No, Really, This is It on the Local Calendar

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October 21, 2011 at 8:12 am

What have we been saying for weeks on the Local Calendar.  This is it.  It for summer.  It for summer foods like tomatoes and peppers, and for the last several weeks we have still seen summer foods like tomatoes and peppers in the markets. And you know what, it will probably be there at your market this week.  There will surely be tomatoes and peppers, mostly less than bright red but still there.  Still, it this week, we concede is fall produce.  With some good chill in the air, we know it is time for the cabbages, the radishes and the other cold hardy plants.  Remember, that nip in the air, that chill in the bone that makes Chicago so much more un-pleasant this time of year, makes the vegetables of Chicago taste so much better this time of year.  Remember that colder weather produces sweeter plants.  That’s what’s it.

On the other hand, it remains not fully it for the passing of area farmer’s markets.  As we told you last week, there are over many local farmer’s markets still going.  Use the the Local Beet Farmer’s Market Locator to find a market still going.  We will have information on winter markets soon.

WHAT TO BUY NOW

Go ahead and grab your last tomatoes and green beans, but look more to the stuff that thrives in cold weather like radishes, larger varieties keep well; greens like kalechard, and mustard; and cabbages including cauliflower and broccoli, as well as white and red heads.  In addition, make efforts to stock up on garlic and onions for winter use.

STORAGE NOTES

There will be tomatoes.  At this time of year, you will have two choices in tomatoes.  There will be tomatoes wholly green and there will be tomatoes leaving green.  You can make culinary use of green tomatoes, for instance in Melissa’s recipe here.  My wife makes a great pasta dish combining raw and cooked green tomatoes.  Still, if you see a glimmer of blush in your tomato and you can exercise some patience, you will find they eventually will ripen.  It’s not the great tomato of summer, but it is a much, much better tomato than the “vine-ripened” ones at grocery stores.

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

We always look for local foods at neighborhood grocery stores like Caputo’s, and we do see local things like squash and, especially, apples.

WHAT TO DO NOW

October 26 – Advocates for Urban Agriculture Autumn Meeting and Potluck – Community slide show, panel discussions, networking and work on the forthcoming summit with Michelle Obama – 530 – 8 PM – Jensen Room, Garfield Park Conservatory - 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago – Note, for potluck – Bring your own silverware & a dish according to your last name: A-F Entree, G-P Salad, Q-Z Dessert

October 29 - Little Bee, Big Mystery Part 3: Chemistry of Honey – Once again, Slow Food Chicago and the Illinois Science Foundation team up to talk about the wonderful things bees do for us. This sweet program will delight and enlighten you with what bees actually do to make honey, how it’s harvested and other fun facts. Tickets are $15 (includes Nature Museum admission) and are available here.

October 30 – Masquerade de Mercado at Carnivale – Put on your favorite Halloween costume and join the Green City Market Junior Board at their inaugural fall fundraiser.  There will be live drawings featuring dinner packages, theater tickets and more! Proceeds from this fundraiser go to support Green City Market’s educational programming and upcoming winter market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.  Additional information and tickets here.

November 2 – For a few years now, food writer, Martha Bayne, has organized soup nights at local club, the Hide-Out to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  And for the second time, Martha has organized the results of these events into a cookbook.  Sales of the cookbook will, of course, also benefit the Food Depository.  Be the first to get the new cookbook at a release party this night at the Hideout – 7 to 9 PM, 1354 W. Wabansia

November 5 – Angelic Organics Learning Center – Basic Backyard Chicken Care – A workshop on best practices for basic backyard chicken care in Chicago and surrounding communities.  See link for registration and additional details.

November 7 – Sixth Annual Logan Square Chamber of Commerce Harvest Dinner – Logan Square Auditorium – 6 PM

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