Our Local Calendar Now Says Summer

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July 15, 2011 at 9:32 am

Summer comes at different times on different calendars.  On the fashion calendar, summer begins on Memorial Day, where the sartorialists can take out their seersucker and white bucks.  The meteorological calendar puts the start of summer earlier than the summer solstice based calendar.  On the Local Calendar, however, summer does not really start until sometime in July.  It is mid-July, about now, when summer shows.

Summer shows around our market with the beginnings of the bounty.  Markets now contain zukes and cukes in all sizes and shapes.  Markets contain berries, not just rasp and blue, but regional specialities like goose and current.  Stone tree fruits are ripening, and we are seeing early peach varieties and local apricots.  We are even seeing tomatoes and corn, sure signs that the Local Calendar says summer.

Find summer at a market near you, with our  searchable, sortable, Market Locator.  Then, take our farmer’s market shopping tips to get the most out of your area market.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

As mentioned above, markets are growing with summer bounty, but we believe you should especially focus on the limited season of cherries, apricots and freshly dug potatoes.  Also, now is the time to get summer sweet onions

Something we’ve never seen before in our markets, Nichol’s Farm is offering locally grown garbanzo beans (i.e., chick peas).  Nichol’s also already has a range of other fresh beans,  and we are seeing tons of green beans.

WHAT TO BUY SOON (OR LOOK FOR KEENLY)

Peppers, hot and sweet

STORAGE NOTES

Please remember that the seasonal onions and potatoes in the market now are not meant for long term cellaring.  In fact, the need to be kept in the fridge or they will spoil easily.

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

WHAT TO DO NOW

Volunteer with Slow Food Chicago’s preSERVE – Our friends at SFC need your help to eliminate invasive bindweed before it goes to seed (perennial morning glory).  They do warn that it is heavy work – bring your strong back and arms!  Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (come late or leave early- but please RSVP!)  Location: preSERVE Garden, 12th Place and Central Park Avenue, Lunch and water will be provided. Bring work gloves and a hat, if you have them, and wear sunscreen, clothes you can get dirty, and comfy shoes.  RSVP to slowfoodpreserve {at} gmail(.)com

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

September 11 – Slow Food Chicago Presents 3rd Annual Pig Roast at Goose Island – SAVE THE DATE!

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