More Than Zukes, Cukes and Eggplants on the Local Calendar

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August 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm

004We told you last week that it’s the time of year when you can start finding all over.  Again, this week, we’ve seen advertisements for local food at area grocery stores like Dominicks, Jewel, even Ultra Foods.  And as much as we lauded, last week, the idea of getting local food at your supermarket, we have to ask you this.  Can you find local artichokes there?  We love our farmer’s market this time of year because not only are they overflowing with zukes, cukes, and eggplants, they feature all sorts of other interesting local foods.

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Besides local artichokes, some of the things we’ve seen in the markets include Korean style melons, fresh garbanzo beans; red (!) okra. There are gooseberries, currents, and other items not found in mass circulation. For instance, you want a tomato. What kind, what shape, what color. The farmer’s market offers tomatoes smaller than gumballs to broad-shouldered tomatoes made to feed a family of ten. Those delicious, tart summer apples, do you think you can ever find something like that at a grocery store? Listen, we like our zukes, cukes and eggplants as much as the next family, but we love to take full advantage of all that’s out there. We hope you do too.
Use our searchable, sortable, Market Locator to find one of these markets we mean.  Then, take our farmer’s market shopping tips to get the most out of your area market.  And don’t forget to put enough away for local eating later.  See our suggested best practices for preserving the seasonal bounty.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

We are knee deep now, in local peaches and nectarines.  See how they compare to peaches from California or Georgia.  As we mentioned last week, the melons should be especially good this year.

Start going tomato crazy.  Plenty of fresh basil to accent them.

WHAT TO BUY SOON (OR LOOK FOR KEENLY)

Pears, more varieties of apples, more colors of sweet peppers.

STORAGE NOTES

Please remember that the seasonal apples, 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

WHAT TO DO NOW

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 14 – Slow Food Chicago Book Club – This month’s selection, Cod: A Biography of a Fish that Changed the Worldby Mark Kurlansky.  First Slice Pie Cafe, 4401 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago – 2 -330 PM.

August 16 – Little Bee, Big Mystery – Join the Notebaert Nature Museum and Slow Food Chicago for a thought provoking series about bees, including a screening of the film, the Vanishing of the Bees.  Free, but you must RSVP to adultprograms {at} naturemuseum(.)org.

August 20 – 4th Annual Micro-Brew Review in Oak Park to benefit Seven Generations Ahead – Go here for tickets.

August 24 – Our friend, the man we love to disagree with, the ever opinionated, yet never wrong Steve Plotnicki, helped curate a team of Midwest chefs who source from the farm yet cook from the modern playbook for a group dinner at North Pond.  This event features five of the most exciting guys around our parts, and on this night you get the chance to sample from all of them as well as have the chance to go mano-a-mano with Steve himself.  It should be a extremely fun night.  If you can afford $140 a person for a dinner, this is one you should not miss.   See the North Pond web sitefor more details.

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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