Roasted Asparagus and White Bean Soup

Posted: April 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I’m sure this won’t come as a shock to anyone, but I can’t get enough asparagus right now. And I’m OK with that. Because I wait 11 months every year to eat the best asparagus of all time. I have been participating in The Food Matters Project for several months now and it has really impacted the way I cook because I have decided that I want to incorporate as many local ingredients as possible into the meals as well as add my own twist to it. As a brief overview, The Food Matters Project is a weekly blog post following a schedule of recipes from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters cookbook. This week the recipe was for Roasted Asparagus and White Bean soup and it did not disappoint.

I started by chopping two leeks from the farmers market and sauteing them in oil for a couple of minutes with 1 tablespoon of garlic and 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary. I decided to use a ham hock from Meadow Haven Farm in my soup so the night before I boiled it in water for about an hour. This soup doesn’t take very long to cook so I wanted to give the ham hock a head start. I added 6 cups of vegetable stock, peeled and diced 2 potatoes, drained 1 can of white beans and added it all to the pot along with the ham hock, brought it to a boil and allowed it to simmer for about 30 minutes until the potatoes were very tender.


Meanwhile, I roasted the asparagus on 450 for about 5 minutes until it was tender. I sprinkled with some salt and chopped it roughly so it added a nice texture to the soup. When I added the asparagus to the soup, I also added another drained can of white beans. I removed the ham hock and tore it apart. It was a very surreal experience… being elbow deep in pig grease, but it was delicious. Once everything was heated through, I shaved some thick slices of Parmesan overtop to add just a little extra oomph. This soup is delicious. And it’s more local than not, so we’re making progress! The little local additions to your meals really do add up and they can make a tremendous difference to the farmers and/or vendors you choose to support. Take a chance and buy something (like a ham hock) that you have no idea how to use and then just go for it. I bet it will end up a great success.

Kelly Hewitt cooks her way through life forcing herself to try new things. Her obsessions include canning and learning how to grow her own vegetables this summer! Kelly loves cooking fairly minimally and buying food from people that she actually knows. Catch up with Kelly’s blogging at

Local Wine Update: Verterra Winery a Revelation at Pacific Rim Wine Competition; Michigan Rieslings Beat Finger Lakes At Their Own Game

Posted: April 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Study of the pour.
Photo: lpwines/

I’m not one to go agog over wine competitions, but I have to remind myself from time-to-time that they’re invaluable in helping a fledgling wine industry like Michigan’s gain regional, national and even international exposure. Lately, Michigan wines have been holding up quite well in competition, especially in two that fixed Michigan’s place as a force in Riesling production.

A trio of awards were just handed out at the Pacific Rim Wine Competition in San Bernardino, California to Verterra Winery in the remote fishing village of Leland, Michigan. Verterra Winery is one of the Leelanau’s newest wineries (it only opened last year), and also their newest recipient of accolades. I happened to be visiting the Leelanau this weekend for a media event, and unknowingly popped into Verterra as they were basking in the excitement of just having learned (the night before) that three of their wines won. Verterra’s 2011 Pinot Blanc, a varietal that doesn’t get a lot of attention or respect, and the 2011 Chaos White Cuvée, a slightly sweeter blend tempered by acidity, each won “Best in Class” in their respective categories, an especially noteworthy designation because the judges must be unanimous in their approval of the wine. Verterra’s 2011 Dry Riesling won a gold medal at this competition. Paul Hamelin, who operates the family-owned winery with his wife and son, credits his “great winemaker” as well as the prime locations of their vineyards for the winery’s sprint to the top tier of Leelanau winemakers in only one year.

Chateau Fontaine, an understated winery located near the huge, inland Lake Leelanau, took the top prize for its 2011 Dry Riesling in the 2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. This award is especially worth celebrating because many wines produced in the Finger Lakes region—in particular, Riesling—have been steadily gaining serious attention, and are often mentioned ahead of Michigan’s. Chateau Fontaine’s Dry Riesling has a vivacious, interesting, sweet-tart complexity that complements a variety of foods. A truly great wine if you can get it. Black Star Farm’s 2008 A Capella Ice Wine, also made from 100% Riesling, took a top prize, besting ice wine producers in the competition from Canada and the Finger Lakes. Fenn Valley, located in Southwest Michigan, took a double gold for its Riesling, solidifying Michigan’s burgeoning reputation for Riesling.

Note: Leelanau Peninsula Vintner’s Association is holding an event, Sip and Savor, on May 5 and 6. See below for details.

Sip and Savor Poster

The Weekly Harvest 4/27/12 Blogs Here and Yonder

Posted: April 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

Here is this week’s harvest roundup: For those living outside of Chicago but in Cook County, the Health Department just published a very comprehensive report on “The Suburban Cook County Food System: An Assessment and Recommendations“. This report is found on the Cook County Department of Public Health website.

The Farm Bill still looms out there, the Illinois Stewardship Alliance is one of the best sites to keep up with the latest status as well as legislative issues out of Springfield. The National Sustainable Agricultural Coalition has a lot of up to the minute information on the Farm Bill as well.

A week can’t go by without checking out Eleanor Baron’s latest post at Nourishing Words.

Or Ben Hewitt’s posts, the author of “The Town That Food Saved” and “Making Supper Safe“.

If you have been reading the Weekly Harvest for awhile, you know Nourishing The Planet is another one that is always in the weekly roundup. had a post about a new pesticide in use. “Meet A Pesticide Even Conventional Vegetable Farmers Fear

Mad Cow disease has reared its head again and The Salt at NPR lets us know what is going on, “Mad Cow Disease: What You Need To Know Now

The New York Times published this interview with Wendell Berry on The Opinionator, 4/24/12.

Matt Kirouac of Restaurant Intelligence Agency published this piece on “Preserving Earth’s Bounty With Heirlooms

The Chicagoist delves into the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance Symposium “Road Food: Exploring the Midwest One Bite At A Time” that is being held at Kendall College this weekend.

You can’t forget to check Grubstreet Chicago , Serious Eats Chicago or Eater Chicago.

Yep! Inevitably, I hit the “Publish” button and then several hours later I see something or someone mentioned in the blogosphere that is relevant to the Weekly Harvest. This week, Associate Editor Wendy Aeschlimann is referenced in Stockyard Palate‘s “Blog on Blogs” on her take on the best charcuterie program in Chicago(think Old Town Social)

And another one, Harmony Valley Farm in Viroqua, Wisconsin has some great pictures of the farm in action, in the Spring on their blog. These pictures will really get you excited about Spring produce to come! They ,also, happen to be in the market for a “farm chef”, anyone interested go to the contact information on their blog.

As always, let us know what your favorite food blog reading for the week is in the comments below!

A Few Days Left in April to Commit to Being a Local Family – Use Local Food

Posted: April 27, 2012 at 9:03 am

April is the month we’ve been telling you to join us as a local family.  When we last discussed your journey, I provided a little background motivation, getting greener by being local.  Today, let’s get back to some practicalities.  For instance, what does the local diet look like.  It surely can include some steaks (those came from a cow raised by our pal Farmer Vicki Westerhoff).

Canadians Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon helped bring the idea of eating local to the world with a series of blog posts on their “100 mile diet.”  The compiled those posts into a book called Plenty.  Youc an read how they set a very strict requirement for their eating.  What they had on hand when they started, or within 100 miles would be their diet.  So, a lot of their story is about all the work they had to do to get food within their 100 miles.  They were especially vexed in getting grains, and when things were bad they made sandwiches with turnips as the “bread”.  Don’t do that.

No one committing to becoming a local family has to have peanutbutter and jelly on turnips, nor does one have to seperate the mouse droppings from the wheat, in another memorable part of their local grain quest.  The first thing I always tell people about eating local is “don’t make yourself nuts trying to eat local.”  The second thing I might tell them is a quote I picked up a few years back from Illinois farmer, Stan Schutte.  ”Local is as far as it takes you to get what you want.”  In other words,  get your oranges or your bananas, sea salt and pepper.  It won’t ruin your locavore experience.

I say all that because I want the pressure off.  Relax.  Don’t make yourself nuts.

Now, go and eat as much as you can from nearby.


Does local have to be within a magic 100 mile boundary.  I do not think so.  Certainly not if you live in an area that is highly urban for one thing, and bordered on a great lake for another, your 100 mile limit would exclude a lot of the farms that sell in area markets.  I tend to say my “foodshed”, my zone I use for my local food, is the Big Ten Conference.  Those states around the Great Lakes from Ohio to Minnesota.  Although, aside from wild rice, I’m not really looking at the states furthest from Illinois.

What can I get within my foodshed.  In this post, I’ll cover what’s out there.  In my next post, I’ll cover what you have to do to get it or where you have to go to find local food.

Let’s start with the raw materials.  You can find dairy including milk, cheese, kefir, butter, yogurt, and sour cream; eggs, including duck eggs; meats, pretty much all kinds of meat, even a goose if I want; and when we want fish, we can choose one from our lakes; fruits and vegetables, our climate produces a huge bounty and only in dark winter and early spring do we need to get a mango or such.  The availability of local grains has greatly increased in recent years, and one can find items ranging from wheatberries to oats.  We have excellent local cornmeal.  Don’t go nuts, but you can find local nuts including black walnuts and hickory nuts.  What about sunflower seeds.

Let’s look at some decisions you may or may not want to make.  Sugar.  There’s locally grown beet sugar, but there may be GMO issues associated with that.  You can use local honey to sweeten or local maple syrup.  This Local Family does not swear off of cane sugar, but uses other stuff too.  Your fat of choice, as Mario Battali always puts it, is?  Again, you can stay local and use lard, butter or locally produced vegetable oils.  Personally, we don’t hold to this, using olive oil mostly.  Flavorings, we make our own chili powder from locally grown peppers, and we dry herbs, but we keep a wide spice drawer. I’ll say, not sure where this fits in, that we use some locally produced vinegars, but we use plenty that aren’t, and we use lemons and limes too.

We make as big an effort as possible to use prepared foods from our region.  We never buy anything but local beer, and why not, we have so many choices.  We almost never buy local wine, although we think there’s a great case made by Wendy for getting more Michigan wines.  We’re lucky that our local Caputo’s grocery carries the deli turkey from Michigan’s Legacy.  We love Nueske for ham and bacon.  We splurge when we can on Milk and Honey granola.  Really, we don’t have one big list of local foods.  Something specific, ask us.  What we do is just look for the local.  Fresh pasta, we look and find a brand like RP from Madison, Wisconsin.  That kind of thing happens all the time.  We just find local.  We believe a local family eats more than fruits and vegetables because we do.

This is the time of year to commit to being a local family because you can start buying freshly grown foods at the markets.  This is the time to commit to becoming a local family because your first CSA boxes will arrive.  Still, as you enjoy your local asparagus and your local sorrel, don’t forget your local meat and your local eggs.  You don’t have to get everything from around here, but commit to getting as much as you can from around here.

Get Out and Market, You May Even Find Paella in Frankfort

Posted: April 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm

IMG_0361IMG_0360One of the first suburbs in the Chicago area to get their market going is Frankfort. way, way in the far south region.  This Sunday, their 2012 season begins.

One of the great things about farmer’s markets is that they give opportunities to all sorts of sellers.  Of course, you may find locally grown fruits and vegetables.  There’s a saying amongst market managers that the first people to apply are bakeries, so you almost always have some form of bread or cookies at markets.  There may be local eggs or meat.  And then there may be paella.

Some markets allow food vendors, and the food vendors you find at markets are not necessarily the ones you find at, well, not at markets.  I mean, how easy is to make paella over fire inside a restaurant.  Not so easy.  Yet, that’s the way paella is supposed to be made.  Outside, over a fire.  Sheppard food I think.  And at the Frankfort Farmer’s Market, at least last year, hopefully this year, you can get yourself real, authentic, cooked over fire, paella.  Believe me, you get a nice taste from that open flame.  More, the intense heat leads to what all paella affciandos want the soccarrat or crispy rice on the bottom of the pan.  Me, I don’t need many excuses to get to a farmer’s market, but if anyone could possible use an excuse, it’s for real paella.

Like I say, I’m not totally sure who will be at the first Frankfort market this year.  I know last year, Michigan farmers, Jimmy & Becky Hardin, were at the market.  The Hardins grow the best peaches, but you won’t find any of that in late April.  You will probably find some asparagus.  You’ll also find my wife, selling Tomato Mountain salsas and other products, and maybe, not really likely, a bit of their Spring produce.

Frankfort’s not your only market to try this weekend.  Beetnik Jeannie Boutelle puts together a great list of events in the Local Calendar, where you can find other Chicago area farmer’s markets, but I bet any other you find there won’t be any chance of paella.

Over Winter? Well, It’s What’s in Season Chicago

Posted: April 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm

You hear more than a bit of whining from those trying to produce seasonal menus that by March or so, they’re thoroughly finished with a winter’s larder full of root veg. Good thing Spring’s a-comin’, and what does Spring to the Chicago area seasonal eater? Root veg. We get root vegetables because a lot of them are cold hearty and can survive early plantings in area hoop houses. Yet, there’s another kind of root vegetable around in Spring, one just a bit different than the root vegetables we ate all winter. Beetnik Jeannie Boutelle showed us the fantastic carrots (pictured above) she saw at Green City Market in April, over-wintered carrots she saw at Green City Market.

Overwintering vegetable essentially means leaving them in the ground after it gets cold. Yes, even in snowy fields, abet some overwintered items need to a certain amount of protection from that cold. Items that can be overwintered included brussels sprouts, leeks, garlic, beets, sunchokes, and especially carrots and parsnips. These last two, which look more alike than they really are in the plant family, really excel in frosty soil. You may hear some people tell you to look for skinny carrots (or skinny parsnips), and some thick carrot tubes are present with way too much woody inside. Yet, if they’re overwintered carrots or overwintered parsnips, do not be afraid of the size. They plants build big, sugar cell layers in that cold (to stay warm and store energy). These initial roots of the season are some of the best roots you will have all year.

Not a lot of area farmers overwinter vegetables, and the ones that do, may already be out of their stocks, but do look for them when you shop for local food. Beyond the overwintered and hoop-house root vegetables, the markets are mostly green this time of year.  Here’s our list of likely finds in markets around the Chicago area right about now–do tell us what other items you are seeing in the comments.

  • Sorrel has a short season, about now.  If you’ve never tried you’ll be amazed how much puckery flavor can come from a leaf.  Beetniks Mo Tuffy and Vicki Nowicki have ideas on what to do with sorrel.
  • Spring onions, which we mean leeks, scallions, chives, green onions; cooking with these sharp, bright ingredients lends Spring its unique flavor.
  • Green garlic, we love how you can use this almost like an herb.  Like, as long as you don’t have a date, how ’bout a green garlic pesto.
  • Salad greens, you can use lettuces, watercress, rocket, or as the Chicago Tribune advises, kale in various seasonal salads.
  • Asian greens, your 40 sizes of bok choy for instance, tend to do very well in cool weather, so it’s stir fry season around a lot of CSA houses.
  • Radishes grow so quickly, farmer’s can get them jn and out of their fields pretty quickly.
  • Asparagus, if the crop started this week, it would be early, but we’re into like our fourth week of local asparagus
  • Herbs, early Spring tends to bring a few herbs not seen the rest of the year.  For instance, we’ve seen lovage around a lot.  Remember a little of this celery-ish flavored herb goes a long way.  Another not so common herb we saw in the markets recently, was savory, “the bean herb”, so you know what to do with that one.
  • Roots, turnips, beets, carrots, parsnips; may or may not be overwintered.
  • Storage crops, we saw old celery root priced to move; there’s still plenty of apples and potatoes

The Summer Calendar – Farm Dinners, Markets and Much More

Posted: April 25, 2012 at 9:12 am

farm dinners

The summer Farm Dinner and sustainable food event calendar is already getting crowded and we are only in April! Whether you eat on the porch of a farm house, like I did at Prairie Fruit Farms in this picture, in the middle of a field, in a tent or in a wooded glen, the summer brings all sorts of on the farm experiences. Crop mobs, fruit pickings and more, as these events get announced, we will add them to the calendar as quickly as we can. Feel free to post any dinners and events in the comments section below!!

June 3

Chicago - The Logan Square Farmer’s Market opens for the summer Logan Boulevard

June 9

FD!! Champaign – Prairie Fruit Farms Dinner “Early Season Vegetables Unite” – 4410 N. Lincoln Ave,.(Champaign, not Chicago) Go to the link for more information  $85 per person

Chicago - Carnivale University Join Carnivale Chef David Dworshak on a guided tour of the Green City Market 10:00 – 12pm $25

Elburn – Red, White and Blue Grass Festival Heritage Prairie Farm 2N308 Brundige Road 3pm to 10pm Sponsored by the Farmer Veteran Coalition The event is for all ages, go to the link above for more information.

June 10

Chicago – Slow Food Chicago Pig Fest – 2-5pm Goose Island Brewery 1800 West Fulton St. $60 per person More details to be announced soon. The annual fundraiser for Slow Food Chicago is back. Mark your calendars and further details will be up coming.

June 11

Chicago – 6th Annual Taste of Columbia - Columbia Yacht Club’s 6th Annual Fundraiser in support of the Legacy Foundation which allows inner city youth to attend sailing classes at the club. 6:30pm – 9:30pm Probably one of the most scenic venues in Chicago for an event, stay tuned for more details!

June 30

Caledonia – Wind Ridge Herb Farm’s Fourth Annual Herb, Garden and Wellness Fair 9am – 6pm Quail Trap Road

July 14

Chicago – “A Day in the Country” A Celebration of locally grown cuisine, a bus tour to Indiana to visit the Vandermolen Blueberry Farm, stop at Sweet Corn Patch and tour the Belstra Milling Pork Farm. Sponsored by Chicagourmet

July 18

FD!! Glencoe - Chicago Botanic Garden Farm Dinner Series – 5-8pm Cocktail hour by Death’s Door Spirits Dinner by City ProvisionsFinch’s Beer Company and Vinejoy $200 For reservations call the Chicago Botanic Garden (847) 835- 5540.

July 21

FD!! Chicago – City Provisions Farm Dinner – La Pryor Farms in Ottowa, Illinois with Greenbush Brewing Company & Koval Distillery For tickets, please call (773) 293.2489.  $275 This is a mini-vacation, all day affair typically running from 11am to midnight.

June 23

FD!! Champaign - Prairie Fruit Farms Dinner “Smoked” – 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) Chef Nathan Sears of Vie will be the guest chef.$100 BYOB Go to link for more information

July 7

FD!! Champaign – Prairie Fruits Farms Dinner “Texas in Illinois BBQ” 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) BYOB $85 per person, go to link for more information.

July 21

FD!! Champaign – Prairie Fruits Farm Dinner – “An Ode to Frances Mallman” 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) Chris Pandel of The Bristol and the recently opened Balena will be the guest chef. $100 BYOB Go to link for more information.

August 4

FD!! Champaign – Prairie Fruits Farm Dinner - “French Country Cooking” 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) Thad Morrow of Bacaro Restaurant in Champaign will be the guest chef and the guest farmers will Trent and Jackie Sparrow of Catalpa Farm in Dwight, IL. 5 course meal $100 BYOB

August 12

FD!! Elkhorn, WI - Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner - Dietzler Farm, Chef Dan Van Rite, Hinterland Erie Street GastroPub Milwaukee $200

August 13

FD!! Elkhorn, WI - Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner - 4pm Dietzler Farm, Chef Jared Wentworth Longman & EagleChicago $200 This is going to be really good!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 15

FD!! Caledonia, Il - Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner - 4pm Kinnikinnick Farm – Chef Brian Huston, The Publican$200

FD!! Glencoe - Chicago Botanic Garden Farm Dinner Series – 5-8pm Cocktail hour by Death’s Door Spirits Dinner by City Provisions, Two Brothers Brewing & Illinois Sparkling Co/August Hill Winery $200 For reservations call Chicago Botanic Gardens (847) 835-5540.

August 16

FD!! Chicago - Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner – 4pm City Farm Chicago Chef Jason Vincent Nightwood $220[SOLD OUT]

August 18

FD!! Champaign - Prairie Fruit Farms Dinner “Al Fresco Cucina Italiana” – 5pm 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) 3 course meal BYOB $60

FD!! Chicago - City Provisions Farm Dinner - Dietzler Farms in Elkhorn, Wisconsin with 5 Rabbit CerveceriaFew SpiritsFor tickets, please call (773) 293.2489.  $275 This is a mini-vacation, all day affair typically running from 11am to midnight.

August 19

FD!! South Haven, MI – Outstanding in the Field Farm Dinner – 4pm Seedling Farm – Chefs Michael and Patrick Sheerin ofThe Trencherman $200

September 1

FD!! Champaign – Champaign - Prairie Fruits Farm Dinner -”Fish Fry”  4410 N. Lincoln Ave. (Champaign, not Chicago) Meal prepared by Sunday Dinner Chefs Joshua Kulp and Christine Cikowski out of Chicago, 4 course meal BYOB $65.

September 5

FD!! Glencoe - Chicago Botanic Garden Farm Dinner Series 5-8pm Cocktail Hour by Death’s Door, Dinner by City Provisions, Bell’s BreweryLynfred Winery

September 8

FD!! Chicago - City Provisions Farm Dinner - Heritage Prairie Farm & Apiary with Metropolitan Brewing & Templeton Rye$275 This is a mini-vacation, all day affair typically running from 11am to midnight.

The Local Calendar – 4/25/12 Next Week Begins The Outdoor Season!

Posted: April 25, 2012 at 9:10 am

Carrots Carrots, can you believe carrots at the Green City Market last week? Okay, they were carrots from Growing Home that were planted in the winter time. But they still were real, live, local carrots. I think one of the pleasures, although the farmers who get up in the middle of the night and drive for all hours will disagree, but for me, one of the pleasures of working at a farmers market is the early morning set up before all the customers have arrived. It sounds corny but it has a night before Christmas feel. I never know what exactly each vendor has and it is fun to see the produce get carefully placed on the tables and then to see things like carrots appear. The light in early morning gives all the vegetables a glow that they just don’t have as the day progresses, yet one more incentive to get to the market early!

Overwintered carrots are just one of the things in season now in Chicagoland.  Check out our in season list to see what else you may find when shopping for local food.

Don’t forget Growing Home has a 10th Anniversary Celebration coming up, 10 years is a very long time in the farm business and in the urban farm business it is unheard of, so all the more reason to wish them a very happy 10th Birthday!

More markets are going to be opening outside next week as well and we will try to keep you as abreast as we can. But remember, we welcome feedback and input, so if you have a favorite market let us know!!! Now on to the week ahead!


These stores specialize in local foods:

Butcher and Larder 1026 North Milwaukee in Noble Square, Chicago

City Provisions Deli 1818 West Wilson in Ravenswood, Chicago

Dill Pickle Food Co-op – 3039 West Fullerton, Chicago

Downtown Farmstand 66 East Randolph in the Loop, Chicago

Green Grocer 1402 West Grand Ave in West Town, Chicago GG has weekly wine and beer tastings check their website or twitter for details.

Marion Street Cheese Market 100 South Marion St. Oak Park

Provenance Food & Wine - 2 locations Logan Square 2528 N. California Lincoln Square 2312 W. Leland Ave. Provenance has weekly free tastings of food and wine products, check their website for details.

Publican Quality Meats – 835 W. Fulton, Chicago

Southport Grocery and Cafe 3552 N. Southport, Chicago


Ongoing through June 10th Chicago – Feast:Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art Smart Museum University of Chicago Go here for all the projects associated with it.

April 26

Chicago - Green City Market Spring Fling – A New Leaf 1820 N. Wells 6:30pm -9:30pm Join Green City Market chefs, farmers, and supporters for an evening of cocktails, small bites, music and a unique auction experience as they raise funds to support their market education programs.Ticket information and prices here

Chicago - meeting -10:00- 12:00 USDA offices in the loop If you are a veteran “good food” person or a newbie, this meeting is a great one to go to, to develop contacts in the “good food” world in Chicago and to get valuable information, it is always worth your time. It is sponsored by the USDA and is a meeting of meetings and welcomes people from all aspects, neighborhoods, organizations, public, non-profit, private, entrepreneurs, anyone interested in a better and more sustainable food system in the Midwest area. The website is a treasure trove of information and Alan Shannon of the USDA is the one to contact if you plan to attend, go to the website for details.

Chicago - Farm Fresh Food Stuffs at Weiss Memorial Hospital 7am – 1pm Weiss is just north of the intersection of Wilson and Marine Drive.

New!!! Chicago - Hackneys Printer Row – Locavore Beer Fest -6pm 733 South Dearborn St.  A celebration of local, artisanal beer, in an effort to promote the pleasures of eating and drinking in our own backyard. The night will be highlighted by a rare beer tapping at 6 p.m. Hackney’s will tap Metropolitan’s Generator Dopplebock, Two Brothers Red Eye Porter brewed with Dark Matter coffee, Two Brothers Circus Penguin Pale Ale brewed with organic beets and blood oranges, and Finch’s Witness Belgian Pale Ale. The locavore beer menu will continue for the week.

April 27

Chicago – Starts today Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance Presents Road Food – Exploring The Midwest One Bite At A Time” – Kendall College This 3 day symposium is about what it says, exploring the midwest and all its nooks and crannys when it comes to eating. Here is the jam packed program that covers all three days.

Chicago – Graze Magazine releases inaugural issue at Smart Museum of Art The graze // issue one reception will take place at the Smart Museum of Art at 5550 S. Greenwoood Ave. on Friday, April 27, from 8-11pm.  For just $10 guests will gain entry to a night of guerilla gastronomica, hand-crafted cocktails, folk music, and a free copy of Graze, Chicago’s premier food-oriented literary magazine-all set to the backdrop of Feast:Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art, the current exhibition at the Smart Museum of Art.

April 28

Chicago – The Green City Market Held at the Peggy Notebaert Museum 2430 N. Cannon Drive 8am – 1pm Last indoor market of the season!!

Chicago – 2nd Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival at the Chicago French Market 11-3pm This year’s line-up features more than 70 producers,in addition to tastings and demonstrations from a wide variety of your favorite French Market vendors. In addition to cheese-makers and mongers from around the world, there will also be producers of beer, wine, and accoutrements in attendance as well as the vendors in the Chicago French Market. From confectioners and beer and spirit makers right here in Chicago to vintners from Bordeaux, this year the festival includes artisan producers from around your neighborhood and around the world!

Chicago – Another great idea! Green and Growing Fair - Sponsored by the Advocates for Urban Agriculture and GreenNet Chicago. Garfield Park Conservatory 11am – 4pm 300 North Central Park Ave. Free Meet the folks from One Seed Chicagoand pick up a packet of the winning seed, buy the unique KochTerri pepper, a new varietal, bred by Garfield Park Horticulturists and many more vendors and workshops. Go to the link for further details.

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 – Read a report from Beetnik Melissa Owens who finds, among other things, basil, at this market here.

Grayslake – The Grayslake Farmer’s Market Open for Spring!! Centennial Park and Center St. 10:00 Am – 2pm

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

New Location!! St. Charles – The Saturday Farm Fresh Food Stuffs market has moved and is now at Trellis Family Farm 8-4pm 2N492 Kirk Rd.

April 29

Chicago – Andersonville Farmers Market – 11:30 – 3:30pm Ebenezer Lutheran Church 1650 W. Foster

Chicago – It’s back for the 4th year Cochon 555 – It is a traveling, culinary competition and tasting event. 5 chefs, 5 pigs, 5 winemakers to promote sustainable farming of heritage breeed pigs. The chefs this year include : Carlos Gaytan ofMexique, Danny Grant of Balsan/Ria, Stephanie Izard of Girl and The Goat, Michael Sheerin of The Trenchermen, and Jason Vincent of Nightwood. The event this year will be held at The Four Seasons hotel 120 East Delaware and starts at 5pm. Tickets start at $125 and can be purchased here. Besides the main event of the contest and eating a lot of mighty tasty pig there will be Pastoral Cheese, Rob Levitt of The Butcher and the Larder giving a butchering demo and lots more!

Chicago – The Rice Table at Vincent presents a Rijstaffel Dinner – 1475 West Balmoral 6-9pm This is a Dutch Indonesian grand feast. Go here to reserve a spot. $50

New!Frankfort Country Market – Frankfort – Downtown Frankfort – 10-2 – Might find paella.

Winnetka – Pop-Up Wine Tasting and Dinner – Sponsored by ChicagourmetsKamp Gallery 996 Green Bay Road. Meet Jens Baerle, the founder ofGourmetdestinations, that puts together Farm to Table trips in Italy. The event will feature an olive oil tasting with appetizers and prosecco reception followed by an Italian Wine pairing dinner. Check Chicagogourmets for further details on this.

April 30

Chicago – ViniItaly Italian wine tour comes to Chicago – Come and enjoy a taste of Italy! River East Arts Center 6-8:30pm $30 More information and to buy tickets go here.

May 1

New!!!! Chicago – Brown Trout Farmer’s Market 5-8pm 4111 North Lincoln Ave. In North Center, near the Irving Park Brown Line stop, this new “micro” farmer’s market sponsored by “Ground Up Chicago” is taking place today!

Chicago -Happy Birthday!!!!! Growing Home’s 10th Birthday – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 6-10pm Keynote by Steve James, Director of The Interrupters and Hoop Dreams. Buy tickets here and more information.

Chicago – Re-Thinking Soup – Hull House Kitchen – Jane Addams Hull House 800 South Halsted St – 12pm – 1pm Check website for the current speaker

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 – 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

Evanston - NU sustainable FOOD Talks – Pot Luck “Food Deserts:What Chicago Organizations Are Doing to Solve the Problem” A Panel Discussion Featuring Chicago Leaders in Sustainable Food Systems 6-8pm Technological Institute, Room L361, 2145 Sheridan Road

Woodstock - Woodstock Farmers Market at historic Woodstock Square  opens for the season 8am – 1pm


May 2

Chicago – Climate Cycle Ride Info Social (with free beer) – 6-7:30 pm ING Direct Cafe 21 East Chestnut St. Learn about the Climate Cycle Ride To Recharge and mingle with riders, get some encouragement to ride and enjoy free beer!

May 3

Chicago – Meet the Market – At Balena - 1633 N. Halsted 6-8pm The popular series sponsored by the Green City Market Junior Board is back! Meet the crew from Ellis Family Farms, Chef Chris Pandel, pastries by Amanda Rockman and beverages by mixologist Debbi Peek. All I can say, it’s back!! Go to the links for further details.

Chicago – Lots going on at The Bedford for their One Year Anniversary Celebration – 1612 West Division

May 4

Elgin- Elgins’ Green Expo- 1-8pm at the center of Elgin and is the biggest green event in the Fox Valley. This family-friendly event will include a Green Car Show showcasing some of the latest hybrids; a Farmer’s Market with artisan breads, cheeses and wines; the Garden Area to purchase native trees & plantings; an Eco-Bazaar where visitors can get the latest recycled goods; a Wellness Center with eco-friendly products & chair massages; plus food & drinks from the Locavore Cafe/EcoBar and much more!! Thanks to Melissa Owens for pointing this out!!!

Ottawa, IL - Morel University – This is part of Morel Mania. LEARN FROM EXPERTS – SHARE THE MORELS! Tom Nauman of Morel Mania, Inc. and other morel hunting experts will be your instructors for Morel University. The class is for beginners or anyone who wants to learn the finer points of shrooming: morel habitat, tree identification, correct harvesting techniques, and tricks of the trade. Morel-gathering will last approximately two hours.

May 5

Chicago – Opening Day the Green City Market – The featured chef will Sarah Grueneberg of Spiaggia. The hours are longer 7am to 1pm and the market moves further south in Lincoln Park, right across from the Children’s Farm.

Chicago - The Green Festival at Navy Pier 12noon to 8pm Buy tickets and more information here.

Elgin- The Green Expo in Elgin continues.

Woodstock – Woodstock Farmers Market 8am – 1pm at historic Woodstock Square

May 6

Chicago – Glenwood Sunday Market – The Glenwood Bar Glenwood Ave at Morse 9am – 2pm

Chicago – The Green Festival continues at Navy Pier 11am to 7pm Buy tickets here

May 8

Chicago - Chicago Rare Orchards Project (CROP) – Inaugural lecture series by leaders of crop diversity and sustainable development. 6pm Haas Park Fieldhouse 2404 Washtenaw Ave. (entrance on Fullerton) Josh Ellis Program Director Metropolitan Planning Council Event is free and open to the public.

May 9

Chicago – Carnivale, which has a roof top garden, has started Carnivale University classes on Wednesdays from 6:30-8pm $25 This week, Portugese wines 101, includes 5 stations with Chef David Dworshak’s food and wine pairings. 702 West Fulton Market

May 10

New!!! Chicago – Green City Market Junior Board Book Club – 6:30 pm at Next Door Chicago 659 West Diversey This month they are reading “The Prince’s Speech: On the Future of Food,” Prince Charles’ keynote address at the 2011 Future of Food conference in Washington, D.C. It’s only 64 pages! Join them for a conversation about food sustainability, go to the link above for more information.

May 12

Chicago – Opening Day for 61st Market sponsored by Experimental Station – This market which is becoming “the” market on the south side opens today, go to their website for further details.

Morton Grove – Morton Grove Spring Farmer’s Market –  8am – 12noon 6210 Dempster St.

May 13

Chicago – DOSE Market - Mother’s Day addition River East Arts Center 10am – 4pm River East Arts Center 435 East Illinois

May 16

Chicago – Floriole Monthly Dinner with Guest Chef Nathan Sears of Vie. Floriole Cafe and Bakery  1220 West Webster $75 5 Courses exlcudes beverage, tax and gratuity. Reserve a space here.

May 22

Chicago – Chicago Rare Orchards Project (CROP) – Inaugural lecture series by leaders of crop diversity and sustainable development. 6pm Haas Park Fieldhouse 2404 Washtenaw Ave. (entrance on Fullerton) The speakers tonight will be Melissa Tobias and Dan Schnitzer Sustainability Educators, The Academy for Global Citizenship. This event is free and open to the public.

New!!! Chicago – Women in Green monthly meeting – Hosted by Shannon Downey of Pivotal Productions at The Greenhouse Loft in The Green Exchange 2545 W. Diversey Ave. 5:30 pm Interested in attending or learning more? Contact


New!!!! Chicago - Spring Slow Food Chicago Dinner featuring Harvest Moon Farms & FEW Spirits at Uncommon Ground Devon 1401 W. Devon Ave. $65 includes tax, gratuity and a donation to Slow Food Chicago’s Terra Madre campaign. For reservations please call 773-465-9801.

May 25

Chicago – Kedzie Brewery Grand Opening Party – Revolution Brewing celebrates the opening of its new brewery at 3340 N. Kedzie. 5-10pm $15 Tickets go on sale April 27th.

May 26

FD!! Champaign – Prairie Fruits Farm starts their dinner season – “A Dinner of Spring” 4410 N. Lincoln Ave – H2Vino, Caveny Farms Lamb 5 courses, $100

For the summer schedule including Farm Dinners please go to our Farm Dinner calendar, it is time to make reservations for your summer farm dinners now!!!

What I’m Preserving Now by Vicki Nowicki

Posted: April 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Editor’s Note: Do you know who stores winter squash under her bed to have local food in the winter?  Do you know who’s growing sprouts, under lamps in her basement for more local food?  Someone who loves to talk about four season eating.  There’s a good chance you’ve run across Vicki Nowicki.  She’s been a key player in the Good Food Festivals put on by FamilyFarmed.  She’s involved with Slow Food City’s Edge.  She’s an award winning gardener.  She recently offered some great preservation recipes to us in our comments.  We asked if she could give us a bit more, for a blog post, and she agreed.  We hope to have more soon from Vicki.  Enjoy these three recipes for Spring produce she’s putting away.

  1. dandjellyjar

    Dandelion jelly-Delicious, golden color and honey-like flavor

    1 Quart fresh, bright dandelion flowers
    2 quarts water
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 package powdered pectin
    5 ½ cups sugar


    Snip off stems and green collar of sepals under blossoms. Be sure you have picked in an area free of spraying and animal traffic and I feel you can simply hand swipe each blossom to clean off. Once you wash the blossoms they become very difficult to handle so I try to avoid doing that. In an enameled or stainless steel saucepan boil the petals in 2 quarts water for 3 minutes. Cool all the way down even if it takes several hours. This will impart the maximum color to the liquid. Strain through a coffee filter. Measure 3 cups dandelion liquid. Add lemon juice and pectin. You need pectin and acid for jelly to set. Bring mixture to a boil using a large jelly kettle. Add sugar all at once and stir constantly and boil at a high rolling boil for 2 ½ minutes. Turn off heat and when bubbles subside, quickly skim off any gunk from surface with metal spoon. Using wide funnel, pour into small, sterile jars(boiled for 10 minutes). Use toothpick to pierce any airholes in the jelly. Hot water bath 10 minutes.

    Makes 5 or 6 jars


    1. Violet Jelly-Beautiful, clear violet color with fruity flavor. Contains rutin, good for varicose veins(limited demographic)

      1 pint violet flowers
      juice of ½ lemon
      2 cups of sugar PER cup of juice
      3 ounces liquid pectin

      Collect enough violet flowers to fill a pint jar. Stuff the jar with as many flowers as possible. Cover the blossoms with boiling water and cover. Keep out of the bright sunshine for 24 hours. Color will appear aqua at first.

      Strain the infusion through a coffee filter, removing blossoms and debris. Place the juice in a heavy saucepan. Add the lemon juice, mix thoroughly and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute. Add sugar and pectin. Bring to a hard boil and hold for 1 minute. Turn off heat, skim surface.

      Pour into hot, sterile jelly jars and seal. Hot water bath 10 minutes. Makes 4 ½ pint jars.

      1. French Sorrel Pesto-Delicious on pasta or soup or steamed vegetables. Store in freezer

        2 cups packed sorrel, washed and stems removed
        1/2 cup fresh parsley
        2 cloves garlic
        1/2 tsp. salt
        1/4 cup pine nuts
        1/4 cup olive oil
        1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
        1/4 cup chicken stock, if needed to thin

        Combine all ingredients in a food processor, except chicken stock. If the pesto appears too dry, add the stock.

Eat Local Now For Earth Day is Not Just the One Day

Posted: April 24, 2012 at 8:06 am

The earth celebrated Earth Day the other day, and all around the earth events took place to highlight our precious state and encourage greater care.  Did you think about changing the way you eat?  We’ve been telling you all April that now is the time to become a local family.  We told you that this Local Family began its local food journey after many trips to the Oak Park Farmer’s Market, where we constantly found ourselves wowed by the offerings.  We bought like crazy.  And if we kept on buying food like crazy, we had to do something with it.  Yet, at some point in the year, the market stopped.  We kept on being a Local Family.  It helps to have a little motivation.

One of the things that motivated us towards being a Local Family was the impact, tiny as it may be, on the earth, by eating local.  This Local Family firmly believes that when we eat local food, we eat food that tastes a lot better, but we also eat food that tastes a lot better for the environment.   The first thing a lot of people think when they think enviromental impacts of eating local is the idea of “food miles”, the distance it takes for food to get to your table.  Google food miles, however, and you will see the notion rife for debate.  In fact, I bet you’ll find it easier to find articles “debunking” food miles than you will find articles supporting food miles.  Go see for yourself.  I will tell you that, personally, I don’t find the arguments against food miles persuasive.  And if you start scratching the surface of the anti-food mile arguments, you’ll find a lot of questions too.  We do think we make an impact by eating local.

Still, as most eat local fans will tell you, it’s not just about food miles.  In other words, we do not simply care about how long it takes to get our food.  Eating local essentially means removing yourself from the ordinary ways of food.  When we remove ourselves from the ordinary ways of food we make the most impact on the earth.  You can analyze many environmental issues related to food, like the Leopold Center at Iowa State University does. What goes into food production.  How long does it take to get to you.  How is it packaged.  What does it consist of.  When you eat local you can approach all of these factors.  You gain the ability to make better decisions.  You do not always have to make the best decision.  For instance, we know that meat consumption makes a huge environmental impact.  Can we go with out a steak  (and this sauce).  We like steak.  Now, when we source a local steak, we can learn how the animal was raised, the practices of the rancher.  Does it meet what we we want in our meat.  Eating local allows us to do that as much as possible.  We know only the most ardent, fanatic 100 miler could do that with everything they ate, but some commitment to eating local lets you do it to a lot of what you eat.  The process of eating local allows you to address many environmental issues with food.

April is the time to commit to eating local.  It is the time to commit to Earth Day.  Commit by seeking to understand more about your food.  Find farmers that grow food the way you think it should be grown.  Find farmers that do not use mass quantities of oil drenched fertilizers.  Find farmers that use modern methods to maximize their grazing fields.  Find food that is not all shrink wrapped, individually packaged and partnered with the one number most difficult to recycle.  A lot of people think that eating local limits your choices.  The non-locavore has a whole supermarket to peruse.  We have a farmer’s market, a CSA and a few specialists.  Yet, the supermarket shopper gets the food given to them.  They really have little choice in how it is made.  We do.  We do and we can.  We can by eating local.

Staking My Reputation: Best Steak Sauce Ever

Posted: April 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm

steak sauce
I hate superlatives in food.

When I see a restaurant touting “the best [fill in the blank],” I turn on my heels and look for another.

“Best” in a subjective realm like food is a matter of taste. My best chocolate chip cookie is super thin, with crispy edges and soft chocolate chips. Yours may be soft and chewy with the addition of chopped nuts.

That being said, after dinner tonight, I need to share with you the best steak sauce ever or at least the best steak sauce I’ve ever made.

I’d been hesitant in the past to share this recipe because it has a secret ingredient. I’m not keeping it a secret, it’s simply one that you likely won’t have readily at your disposal. However, given that the raw material for this secret ingredient is now in season, I thought I’d share with you with my best steak sauce ever.

Strip Steaks with Special Steak Sauce
Serves 2-3

2 strip steaks
2 teaspoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
¼ cup red wine
2/3 cup chicken or beef stock
1 teaspoon balsamic
1 ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 pickled ramps (recipe available from a previous post of mine)
1 teaspoon sour cream

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add oil and heat until smoking. Sear seasoned steaks on each side. Reduce the heat to medium heat and cook until 120° F about 7 to 10 minutes total.

Remove the steaks to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Pour in the red wine and reduce slightly. Add stock and reduce until there’s only about 3 tablespoons of sauce in the pan. Add balsamic, mustard, and finely chopped ramps. Cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in sour cream and any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Serve the steaks drenched with sauce.

It’s Back! The Second Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival

Posted: April 23, 2012 at 10:59 am

Eating local means keeping your stomach away from the supermarket offerings. We can buy fruits and vegetables, eggs, some meat from farmer’s markets. We can subscribe to CSAs for similar. Yet, we cannot just eat that. We want to include cheese, bread, beer, wine, charcuterie, confections and other food stuffs in our diets. We want this to be as good as the asparagus and apples we get from our area farmers.  Since we cannot bob into Jewel for our kind of food, we need other ways to learn.

goat1 It’s back! We got a way.  The Second Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival takes place this Saturday, from 11- 3pm at the Chicago French Market. This day provides complimentary tastings and meet-the-maker for over 70 producers of artisan foods. This video gives you a sneak peek of some of the vendors that will be there.  While, not all of the producers there are locally based, we think you will be more than impressed with the kinds items there.  In addition to tasting and learning, you will also, be able to pick up the Spring issue from our friends at Edible Chicago.

All in all, this day presents a great opportunity to learn by tasting and talking what the difference artisan provides.  Eating local will be a little bit easier after you check out this event.

Early Reports on Michigan Fruit Crop Are Devastating

Posted: April 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Summer in March, when temperatures rose to over 80 degrees in some places, led to an early budding of fruit trees in Michigan. This made them susceptible to killing by a later frost, which over the past two weeks, has happened in various parts of Michigan. The Michigan State University Extension has reported at least two freezes in early April when lows went down to the 20s. Although the damage is still being assessed, this leaves the 2012 crop in doubt.

In Southwest Michigan, farmers planting juice grapes (which advance faster than wine grapes) were reporting an approximate ninety-five percent loss of their primary buds. (This year, concord bud break was about 20 days early.) Some tree fruit farmers are reporting variable losses depending upon where the trees were planted or their maturity. Some farmers reported almost full losses while others were more hopeful that some areas of their orchards fared better. The most optimistic are holding out hope for a later secondary growth. Wine grapes have not developed as much as juice grapes, and are generally planted in better sites, so they suffered less injury. Wally Maurer, grower and winemaker for Domain Berrien, reported a “reduced crop,“ and extensive loss to Chardonnay grapes in particular.

In Northwest Michigan, sweet cherries are faring better than tart cherries. Sweet cherries made it past certain frosts in decent shape, although some farmers were worried about the lack of honeybees. Tart cherry damage is evident, and although the damage is still being assessed, it is conservatively rated at less than a full crop; however, some in Leelanau County are placing losses at ninety-percent. As for wine grapes, any damage at the bud stage varies vineyard-to-vineyard and vine-to-vine, with some buds still dormant and others like Chardonnay and Riesling showing late bud swell.

Blueberry farmers in both areas are using overhead irrigation to control frost.

Primary source: MSU Extension Weekly Reports

To Market with Mo: Avoir de l’oseille et avoir soupe

Posted: April 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm

S4010168There is a saying in French, avoir de l’oseille. Literal translation is ‘having sorrel’ but the saying is slang for ‘having money’.  Hum….but back to that in a moment and onto the weather in Chicago. Despite the tease of a very early Spring (or was that Summer?) we are back to the chilly and wet Chicago Springtime we are more accustomed. And needless to say the cooler and wetter has put me back in a soup making mood….

Have I mentioned that the Farmers Market are not only a great source for locally grown seasonal produce but also provides an opportunity for us city folks to give growing some produce a go.  For years I have sourced my tomato plants, herbs, flowering hanging baskets and perennials at the Farmers Market.  A few years ago I s across a beautiful red-veined long broad leafed variety of sorrel.  Sorrel.  Had never actually grown it before or eaten it but the tiny plant was beautiful and if nothing else thought it might add some interest in my small city garden.  Fast forward to this year and that little sorrel plant came back this season triple the size and having multiplied all over the garden, so you could say I am really ‘having some sorrel’ this year (oh if only that were translating to the greenbacks).

‘Sour spinach’ aka sorrel makes a wonderful and classic sauce for fish.  Melting the sorrel down in some shallots and adding white wine, cream, a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of salt and white pepper and voila, a quick and impressive topping for salmon or a fleshy white fish.

The edible leaf the sorrel plant is high in vitamin A & C and has some potassium, calcium and magnesium. In addition to becoming sauce, this tangy tasting leaf is wonderful in salads, omelettes, purees, soups and my latest discovery as pesto.  But lets get back to soup, since we are back to reality with the heat, instead of air conditioning, kicking back on.

The following is my version of a classic sorrel soup.

Sorrel SoupS4010249

1 packed cup fresh sorrel (or if like me a bit more)

1 medium onion diced

1/2 stick of butter

1 lb white potatoes peeled and cubed

1 1/2 qt chicken stock (can sub water w/ lots or pepper & salt)

salt and pepper to taste

Optional garnish: squeeze of lemon, creme fraiche (sour cream or yogurt work as well).

Melt sorrel in a pot of sauteeing butter and onions.  Add chicken stock and heat to a simmer. Add diced potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft.  Puree the soup in a food processor. Return to soup pot and season to taste with salt and pepper.

(note — do not be put off my the color, which looks more like a green or brown lentil soup.  It’s all about the flavor.)

Garnish with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of creme fraiche.

A Midwestern Expert Weighs In On Food Desert Studies

Posted: April 20, 2012 at 11:06 am

The New York Times published a piece Wednesday April 18th titled “Studies Question the Pairing of Food Deserts and Obesity“. For those who read it and found they had questions or concerns about the article, here is a response written by Mari Gallagher, the well-known Midwestern researcher who has studied food deserts, and who some say coined the term “food desert.”

Weekly Harvest 4/20/12 Blogs Here and Yonder Friday, April 20th, 2012
E is For Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Eat Local Now – Still Time for a CSA & See Our Box, Week 1 Thursday, April 19th, 2012
What Exactly Is Going On At 312Aquaponics? Something Fishy Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Weekly Calendar – 4/18/12 – Less Than A Month Until The Outdoor Markets! Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
D is For Duncan…Beet Farmer Blogger Jody Osmund Continues His Way Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Homemade Cheese and Pizza Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Michigan Celebrates Michigan Wine Month 2012 Monday, April 16th, 2012
Become a Local Family Now – A Year in Your Life as a Local Family Monday, April 16th, 2012
About takin’ a little sumpin’ from FEW Spirits Monday, April 16th, 2012
The Weekly Harvest 4/12/12: Blogs Here and Yonder Thursday, April 12th, 2012
Think Its Too Warm for an Indoor Market? – Hines VA Hospital Putting on One Last Market – Thursday April 12 Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
Food Day October 24th 2012 Planning has begun!! Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
Farm Dinners & other events Memorial Day Through Labor Day, Start Planning! Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
Local Events Calendar 4/11/12 The Markets Are Getting Greener! Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
UPDATED! – A Local Family Eats Local Fish – Slow Food Chicago Presents Taste of Great Lakes at Dirk’s – April 24 Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
A More Local Old Fashioned Monday, April 9th, 2012
C is for Chicago Honey Co-Op and Becoming a Terra Madre Delegate Sunday, April 8th, 2012
Root Cellar Diary: Aftermath Sunday, April 8th, 2012
A rampstand? you betcha. Friday, April 6th, 2012
UPDATED – The Final Reckoning – The End of This Year’s Food Storage Thursday, April 5th, 2012
Eggscellent – Natural Eggs and Natural Egg Dying Thursday, April 5th, 2012
The Weekly Harvest 4/5/12 Blogs Here and Yonder Thursday, April 5th, 2012
Sign Up to Dig Your Own Garden Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
Local Calendar 4/4/12 Glimpses Of Asparagus On The Tables Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
An Award for Excellence to Purple Asparagus Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
Join Me as a Local Family Now Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
B is For Butcher Monday, April 2nd, 2012
Fairshare CSA Coalition Health Insurance Rebate – Why Don’t Illinois Health Insurers Participate? Monday, April 2nd, 2012
Still Time – Ground Up’s April 9 – Support the Spence Farm Foundation Monday, April 2nd, 2012