WeeklyQuincy, IL128 N. 5th (Washington Park)Tuesday7-105/15/1210/27/12
Racine Downtown Farmer's Market/WeeklyRacine, WI700 State Street (Case Corp parking lot)Saturday8 - 1205/05/1210/27/12
Ridgeville Park District Farmers Market/Weekly
Chicago, IL908 Seward St
Wednesday330 - 705/30/1210/10/12
Riverside Farmer's Market/WeeklyRiverside, IL27 Riverside Road (parking lot between the Village office and the library)Wednesday2:30-706/13/1210/03/12
Rowan Tree Garden Society/Weekly
Chicago/IL501 W. EnglewoodFriday8 - 405/18/1211/30/12
Saturday Produce Market/WeeklyDecatur, ILOne College Park (Richmond Community College)Saturday8-1206/16/1210/06/12
Seaway Bank Farmers Market /Weekly
Chicago, IL645 E. 87th Street
Wednesday9 - 207/25/1209/26/12
Skokie Farmer's Market/Weekly
Skokie, IL5127 Oakton Street
Sunday730 - 124506/24/1210/28/12
Southport Market/WeeklyChicago, IL1420 W. Grace
Saturday8 - 206/23/1209/08/12
South Shore/Weekly
Chicago, IL70th & Jeffery Blvd. (ShoreBank Parking Lot)
Wednesday7 - 106/12/1210/31/12
Sugar Grove French Market/WeeklySugar Grove, ILSugar Grove Municipal Parking Lot Saturday8am - 12pm06/07/149/27/14
Summit Park District Farmer's Market/WeeklySummit, IL5700 S. Archer Rd Wednesday2-706/20/1210/03/12
Swansea Farmer's Market/WeeklySwansea, IL2801 N. IllinoisThursday2-605/03/1210/25/12
The Wheeler Mansion Market/WeeklyChicago, IL2020 S. CalumetWednesday4 - 806/06/1210/31/12
Tinley Park Farmers Market/Weekly
Tinley Park, IL17116 S. Oak Park, AveSaturday7 - 1206/02/1210/13/12
Trinity 7th Street Moline Farmer's Market/WeeklyMoline, IL500 John Deere RoadSaturday8-1205/05/1210/27/12
Twin City Farmer's Market/WeeklySterling, IL106 Avenue ASaturday8-1201/07/1212/15/12
Uptown Farmers Market at Weiss/Weekly
Chicago, IL4646 N. Marine Dr.
Thursday730 - 123006/21/1210/25/12
Uptown Normal Trailside Farmer's Market/WeeklyNormal, IL100 E. BeaufortTuesday3:30-606/05/1209/18/12
Urbana, Market on the Square/Weekly
Urbana, ILCorner of Illinois & Vine Streets Saturday7 - 1205/05/1211/03/12
Villa Park French Market /WeeklyVilla Park, ILOn Park Boulevard, West side of Ardmore Avenue
Sunday8 - 105/06/1210/28/12
Warrenville Farmer's Market/ Weekly
Warrenville, IL3S200 Route 59
Wednesday3 - 706/20/1209/12/12
Watseka Farmer's Market/WeeklyWatseka, IL120 E. Walnut
First Trust & Savings Bank parking lot
West Allis Farmer's Market - Saturday/Weekly
West Allis, WI6501 W. National Ave
Saturday1 - 605/05/1211/24/12
West Allis Farmer's Market - Sunday/Weekly
West Allis, WI6501 W. National Ave
Sunday8 - 505/06/1210/28/12
West Allis Farmer's Market - Thursday/Weekly
West Allis, WI6501 W. National Ave
Thursday12 - 605/10/1211/21/12
West Allis Farmer's Market - Tuesday/Weekly
West Allis, WI6501 W. National Ave
Tuesday12 - 605/08/1211/19/12
West Humboldt Park Farmers Market & Bazaar/2nd Saturday a Month
Chicago, IL3601 W. Chicago
Once a month 6/2, 7/14,
8/11, 9/8, 10/13
Saturday10 - 206/02/1210/13/12
Wicker Park & Bucktown Market/WeeklyChicago, ILWWicker Park & Damen (In Wicker Park) icker Park & BucktownSunday8 - 206/03/1210/28/12
Willis Tower Plaza/WeeklyChicago, IL233 S. Wacker Dr.
Thursday7 - 306/04/1210/25/12
Woodstock - Saturday/Weekly
Woodstock, ILWoodstock Town Square
100 Johnson Street
Saturday8 - 105/05/1210/27/12
Woodstock - Tuesday/Weekly
Woodstock, ILWoodstock Town Square
100 Johnson Street
Tuesday8 - 105/01/1210/30/12
Wood Street Farm Stand/WeeklyChicago, IL5814 S. Wood St.Wednesday1 - 404/18/1210/24/12
Yorktown Mall Farmers Market
Lombard, IL203 Yorktown Rd
Wednesday3 - 706/06/1209/12/12

How to Open and Break Down a CSA Box

Posted: May 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm

We’re getting closer and closer to the start of the CSA box season and starting to get a taste of what’s to come at the Farmer’s Markets that are now open. In anticipation of the boxes, I want to take this opportunity to review how to open and properly break down a CSA box. These workhorses can take a lot of wear and tear and, if properly cared for, can last the whole season – which saves the farms money and keeps the boxes out of landfills for as long as possible.

How to Open and Break Down a CSA Box

To see it in action, Angelic Organics produced this great video that walks you through step-by-step how to open and break down a CSA box.

A tip if you’re new to CSA boxes: part of the reason they hold up so well is a coating of wax on the inside AND outside of the box. So be careful if you’re wearing your favorite little black sundress or concert t-shirt – otherwise you can end up with a white smudge across the front of your clothes!

A Busy Eat Local Weekend, Hope You Join Me

Posted: May 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm

We got Oak Park Temple to smell like Manny’s.  Of all the things we had and have to do for this weekend, that one did not appear on any David Allen approved lists, but as side effects go, a very good one.  The aroma of Manny’s comes from pans of cholent simmering away, part of the “green” dinner my wife and I, along with the rest of our Chaverim are preparing tonight at the Synagogue.  We will barely rest from there.

Well, I will rest slightly more than the other Cookbook Addict.  She will be up before the crack of dawn to take her first market assignment of 2011 for Tomato Mountain Farm.  She’ll be part of their team selling produce and canned materials at Saturday’s Green City Market.  I won’t get too much more sleep, as I’ll have to take care of Molly the Eat Local Dog.  Later, I’ll hang at Green City, making a meal of maple flavored butter and Brunkow cheeses.  I’ll have to pick up the stinging nettles from Green Acres I verbally committed to the other day.  We zip off from Green City to McCormick Place for the Green Festival.

Any spare time at Green Festival, I’ll hang with the crowd of CSA farmers and soap merchants at the mini FamilyFarmed Expo zone.  Then, myself, Slama, Helen Cameron of UnCommon Ground, and Suzanne Keers of Local First Chicago will deliver the message that the biggest way to green your life is to green your diet.  We’ll explain how people can live the local life all the time.  Our panel is at 33o PM in the Sustainable Home and Garden Pavilion.

I plan on squeezing in a trip to Chinatown Saturday, where I doubt I will eat anything local, but the food miles of the hand pulled noodles will be pretty scant nonetheless.  Somewhere, late Saturday or early Sunday, I have to pass off a gaggle of Slow Food Chicago material in my possession to the team selling tomato plants at the Empty Bottle Farmer’s Market on Sunday.  I like to think I will be, in spirit, at least, at that market.  Please stop by and buy a delicious tomato plant that will help support the activities of Slow Food Chicago.

I doubt I’ll be at Empty Bottle, but I will be at the Beverly Farmer’s Market way on the South side of Chicago, because that’s where my wife will be selling Tomato Mountain on Sunday.  I’m going with her because I also need to be on the South side that morning to appear on Mike Nowak’s show on WCPT/820 AM.  Expect me on about 1030 AM talking market locator and all the new Beetniks coming on board. 

I’m thinking we’ll conclude the eat local weekend with locally raised goats, cooked in the traditional tatemada style at Birria Zaragoza.

And if you’re getting tired at this point, note that before we got to Manny’s aromas, we had to plan the meat with Rob Levitt of Butcher and the Larder (unlike Manny’s, we use grass fed, local beef);  we had to pick up 35 pounds of Michigan asparagus from Mick Klug; and pickle a whole ton of Lake Superior whitefish.  All in the name of eating local.

Panel on Ecojustice Awareness, Sunday 5/15

Posted: May 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm

If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t posted in quite a while. Everyday life, work, having my first child…all of those took priority over the last few months.

During the last year I was also Chair of the Care of Creation Committee at Fourth Presbyterian Church. We are dedicated to environmental issues and have been involved with the Chicago Lights Urban Farm (who works in collaboration with Growing Power).

This Sunday, May 15 at 12:30 pm, our committee is hosting a special panel on ecojustice awareness. The event will be held on the 19th Floor of the Olympia Centre at 737 N Michigan Avenue (enter on Chicago Avenue). During this event a panel of speakers will speak about issues on ecojustice and then we will open up the floor for questions. Our panel of speakers are:

  • Dr. Rebecca Martusewicz – Founder, The Center for Ecojustice Education/Eastern Michigan University
  • Keith Harley – Director of Environmental Law Program, Chicago Legal Clinic/Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Rev. Dr. Claire Butterfield – Director, Faith in Place

Local food production definitely has ecojustice implications. For example, the City Farm Chicago and Chicago Lights Urban Farm both provide opportunities for under-developed neighborhoods in the form of employment and access to cheap, nutritious food.

We hope that you can join us for this event!

Michigan Red Wine Tasting @ Webster’s Wine Bar, Sunday 5/15, 7 pm

Posted: May 13, 2011 at 10:35 am

As I’ve written before, it’s sometimes frustrating to be a locawino, because so many of the best wines from the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas in Michigan are unavailable here.  The great wine bar in Lincoln Park, Webster’s, has organized a tasting of Leelanau Peninsula red wines this Sunday, including some wines that have been specially shipped in. $40, 7 pm.

More details:    http://websterwinebar.com/events-tastings/tastings-classes-2/

Webster’s Wine Bar

1480 W. Webster, Chicago

(773) 868-0608

Urban Ag Zoning Change Update

Posted: May 13, 2011 at 8:57 am

city farm

Last time I posted on the Local Beet, I wrote about some of the contentious issues with the Urban Agriculture Zoning Change debate over Mayor Daley’s proposed amendment to Section 17-2-0207 of the City’s Zoning Ordinance.  These new provisions are intended to foster growth of urban agriculture throughout the city.   As I explained in the post, the process to draft this legislation has not been without challenges or critics.   The legislation was drafted and revised with input from the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council, Advocates for Urban Agriculture, and other community groups and local farmers. 

Having (re-)finalized the legislation, it was referred to the Zoning Committee, to be heard at their January meeting.  Later it was removed from the agenda and did not re-appear on any agenda since.  While it was not on the agenda for the April 26th meeting, there were rumors that it was going to be brought up, and so the urban agriculture crowd was in strong attendance at the meeting, and placed many calls to aldermen before the meeting.  In particular, they asked their aldermen for an open discussion of urban agriculture and re-consideration of various points of the amendment.  It was brought up at the meeting –one of the first agenda items, but was deferred from discussion.  This means that it will be deferred until the Chair of the Zoning Committee (Alderman Solis) calls it back to the table.  Alderman Solis’ office reports that they are waiting on a replacement document from Department of Zoning and Land Use, and that it will “most likely” be on the agenda for May 26th, 2011.  (The Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council will host a panel on the proposed amendment at their Spring Quarterly Meeting on May 20th.

With a major shift in City Hall to occur this month, there is an unknown factor that leaves some worried about fate of all the hard work that has been done on this legislation to date.  Some advocate for passage of the legislation as it stands to promote agriculture in Chicago; others would accept the legislation if they thought that the process to amend it “down the road” would be simple, and others feel that it would be a mistake to pass the legislation without significant changes.  It is hard to reach a consensus because there are many different forms of urban agriculture and the legislation can hurt or help, depending on which side of the fence you’re standing on.

In February, Advocates for Urban Agriculture sent a list of questions to Andy Mooney, Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Economic Development, about the zoning that they hoped would clarify some fuzzy issues.  The City’s response (PDF) to these concerns rests primarily on protecting the character of neighborhoods and the rights of citizens –some of whom may not want a large vegetable farm in their quiet, residential neighborhood.  I have outlined some of the city’s responses to AUA’s questions and concerns below.

Regarding size limits

The size limits are primarily intended to protect the character of an existing residential or commercial area of a given block.  The City determined size limitations for community gardens based on an assessment of existing urban and community gardens.  They determined that the vast majority of community gardens are within their 18,750 square foot limit.  Additionally, there can be more than one community garden on a block; the size limit only applies to individual gardens.  The size limits are smaller than some established farms in the City of Chicago, but those farms were originally established with a variance, and future farms could also seek a variance, with community support and aldermanic approval.   Any existing community garden that is larger than the size limit will be classified as legal non-conforming use. 

Sales of goods on-site

Community groups advocated strongly for the allowing the sale of goods on-site as a way to increase food access to the many food deserts across the city.  The Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning agreed to revise the original proposal to allow “incidental” sales on-site at community gardens and has committed to creating a FAQ guide to interpreting the ordinance.

Agriculture as a temporary use

Community groups have requested the consideration of agriculture as a temporary use (similar to how City Farm was established); they have alluded to other business uses that are permitted in residential areas with hopes of including agriculture as well; and there has been a question of vacant lots and why agriculture is not permitted when a vacant lot is.  Vacant lots are not a land use in the Chicago Zoning Ordinance and therefore are neither permitted nor prohibited.  Commercial uses that are allowed in residential zoning districts are of a service nature and do not involve sales of goods to the general public, in contrast with a commercial farm.  The city clarified that there is no temporary use permit, and did not indicate any intention to create one. 

Distinction between non-profit farms and commercial enterprises and rooftop gardens

Large scale rooftop operations are not addressed in the code, and this worries companies who had planned to use industrial warehouses to begin “greening” and feeding the city.  In Seattle, they allow rooftop greenhouses to exceed building height limits, when it is for food production.  Additionally, the proposed amendment does not mention aquaponics operations.   There are business owners in Chicago who worry that this could put a halt to their development plans.  I spoke with two different business owners who were planning projects in Chicago and their lawyers have said that their projects could be illegal under the existing code, and the amendment would not help them.   The city has clarified that commercial gardens will be able to operate indoors and on rooftops in the C1 – M3 and all of the PMDs, and outdoors in the C1 – M3 zoning districts and in PMDs #9, 10, and 13.  Community gardens will be able to operate indoors or outdoors.

There is no distinction between non-profit farms and commercial gardens because the City views them both to have a more significant impact on nearby neighborhoods in terms of scale and operation.  If a non-profit group encounters financial hindrances or burdens created by the code, they can request an Administrative Adjustment from the Office of the Zoning Administrator, which may allow for reduction of some requirements if there is a hardship of operation.   San Francisco distinguishes between “neighborhood agriculture” and “urban industrial agriculture” by size rather than primary use.  Any site one acre or larger is considered an urban industrial agriculture site.

Composting concerns

There is also concern over the wording that compost operations may not accept waste from off-site locations, and they may not distribute the resulting compost soil off-site.  This is not a change to the current legislation; this reflects the City’s existing Composting Ordinance, passed in June of 2007.  The proposed amendment would have no effect on this ordinance.  In January of 2010, Illinois’ SB 99 Composting Bill took effect, which allows food waste to be commercially composted in Illinois.  It changes the distinction of food waste from “garbage” to “food scrap” and allows facilities that process landscape waste to also compost food waste – up to 10% of total waste without a new permit.  All city and state compost restrictions are to prevent poorly managed sites from posing a health risk and /or a nuisance.

While not without fault, the new zoning provisions should help advance many urban agriculture projects and community gardens throughout the city, and increase awareness of the benefits of urban agriculture.  An open process to develop the amendment is tricky, but hopefully these efforts will produce a stronger piece of legislation.


Buy Your Tomato Plants for Slow Food Chicago with This Local Calendar Thursday, May 12th, 2011
Starting Seeds: The Urban Edition (UPDATED!) Thursday, May 12th, 2011
Kick off Chicago’s Craft Beer Week May 19 Under Glass Thursday, May 12th, 2011
Save the Date! – Slow Food Chicago’s Annual Summer Solstice Potluck Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
Humboldt Park Community Gardening Event, May 14 Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
Thank Country, Get a Bag, Kickoff Market Season – Daley Plaza, May 12 Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
RECYCLED – Our Farmer’s Market Shopping Tips Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
Time To Start Busting The Myth That Farmer’s Markets Are More Expensive Than Supermarkets: The Atlantic Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
Locavore Dinner + Ingredients film screening at Kitchen Chicago (Sunday, 22 May) Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
Defining ‘foodie’ is first step to respond to negative criticism Monday, May 9th, 2011
The Cookbook Addict: Heartland Monday, May 9th, 2011
Meet Best Selling Author Mark Kurlansky Tomorrow Friday, May 6th, 2011
Eating From the Market is Green with This Week’s Local Calendar Friday, May 6th, 2011
First Look: New Local Beet Farmer’s Market Locator Friday, May 6th, 2011
Green City Market Opening Day Thursday, May 5th, 2011
UPDATE on Logan Square Farmer’s Market: Information Meeting Tonight, 6 pm Thursday, May 5th, 2011
Be a Beet Reporter – Market Correspondents, CSA Subscribers, Home Canners (Etc.) Wanted Thursday, May 5th, 2011
What a Sustainable Meat Operation Looks Like – Farm Tour – Cedar Valley – Saturday Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
Last Minute Chance to Support a Good Cause – ReCreate for Resource Center Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
By the Time We Got to Woodstock – Share Your Early Season Market Experiences Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
Re-Visiting the Chef at the Market Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
UPDATED! Market Locator Preview and The Earliest Markets for Your Eat Local Needs Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
[UPDATE: ALD. COLON WITHDRAWS REQUEST FOR HEARING] TODAY: Hearing on Ald. Colon’s Objection to Logan Square Market Permit, NOON Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
Dark Lord Day 2011 (the ultimate local beer event) Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011