Buy Your Tomato Plants for Slow Food Chicago with This Local Calendar

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May 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Believe it or not, you can find local tomatoes, grown indoors, at Chicago area farmer’s markets now.  Still, does anything beat a tomato grown yourself through the hot Chicago summer?  To get you going, as in past years, Slow Food Chicago is teaming with Damien Casten and Candid Wines to sell tomato plants.  These plants are part of TomatoFest, an effort to raise money for Slow Food Chicago’s projects such as sending delegates to the Terra Madre event.  You can get your plant and help Slow Food Chicago at the Empty Bottle Farmer’s Market this Sunday, May 15 from 11 AM to 3 PM. 

As we noted with last week’s Local Calendar, the Local Calendar’s for the next several months (until the end of October or so)will not list every area market.  Instead, we will point you each week to our Market Locator to find a farmer for you.  Also, we will not list each item “in season”; rather, we will highlight certain items to especially get now.  The Local Calendar remains your premier weekly resource to living the eat local life.  We just recognize that this time of year, your resource needs change.

New to eating local?  Take our set of market shopping tips.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

If there seems to be one constant with farming around here, well, it’s that there is no constant.  Too hot.  Too cold.  Too wet.  Too dry.  Our area farmers face an over abundance of too’s.  The too’s this Spring have affected a lot of farmers, and you may not find as much at markets as you’d like.

Some things to buy this week: Green Acres Farm, who sells at Green City Market and Evanston foraged their property for some rarities: nettles, garlic mustard, wild ferns.  Grab these now.

Here’s another seasonal treat that will be gone ASAP: over-wintered parsnips.  Growing Power may still have some.

A crop immune to the too’s: spinach.  Like parsnips, farmer’s can “overwinter” their spinach, allowing for something to harvest even when nature is otherwise not cooperating.

It’s that time of they year, local luxury: asparagus.

We hear reports of rhubarb.

WHAT TO BUY SOON (OR LOOK FOR KEENLY)

Strawberries

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

C&D Pastured Pork, locations for purchase here.  Also follow on Facebook for information regarding whereabouts.

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.

Whole Foods is the source for local ramps for another week or so.

WHAT TO DO NOW

Farmer’s Markets

Markets opening this weekend include Beverly and Division.  Markets already active include Woodstock, Grayslake, Green City, Daley Plaza, and Evanston.  As noted above, don’t forget to stop by the Empty Bottle Market on Sunday.  For markets active or soon to be active, see our newly minted Locator.

Other Eat Local Activities

May 14-15 – Green Festival at McCormack Place – Tons of activities for the greenly aware, including a mini-FamilyFarmed Expo area.  Speaking of FamilyFarmed, we speak with Jim Slama of FamilyFarmed, and also Suzanne Keers of Local First and Helen Cameron of UnCommon Ground on May 14 at 330 PM.

May 15 — Michigan Red Wine Tasting @ Webster’s Wine Bar, Chicago, $40, 7:00 pm.  As Wendy has written about here before, some of the best local Michigan wine from the Leelanau Peninsula is unavailable in Chicago (right now).  The great wine bar, Webster’s has organized a tasting of Michigan red wine, and has even special ordered wines that you can’t get here for this event.  It’s will be a great way to sample the best that the Leelanau has to offer.  More details here.

May 15 – Beet Contributor Roderick Gedey’s Committee on the Care of Creation with Fourth Presbyterian Church 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 will open up the floor for questions.  Full details here.

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 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.

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.

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