Seeing Red with this Local Calendar

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June 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm

This is the time of year I begin seeing red.  When I do my weekly market shopping I see plenty of red rhubarb, and I see plenty of red strawberries.  Red strawberries.  I see red this time of year not just when I shop for strawberries, I see red when I see what otherwise passes for strawberries.  See, as I always say this time of year, strawberries are red, dammit.  If your strawberry red?  Does the red, in fact, as a thin veneer, covering a mess of white fruit flesh with a vague strawberry essence?  I, however, see only red.

Want to see red too.  Use our searchable, sortable, Market Locator to find a market near you.  Also take with our farmer’s market shopping tips.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

Strawberries!  Buy enough to make jam.  As Melissa Graham, the Sustainable Cook says, eat strawberries in your cereals, in your yogurt, in your smoothies, and in your salsa.   Playing in the same game, former chef and LTHForum wiseguy, KennyZ, suggests using strawberries in place of tomatoes in a “Caprese” salad.

Forgive us our fixation with strawberries, us locavores have until last week, been reduced to mangos and bananas.  We crave our local fruit.  Still, the markets contain vegetables too, and peas are coming into season.  Take advantage of all the varieties of peas there: shell peas, sugar snaps, and snow peas. Remember peas are one of the best vegetables to put away for later local eating.  Not only do frozen peas taste pretty darn, it’s better to freeze your peas if you cannot get to them within a few days of harvest.

Continue to take advantage of ample crops of asparagus, spinach, turnips, and lettuces.  More onions enter the market.

WHAT TO BUY SOON (OR LOOK FOR KEENLY)

Cherries, blueberries; new potatoes

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 Larder in Noble Square, Chicago

We saw Michigan asparagus at Whole Foods this week.

WHAT TO DO NOW

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.

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