Are There Fava Beans With This Local Calendar? [UPDATE: THERE ARE!]
Locavores go nuts over the prospect of fava beans (preferably with some Prairie Fruit Farm’s sheep’s milk pecorino). See, fava beans are a classic “Spring” vegetable, and are certainly associated with that time of year in certain cuisines. And if you find yourself in Italy or Mexico during the Spring, you can, I am pretty sure, enjoy fresh favas. If you rely on local, seasonal produce, however, in the Chicago area, you cannot enjoy fresh favas as a Spring vegetable. Fava beans are not to be found with Local Calendar. Do keep an eye on future Local Calendars for when we do have local favas. [Update: Intrepid Beet Marketeer Moira Tuffy found favas from Nichols.] You will notice a difference.
Yet, I’ve seen, more than a few times, stories of fava bean dishes and exhortations to grab these dishes while the favas are around. There not around. When they come around, we’ll tell you with the Local Calendar. We’ll tell you about grilling favas, an idea we got from Chad Nichols of Nichols Farm. Eat what’s in season. Now. When favas come into season, eat them.
WHAT TO BUY NOW
The markets remain about the same as last week, with increases mostly in the pea population and also a few new crops, most likely to be spotted, kohlrabi. See below for what else.
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.
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, (only a few more weeks left!), 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
July 21 — Green City Market Chef’s BBQ. The big annual event for the GCM. 5:30-8.
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.