We Don’t Call Them New (Potatoes) on the Local Calendar

July 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm

One of the biggest differences between eat localites and others is that they eat new potatoes while we really eat new potatoes.  In fact, to differentiate what they call new potatoes from the new potatoes we eat, we have taken to calling them “freshly dug” potatoes.  They call any small, usually red potato, a new potato.  We consider new potatoes to actually be new potatoes; the first potatoes harvested.  New.   You know any potato can be a “new” potato.  They can be white or blue as well as red.  They can be oblong, fully grown will be fingerlings.  They are new because they are freshly dug.

What especially differentiates freshly dug potatoes from other potatoes, especially other potatoes masquerading under the new moniker is that they are not “cured” for long term storage.  The lack of curing leaves freshly dug potatoes with easily peelable skins, and freshly dug potatoes are easily recognized by their pockmarked surface, with bits of skin pushed away just from harvest and handling.  Freshly dug, the sugars and starches are not fully developed.   Instead, you get the inner vegetable, the potato essence that usually hides behind the potato sugars and starches that makes potatoes such a friend to children of all ages.  Over at the Olivetto web site, they state of freshly dug potatoes, “They are creamier, less starchy, and sweeter, although the flavor is less concentrated.”  We have started to seem freshly dug potatoes in the market.  Get them now while the rest of the world is stuck with their new potatoes.

We challenge you to find freshly dug potatoes anywhere besides farmer’s markets.  And to find a market near you, use our  searchable, sortable, Market Locator.  Then, take our farmer’s market shopping tips to get the most out of your area market.


Besides freshly dug potatoes, we are seeing a whole lot more summer in our markets.  Produce around includes summer squash/zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower.  We also saw our first peppers (shishito and padron) last week.  For fruit cherries, strawberries and raspberries have a new friend in blueberries


Tomatoes — we have already seen hoophouse grown tomatoes in the markets.


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 have received reports of some local foods at Whole Foods including beets, herbs, and lettuces.


July 10 – Slow Food Chicago Book Club – Alice Waters and Chez Panisse by Thomas McNamee – 2- 3 PM – First Slice Cafe, 4401 N. Ravenswood, Chicago – RSVP to sfchicagoevents@gmail.com

July 13 – Slow Food Chicago Vegetarian Dinner, featuring the heirloom produce of Spence Farm at Green Zebra - Sit down with farmers Marty and Kris Travis of Spence Farms for a fine dining experience.  Green Zebra Chef de Cuisine Jon DuBois will present dishes inspired by the unique produce they grow.  The menu will incorporate unusual ingredients like Thumbelina Carrots, Borage and White Iriquois Cornmeal – $50 pp (includes $5 donation to SFC)/$22 optional wine pairing.  Call Green Zebra at 312-243-7100 to reserve your seat at the table.

July 16 – Personal Green City Market tour with Chef Sarah Stegner, followed by brunch at Prairie Grass Cafe - Starting at 9:30, Chef Stegner will introduce you to the farmers and share some interesting stories about the market.  This tour will be followed by a family-style “communal” market brunch at 11:30 a.m. at Prairie Fire.  Call Prairie Fire at 312-382-8300 to make reservations.  The brunch menu will feature Mint Creek Farm lamb, Genesis Growers eggs and greens, and Three Sisters Garden polenta.  Cost is $18.50 per person, and the price excludes tax, gratuity, and alcohol beverages.  Guest must provide their own transportation.  The Green City Market is at 1750 N. Clark St. in Chicago, and Prairie Fire is at 215 N. Clinton St., also in Chicago.  The brunch will also feature Heather Lalley, author of The Chicago Homegrown Cookbook.  Lalley’s book can be purchased at Prairie Fire’s market brunch for an additional $30.

July 16 – A few tickets remain! – City Provisions Farm Dinner at LaPryor Farm for a 5 course whole hog dinner – Bus leaves at 12:00 p.m.  $225.00 per person all inclusive.  Call 773.293.2489 or email supperclub@cityprovisions.com to reserve. Visit City Provisions for more information.

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.

August 6 – Open House at Growing Home – Don’t miss Growing Home’s Summer Open House at the Wood Street Urban Farm, Chicago’s first USDA Certified Organic production farm with year-round growing capabilities. Enjoy the summer harvest with a cookout, a tour of the farm, a gardening workshop for all ages, and of course, fresh veggies at the farm stand. – 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm – 5814 S. Wood Street, Chicago

August 28 – Cork & Crayons Benefit for Purple Asparagus at UnCommon Ground – The family-friendly event brings foodies old and young together to celebrate the joys of family meals and healthy eating all for and to support the good works of our friends at Purple Asparagus.   The event will include a mini farmers’ market sponsored by Harvest Moon Organics farm, music from Old Town School of Folk Music artists, a raffle, and a silent auction for bidding on gourmet treats, getaways, and more. Guests will enjoy selections from Uncommon Ground’s kitchen and Candid Wines. Attendees will also be able to tour the certified-organic green roof atop Uncommon Ground where the restaurant grows some of the produce on its menu.  $60 for adults ($65 at the door), $15 for ages 5-20 ($20 at the door). Kids under 5 are free.  Tickets can be purchased via credit card at www.brownpapertickets.com or by check payable to Purple Asparagus sent in care of Melissa Graham, 1824 W Newport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 - Uncommon Ground, 1401 W. Devon Ave., Chicago