Avocados for Breakfast, They’re Just not for Guacamole Anymore

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Posted: January 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Who knew? Avocados for breakfast? Yes, Ina Pinkney, the Breakfast Queen herself, made avocados work, in oh so many ways.  I was happily invited to her eponymous Ina’s, 1235 West Randolph St for a recent avocado breakfast [full disclosure I did not pay for the breakfast, but I would have said the same things either way]. Between a Guaca-Mary, avocado mango parfait, Irish Oats with Avocado/honey, Indian rice and lentil pancake with avocado chutney, yummy spicy rock shrimp and grits, shirred eggs in an avocado shell and her surprise, thick and creamy hot chocolate, yes, with avocado in it. I think my favorites of the morning was the green smoothie, the Guaca-Mary made with avocado, cucumber, green grapes, cilantro, jalapeno and lime.

I felt a little guilty thinking about writing and posting about avocados on a blog all about trying to eat as local as possible. Maybe I am considered a middle-vore. I try to source a lot of produce locally, yet not everything I eat is locally grown.  I eat coffee, ocean fish, etc. For people like me the goal, is to eat less of that far away stuff, but eat well and try to source as much local as I can. I put avocados in that mix. Rob Gardner, Editor of this site, and author of the Local Family, encouraged me to go for it.  He reminded me that “local is as far as you need to go to get what you need.”  I think he said something about stealing that phrase from a local farmer. That farmer and Rob knew that eating was no fun if you had to limit yourself to what you could find in your backyard.  In fact, Rob told me he loves avocados, and he encouraged this piece of avocadophilia.  Not do avocados taste good, they’re good for you, as I note below.

I had been meaning to go to Ina’s, not just for the avocados but because I admired Ina.  I heard her speak at a sustainable food conference several months ago, and she was one of the founders of The Green Restaurant Association in Chicago, www.Dinegreen.com.  On top of that, she is meticulous, obsessive, every adjective you can use about the source of the ingredients that she uses in all her foods. I left her restaurant knowing that I had put super, premium high-test fuel in my body after leaving her establishment.

Avocado mango parfaitSpicy Rock Shrimp and Grits

At my breakfast with Ina, I learned some pretty quick and easy ways to get more from avocados.  Ina put together avocado and honey for a pretty amazing combination that can be used in so many ways.  The avocado chutney with dill in it was a pretty tasty combo as well.

Avocados from Mexico are available year round but the highest quality are grown and distributed in January. The particular avocados Ina used, were Hass avocados. The Hass get their fruit from the tree to table in less than a week.

The health benefits of avocados are listed below, which I found on the website www.fitday.com:

Avocados contain good fats, help to keep your cholesterol in balance, and even provide fiber to your diet. ”Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats such as oleic and linoleic acid. These fats promote the health of your heart. They play a vital role in regulation of cholesterol. The fats help to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increase high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Monounsaturated fats also help to speed up your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is the rate at which calories are burned when you’re in a state of rest. The calories are used to sustain basic functions such as cell repair, maintain body internal temperature and pump blood. Regular consumption of avocados can help you boost your BMR, which facilitates weight loss endeavors.

Avocados contain the highest amount of beta-sitosterol amongst fruits. This is a plant-based fat that plays a vital role in the reduction of LDL cholesterol. It blocks absorption of LDL cholesterol from the intestines. This helps to improve the ratio of LDL and HDL cholesterol, which promotes cardiovascular health.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are also present in avocados, are polyunsaturated fats that help to stabilize blood pressure. They also help to sustain a normal heartbeat. This promotes cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of stroke and coronary disease.” (Information sourced from www.Fitday.com)

Avocados may not be local, but they are part of a heart healthy diet and pretty darn tasty as well.  At the Local Beet, we don’t mind if you indulge…occasionally.




Tarnation! #36 and #37: One New Recipe & One Recipe from the Bench

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Posted: January 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I had to pull dinner from off the bench.  We were supposed to have a meal of roasted vegetables because I’d been eying a recipe for months.

Brussel sprouts,  sweet potatoes, and mushrooms were to be featured.  But what happens when you don’t plan your meals and coordinate that plan with your check of the produce at home and the list for shopping?  Yep.  You find yourself eyeing the River Valley Mushrooms at the farmers market for a very long time before you leave them on the table under the false belief that you have mushrooms at home.

You get ready to prep and realize your mushrooms aren’t fit to be fed to your worms and your sweet potato, you thought you had more than one,  should be planted in the garden since it is sprouting.

Luckily, there is always garlic, olive oil, and pasta in your home.  The last quarter of 2011, this was the fall back dish.  Pasta Aglio e Olio is the new consistent player that always causes the Mister to be very happy and then ask me if I’m in court the next day.   That’s his way of saying the garlic is enough to cause all vampires to stay away.  I respectfully disagree.

The brussel sprouts are fierce!  A bit of wow from the cayenne and an  unbelievable sweetness, that can’t possibly be explained by the kiss of maple syrup.

Hat tip to Martha Stewart and Cook’s Illustrated.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients

2 lbs of brussel sprouts

1 T. EVOO

1T of Water

1 T. Maple Syrup

1/8 t. cayenne

1 t. coarse salt

Preheat oven to 500. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with foil.  Trim and halve, lengthwise, the brussel sprouts.   Toss brussel sprouts, EVOO, water, and salt in a large bowl.  Spread brussel sprouts onto baking sheet, cut half down.  Cover with foil.  Roast for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and decrease temperature to 450. Meanwhile, mix cayenne and maple syrup in a bowl. Return brussel sprouts, uncovered, to the oven for 9 minutes.  Remove from the oven and drizzle the maple and cayenne mixture over the brussel sprouts.  Return to the oven for a minute to allow the flavors to meld.

Pasta Aglio e Olio

Ingredients

1 lb of spaghetti

6 -10 large cloves of garlic, minced

3 T. of parsley minced—don’t leave this out; it is way more than just garnish

2 t. of fresh squeezed lemon juice

3 T. butter**

3 T. EVOO

1/8 t. crushed red pepper flakes

1/2c. Parmesan cheese**

Salt

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.

While the water is boiling, heat a skillet over medium heat and melt 1T of butter.  Turn heat to low and add 2 T of EVOO and garlic.  Garlic should be golden in about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat to stop the cooking process.

QUICK: While the garlic is cooking, add 1.5 T of salt to water and add your pasta.  Cook until it’s done.  I loathe al dente because it always tastes like under cooked pasta to me.

Reserve 1/3 c. of pasta water, and an additional 2 T. of pasta water.  Drain pasta.

Add 2 T of pasta water, parsley, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice to the garlic and oil in the pan.

Place drained pasta back into the pot it boiled in.  Add reserved 1/3 c. pasta water, remaining EVOO and butter as well as garlic and oil.  Stir to mix.  Serve and pass the Parmesan.

** Replacing the butter with EVOO and omitting the cheese makes the dish vegan without missing a beat.

brussel sprouts 1-29-12




Another Suburban Storagist

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Posted: January 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Editor’s Note: Jeanne Calabrese recently ended a stint on the Board of Slow Food Chicago.  While on the Slow Food Chicago Board, she participated in a myriad of activities, but she was especially known for putting on workshops and related events to assist people live the Slow life.  Jeanne lives the life.  You are bound to run into her at a farmer’s market. And she shops not just for the moment.  Jeanne buys for all year.  Like our friend David Hammond, Jeanne is a food storagist.  She agreed to share some of her thoughts on why she does it and how she does it.

Jeanne C

Storing food is an effective way to preserve produce at the height of its freshness.  By successfully preserving and storing my food, I can eat July’s blueberries in the middle of December.  I choose to store my food rather than buy it at grocery store because I like to know where my food is grown.  Since I grow much of my own produce, I can guarantee the quality and freshness of my fruits and vegetables.

Some processes I use to store food are canning, freezing, and drying.  I have been storing food for years, yet each year I learn something new that betters the process.  For example, when I learned how to can, I was able to free up space in my freezer and not have to worry about a loss of power devastating my food supply.  I used to cook, puree, jar, and freeze pumpkin, but now I have eliminated the last two steps in favor of canning.  Canning is convenient in that I can open up a jar whenever I need it and use it immediately, without needing to defrost.  I have filled the newfound space in my freezer with fruit, nuts, pesto, cheese, and bread instead.  As for drying, I dry pears, cherries, persimmons, and apples.

Some foods do not need to be canned, frozen, or dried if they are being stored for a shorter time.  I bury potatoes in sand and store them in my unheated crawl space.  Onions, garlic, and squash also keep well in an unheated crawl space. Certain varieties of apples also keep well in a cooler in an unheated garage or cellar.  If the temperature dips unnaturally low, I will throw a blanket over the cooler to ensure the apples do not freeze.  I don’t like to store apples in the refrigerator for an extended period of time because they will absorb the flavors of other foods.

20 pounds of frozen organic cherries, 25 pounds of frozen organic blueberries, 40 pounds of organic apples, 30 quarts of tomato sauce, 6 quarts of peaches, 10 quarts of pears in honey, 10 pints of dilly beans, 10 pints of dill pickles, 10 pounds of dried persimmons, 10 pounds of raw honey, 8 quarts of grape juice, pecans, pesto, dried tomatoes, and dried Asian pears will sustain me and my family through the long Chicago winter this year.  Storing food requires planning and organization during the harvest season.  Storing food can sometimes be overwhelming because it is time consuming, but the reward is eating local, fresh food for the whole year.  Give storing a try by picking an easy item like apples.  Make applesauce or keep your apples in a cool, dry place.  With practice, you will soon be able to experience the optimal tastes of each season, regardless of the temperature outside.


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Make Family Dinner a Healthy Habit in 2012

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Posted: January 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm

purple asparagus dinner

January’s nearing to a close, which is good time to reassess the resolutions of the New Year. Did you lose 5 pounds? Have you exercised daily? Don’t worry, neither did I.

There is one resolution that if you didn’t make, it’s a good one to adopt now: making family dinner a regular habit.

Statistics show that children who share a meal regularly with their families do better in school and have a better relationship with their parents. We all have to eat, so let’s do it together.

I may not have any advice about dieting or exercise, but this is one resolution that I can help with.

Until last year, Purple Asparagus’ mission was to bring families back to the table. With our burgeoning work in the schools (more than 22 and rising), we revised our mission in 2011 to educating children, families, and the community about eating that’s good for the body and the planet. Believe you me, with the number of parent cooking classes I teach, I still have some tips, five in fact, about how to make family dinner 2012’s healthy habit.

1. Be flexible: The greatest enemy to the family dinner is the unrelenting devotion to the clock. Dinner in my house may at 5:30, it might be at 7:30; it all depends upon our schedules, individual and collective. If my son doesn’t get a bath that night, so be it, I’d rather have that half hour for our family to reconnect at the end of the day.
2. Embrace convenience: Don’t be ashamed to use convenience foods. While I know many a food snob that will turn a nose up at the idea of prepared cereals or a tub of hummus. I’m not one of them. Even though I often prepare bread or pasta from scratch, these are weekend activities, not a project to undertake when I’m trying to get dinner on the table after a long day at work. When there are so many wonderful food artisans creating nutritious products with top quality and locally sourced ingredients, there’s no shame in incorporating them into your weekly routine.
3. Upcycle your leftovers: Leftovers, whether from my own kitchen or a restaurant meal, are in regular rotation in my kitchen. Not just meat scraps, like beef or chicken strips that can be laid onto salads or rolled into wraps, but everything. For example, transform your mashed potatoes into a tart crust. Cold rice can be folded with a lemony dressing and garnished with oil-cured tuna. Both her and on my personal blog Little Locavores, I detail these tricks and many more make short work of dinner.
4. Make a plan: Don’t just make a shopping list before entering a grocery or visiting a farmers’ market, but also a plan. Wine Braised Pot Roast served with roasted vegetables can on the day after be a delicious topping for whole grain pasta. Making meatloaf, double the recipe and stuff half into peppers. If you’re not used to this type of cooking, there are lots of terrific resources for meal planning, including The Scramble and Feed Our Families. About two years ago, I ran a few of these meal plans on Little Locavores, including my own.
5. One of the best pieces of advice about family dinner came from a powerful women partner at my former firm. While she was a terrific cook, she freely admitted that she wasn’t always the one cooking for her family. What was more important to her was that the family ate together. If the meal was at a restaurant or from the take-out section of Whole Foods, it was still family dinner. I wasn’t ready to hear the advice when she gave it, only a month after my son was born, and it likely hastened my departure from my Big Law job. Nowadays, I get it. Restaurant dinners and healthy take out are also among the tools at my disposal to get family dinner on the table.

To make this last tip even easier to follow, there’s a brand new initiative taking place at many Chicago restaurants: Healthy Fare for Kids. Spearheaded by Chef Sarah Stegner (a mom herself), Alderman Michele Smith, and former public health profession Diane Schmidt, the program is committed to providing parents with healthy options for their children at restaurants. The restaurants participating in the program will offer at least one delicious and healthy meal for kids on their menus.

Healthy Fare for Kids provided guidelines to chefs, including limiting the bread on the table before the meal and instead providing fresh vegetables. It also asks restaurants to ensure some lean protein with the meal and to use whole grain breads and pasta. Other suggestions are to use cooking methods that are lower in fat, incorporating and local and seasonal products (a goal close to this Little Locavores’ heart), controlling portion size and serving no-sugar beverages and small, if any, desserts.

For more information about the initiative and to learn which restaurants are participating, visit the initative’s website or watch Chef Stegner be interviewed by the Fooditude kids.


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Really, NY Times? Advocating For Winter Tomatoes?

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Posted: January 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

When reading the New York Times Dining section a couple days ago, my eye was drawn to the headline, “A Winter Tomato Worth Buying.” Lured in, I read further that the venerable Florence Fabricant herself was claiming that a certain tomato shipped up to New York from Florida called Tasti-Lee was indeed worth eating in winter. Fabricant described Tasti-Lees as well-known secrets in Florida, and the darling of restaurants there during the winter months when even Florida tomatoes are wan specimens.

At first glance, I glean a  well-oiled marketing machine behind this whole winter Tasti-Lee tomato business that’s packaging and selling the latest exclusive food novelty item du jour. For one, it’s being introduced for the first time ever in New York City, no less the trendiest place in the US. Second, they’re not cheap; two tomatoes to a precious carton sell for $2.50. (Need to make pasta sauce? A case of 24 packages sells for $56, plus shipping.) And, finally, to give the product a certain cache, only gourmet grocers, Agata & Valentina, Eataly, Gourmet Garage and Tarry Market in Port Chester, N.Y. are selling Tasti-Lees.  

Granted, I’ve never eaten a Tasti-Lee, but I’m not falling for sales pitch. Haven’t we been down this road before? This is how the produce sections in major supermarkets evolved into meccas of mediocrity. I imagine it all started with the mid-20th century housewife being enticed by the bright red hue of a tomato in January. Then, it was the blush of a peach in February. It was natural for these consumers who were accustomed to only storage fruits and vegetables in winter to feel a rush seeing this out-of-season produce at the A&P in January. But this is how we ended up in 2012 with oversized, thick-skinned blueberries that are too bitter to really enjoy. I don’t mean to sound alarmist, but is this the beginning of the death knell for seasonal eating? When eating something out-of-season that’s been shipped cross-country becomes trendy again, I start to believe that it might be.

Having said this, I appreciate the role that technology can have in creating a sustainable tomato. We do have some local companies doing great things with hydroponics. For example, McWethy Farms in Three Oaks, Michigan supplies many Michigan restaurants with their winter tomatoes, albeit mostly used to dress pizzas or be turned into sauce. I’ve tasted McWethy’s hydro tomatoes – they’re good. (Not as good as a summer tomato, but still worth eating.) I was once given an impromptu tutorial on McWethy tomatoes by someone who used to work there. His enthusiasm for why they were different from other hydroponics was infectious; he said McWethy utilized a computerized system that maximized sunlight to grow the tomatoes. (I’m paraphrasing.) Anyway, I’m not saying that with the use of new technology we can’t ever have a winter crop that is decent – for winter.  But when we start lowering our standards to invite good-for-winter crop to be shipped from warm weather areas like Florida, and package it as a rare gourmet item, I feel like we’re back at the supermarket with their clamshells of preciously-perfect “vine-ripened” tomatoes. That taste like cardboard.

I’ll save my tomato-eating for late summer, Flo, thank you very much.


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Root Cellar 8: How I Would Die on the Prairie

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Posted: January 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Root Cellar 8:  How I Would Die on the Prairie

My root cellar food is rotting

(Catch up on the previous episodes of the Root Cellar Diaries here.)

New inventory for root cellar, courtesy David Hammond

New inventory for root cellar, courtesy David Hammond

If I were living years ago, let’s say as a sodbuster on the Great Plains during the brutal winter, I would have died on the prairie of starvation because all my root cellar food would be inedible.

Last week, my wife Carolyn and daughter Josie went to Costco to get supplies for our root cellar.

I realize restocking a root cellar is contrary to the way such food repositories have been run since the beginning of time, but we needed more stuff. I didn’t put enough away last autumn, and much of our stored food – like apples – is getting wrinkly and withered.

If I were living years ago, let’s say as a sodbuster on the Great Plains during the brutal winter, I would have died on the prairie of starvation because all my root cellar food would be inedible.

That’s why I’m looking at my root cellar as a replenishable domestic appliance. The goal now is not to store food to last us through the winter, but to store food long enough to get us through the cold days until the next trip to Costco.

This is not a tragic occurrence…because we’re not sodbusters living on the prairie during the winter. We can refill our root cellar and just use it as a cool dark place – a natural refrigerator – where we can load up a bunch of stuff.

We’re still using the earth as a resource to provide cooling, rather than relying upon electricity, and we’re saving on gas because we load up on stuff during each trip to Costco.

So even though I would have probably perished, along with the rest of my family, had our little house been on an eighteenth-century American prairie rather than twenty-first century Scoville Ave., I still feel good about my root cellar.

I know we’ll do better next year.

David Hammond talks about food every Wednesday in the Wednesday Journal and Chicago Sun-Times and regularly on Oakpark.com and WBEZ, 91.5FM.  You can also find him often on LTHForum, a food site he helped found and where he still works diligently as a Lead Moderator.

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The Weekly Harvest Blogs Here and Yonder 1/25/12

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Posted: January 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm

The top of the pile of weekly posts this week, sometimes those top of the pile ones come after I hit the “publish” button, are the heartfelt comments of Rob Levitt of The Butcher and Larder, “Know Your Farmer”, on the sad news of the sudden death of Q7 Ranch Owner, Frank Morgan. If there is one thing about buying local, sourcing local, is that it reminds us that we are human, people, all connected, and part and participating in a community.

Every week I love checking what is going on at Nourishing The Planet, sponsored by the Worldwatch Institute, they tend to make posts every day. Their latest posts have included: 1/25 “Agricultural Innovation: Creating a Second Green Revolution“, NTP TV, “Creating Farms that Produce Food and Energy“, 1/24″Five School Programs Feeding America’s Children“, 1/23 “Canihua, Quinoa’s Little Cousin Packs a Nutritional Punch“, 1/21 “Denmark’s Tax on Fat, Trimming Waistlines or Wallets“, 1/20 “Changing the Way We Eat”, 1/20 “Resolving the Food Crisis” 1/19 “Innovation of the Week:Greening the Desert“.

When Ben Hewitt, the Vermont farmer and author of 2 books, “The Town that Food Saved” and “Making Supper Safe” posts again, I will update this page to a link to the new post.

Another out-of-towner whose post’s I love is Heidi Swanson out of San Francisco, she has published 2 books, “Super Natural Cooking” and “Super Natural Every Day” and her latest post at her site 101recipes is a “Miso Sesame Winter Squash Recipe“.

Docsconz – Anyone who is curious as to how artisanal chocolate is made, this is a great step, by step account of Mast Brothers chocolate.

As to local bloggers, Hugh Amano at Food On the Dole titled his latest post “Forget the Oscars-Come to the Salon” and he has more Salon dates open for February including, Rustic Italian, Mid-winter Market, No Valentine Required Brunch, and a Vegetarian Salon on the agenda.

Blue-kitchen.com has a post up on National Soup month here.

You can’t omit SkyFullofBacon here.

And then of course for the latest run down on chefs and food and fun, Beauty and Her Feast, Kiki Luthringshausen.

Oops, why did I only now discover The Backyard Navel?

Looking forward to posts about Chapter 2: The Farm to Table Couple at TheHonestMealProject.

And another favorite blogger, multi-talented like all the bloggers above but busy, so he hasn’t posted in January yet but looking forward to it when he does, Grant Kessler, at My Foodshed.com .

Well, folks, that does it for the roundup this week, if you do read this and have a favorite farm, food, forager blogger, here or yonder, leave the link in the comments section below.




The Early Bird Gets the Greens, the Local Calendar for Jan Week 4

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Posted: January 25, 2012 at 2:09 pm

UPDATE! – Close readers of this site will know that a few weeks ago we purchased lettuce and other local produce from an Illinois farmer using indoor production.  Well, we could not keep that to ourselves, and we put the Logan Square Farmer’s Market in touch with him.  This week he appears there for the first time, with lettuce and probably a few other treats to get your mind off of winter storage crops.  See below for additional details on the Logan Square Market.

We’ve filled this Local Calendar with many events, markets and placeholders.  Who thinks locavores slow down in the winter?  And with cold and snow finally kicking in for a spell, you’d think the cupboards bare.  No, our market correspondents found enough local foods last week, including greens, carrots, and herbs.

WHAT’S IN SEASON

Right now there are winter greens, spinach, kale, tatsoi, swiss chard, grown in Hoop Houses but the early shopper gets the greens, they go quickly!! Also grown indoors are mushrooms and sprouts.  Seasonality is odd this time of year. On the other hand, what’s in season remains what the farmers and stores have left.  There could be apples and potatoes as well as other storage crops like root vegetables (beets, celery root, rutabaga,turnip, radish), cabbages and winter squash.  Unlike in previous years, we are still seeing garlic and onions at this time of year.  Of course, we talked to a farmer who told us it was only a few weeks ago that he stopped cutting leeks and Brussels Sprouts from his fields.  On top of all that, our friends at Fresh Picks continue to offer locally grown herbs.

And supplement with high quality preserved foods.  Resist the tyranny of the fresh!  Look for items like Tomato Mountain pureed tomatoes* or Seedling’s Fruit’s dried and frozen.  At the Logan Square Farmer’s Market you can get Michigan blueberries.

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

City Provisions Deli 1818 West Wilson in Ravenswood, Chicago

Downtown Farmstand 66 East Randolph in the Loop, Chicago

Green Grocer 1402 West Grand Ave in West Town, Chicago

Dill Pickle Coop 3039 West Fullerton in Logan Square, Chicago

Marion Street Cheese Market 100 South Marion St. Oak Park

Butcher and Larder 1026 North Milwaukee in Noble Square, Chicago

Southport Grocery and Cafe 3552 N. Southport, Chicago

WHAT TO DO NOW

New!! A few volunteers needed to help out for the General Members meeting of the AUA(Advocates for Urban Agriculture) on 2/1 contact Mhoekstra@plantchicago.org.

January 25

Chicago - Soup and Bread is back at The Hideout 5:30 – 7:30pm 1354 W. Wabansia Soups from: Mana Food Bar, Peasants Plot Sustainable Farm, Eat My Words blogger Gillian McLennan, Stephanie Beyne, Soup & Bread Cookbook editor Alison True, and at least two others. DJ: Hideout talent buyer Michael Slaboch All donations benefit Lakeview Pantry

Chicago -Bucktown Bee Loved Feast 1616 N. Damen  7-9pm Wine tasting and a special cocktail, the InCider, featuring Chicago Honey Coop Honey, $20. All proceeds to benefit the Chicago Honey Coop Apiary Relocation fund.

Chicago  - The Butcher and Larder 7:30 pm 1026 North Milwaukee Ave Sausage Making Demo. Attendees learn how to make sausage and take home 1 lb. $55/person.

Chicago - The Portage 3938 N. Central Ave, Chicago is having a five-course dinner with Few Spirits of Evanston. Each course will be paired with a cocktail using Few liquor. Two seatings, 6 & 8 pm. $50/person. Call or email The Portage for more information.

January 26

Chicago - Goodgreens.org meets downtown at the FNS(Food and Nutrition Service) offices 10-12pm. Contact Alan Shannon his email address is on the website if you are interested in attending. Goodgreens is a meeting of meetings focused on good, healthy food for all in Chicago.

January 28

Chicago - The Green City Market Held at the Peggy Notebaert Museum 2430 N. Cannon Drive 8am – 1pm The chef demonstration which starts at 10:30 will be by Larry Donahue of Foodease.

Chicago – First annual Lincoln Square Winter Brew Festival – 7-11pm at the Dankhaus Buy tickets here.

Elgin - Elgin Winter Market – 166 Symphony Way (right across the street from Centre -Kimball/Douglas) – 8 AM – 2 PM

Evanston –  Evanston Indoor Farmer’s Market, at the Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd at Bridge St., (there is a large parking lot across the street), thrown by the Friends of the Evanston Market – Expect many of the vendors found at the summer Evanston markets, see here for a list of vendors and other information on the market – 2024 McCormick – 9 AM – 1 PM — Read a report from the market from Beetnik, Peg Wolfe here.

Geneva - Geneva Green Market – 27 N. Bennett (Geneva Place) – 9 AM – 1 PM

La Fox – Heritage Prairie Farmers Market – 9-1pm 2N308 Brundage Road La Fox

January 29

Chicago – The Logan Square Farmer’s Market – 2135 N. Milwaukee at The Congress Theater 10am – 2pm

Chicago – Woo hoo!!! It is their 4th Anniversary celebration at The Green Grocer - 10am – 7pm – 1402 West Grand Ave.

Chicago - Harvest Moon Customer Appreciation Day at Goose Island and Chili cook-off – 1-5pm Goose Island Wrigleyville

Park Ridge - Faith in Place Indoors Farmer’s Market in Park Ridge St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Park Ridge 205 North Prospect Ave. 10am – 2pm More info here.

January 31

Chicago – Lincoln Square - C & D Family Farms selling their all natural free range meats from 7 to 11 am in the parking lot at Lincoln & Leland.

Chicago – Re-Thinking Soup – Jane Addams Hull House 12-1pm Learn from an ethnobotanist about the “miracle” fruit,  Synsepalum dulcificum, a berry, that rewires the way your palate perceives sour flavors for an hour or so.

Chicago – Andersonville – C & D Family Farms selling their all natural free range meats from 4pm to 7pm on Ashland at Berywn in front of the First Evangelical Free Church

Chicago – Launch event for the release of The “ROC National Diner’s Guide 2012: A Consumer Guide on the Working Conditions of American Restaurants” hed at the Chicago Tmeple Building 77 W. Washington St. Lower level 9-11am. Megan Larmer of Slow Food Chicago will be one of the featured speakers.

SAVE THE DATE!!!!

February 1

Chicago – Advocates for Urban Agriculture Annual Meeting  (AUA) 5:30 – 8pm Community Room Garfield Park Conservatory 300 N. Central Park Ave.

February 2

Chicago - Slow Wine Guide - A walk-around wine tasting featuring over 100 wines from 45 Slow Wine Producers presented by Slow Food USA and Slow Food Chicago to celebrate the first ever publication in English of the Slow Wine Guide. Takes place at Spiaggia, 6-8:30pm 980 North Michigan Avenue $30 for Slow Food Chicago members $35 for general admission You can order tickets online here.

Chicago - Fresh Taste Open House - 5555 N. Sheridan Road Pool Terrace 4pm-7pm Join Fresh Taste as they celebrate local food, their new home and the hope that spring is around the corner!

February 11

Chicago - Pasta Puttana Chef’s Table Series “Salty, Tart, Savory & Sweet” 1407 W. Grand Ave 6:30-8:30pm $85 BYOB Reservations 773-439-9623 or email Jessica at Jvolpe@pastaputtana.com Oyster Agnolotti will be one of the starts of this 5-course feast based on locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, set in the Pasta Puttana space.

February 12

Chicago – Screening of “The Greenhorns” at The Hideout 7-9:30pm 1354 W. Wabansia sponsored by the AUA(Advocates for Urban Agriculture).

Chicago – Pasta Puttana Chef’s Table Series: Salty, Tart, Savory & Sweet. 1407 W. Grand Ave. $85 BYOB Reservations 773-439-9623 Jvolpe@pastaputtana.com One more chance to have a feast of locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, yum!

February 25

Chicago – Growing Power celebrates its 10th anniversary 3333 S. Iron St. 1-6pm Aquaponics workshop, small bites, tours and cheers!

February 26

Chicago – Slow Food Chicago Annual Meeting – Peggy Notebaert Museum 2 -4pm

February 29

Chicago - Culinary Conversation, “Sweet Chicago”Chicago’s Downstand Farmstand 66 E. Randolph 6-8:30pm Celebrate Chicago’s 175th Birthday by learning all abou lore t the origins, legends and of the city’s sweet history. Cultural Historian Tim Samuelson and Art Historian Rolf Achilles join Chef Jenny Lewis, author of the the new book, Midwest Sweet Baking History, for a fast-paced conversation filled with fascinating facts and fun tidbits of past and present. Admission is FREE, but reservations are required. Please contact the Ticket Office 312-742-TIXS (8492) to reserve your space.

March 4

New! Chicago – Pleasant Farms in Bridgeport is holding gardening classes on spring planting, seed starts, planter box care and spring bed refreshing to help get you started on your garden. For more information and to register, please call 773-523-7437 or email pleasantfarms@gmail.com. $20. Refreshments provided by Pleasant House Bakery.

March 15-17

Chicago Good Food Festival – More soon!

March 18

New! Chicago – Pleasant Farms in Bridgeport is holding gardening classes on spring planting, seed starts, planter box care and spring bed refreshing to help get you started on your garden. For more information and to register, please call 773-523-7437 or email pleasantfarms@gmail.com. $20. Refreshments provided by Pleasant House Bakery.

April 28

Chicago – Artisan Producer Festival – This cheesy festival is back stay tuned for more details.

*Rob’s wife works for Tomato Mountain





GIVEAWAY! Tickets to Slow Wine Tasting at Spiaggia!

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Posted: January 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm

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Winners Announced!!  We knew Local Beet readers were smart people, but the insight you gave in responding to our question, “What does slow wine mean to you?” exceeded even our high expectations. All of your answers were so thoughtful that we decided to award the tickets at random to the people who responded here and on Facebook. (There were no responses on Twitter.) So, without further ado, Jen Caputo, Joanna, Preeti, Kurt and Dave Brady — we will be contacting you today to arrange delivery of the tickets. Please check your email – we need to hear from you by 3:00 pm tomorrow (1/31) so that we can get the tickets to you before the event!  Thanks all for your participation. 

 

To celebrate the first-ever publication of the Slow Wine Guide in English, The Local Beet is giving away 5 pairs of tickets to Slow Wine’s wine tasting in Chicago on February 2nd. What is Slow Wine? It is a new way of thinking about how wine is made. The Slow Wine Guide covers only Italian wines, and does not adhere to a points-based system of rating. It adopts a new approach to wine criticism and takes into consideration the wine quality, typicity and adherence to terroir, value for money, environmental sensitivity and ecologically sustainable viticultural practices. The publishers say they made over 2,000 visits to appraise the 1,833 cellars included in the current edition.

Slow Wine is launching its guide in style with a wine tasting at Spiaggia where you’ll be able to taste over 100 wines from 45 Italian producers selected according to Slow Food principles.

What does Slow Wine mean to you? Comment here or on Twitter or Facebook and tell us what Slow Wine means to you. Do you think about how wine is made? Have you started buying organic wine? Do you like a certain biodynamic wine? Tell us, and we’ll award 2 tickets each to the people who gave us the 5 answers we like best. Winners will also receive a copy of the 2012 Slow Wine Guide. Winners will be contacted by 3 pm on Monday, January 30, so get your entries in by then!!

Slow Wine’s wine tasting will be held at Spiaggia, 980 N. Michigan Ave., on February 2, 6-8:30 p.m. $35 ($30 for Slow Food members–Slow Food Members check your email for the discount code to use when ordering tickets). A portion of the proceeds support Slow Food Chicago. Click here for more information.


7 Comments



Another Local Beet Beer. Be very afraid.

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Posted: January 24, 2012 at 6:05 am

Here we go again.

There will be another batch of Local Beet beer coming out (it was Editor-at-Large Rob’s idea – blame him, not me).

We’re trying to figure out a way that you, dear reader, can sample some, perhaps in conjunction with The Local Beet’s upcoming anniversary.

It was late summer, 2009, that I made the first batch of Local Beet beer. I bored you by writing about that journey here, and here, and here, and here, and even here.

Fresh, in 2009, the color was pretty good.

Fresh, in 2009, the color was pretty good.

I’ve kept a few bottles around. When it was fresh, the color was beet red (obviously). It’s now more amber, suggesting that the betalain pigments that give beets their deep red color degrade over time in an acidic environment like beer. Except for a slight beetiness in the flavor, you might think you were drinking a Scottish Ale – say, a 70 shilling heavy.

A few lessons I’ve learned. For one, there’s no need to mash the beets – mashing is used to convert malt and other grains’ starches to sugar for the yeast to nibble on; the sugars are already present in the beets. So I’ll just add beet juice to the secondary fermentation for the flavor and color.

For another, I learned that the true flavor of beets is based on a balance of earthiness and sweetness. Once you ferment something with beet juice, the yeast converts the sweet beet sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The remaining pure earthy flavor isn’t especially appetizing. So the sweetness has to be added back. Adding sugar would just further feed the yeast; it would up the alcohol content, but wouldn’t add sweetness to the end product. In the 2009 version, I used aspartame (I’ve had a long professional relationship with aspartame). It’s not fermentable, but some people aren’t comfortable with that combination of naturally-occurring aspartic acid and phenylalanine. It did add the needed sweetness, though.

For this batch, I’ll be adding lactose. It’s a milk sugar; it will add sweetness, but beer yeasts will ignore it.

So, the 2009 version wasn’t good for people with phenylketonuria.

The 2012 version won’t be good for people with lactose intolerance.

And, by the way, both contain gluten from the barley used in the mash, so they’re not good for anyone with Celiac disease.

Hell, it’ll probably be too dangerous for anyone to drink. I just might keep it all for myself.


4 Comments



Real Men Eat Plants, Heritage Prairie Farm and the Engine 2 Diet

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Posted: January 23, 2012 at 11:26 am

Now that I am working at a winter Farmer’s market, I get to talk to the farmers even more about what’s going on at their farms . Heritage Prairie Farm in Elburn, Il, which is truly flourishing with projects, greenhouse farm dinners, chef sponsored bee hives, and yes, I did buy some of their lavender honey yesterday, has a hot new project on the burner(yes, pun intended) The Engine 2 diet.

Engine 2, based in Austin, Texas has selected the farm as the site for their Midwest Immersion Conference , June 30- July 1. The weekend will be dedicated to empowering people to live healthier through a plant-powered eating program.

After, I heard this, I had 2 thoughts, 1)anything that is plant based, (I do love some meats) but I think focus on a plant based diet is a great thing and 2) is this another fad diet? Maybe I live under a mushroom but I had not heard of the Engine2 Diet. The Engine2 Diet or E2 to some, is a New York Time best seller and the recent documentary Forks Over Knives, focused on 2 heart surgeons who independently of each other, discovered that a plant-based diet enables the body to heal and reverse heart disease and diabetes.

How the Engine 2 came to life, was that as a world class triathlete turned firefighter, Rip Esselstyn was used to responding to emergencies. When he learned that one of his fellow Engine 2 firefighters in Austin was in dire condition with a dangerously high cholesterol level of 344, he sprang into action and motivated the entire Engine 2 firehouse to join together in plant-strong solidarity to help save the life of their friend. Rip had adopted a plant-based diet at the advice of his father, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, chief of surgery at the Cleveland Clinic who discovered through medical research that a plant-based low fat diet could reverse heart disease and diabetes.By converting to plant-based meals with Rip as their guide, all the firefighters lost weight(some more than 20 lbs.), lowered their cholesterol(Mr. 344′s dropped to 196) and improved their overall health. The plant-based eating program is based on a diet of whole foods, including vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts and is designed to transform body and liefstyle in 28 days.

E2 Immersion Particpants join Rip and a group of leading nutrition experts(inlcuding his father, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. of the Cleveland Clinic, the dynamic and hilarious, nutrition expert Jeff Novick and renowned psychologist Doug Lisle, for an amazing, life-changing experience. Receive education about the powerful influence diet has on the body’s heatlh as well as extensive training on implementing a plant-strong lifestyle. The Immersion Program takes place June 30 – July 1 and you can go here for more information (when you go to the link, scroll down the page).

Whether you are a sceptic of just another diet or not, plants are great for you and “real men do eat plants”. To quote, Ann Flood, Editor of Edible Chicago magazine, “It is all good!!” Anything that encourages people to eat local, to eat whole foods, to know your ingredients is a great thing and to learn more stop by the Heritage Prairie booth at the Green City Market, stop by the farm in Elburn or go to their website. There is alot abuzz on their farm!!!!!!!!!




Good Thing She Makes a Mean Turnip

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Posted: January 20, 2012 at 9:51 am

As reported recently, the Local Family is entering another Chicago winter committed to eating local foods.  To do this, we put away a good deal of food during the fall.  A lot of the food came from our CSA from Tomato Mountain (where one of the Local Family also works), and we also made purchases at area farmer’s markets including Evanston and Green City. We benefited from an increase demand for local foods, as well as the mild temperatures .  There were more farmer’s markets for us this fall and early winter, and there was much more food at the markets.  Likewise, our CSA came with a lot food.  See below for a listing of what we have now in the Bungalow to keep us eating local.  See especially, the turnips.

Good thing she makes a mean turnip.  Not much to what she does.  Runs them through the food processor for even slices. Gets a cast iron pan pretty hot. Add olive oil.  Add your turnips.  Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  You want them soft and caramelized.  Believe me, that little bit of work will have you loving turnips.  We also make the Local Family teens take sliced turnips in their packed lunches, which they tolerate more than love.  Still, if you have all the turnips we have, you need to love turnips and tolerate turnips.

OK, it’s not all turnips.  In fact some days, the kids switch from turnips to radishes in their lunches.  Variety!  And we cook our radishes too.  We like them oven roasted.  We do continue to shop and find local foods.  Last week we added yellow peppers, cucumbers, and lettuce to our inventory, so it is NOT all turnips and radishes.  We recently made an order on Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks for a few things including carrots, and herbs–note, these are not including in accounting below as we have not received them yet.

Notes on food storage for eat local winter use: Our cold weather residing ancestors knew they could get by without the benefit of grapes flown in from Chile.  They knew that food kept in conditions just above  freezing, also damp, would keep foods fresh for several months.  Thus, food could be set aside for times when the grounds hardened.  The Local Family uses this knowledge to keep on eating local.  We put food in an un-heated attic, where it is cold enough–a big bowl of water adds the necessary dankness.  We also use our two refrigerators, but we note that the dryness there is not conducive to long term storage.  Other cold spots we take advantage of include our garage and our “mudroom.”

You can see our previous inventory report here.  Our current inventory of local food looks like this:

Kitchen Fridge

Cabbage – 2 + 1/4
Turnip (white “hakurei”) – about 10
Homemade quince-apple membrillo
Local eggs
Cucumbers – 2.5
Lettuce
Yellow bell peppers – 2
Herbs – parsley, thyme
Local grains

Kitchen, Dining Room, Living Room

Winter squash – (blue “cinderella”)
Garlic – 6 or 7
Walnuts
Hot peppers – dried
Onions – 8
Dried herbs (marjoram, oregano)
Red onions – a few
Shallots – several
Honeybell tangerines brought IN Florida (not that it matters…)

Mudroom

Yellow onions – (medium and large) – somewhat less than a 1/2 bushel
Cranberries – 1/2 bushel, less 2 pies 3 pie’s and one cake’s worth
Sweet potatoes (assorted) – many
White potatoes (assorted) – some
Spinach – 3 big bags
Leeks – 8
Kohlrabi – 12

Basement

Onions – 10 or so
Garlic – 8 or so
Canned tomatoes – whole, sauce, puree
Spiced peaches
Peach chutney
Dried mushrooms
Misc. pickles, jams, jellies, relishes
Dried beans

Basement Fridge

Local grains

Basement Freezer

Frozen fruits – blueberries, grapes, cherries, peaches
Frozen veg – pureed squash, tomato puree, dried tomato, caponata, prepared green beans
Local meat

Root Cellar in the Sky

Potatoes – (assorted including fingerling, red, russets) – enough for a while
Carrots – (assorted) – several
Apples (mutsu, Northern spy) – less 2 pies worth
Radishes (long red Japanese “shunkyo”, watermelon) – a lot
Winter squash – (delicata) – 10
Turnips (purple top) – many
Parsnips – one big meal’s worth

Garage

Apples (Northern spy) – 1/2 bushel




What Happened to the Snow on The Local Calendar – Eat Local Now!

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Posted: January 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

More markets are opening as we move further into January. We will now be giving “what to eat now” its own blog post. So stay tuned. Even though it is only the third week of January, the local event calendar is already picking up, so check it all out!!

WHAT’S IN SEASON

In the last Local Calendar, we reminded you that what’s in season this time of year is mostly what you find, and for the Local Family, it turned out to be peppers, cucumbers, and lettuce.  Who knows.  You may find tomatoes, rocketSwiss chard or spinach from farmers with hoop-houses or hydroponic operations.  Also grown indoors are mushrooms and sprouts.  Seasonality is odd this time of year.  On the other hand, what’s in season remains what the farmers and stores have left.  There could be apples and potatoes as well as other storage crops like root vegetables (beets, celery root, rutabaga, turnip, radish), cabbages and winter squash.  Once again, don’t bring a shopping list; just get what you find.

And supplement with high quality preserved foods.  Resist the tyranny of the fresh!  Look for items like Tomato Mountain pureed tomatoes* or Seedling’s Fruit’s dried and frozen.  At the Logan Square Farmer’s Market you can get Michigan blueberries.

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

City Provisions Deli 1818 West Wilson in Ravenswood, Chicago

Downtown Farmstand 66 East Randolph in the Loop, Chicago

Green Grocer 1402 West Grand Ave in West Town, Chicago

Dill Pickle Coop 3039 West Fullerton in Logan Square, Chicago

Marion Street Cheese Market 100 South Marion St. Oak Park

Butcher and Larder 1026 North Milwaukee in Noble Square, Chicago

Southport Grocery and Cafe 3552 N. Southport, Chicago

WHAT TO DO NOW

January 18

Chicago - Portlandia, The Tour comes to Chicago at The Hideout 8pm Sorry folks this event is sold out already, check The Hideout for ticket availability.

January 21

 Chicago - The Green City Market reopens!!! Held at the Peggy Notebaert Museum 2430 N. Cannon Drive 8am – 1pm The chef demonstration which starts at 10:30 will be Chef Matthias Merges and Chef de Cuisine Jennifer Petrusky of the recently opened Yusho in Logan Square.

Elgin - Elgin Winter Market – 166 Symphony Way (right across the street from Centre -Kimball/Douglas) – 8 AM – 2 PM

Evanston –  Evanston Indoor Farmer’s Market, at the Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd at Bridge St., (there is a large parking lot across the street), thrown by the Friends of the Evanston Market – Expect many of the vendors found at the summer Evanston markets, see here for a list of vendors and other information on the market – 2024 McCormick – 9 AM – 1 PM — Read a report from the market from Beetnik, Peg Wolfe here.

Geneva - Geneva Green Market – 27 N. Bennett (Geneva Place) – 9 AM – 1 PM

La Fox – Heritage Prairie Farmers Market – 9-1pm 2N308 Brundage Road La Fox

January 22

Chicago – Winter Farm Wine Dinner at West Town Tavern – This is a midwinter celebration of local food, featuring the produce of Green Acres Farm out of Judson, IN and the cheeses of Hidden Springs Creamery in Westby, WI. A representative from both farms will be there to talk about their farms and philosophy. 6pm sharp at West Town Tavern Noble Square, 1329 West Chicago Avenue $75 per person

Chicago – The Logan Square Farmers Market – 2135 N. Milwaukee at The Congress Theater 10am – 2pm

Palatine - Faith in Place Indoors Farmers Market in Palatine Countryside Church UU 1025 N. Smith St. 10am – 2pm More info here.

January 23

Chicago - City Provisions Supper Club Cocktail Party 6pm 1818 W. Wilson – Chef Cleetus Friedman teams up with Rick Gresh from David Burke’s Primehouse and Death’s Door Spirits for a one of a kind cocktail party. $75 The goal of CP Supper Clubs and Farm Dinners are to enlighten, educate, and entertain our guests. From our process to connecting our Clients with the origin of our food sources, the City Provisions Supper Club is a monthly event focusing on seasonality, celebrating the fruits of the season.

January 24

New! Chicago – Lincoln Square - C & D Family Farms selling their all natural free range meats from 7 to 11 am in the parking lot at Lincoln & Leland.

Chicago – Re-Thinking Soup – Jane Addams Hull House 12-1pm

New! Chicago – Andersonville – C & D Family Farms selling their all natural free range meats from 4pm to 7pm on Ashland at Berywn in front of the First Evangelical Free Church.

Chicago - Graze University – 6-8pm  Who are the people behind the up and coming Graze Magazine? This 5$ pot-luck held at The Hideout will feature 5 minute mini-classes by Koval Distillery, Rewster’s Cafe, Neo-Futurists, The Halamays, Shedd Aquarium, Jane Addams Hull House, Bobby Evers and Laura Szumowski , go here for more info.

January 25

Chicago -Bucktown Bee Loved Feast 1616 N. Damen  7-9pm Wine tasting and a special cocktail, the InCider, featuring Chicago Honey Coop Honey, $20. All proceeds to benefit the Chicago Honey Coop Apiary Relocation fund.

Chicago  - The Butcher and Larder 7:30 pm 1026 North Milwaukee Ave Sausage Making Demo. Attendees learn how to make sausage and take home 1 lb. $55/person.

Chicago - The Portage 3938 N. Central Ave, Chicago is having a five-course dinner with Few Spirits of Evanston. Each course will be paired with a cocktail using Few liquor. Two seatings, 6 & 8 pm. $50/person. Call or email The Portage for more information.

January 26

Chicago - Goodgreens.org meets downtown at the FNS(Food and Nutrition Service) offices 10-12pm. Contact Alan Shannon his email address is on the website if you are interested in attending. Goodgreens is a meeting of meetings focused on good, healthy food for all in Chicago. All are welcome to attend.

January 29

Chicago – Woo hoo! It is their 4th Anniversary celebration at The Green Grocer - 10am – 7pm – 1402 West Grand Ave.

February 2

Chicago - Slow Wine Guide - A walk-around wine tasting featuring over 100 wines from 45 Slow Wine Producers presented by Slow Food USA and Slow Food Chicago to celebrate the first ever publication in English of the Slow Wine Guide. Takes place at Spiaggia, 6-8:30pm 980 North Michigan Avenue $30 for Slow Food Chicago members $35 for general admission You can order tickets online here.

Chicago - Fresh Taste Open House - 5555 N. Sheridan Road Pool Terrace 4pm-7pm Join Fresh Taste as they celebrate local food, their new home and the hope that spring is around the corner!

February 26

New! Chicago – Slow Food Chicago Annual Meeting 2-4pm Peggy Notebaert Museum 2430 N. Cannon Drive

February 29

Chicago – Culinary Conversations Chicago Downtown Farm Stand - 6-8:30 pm 66 E. Randolph Free lectures and discussions offering an up-close encounter with the people responsible for Chicago’s local food scene.

March 4

New! Chicago – Pleasant Farms in Bridgeport is holding gardening classes on spring planting, seed starts, planter box care and spring bed refreshing to help get you started on your garden. For more information and to register, please call 773-523-7437 or email pleasantfarms@gmail.com. $20. Refreshments provided by Pleasant House Bakery.

March 15-17

Chicago Good Food Festival – More soon!

March 18

New! Chicago – Pleasant Farms in Bridgeport is holding gardening classes on spring planting, seed starts, planter box care and spring bed refreshing to help get you started on your garden. For more information and to register, please call 773-523-7437 or email pleasantfarms@gmail.com. $20. Refreshments provided by Pleasant House Bakery.

April 28

2nd Annual Artisan Producer Festival – More soon!

May 1st

Chicago – Growing Home 10th Anniversary Benefit Peggy Notebaert Museum more to follow




The Weekly Harvest – January 17th on Blogs Here and Yond

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Posted: January 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm

For the aspiring locavore, between work, family, and shopping at the markets there is never enough time to catch all that is being created in the farm, food, blog world so here is brief recap of a few of the ones that I caught this week. If you have a favorite blogger, or site that you read and check every week please leave the name, link, in the comments and I will try to include it next week!! All ideas, information is much appreciated!!

In the round-up of farmers, food and posts, I found Elizabeth’s Baron’s site Nourishing Words. Maybe it was the picture of “Slow Down, People Breathing” or the fact that she resides in New Hampshire and I went to college there. I think I first heard of her through the Twitter world and I now am a subscriber. Her recent post is titled “The Five Advantages of Social Cooking” is so true!!!

Can’t forget soulful farmer,writer Ben Hewitt’s weekly post, here,“My End of the Bargain

Alpana Singh is not only a top sommelier, TV personality on “Check Please” but she now has fromager as another ability. Her blog post, “I Aim to Cheese”  on her stint behind the counter at Pastoral Artisan this past December gives you some insights as to what it feels like to be behind the counter. All I know is that some of the people behind the cheese stands at the markets always have some interesting tidbits to impart, take advantage of their knowledge, taste their cheese and ask them questions!

A week can’t go by without my checking “Nourishing The Planet” , they have posts almost every day and they are always upbeat, informative and inspiring on innovations and positive changes going on around the globe.

NTP is a project of The Worldwatch Institute who has content of their own,”Youth Deserve Gold Medals for Sustainability”.

Chocolate and Zucchini from across the pond.

Local blogger Lottie and Doof wrote about cornbread, “Custard Filled Cornbread“, yum!

With the Good Food Festival coming up in March, FamilyFarmed continues to keep people abreast of the latest developments in improving and strengthening the chicagoland foodshed, here is their latest post, “State Economic Development Director Releases New Tools to Build Distribution Channels for Local Foods”.

There are so many great LOCAL bloggers, please leave your favorites in the comments section below.





It’s Been So Long Since I Last Posted, I’m Now Telling You about Buying Peppers

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Posted: January 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Do you know it’s been exactly one month since I last blogged.  In the middle of December, I was eating tomatoes.  Now, in the middle of January, I could have purchased some tomatoes but instead went for yellow bell peppers, lettuce and two cucumbers.  What’s so difficult about being a locavore in the winter?

Just try is what I tell people looking to eat more local.  Or local is where you find it.  And what I found when I made, a late in the morning, visit to the Faith in Place winter farmer’s market in Oak Park last Saturday was a table brimming with bell peppers, green and yellow; several big bags of lettuces, one cucumber, and a host of tomatoes.  I grabbed the cuke.  Filled a bag with salad.  Took three yellow peppers.  Squeezed the tomatoes enough to know n0t.  Paid.  Paid $9.  Paid really no more than I would have paid for such produce in the summer.  Left thinking I had that last cucumber, by the way, but it turned out they had many more.  I paid one more dollar for another winter special.  I got a nice haul to supplement our other winter fare.

Rainbow Harvest of Channahon, Illinois produces these crops using hydroponic, indoor production.  Sneer.  In fact hold that sneer for a bit because I cannot fully address your sneer, having put all my produce away for another day.  I accept that hydroponics may lack a certain veggie vigor indicative of what makes us locavores in the first place, but hey, it’s local.  It’s winter, and when you are looking for a cucumber, a tomato, a bell pepper, you are often getting an indoor grown, hydro thing regardless.  Might as well get it from a farmer you can meet.  Listen, sometimes we eat turnips.  Sometimes we eat cucumbers.  As long as it comes from around here, it tastes good to us.  (Which is not also to say, that the big bag of honeybell tangerines my Brother-in-law recently brought us from Florida don’t also taste good to us.)

I’ll catch you up on the inventory well within the next month,  probably in the next day or two.  For now, know that our Tomato Mountain CSA ended not too much after that last post.  It has kept us well stocked in turnips, radishes, spinach, and potatoes.  On top of that, we have good supplies of other stuff.  We’re getting by just fine, thank you very much.  I mean we just picked up lettuces, bell peppers, and cukes.




Growing Power Acting Local But Collaborating Global Monday, January 16th, 2012
Evanston Winter Market: January 14, 2012 Update Monday, January 16th, 2012
This First Blanket of Snow Signals Spring, Not Winter Thursday, January 12th, 2012
Local Beet and other Locavores in the Sun Times Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
GoodGreens Next Meeting Thursday January 26th Here’s the Agenda Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
The Root Cellar Diaries to Date Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
What’s In Season is What You Find on the Local Calendar Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
The Weekly Harvest – What’s Local in Other Blogs Here and Yond Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
Voting Opens For One Seed Chicago 2012 Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
WANTED: Candid Feedback on Your CSAs (Again) Monday, January 9th, 2012
UPDATED! – Happy New Year, Let’s Start the Local Calendar for 2012 Wednesday, January 4th, 2012