Redux on the Local Calendar
We love the markets this time of year. There is no time more flush. You get it all, both summer and winter squash. Newly dug potatoes and potatoes around for a bit. You might think it apple season, but this week we saw in markets (still) plums and peaches. We even see sweet corn. What we especially like about this time of year is all the re-winds out there. It might feel a lot different from early summer at the markets, but the markets feature a good amount of the same stuff now as you saw then.
Early, farmer’s are picking the first, small summer squash. Now, as farmer’s get their last squash off the ground, there is another crop of tiny. Early, farmer’s thin their tomatoes and peppers by picking some greens; now, farmers get those last remaining fruits while they still can. We’ve seen farmers with a second crop of green peas, giving you a chance to partake in that again. Of course, all of those things that thrived earlier, when the weather was cooler, lettuces, radishes, spinach, cilantro, are around again. You hear a lot about eating seasonally, but how much did you realize that seasonal eating means doing the same things again.
WHAT TO BUY NOW
We think our advice from last week, pretty much holds for this week. In addition to the crops listed below, think about some of these other things around now peas, fresh beans, radishes, green beans.
Really, we could list all the fall crops now in market like winter squash, broccoli, and chard, but we really exhort you to make good on the last tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, sweet corn, peppers. The sun calendar may now say fall, but the Local Calendar remains, until that dreaded frost, in summer. Also fill up on the summer fruits still around: plums, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. This is probably your last week for those.
Although we never tire of tomatoes and cucumbers, we do think you may also want to keep on an out for the little seasonal delicacies that pop up. Maybe it is a special variety of apple you like, the my wife likes the Macoun. If you shop Green City or Andersonville, you may find Oriana and her paw-paws and persimmons. Even local grapes won’t be around forever. If you see something new and special, grab it.
WHAT TO BUY SOON (OR LOOK FOR KEENLY)
Except for certain varieties of apples and potatoes, pretty much the entire variety of local foods will have been on display by this weekend. What you should plan to buy soon is some of your storage crops. Think also about which apples or potatoes you want around. For instance, Northern Spys are a great keeper apple and the classic pie apple of the Midwest. If you see it now in the markets, you may want to get it and not wait a few weeks. It might not be for sale then.
Most of the onions now in the market have been dried and “cured”, allowing for long term-storage. On the other hand, we see a mix still of potatoes. There are older potatoes, that is those more than a few weeks old and there are freshly dug potatoes. The new potatoes are not meant for storage. If in doubt, ask the farmer. Also with the apples, if in doubt on a particular variety, ask the farmer if it keeps.
WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS
Find a farmer’s market near you with our market locator.
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
Pay attention, the local supermarkets continue to advertise local foods.
WHAT TO DO NOW
October 8 – Dig up the sweet potatoes at the preSERVE Garden. 10 AM – 2 PM. Details here.