Weekly Harvest 6/29/12 Food Blogs Here and Yonder

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Posted: June 29, 2012 at 10:46 am

 

It is that time of year I feel lucky to live in Chicago. I stopped by Publican Quality Meats to check out La Quercia prosciutto and their HamIndependence tour. Little did I realize all that PQM carries between their refrigerator cases and their shelves, I felt like I was in Italy rather than on Fulton Street in Chicago. I had heard of La Quercia through the foodie grapevine but I guess I am a little slow sometimes on the uptake, Quercia is Oak in Italian and what do oak trees produce, acorns which are fed to the pigs to replicate the food pigs are fed in Italy. With Terra Madre on my mind (not going) I guess I have been thinking of all things Italian!

There has been a lot this week in the sustainable food blogosphere, with the heat outside, hopefully you are reading this in a cool place with an icy drink. Here goes!

The Chicago Tribune reported on Northern Illinois farmers and the weather, “Northern Illinois lawns, farms drying up“.

There is a Mid-America Homesteading Conference going on in September.

Slow Food USA runs down the wins/losses on the Farm Bill after the Senate passed it. HealthyFoodAction network comments on their take on the Farm Bill. The Farmbillprimer is a great site with specific data on the amendments and which Senator did what on the Farm Bill.

Nourishing the Planet posted “Eating Planet:Carlo Petrini Discusses Buying Food and Paying For Your Values

Nourish9billion.org has a petition you can sign to demand public policies that support sustainable agriculture. FoodDemocracyNow has a petition “Stop the Monsanto Protection Act” Change.org has a petition “Progresso: Stop Poisoning People with Your Soup!”

Leah Douglas at Serious Eats talks about the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 when it comes to foods.

Read about The30project this week and their work to bring sustainable food groups together.

The Huff Post had an article “Sustainable Behavior Study Shows Why People Go Green

Civil Eats posted a review of “The Urban Farm Handbook

The New York Times ran  an Op/Ed “Dirtying Up Our Diets

The HeavyTable.com talks about Wisconsin cheeses at the Fancy Foods show.

Linda Novick O’Keefe, Founding Executive Director of Common Threads had this published in the Huffington Post, “In Defense of Chefs: A Love Letter”

The Brockman Family now has their weekly market letter on line with what is going on at Henry’s Farm.

Michael Ruhlman had a post on nettle pesto. Moira Tuffy had a piece here on the Beet about nettle soup several months ago. Be sure to follow @localfamily, @tomarketwithmo , @sustainablecook, eatatkellys.blogspot as well for all sorts of recipe and cooking ideas! Happy Fourth!!!!

“After I Hit the PUBLISH button” Never fails that some great tidbit surfaces on the internet “AIHTPB”, this is it, a video by Michael Gebert, SkyFullofBacon and Grubstreet Chicago on Otter Creek Farm’s cheese and their view of the food world “Soil, Corn, Cows, Cheese


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The Local Calendar 6/27/12 The Fruit Fest Continues

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Posted: June 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm






 It is that time of the season where it is a fruit fest at the markets, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries galore. It is ,also,the time where smart people like Chief Beet Rob Gardner start buying in bulk and freezing fruit so they can enjoy this local goodness out of season.

At the most recent DOSE market I bought some of Chef Jared Van Camp’s organic radiatore pasta. Not only are they making pasta at Nellcote, they are milling their own flour from local sources like Spence Farms. Michael Gebert at Grubstreet Chicago put together a great video interview of Jared explaining and demonstrating how this process works.

There is a lot going on and if you are trying to figure out what market is closest to you and where to shop, here is our market locator to make things easier. Now on to the busy weeks ahead!

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

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

WHAT TO DO NOW

June 27

Chicago – The Green City Market – Lincoln Park – 7am – 1pm The chef demonstration at 10:30 will be Jeff Hedin of Leopold!

Chicago – Kick-Off Party for Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation at Paris Studio - 6-8pm 59 West Hubbard $25 and all proceeds will go to Share Our Strength.

June 28

Chicago – The Daley Plaza Farmers - 7am – 3pm

Chicago – “The Good Food Revolution: Celebrating the Heroes and Sheroes of the Movement” 6-8pm Celebrate Growing Power’s First Anniversary at Iron Street Farm Chef Randy Zweiban of Province and his team will prepare a series of farm to table courses showcasing Growing Power’s produce and meat and poultry. Will Allen will speak about his new book, The Good Food Revolution and will sign copies. Go here to purchase tickets.

Chicago – Meet The Market Green City Market Junior Board – Farmhouse with King’s Hill 228 West Chicago 6-8pm

Chicago – La Quercia Ham Independence Tour at Publican Quality Meats 11-3pm 825 West Fulton

Chicago - Prosciutto of Happiness HourBar Toma 110 East Pearson 6-9pm $30 This is part of the Ham Independence tour that Herb Eckhouse from La Quercia Prosciutto is making across the country.

June 30

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

Chicago – Green City Market – The chef demonstration will be Liz Isaacs of Le Cordon Bleu. The hours are longer 7am to 1pm and the market moves further south in Lincoln Park, right across from the Farm in the Zoo.

Chicago – 61st Market sponsored by Experimental Station –  Go to their website for further details. New vendors include Penny Pastries, look for Axel.

Evanston –  The Downtown Evanston Farmers Market 7:30am to 1pm at University Place and Oak Ave.(just east of Railroad Ave.) behind the Hilton Garden Inn. Free parking is at the adjacent 1500 Maple garage.

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

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

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

La Fox – Farm To Fork Engine 2 Diet Immersion Weekend at Heritage Prairie Farm – Go to the link for further details about the Engine 2 Diet and what the weekend is all about.

Oak Park –  Oak Park Farmers Market – 460 Lake St just one block west of Ridgeland Ave. 7am – 1pm The Market is much more than a farmers’ market. It is an Oak Park tradition, a Saturday gastronomic event (the donuts have a devoted following), a concert site, a social event and a great place to pick up super-fresh produce, traditional and unusual plants, fresh cheeses, honey, flowers, vinegars, herbs, and much more. The Oak Park Farmers’ Market also features unique items for sale at the commissioners’ table, including items you can’t find anywhere else, such as reasonably priced T-shirts, one-of-a-kind items and bags, all offering a beautiful, functional way to support the market.

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

FD! Stelle – Mint Creek Farm Dinner and Tour Starts at 2:30pm 1693 E. 3800 N. Road $60 BYOB In addition, Rubina Isaac of Adler Planetarium will be on hand to talk about the stars and planets easily seen this time of year after dinner.

Westmont – Standard Market – Americafest - Food, fun, an event for the whole family from 11am – 4pm.

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

July 1

Chicago - The Logan Square Farmer’s Market 10-3pm  Logan Boulevard

Chicago – The Glenwood Sunday Outdoor Market 9am – 2pm Glenwood Avenue on the west side of the CTA Red Line between Morse and Lunt Avenues in Rogers Park from June 3 – October 28, 2012

Chicago – Alphabet Soup – A Conversation With Chicago Food Writers sponsored by Graze Magazine at Revolution Brewing 1-4pm 2323 N. Milwaukee A moderated panel of some of Chicago’s top food writers, enjoy a beer and conversation.

Frankfort – Frankfort Country Market Downtown Frankfort – 10-2.

July 3

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” . This is a very unique market that really is a “must shop”.

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.

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

SAVE THE DATE

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. SOLD OUT

July 12

New!! Chicago - The Green City Market Chef’s BBQ Fundraiser 5:30 – 8pm Lincoln Park This annual fundraiser for the Green City Market brings out all the chefs in this incredible celebration of the abundance of summertime at the market. Pre-sale tickets for Green City Market members are on sale here.

July 14

FD!! Caledonia – Wind Ridge Herb FarmDinner in the Garden” 466 Quail Trap Road Local produce dinner with instruction of how to use herbs in cooking. Go to the link and contact the farm for more information.

FD!! 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

New!! Chicago -Kateri Tekakwitha Feast Day Join Iroquois Valley Farms to celebrate their 5th Anniversary at Uncommon Ground Devon 1401 West Devon 2:30pm – 5:30pm for cocktails and appetizers on the roof and a 3 course farm dinner, $40 not including taxes and gratuities. Register here and more information.

July 15

New!! Chicago – Perennial Virant Dinner With April Bloomfield – 1800 North Lincoln – The dinner is to celebrate Bloomfields book, “A Girl and Her Pig:Recipes and Stories” . This dinner will not only include Bloomfield and Virant but Bruce Sherman of Northpond and Paul Kahan of Blackbird, Nathan Sears of Vie and Elise Narrow the pastry chef at Vie and Perennial Virant. The dinner including beverage pairings and a signed book is $200. Will someone please go for me, this is a dinner not to be missed!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For reservations and information call 312-981-7070.

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 Companyand 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.

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. SOLD OUT

July 28

FD!! Stelle – Mint Creek Farm Dinner and Tour – 2:30pm 1693 E. 3800 N. Road – Chefs David Lorenz and Victor Morenz of Home Bistro will prepare the meal. $70 BYOB

July 29

Chicago – DOSE Market – 435 E. Illinois River East Arts Center 10-4pm

August 2

Chicago – Country Financial Chef Challenge Daley Plaza – Chris Pandel of The Bristol and Balena won last year, who will win in 2012. Come to the Daley Center to see the finals!

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 SOLD OUT

FD!! Fairbury – Slagel Family Farm Dinner – 2-9:30pm 23601 E. 600 North Rd. Chef Chris Pandel of The Bristol and Balena Chef Jason Vincent of Nightwood – A tour of the farm and animals, butchering demo and dinner, transportation included, BYOB Lemonade and water will be provided $125 To purchase tickets go here.

August 7

Chicago – Women In Green Monthly Gathering – Uncommon Ground Devon 6-8pm 1401 West Devon A social group for sharing information, support and collaboration of ideas in the green universe.

August 8

New!! Chicago – Taste of the Nation – Navy Pier Ballroom 6pm – 10pm An incredible gathering of chefs and mixologists to raise money for the incredible organiztion to fight childhood hunger, Share Our Strength. Buy tickets here.

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 17

FD!! Caledonia - Wind Ridge Herb FarmDinner in the Garden” 466 Quail Trap Road Local produce dinner with instruction of how to use herbs in cooking. Go to the link and contact the farm for more information.

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 SOLD OUT

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

August 25

FD!! Stelle - Mint Creek Farm Dinner and Tour 2:30pm 1693 E. 3800 N. Road – Guest chef will be Viktorija Todorovska, author of The Puglian Cookbook $65 BYOB.

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. SOLD OUT

Joliet – Mid-America Homesteading Conference

September 2

Baroda, MI – Check Please!Farm to Table Fest at Round Barn Winery A short drive from Chicago, a great list of chefs is already on the docket. Tickets start at $75 and VIP tickets are $150.

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.

September 15

FD!! Fairbury – Slagel Family Farm Dinner – 2:30pm $75 BYOB 23601 E. 600 Noth Rd. Go to link for details

September 22

FD!! Stelle – Mint Creek Farm Dinner and Tour – 2:30pm 1693 E. 3800 N. Road. The guest chef will be Chuy Valencia of Top Chef and Chilam Bilam.

September 28-30

Chicago – Chicago Gourmet Festival presented by Bon Appetit. The “Ground Zero” this weekend of all things culinary in Chicago and the country. Pre-sale tickets already sold-out so you had better keep a watch so you don’t miss out on this action packed weekend of chefs, sommeliers, incredible beverages, food and lots more. You can buy regular tickets here but I bet not for long!!!!




The City’s Greenest Restaurant, Uncommon Ground, Introduces its New Executive Chef, Matthew Holmes

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Posted: June 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm

After an exhaustive search, Uncommon Ground has announced that Matthew Holmes is its new executive chef. The introduction of Holmes as chef, who hails most recently from L’Auberge de Sedona in Arizona, emphasizes the desire of its owners, Helen and Michael Cameron, to refocus the restaurant on its food.

In the past few years, the Camerons have put a lot of time, effort and money into greening their restaurant. In 2011, Uncommon Ground was named the “Greenest Restaurant in America” by the Green Restaurant Association. The rooftop features Chicago’s first certified organic rooftop farm that supplies the restaurant with produce year-round, solar panels, and beehives. The restaurant has a dedicated farmer, Dave Snyder, and even composts its scraps.

But installing Holmes in their top culinary spot signals the Camerons’ intention to compete with other notable farm-to-table destinations. Holmes, who has worked at several places on the West Coast including the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, will focus on vegetarian and vegan dishes in addition to keeping popular meat dishes on the menu. Holmes said, “Extraordinary food is all about the juxtaposition of combining the subtle with flavors, and our new menu showcases this fact.”

At an event introducing Holmes last week, Holmes’ food exhibited a fair amount of technique, as porcini “soil” flavored a plate of unadulterated crudités (pictured below), which was a playful take on vegetable and earth. An elegant cube of pork belly presented on a spoon was attractively crisped on the outside. Cocktails featured local spirits and infused seasonal produce.

Uncommon Ground 002

Uncommon Ground is located at 1401 W. Devon, in Chicago.

Uncommon Ground 001

Uncommon Ground co-owner, Helen Cameron (L), Executive Chef Matthew Holmes (C), co-owner Michael Cameron (R), on their rooftop farm




Iron Street Farm Celebrates Its First Year and the Good Food Revolution

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Posted: June 25, 2012 at 11:52 am

Growing Power’s Iron Street Farm, 3333 S. Iron St., is celebrating its first year of operation, this Thursday, June 28, from 6-8pm.

Everyone is welcome. Maybe you have not seen the farm yet, and are curious, or you are a long standing supporter. This Beetnik saw first-hand what goes into the incomparable “Black Gold Worm Fertilizer” that they produce. From compost to worm bin, and then hand screened to get the rocks and larger pieces out, the fertilizer is truly artisanal dirt. This evening is a great chance for people to hear Will Allen, the founder of Growing Power, speak, and to get a copy of his book, The Good Food Revolution. If that isn’t enough of a draw, Chef Randy Zweiban and his team from Province will be preparing the meal.

From bees to aquaponics, from hoop houses to bikes and mushroom chandeliers, there is a lot going on at Iron Street; this event is a great opportunity to get energized and inspired. 

Happy Birthday Iron Street from everyone at the Beet!

The invitation is below:

You are invited to an evening to celebrate Growing Power’s Chicago Office’s first official year of transforming Iron Street Farm from an abandoned industrial building into a bountiful urban farm, as well as all of the blossoming partnerships that make closing the loop in our food system not only a vision but a tangible reality.
 
The incomparable Chef Randy Zweiban and his team from Province Restaurant will prepare a series of farm-to-table courses showcasing Growing Power’s produce and grass-fed poultry and beef. Special thanks to Heritage Wines and Revolution Brewery for wine and beer pairings.
 
Farmer, founder, and CEO of Growing Power Will Allen will be present to do a book signing for his new book, The Good Food Revolution. Books will be available for purchase at the event.
 
You can purchase tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/250407



The Weekly Harvest 6/22/12 Sustainable Food Blogs Here and Yonder

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Posted: June 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm

 For me the theme of the Weekly Harvest this week is synchronicity. The post that was the “star of the week” for me was by Anthony Todd of the Chicagoist, “A Gardener’s Paradise:Seed Savers Heritage Farm“. I had heard of Seed Savers Exchange , but for me, the middlevore, I never was really clear what it was all about. Dave Snyder, the farmer in charge of the magnificent rooftop farm at Uncommon Ground Devon even had a Seed Savers T-shirt on last night at a party on the roof. Dave has a smile on his face for a reason, he is the lucky person who gets to care for the garden. Chef Matthew Holmes gets to call Uncommon Ground his home now and I love the fact there is a such a short link between farmer and chef. Anthony’s pictures and article give you a sense of what Seed Saver’s is about, heirloom varietals. Dave is now going to grow varietals in the rooftop plots that are too fragile to make it to the market or restaurant by truck. Fortunate diners at Uncommon Ground will be able to taste heirloom varietals they would not find anywhere else because they are grown there, then picked from the vine, brought down the stairs to the kitchen and from there to the plate. Pretty cool!

The Farm Bill passed this week, the National Sustainable Agricultural Coalition has their insights about it here. Grist thought it was not all bad news. Marion Nestle breaks down the bill and gives her take on it here.

Lots going on this week in the sustainable blogosphere. For those aspiring food activists you can take action on these petitions. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, “Ask Nestle to stop breaking its pledge not to market candy to children”. Here is another petition about plastic bag use in Illinois, “Don’t Let Big Plastic Bully me!” Mother Jones talks about “Is a Soda-Tax a Good Idea?

The American Farmland Trust opened their annual contest, “Vote for Your Favorite Farmers Market

Rio-20 (The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development) took place this week in Brazil. Danielle Nierenberg of Nourishing the Planet took part.Women Deliver has more to say about Rio-20. The Barilla Institute for Science and Nutrition has collaborated with the Worldwatch Institute on a new book, “Eating Planet 2012“.

Here is a great documentary that I actually need to watch again, “The Slow Food Revolution” by Australian filmmakers, portraying the history behind the Slow Food Movement.  It is on Hulu so be patient, the obnoxious ads only last for 30 seconds before you get to the film.

I first heard about the legend or legendary Kenny Shopsins from Jeanne Calabrese of Slow Food Chicago, this week Serious Eats posted a link about him and the documentary “I Like Killing Flies

The Brockman family blogs document the day to day issues and tasks and thoughts behind the produce of Henry’s Farm which has an incredible stand at the Evanston Farmers market.

Farmers Markets of the Heartland” by Janine MacLachlan is now out and available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

A week can’t go by without checking up with Eleanor Baron of Nourishing Words.

Louisa Chu at WBEZ’s blog has her list of food events for the weekend.

Rodale has a list of 8 foods you should only buy from a farmers market.

Chicagotastebuds gives us a peek and some thoughts as to what is going on at Philip Foss’s El Ideas.

Iliana Reagan the urban forager, chef and restauranteur has a new post at “Finding Foods

FInally, Fellow Beet Kelly Hewitt always has some great info on EatatKellys, read her other post on Strawberry Wine Jelly here if for some reason you missed it.

 

 

 

 





Strawberry Wine Jelly

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Posted: June 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm

This is the most amazing time of the year. We wait all winter to see produce pouring into the markets and now it’s coming so fast that it’s hard to prioritize on cooking projects. I run amuck through the markets choosing far too many beautiful items. With the ridiculously early start to the influx of produce, I wasn’t exactly mentally prepared for my canning projects to begin as I had done them last year or maybe (most likely) the time just snuck up on me! Strawberries have such a small window for true excellence that it is imperative to make all strawberry concoctions in the 3-4 week window they star in the markets. Last year I wrote a post about the most incredibly strawberry-y strawberry jam I’ve ever had with instructions on how to prepare the jars to can correctly as well.

This year, the spotlight is on this strawberry wine jelly.

I have learned almost all of my canning secrets and found the majority of my recipes from the Complete Book of Home Preserving from the Ball Jar Company. It is a great instructive tool that includes variations and neat tips.

This berry wine jelly could be a great gift or served with goat cheese and homemade sourdough for a wonderful hor d’eourve. It’s great on it’s own but the wine gives it a little something extra.

Slice and hull 1 cup of strawberries. In a bowl combine the strawberries with 2.5 cups dry white wine and crush them together. Line a strainer with several layers of cheese cloth and sit over a bowl. Pour the mixture through the strainer and allow it to sit undisturbed for an hour so the juice can drip through. Prepare the jars while the berries sit.

Transfer the strawberry wine to a stainless steel pan (and save a bit for yourself, it’s delightful). Stir in 3.5 cups of sugar and bring the mixture to a rolling boil that can’t be stirred down. Add one package of liquid pectin and bring back to a full rolling boil, allowing it to boil this way for two minutes. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Fill jars with jelly and leave 1/4 inch headspace. Run a plastic knife around the edges to remove air bubbles, wipe the rims of the jars and set the lids on and screw the band onto the jars but don’t tighten too much. Put back into canning pot, bring to a boil and process for ten minutes. Turn off heat, remove cover and allow to sit for five minutes before removing the jars and setting them on a towel to cool for 24 hours. Wait for the “pop” and enjoy!

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


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The Local Calendar 6/20/12 Rainbow Carrots, Walls Of Lettuce & Heat

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Posted: June 20, 2012 at 8:50 am



Readers of this column know that on a Saturday I can usually be found at the Tiny Greens stand at the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. This past Saturday and the next, I have been helping out at the stand of the Evanston Farmers Market. As much as I miss my “home turf”, one of the benefits of being in Evanston, is that I finally got to check out the stand of Henry’s Farm.

My introduction to Henry’s Farm came from my reading of Terra Brockman’s loving and informative account of life on the farm in “The Seasons on Henry’s Farm- A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm.” For anyone who is trying to eat more sustainably and take advantage of your local farmers market, this book is a great “how to” cook and eat seasonally and gives terrific insights to the other half of eating locally, what it takes to grow all this product. All I can say from seeing the booth is “wow”. They really do have an “amazing wall of lettuce”, it is any salad lovers dream. Everything was displayed in a visually stunning way. So if in Evanston, you have got to check out Henry’s Farm, fortunately I will be there this Saturday so I get to shop again!

The market I really want to checkout is the incubator market sponsored by GroundUpChicago at the BrownTrout on Tuesdays 5-8pm in North Center. Most farmers markets costs hundreds of dollars to participate in, the Brown Trout market fee is extremely low to encourage micro-farmers to participate. The restaurant is located near the Brown Line stop at Irving Park. Join me next Tuesday June 26th, I am determined to get there.

There is a lot going on and if you are trying to figure out what market is closest to you and where to shop, here is our market locator to make things easier. Now on to the busy weeks ahead!

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

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

WHAT TO DO NOW

June 20

Chicago – The Green City Market – Lincoln Park – 7am – 1pm The chef demonstration at 10:30 will be Randy Zweiban of Province and it is Strawberry Fest at the market!

Chicago – St. Fuillien Beer Dinner to Benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository – Publican Quality Meats 7pm $95

Chicago – Slow Food Pickling Workshop – 6-9pm Logan Square Kitchen – You will be pickling fennel and will take some home after the class is over. $35 for Slow Food members, $45 for non-members Only 15 spots available sign up here. 6-9pm

 Chicago – Uncommon Ground Devon Farm Dinner Roof Top Series – 1401 W. Devon 6pm $50 includes beverages Very limited seating to enjoy a farm dinner by the roof garden. Rumor has it that guests will pick part of their dinner from the garden with the chef, then they will enjoy cocktails while he cooks it up. This brings “Urban Farm to Table” to a whole new level!!!!!!

June 21

Chicago – The Daley Plaza Farmers - 7am – 3pm

New!! Chicago – CigarBQue – Beyond Design 4515 N. Ravenswood 6-9pm $195 Hosted by Rick Gresh (David Burke’s Primehouse), Cleetus Friedman (City Provisions), Giuseppe Tentori (GT Fish & Oyster). For this exclusive night of food, cigars, cocktails, beer, and bubbly, they’ve invited some of their friends from Chicago and beyond, and there are a lot of them!

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 SOLD OUT

Chicago – Green City Market – The chef demonstration will be Paul Fehribach of Big Jones. The hours are longer 7am to 1pm and the market moves further south in Lincoln Park, right across from the Farm in the Zoo.

Chicago – 61st Market sponsored by Experimental Station –  Go to their website for further details. New vendors include Penny Pastries, look for Axel.

Chicago – “Unity Cookout” Chicago Lights Urban Farm 444 W. Chicago Ave. (Chicago and Hudson) 12pm – 2pm All our welcome

Chicago – Edible Gardens Workshop – Necessary Nourishment: Feeding Plants for Healthy Growth and Production.  This is a FREE Monthly Hands-on Gardening Workshop Series in The Edible Gardens with Jeanne Pinsof Nolan, founder of The Organic Gardener, Ltd. Workshops will be held from 9:30am-10:15am.  Respond to RSVP@greencitymarket.org to reserve a spot.

Chicago – Slow Food Chicago Sweet Summer Solstice Potluck – 2900 West Ferdinand St. 6pm  Join Slow Food Chicago, the Chicago Honey Co-op, and Christy Webber Landscapes for our annual potluck dinner! Bring a dish to share and enjoy donated food and drinks from some of Chicago’s best local purveyors. 10$ members, 15$ non.

New!! Chicago – The Great Garage Sale – Buy a piece of Logan Square Kitchen – 11am – 5pm 2333 North Milwaukee Yes, it is very sad but you can keep the spirit going and by some quality pieces.

Evanston –  The Downtown Evanston Farmers Market 7:30am to 1pm at University Place and Oak Ave.(just east of Railroad Ave.) behind the Hilton Garden Inn. Free parking is at the adjacent 1500 Maple garage.

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

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

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

Oak Park –  Oak Park Farmers Market – 460 Lake St just one block west of Ridgeland Ave. 7am – 1pm The Market is much more than a farmers’ market. It is an Oak Park tradition, a Saturday gastronomic event (the donuts have a devoted following), a concert site, a social event and a great place to pick up super-fresh produce, traditional and unusual plants, fresh cheeses, honey, flowers, vinegars, herbs, and much more. The Oak Park Farmers’ Market also features unique items for sale at the commissioners’ table, including items you can’t find anywhere else, such as reasonably priced T-shirts, one-of-a-kind items and bags, all offering a beautiful, functional way to support the market.

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

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

June 24

New!! Chicago - Rebuilding Education - A Benefit for The Academy of Global Citizenship Rebuilding Exchange -2160 N. Ashland 5pm With music by legendary DJ Derrick Carter, food by Ruxbin, Smoking Goose, and Pleasant House Bakery, drinks by Two Brothers Craft Beer, Death’s Door Gin and Virtue Hard Cider as well as treats from Honeypie Cafe–not to mention an incredible location at the ReBuilding Exchange and an incredibly cool silent auction– this is sure to be an epic celebration. Purchase tickets here.

Chicago - Fernet Bike Cruise for KEITH RELIEF -  1pm Starts at The Anthem and finishes at Bar Deville. I love these bicycles for a $25 ticket, you get a raffle ticket for a new Fernet bike and drinks and food at both locals. This whole event just sounds like tons of fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!

New!! Chicago - DOSE Market – 10-4pm 435 East Illinois River East Arts Center Happy Anniversary dosettes!!! The incomparable DOSE Market turns 1 years old, a mixutre of Chelsea meets SOHO meets the Midwest. DOSE brings a mixture of all things artisanal, food, furnishings, clothes, objects all together in one place. You just have to go to experience it. For more information and reservations go here.

Chicago - The Logan Square Farmer’s Market 10-3pm  Logan Boulevard

Chicago – The Glenwood Sunday Outdoor Market 9am – 2pm Glenwood Avenue on the west side of the CTA Red Line between Morse and Lunt Avenues in Rogers Park from June 3 – October 28, 2012

Chicago – The Great Garage Sale continues Logan Square Kitchen  2333 North Milwaukee 11am – 5pm

Frankfort – Frankfort Country Market Downtown Frankfort – 10-2.

McHenry – A Day at Petersen Farm – 10am – 4pm 4112 McCollum Lake Road Across from Petersen Park

June 26

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” . This is a very unique market that really is a “must shop”.

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 – Women in Green YR & G office 328 S. Jefferson St. 250 5:30pm A social event group where women working to make the world a greener place meet to network and socialize, all our welcome.

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

SAVE THE DATE

June 27

New!! Chicago – Kick-Off Party for Share Our Strengths Taste of the Nation at Paris Studio - 6-8pm 59 West Hubbard $25 and all proceeds will go to Share Our Strength.

June 28

New!! Chicago – “The Good Food Revolution: Celebrating the Heroes and Sheroes of the Movement” 6-8pm Celebrate Growing Power’s First Anniversary at Iron Street Farm Chef Randy Zweiban of Province and his team will prepare a series of farm to table courses showcasing Growing Power’s produce and meat and poultry. Will Allen will speak about his new book, The Good Food Revolution and will sign copies. Go here to purchase tickets.

Chicago – Meet The Market Green City Market Junior BoardFarmhouse with King’s Hill 228 West Chicago

June 30

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

Westmont – Standard Market – Americafest - Food, fun, an event for the whole family from 11am – 4pm.

July 1

New!! Chicago – Alphabet Soup – A Conversation With Chicago Food Writers sponsored by Graze Magazine at Revolution Brewing 1-4pm 2323 N. Milwaukee A moderated panel of some of Chicago’s top food writers, enjoy a beer and conversation.

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. SOLD OUT

July 12

New!! Chicago - The Green City Market Chef’s BBQ Fundraiser 5:30 – 8pm Lincoln Park This annual fundraiser for the Green City Market brings out all the chefs in this incredible celebration of the abundance of summertime at the market. Pre-sale tickets for Green City Market members are on sale here.

July 14

FD!! Caledonia – Wind Ridge Herb FarmDinner in the Garden” 466 Quail Trap Road Local produce dinner with instruction of how to use herbs in cooking. Go to the link and contact the farm for more information.

FD!! 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

New!! Chicago -Kateri Tekakwitha Feast Day Join Iroquois Valley Farms to celebrate their 5th Anniversary at Uncommon Ground Devon 1401 West Devon 2:30pm – 5:30pm for cocktails and appetizers on the roof and a 3 course farm dinner, $40 not including taxes and gratuities. Register here and more information.

July 15

New!! Chicago – Perennial Virant Dinner With April Bloomfield – 1800 North Lincoln – The dinner is to celebrate Bloomfields book, “A Girl and Her Pig:Recipes and Stories” . This dinner will not only include Bloomfield and Virant but Bruce Sherman of Northpond and Paul Kahan of Blackbird, Nathan Sears of Vie and Elise Narrow the pastry chef at Vie and Perennial Virant. The dinner including beverage pairings and a signed book is $200. Will someone please go for me, this is a dinner not to be missed!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For reservations and information call 312-981-7070.

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 Companyand 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.

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. SOLD OUT

July 29

Chicago – DOSE Market – 435 E. Illinois River East Arts Center 10-4pm

August 2

Chicago – Country Financial Chef Challenge Daley Plaza – Chris Pandel of The Bristol and Balena won last year, who will win in 2012. Come to the Daley Center to see the finals!

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 SOLD OUT

FD!! Fairbury – Slagel Family Farm Dinner – 2-9:30pm 23601 E. 600 North Rd. Chef Chris Pandel of The Bristol and Balena Chef Jason Vincent of Nightwood – A tour of the farm and animals, butchering demo and dinner, transportation included, BYOB Lemonade and water will be provided $125 To purchase tickets go here.

August 8

New!! Chicago – Taste of the Nation – Navy Pier Ballroom 6pm – 10pm An incredible gathering of chefs and mixologists to raise money for the incredible organiztion to fight childhood hunger, Share Our Strength. Buy tickets here.

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 17

FD!! Caledonia - Wind Ridge Herb FarmDinner in the Garden” 466 Quail Trap Road Local produce dinner with instruction of how to use herbs in cooking. Go to the link and contact the farm for more information.

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 SOLD OUT

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. SOLD OUT

September 2

Baroda, MI – Check Please!Farm to Table Fest at Round Barn Winery A short drive from Chicago, a great list of chefs is already on the docket. Tickets start at $75 and VIP tickets are $150.

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.

September 28-30

Chicago – Chicago Gourmet Festival presented by Bon Appetit. The “Ground Zero” this weekend of all things culinary in Chicago and the country. Pre-sale tickets already sold-out so you had better keep a watch so you don’t miss out on this action packed weekend of chefs, sommeliers, incredible beverages, food and lots more. You can buy regular tickets here but I bet not for long!!!!




Find a New Rose – Brown Trout Farmer’s Markets, Tuesday Nights

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Posted: June 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Obviously, I’m a total foodie total food nerd; totally obsessed with food.  And the world’s greatest foodies from Proust to Bourdain to this year, Achatz, tell me, I’m supposed find my happy memories through certain tastes and smells.  Yet, I never find food nostalgic or evocative.  I do find that, however, with music.  Get a little 70′s punk rock on, and I’m transported.  On the other hand, with food, it’s all about what’s in front of me.  What I most love to have in front of me is farmer’s markets.

I love my farmer’s markets.  I love the robust, have it all markets with carrots in six colors, duck eggs, and gooseberry soda. but I also love the forlorn, started last week with a brand new bakery and produce from “southern Illinois, markets.  I think I know my markets.  I think I know what’s there, the crappy and the crafty.  Sometimes, however, I need to find something new.

I first met Tom Leavitt a few years ago, when I hopped aboard a bio-diesel bus they chartered to take some folks on a crop mob to Spence Farm.  Since then, I’ve actively followed Tom’s work in bringing more into the locavore fold, especially more chefs.  This year, Tom and some others started Ground Up Chicago, from a ”desire to create a permanent organization promoting farmer-chef collaboration.”  One big initiative of Ground Up Chicago has been to launch, with Sean Sanders, a farmer’s market at Sander’s restaurant, Brown Trout.  The market runs currently on Tuesday nights.  When Beetnik Jeannie Boutelle writes the weekly Local Calendar, she calls this market a “must shop.”

I did not realize how much of a must shop until I got a whiff of the vendors a-comin’.  I should say something more like, I have barely a whiff of the vendors a-c0min’.  What I mean, is this is a new rose of a farmer’s market.  Sanders told the Center Square Journal:

[I]pitched the idea of a market that could serve as an incubator of sorts for fledgling farmers, people just trying to get their feet wet…You’re going to see different farmers than at Green City. The fee alone, $25 versus $400 for other ma to newbies like Frillman, who barely has crops to sell at this point.rkets, makes BrownTrout’s version more palatable

To that purpose, they’ve gathered a pretty interesting and diverse group of new roses. This week, they’ll have vegetables from Frillman Farms and locally raised veal and lamb from Catalpa Grove Farms.

Browntrout is located at 4111 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago and the market runs on Tuesdays from 5-8 PM.  


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I Take Comfort in My CSA

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Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:46 am

Let’s admit it. A farmers’ market can be an overwhelming place.

Don’t get me wrong — I love them. However, at the height of the season when the tents are populated by dozens of varieties of fruits and vegetables, it’s a little dizzying. Who hasn’t overbought at one time or another during summer’s zenith?

In contrast, my CSA is so comforting. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Farms sell shares at the beginning of the growing season and in exchange, the consumer receives a box full of pre-selected produce once a week. I love my CSA because I know that I’m cooking exactly what I should when I should.

Before joining a CSA, I carefully crafted a weekly plan that changed the instant I stepped into the circle of market tents. Now, my menus are circumscribed by the contents of my produce box. In spring, we eat lots of greens, such as kale, chard, and spinach. In summer, I cull my cookbooks for recipes to use up the seemingly endless supply of cucumbers and squash. As the growing season slows, my family enjoys slow roasted roots and more cool weather greens.

I may forgo the endless selection at the market, but my CSA better connects my family to the season and to the vicissitudes of Mother Nature by tying the fortune of our dinner table with those of our farmer’s.

These days, we’re enjoying garlic scapes, the curly cue tops of the garlic plant, an early summer delight. I use them like chives, finely chopping them and using them in marinades, dressings, and as garnish.

Buttermilk-Scape Marinated Pork Chops

3 garlic scapes

1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. coarse salt

4 bone-in pork chops

Cut the scapes into large pieces and add them to the bowl of a food processor with the mint leaves. Pour the buttermilk through the feed tube and process until finely chopped. Mix in salt. Pour the marinade over the pork chops in a large shallow dish and turn to coat. Marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Grill on a charcoal or gas grill until the interior temperature reaches 150° F. Serve warm.

Serves 4.


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The Weekly Harvest 6/15/12 Blogs Here and Yonder

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Posted: June 15, 2012 at 11:31 am

apronSummer is already sizzling and there still is a lot going on in the blogosphere here and yonder despite the beautiful weather and all the events going on out doors. The guys at The Red Meat Market will start adding their tales from around Chicago on sustainable carnivory.

Urban Habitat Chicago is hosting a series on Organic Farming starting tomorrow, the information is here.

Wired, offered an article on another new idea for sustainable meat, Pastured Poultry.

Ben Hewitt, the Vermont farmer, writer, philosopher, father puts out yet again another soulful post on farming, Baled Out.

Our friends at the Chicagoist put out a piece on the reforms going on in the restaurant licensing system in Chicago.

Here is your chance to take action, The Center for Science in the Public Interest has 2 petitions going to help improve nutrition by supporting 2 amendments to the Farm Bill. Food Democracy Now has a petition every week that you can sign to support positive changes to the food system, here is the one they sent out this week, “Tell the Senate to Label GMOs and Support Organics”

A lot of information has come out of Slow Food USA this week, one was a link to the speech Slow Food President  Carlo Petrini gave to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Species this past May. His speech was titled “Indigenous Cultures and Food Sovereignty”

Terra Madre and the Salone de Gusto happens this year, to find out what it is and what is going on, here is a link to its site. For those interested in what is going to be discussed at the International Congress that takes place at the same time as Terra Madre, here is a draft on their position paper that will be the focal point of the Congress, “The Central Role of Food” that is available on the Slow Food website.

A week can’t go by without checking out what is going on at “Nourishing The Planet“.

If you saw something this week that is a “must read” post it in the comments below!!!




No, We Have Strawberries – Drink Up the Pleasures of CSA (Weeks 7, 8)

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Posted: June 14, 2012 at 11:34 am

I’ve made Tuesday’s Tamars-day in the Bungalow.  As I’ve expounded, one of the best guides to the locavore life is Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler.  The key chapter in the book is number 3, called, “How to Stride Ahead.”  In this chapter, Ms. Adler teaches her approach to vegetables. She tells us this.

Our desire to eat fresh vegetables has left us with an idea that vegetables are only good if they’re cooked just before being eaten. But many of the best vegetable dishes are created over time.

Thus, she coaches a Tamar’s day, an adventure in working one’s way through your vegetable purchases (or in my case, mostly what comes in our Tomato Mountain CSA*) in one busy day. I’ve spent the last two Tuesdays in Tamars-days, and you know what. I’m going to save Tamars-days for another post. In fact, by the time I get to that post, I expect I’ll have another Tamars-day in the books. Let’s talk instead, today, about that bit of variety that sneaked into the CSA box. I mean, the other day, Tamars-day, I really started crashing when it came to what would I do with even more kale. Do you want to hear about that now?

strawberries

When I sell CSA membership–I mean selling the idea of CSA membership, not like my wife, who actually sells CSA memberships for Tomato Mountain Farm–I tout the benefit of the CSA newsletter. Pretty much all CSAs deliver a newsletter each week with their box. The newsletter typically covers recipes for the box’s exotica, being the best sources for data on kohlrabi and bok choy; they contain great storage tips; for instance Tomato Mountain subscribers have learned to avoid washing their lettuce too far in advance. Best, however, CSA newsletters provide insight and information into farm life. Insight that can be best summed up, I believe, into two words. It sucks.

To read CSA newsletters is to read the natural follow-ups to Grapes of Wrath. OK, life on the organic farm is hardly close, but it always seems too much. It’s too hot. Too cold. Too wet. Too dry. The weeds have over-run the crops. The insects have under-run the crops. Rabbits. Deer. Racoons and other varmits get there first. Blight and bolting. Rust and grubs. It is, you learn a near miracle each week a box arrives. If that box once again contains almost all green, of chards and kales and lettuces and Asian cabbages with interchangable names meant to inspire: it’s not just a green it’s “vitamin green,” then you should rejoice.  And from that newsletter we learned that yes, we could rejoice in the season’s first strawberries.

The newsletter allowed for variance in the berries from weather, variety, difficulties in harvesting, and the fact that they thought of themselves mostly as vegetable farmers. In other words, be happy with what shows. Luckily, what showed were three awesomely flavored boxes of berries. True to their warning, one of the boxes (not the one pictured) contained berries ripe on only one side. With some of the strawberries not quite sweet enough for out of hand cooking, they did have a perfect place. The infusion jar.

strawberry infusion

I’ve been making infusions for a while. They are the ideal vehicle for using up soft fruits or forgotten fruits or in the case here, fruit 1/2 ripe. The problem, however, I’ve been making mostly crappy infusions. I imagined there was not much to an infusion beyond booze and fruit. Yet the results often tasted awful, like the worst homebrew possible. I learned that I often created “secondary fermentation”, booze from my booze and that was not a good thing. I was coached to use higher proof spirits instead of vodka or gin, like the Everclear I had not bought in about 30 years. Of course, it turns out there’s a Polish “rectified spirit”, Polmos Warszawa, that may or may not be better than Everclear but seems classier at least. I switched to this nearly pure alcohol. It did not really work. I made pretty looking bottles that still tasted awful. I realized this year, I think, that I infuse way too long. This batch shared fruit and spirit for just 2 days. I strained. Added about 2 tablespoons of simple syrup (another improvement, in the past I added straight honey or sugar) and water that to my eye, looked to be about 80 proof or 40 percent alcohol and 60 percent water, i.e., just over half water. Rectified spirit; simple syrup; just two days; it worked. You really get the essence of strawberry in the booze, yet it is not cloying or medicinal. A little snort is the perfect way to toast CSA membership and all the hard work really required to bring me organic fruits and vegetables–or in my case also to another Turkish breakfast, but that too if for another post.  It may be sucky to run a farm, but thank god someone does it.




You’ll Learn to Love by Storing Your Lovage Now

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Posted: June 13, 2012 at 9:27 am

Time To Store Lovage!

lovageYou’ll love it.  The name Lovage always conjures up for me little ladies in the tea room with their lovely sandwiches and, whereas Alan Armitage is a big fan of Lovage sandwiches, I prefer to make a little dip in the spring with Lovage and cut up my Kohlrabis for a tangy, crunchy crudite.

But how to preserve for a winter treat? First of all, May and early June is the perfect time to harvest the beautiful, frond-like leave to dry. Just make medium bundles to hang in a dark, dry room with good air circulation. Once dry, package right away so the product won’t get dusty or reabsorb moisture from the room. A jar or plastic bag will do fine. Add to your “Drying Rack” to add to fresh tomato juice, wait for my recipe for Dr. Bromfield’s Vegetable Compound, or for wintertime chicken or turkey soups.

For a special treat that can be frozen, make Lovage Pesto. This recipe is from adapted from Barbara Kafka’s Vegetable Love (2005, Workman).

LOVAGE PESTO

3 large cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and coarsely chopped

¼ pound Lovage leaves, no stems, about 6 cups

1 ¼ cups olive oil, or as needed

½ pound walnuts, about 2 cups

2 tsp. kosher salt

Put the garlic in a blender. Top with the Lovage leaves. Add half the oil. Blend until mixture is liquid smooth. Add the walnuts and, with the blender running, gradually pour in the remaining oil until it is absorbed. Add the salt.

Allow to mellow for about an hour. Eat now or freeze.

Makes about 3 cups.




The Local Calendar – Snap Peas, English Peas, Favas

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Posted: June 13, 2012 at 8:26 am

Snap peasCherry Apple vinegar The vegetables and the products just keep coming, it is that time to love Chicago at the markets. Snap peas and English peas are in full swing! Nichols at the MCA Tuesday market had buckets full. Moira Tuffy @tomarketwithmo found fava beans at the Green City Market this morning.

It is always fun to find new products, particularly condiments, that the farmers come up with. Lehman Orchards is now producing their own line of vinegars. I bought a bottle of cherry apple cider vinegar, they ,also, had honey crisp apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar. The vendor joked that you don’t have to worry about it going bad because it will turn into vinegar!

Lots going on now that summer has started, lets take a look at the local calendar. If you are curious what farmers market is nearest to you, check our very comprehensive farmers market locator here.

WHERE TO FIND LOCAL FOODS

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

WHAT TO DO NOW

June 13

Chicago – The Green City Market – Lincoln Park – 7am – 1pm The chef demonstration at 10:30 will be Laura Frankel of Spertus Kosher Catering (Wolfgang Puck).

Chicago – Dinner and a Movie Night, “Veins In The  Gulf” about Louisiana’s disappearing coastline. Uncommon Ground Devon 6:30pm 1401 W. Devon $35 includes dinner, film, taxes and gratuity

June 14

Chicago – The Daley Plaza Farmers - 7am – 3pm

Chicago – Chicagourmets presents A Foie Gras Celebration Dinner at Cyranos Farm Kitchen– 546 North Wells St. 6pm – Chef Didier Durand has redone the interior of his restaurant and now invokes the nostalgia of his grandparents french farm. He has put together a special dinner in his new restaurant to celebrate, in his own way, what Foie Gras means to him.

Chicago - Red Meat Market.com Launch Party – 6 -10pm Goose Island Clybourn 1800 N. Clybourn The Nights Highlights: View the RMM website for the 1st time, meet other 100% all Natural Meat Lovers, have a drink, enjoy a pint of Green Line Pale Ale, spin “The Wheel of Meat” and win great RMM prizes and Meat, enjoy some Grass-Fed Appetizers, share the benefits of Organic or Grass-Fed Meat, ”Meat and Greet” our sponsors from Black Earth Meats! Learn recipes and tips from our Top Chef .

June 15

Chicago – Green City Market – The featured chef will be Peter Klein of Seedling Farms. The hours are longer 7am to 1pm and the market moves further south in Lincoln Park, right across from the Farm in the Zoo.

Chicago – Green City Market tour led by Chef David Dworshak of Carnivale - 10-12pm $25 Enjoy Carnivale seviche and a dish prepared onsite. For further information and reservations contact 312-850-5005

Chicago – 61st Market sponsored by Experimental Station –  Go to their website for further details. New vendors include Penny Pastries, look for Axel.

Evanston –  The Downtown Evanston Farmers Market 7:30am to 1pm at University Place and Oak Ave.(just east of Railroad Ave.) behind the Hilton Garden Inn. Free parking is at the adjacent 1500 Maple garage.

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

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

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

Oak Park –  Oak Park Farmers Market – 460 Lake St just one block west of Ridgeland Ave. 7am – 1pm The Market is much more than a farmers’ market. It is an Oak Park tradition, a Saturday gastronomic event (the donuts have a devoted following), a concert site, a social event and a great place to pick up super-fresh produce, traditional and unusual plants, fresh cheeses, honey, flowers, vinegars, herbs, and much more. The Oak Park Farmers’ Market also features unique items for sale at the commissioners’ table, including items you can’t find anywhere else, such as reasonably priced T-shirts, one-of-a-kind items and bags, all offering a beautiful, functional way to support the market.

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

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

June 17

Chicago - The Logan Square Farmer’s Market 10-3pm  Logan Boulevard

Chicago – The Glenwood Sunday Outdoor Market 9am – 2pm Glenwood Avenue on the west side of the CTA Red Line between Morse and Lunt Avenues in Rogers Park from June 3 – October 28, 2012

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

June 18

Evanston – The Talking Farm ’s Howard Street Farm Birthday Bash and Work Day 3701 Howard Street Skokie 3pm to dusk RSVP here.

June 19

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” . This is a very unique market that really is a “must shop”.

Chicago – CROP (Chicago Rarities Orchard Project) Lecture Series featuring Dan Bussey, Apple Historian, Seed Savers Exchange, Decorah, Iowa 6pm All lectures are free and open to the public and take place at Haas Park Fieldhouse, 2404 North Washtenaw Avenue (entrance on Fullerton), Chicago. More information available here.

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.

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

SAVE THE DATE

June 20

Chicago – Slow Food Pickling Workshop – 6-9pm Logan Square Kitchen – You will be pickling fennel and will take some home after the class is over. $35 for Slow Food members, $45 for non-members Only 15 spots available sign up here. 6-9pm

New!! Chicago – Uncommon Ground Devon Farm Dinner Roof Top Series – 1401 W. Devon 6pm $50 includes beverages Very limited seating to enjoy a farm dinner by the roof garden. Rumor has it that guests will pick part of their dinner from the garden with the chef, then they will enjoy cocktails while he cooks it up. This brings “Urban Farm to Table” to a whole new level!!!!!!

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 SOLD OUT

Chicago – Edible Gardens Workshop – Necessary Nourishment: Feeding Plants for Healthy Growth and Production.  This is a FREE Monthly Hands-on Gardening Workshop Series in The Edible Gardens with Jeanne Pinsof Nolan, founder of The Organic Gardener, Ltd. Workshops will be held from 9:30am-10:15am.  Respond to RSVP@greencitymarket.org to reserve a spot.

Chicago – Slow Food Chicago Sweet Summer Solstice Potluck – 2900 West Ferdinand St. 6pm  Join Slow Food Chicago, the Chicago Honey Co-op, and Christy Webber Landscapes for our annual potluck dinner! Bring a dish to share and enjoy donated food and drinks from some of Chicago’s best local purveyors. 10$ members, 15$ non.

June 24

New!! Chicago - Rebuilding Education - A Benefit for The Academy of Global Citizenship Rebuilding Exchange -2160 N. Ashland 5pm With music by legendary DJ Derrick Carter, food by Ruxbin, Smoking Goose, and Pleasant House Bakery, drinks by Two Brothers Craft Beer, Death’s Door Gin and Virtue Hard Cider as well as treats from Honeypie Cafe–not to mention an incredible location at the ReBuilding Exchange and an incredibly cool silent auction– this is sure to be an epic celebration. Purchase tickets here.

Chicago - Fernet Bike Cruise for KEITH RELIEF -  1pm Starts at The Anthem and finishes at Bar Deville. I love these bicycles for a $25 ticket, you get a raffle ticket for a new Fernet bike and drinks and food at both locals. This whole event just sounds like tons of fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!

New!! Chicago - DOSE Market – 10-4pm 435 East Illinois River East Arts Center Happy Anniversary dosettes!!! The incomparable DOSE Market turns 1 years old, a mixutre of Chelsea meets SOHO meets the Midwest. DOSE brings a mixture of all things artisanal, food, furnishings, clothes, objects all together in one place. You just have to go to experience it. For more information and reservations go here.

McHenry – A Day at Petersen Farm – 10am – 4pm 4112 McCollum Lake Road Across from Petersen Park

June 27

New!! Chicago – Kick-Off Party for Share Our Strengths Taste of the Nation at Paris Studio - 6-8pm 59 West Hubbard $25 and all proceeds will go to Share Our Strength.

June 28

New!! Chicago – “The Good Food Revolution: Celebrating the Heroes and Sheroes of the Movement” 6-8pm Celebrate Growing Power’s First Anniversary at Iron Street Farm Chef Randy Zweiban of Province and his team will prepare a series of farm to table courses showcasing Growing Power’s produce and meat and poultry. Will Allen will speak about his new book, The Good Food Revolution and will sign copies. Go here to purchase tickets.

Chicago – Meet The Market Green City Market Junior BoardFarmhouse with King’s Hill 228 West Chicago

June 30

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

Westmont – Standard Market – Americafest - Food, fun, an event for the whole family from 11am – 4pm.

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. SOLD OUT

July 12

New!! Chicago - The Green City Market Chef’s BBQ Fundraiser 5:30 – 8pm Lincoln Park This annual fundraiser for the Green City Market brings out all the chefs in this incredible celebration of the abundance of summertime at the market. Pre-sale tickets for Green City Market members are on sale here.

July 14

FD!! Caledonia – Wind Ridge Herb FarmDinner in the Garden” 466 Quail Trap Road Local produce dinner with instruction of how to use herbs in cooking. Go to the link and contact the farm for more information.

FD!! 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

New!! Chicago -Kateri Tekakwitha Feast Day Join Iroquois Valley Farms to celebrate their 5th Anniversary at Uncommon Ground Devon 1401 West Devon 2:30pm – 5:30pm for cocktails and appetizers on the roof and a 3 course farm dinner, $40 not including taxes and gratuities. Register here and more information.

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 Companyand 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.

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. SOLD OUT

July 29

Chicago – DOSE Market – 435 E. Illinois River East Arts Center 10-4pm

August 2

Chicago – Country Financial Chef Challenge Daley Plaza – Chris Pandel of The Bristol and Balena won last year, who will win in 2012. Come to the Daley Center to see the finals!

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 SOLD OUT

FD!! Fairbury – Slagel Family Farm Dinner – 2-9:30pm 23601 E. 600 North Rd. Chef Chris Pandel of The Bristol and Balena Chef Jason Vincent of Nightwood – A tour of the farm and animals, butchering demo and dinner, transportation included, BYOB Lemonade and water will be provided $125 To purchase tickets go here.

August 8

New!! Chicago – Taste of the Nation – Navy Pier Ballroom 6pm – 10pm An incredible gathering of chefs and mixologists to raise money for the incredible organiztion to fight childhood hunger, Share Our Strength. Buy tickets here.

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 17

FD!! Caledonia - Wind Ridge Herb FarmDinner in the Garden” 466 Quail Trap Road Local produce dinner with instruction of how to use herbs in cooking. Go to the link and contact the farm for more information.

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 SOLD OUT

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. SOLD OUT

September 2

Baroda, MI – Check Please!Farm to Table Fest at Round Barn Winery A short drive from Chicago, a great list of chefs is already on the docket. Tickets start at $75 and VIP tickets are $150.

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.

September 28-30

Chicago – Chicago Gourmet Festival presented by Bon Appetit. The “Ground Zero” this weekend of all things culinary in Chicago and the country. Pre-sale tickets already sold-out so you had better keep a watch so you don’t miss out on this action packed weekend of chefs, sommeliers, incredible beverages, food and lots more. You can buy regular tickets here but I bet not for long!!!!




Meat Goes Social in Chicago, Red Meat Market Launches Thur. 6/14

By
Posted: June 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm

photo-bag @Redmeatmarket flashed by on Twitter a few weeks ago or was it Facebook? The social media highway runs at warp speed that I can’t remember which one I saw first. I did read, “Great meat from good people. Local, Natural, Sustainable” Their twitter description says “Red Meat Market is a social community and ecommerce marketplace for Meat Buyers to easily source and purchase Local Organic/Grass-Fed Beef, Pork and Lamb.” One of their recent facebook posts ” What if there was a Social Network for #foodies who want #GrassFed Meat? There’s one coming! Red Meat Market” Okay, now my curiousity was piqued, what exactly is Red Meat Market? “We’re forming a community of #Meatlovers who like fun & only want to purchase #Meat that’s raised #Local“ Then of course the post that signed the deal, a Red Meat Market “Meat Up” Launch Party at Goose Island Clybourn, Thursday June 14 from 6-10pm(sorry folks I think it is already sold out but they have a Meat-Up coming soon) Party, beer, food, good meat, they had me!! But like always there is a back story to why I am so excited about the launch of Red Meat Market and their social distribution of good meat!

At a conference during this past winter sponsored by the Chicago arm of the USDA, which I wrote about on The Local Beet, I heard Bartlett Durand of Black Earth Meats (the meat behind Red Meat market) speak and the best description of him is a “meat evangelist”. Bartlett has been working over the last few years to increase his production and distribution network. My best take-away from what he said is that basically our current systems of production are not working and that good food will change the world and he is working to do that.  As with most things, the more I learn the more I realize there is more of the onion to peal. Michael Gebert of SkyfullofBacon, and referenced in the Weekly Harvest here on The Local Beet from time to time, did a fantastic video on Bartlett called “The Zen Butcher“. On the Black Earth Meats website you will see that Bartlett takes raising, feeding and slaughtering his animals seriously and consciously. I cannot do justice in how 360 Bartlett is in keeping the circle closed in nurturing his farmers, animals, his workers and his customers so that the system is sustainable in a way that takes care of the earth, and the animals and that the meat produced is good and healthful for all.

Although I am not a big meater, I have somehow gotten involved in meat issues. In the recently released Graze Magazine, I have an essay, “My Mutton Given For You:Thoughts on Merciful Meat Consumption”. The general theme of my meandering essay is conscious meat eating. Red Meat Market is in some ways doing a head fake, they are making meat buying and eating fun but at the same time they are bringing consciously raised food to the table.

Fun, I did say fun and that is what the key element of Red Meat Market and I think more will be revealed at the Launch Party but the person bringing fun to the table is Mark Wilhelm who is the glue holding the social angles together and the “Meat-Ups” to Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison.

Red Meat Market Man w headline and MW

Follow Red Meat Market on Twitter, on Facebook and go to their website.

They will be hosting multiple events that involve Meat! We’re taking Meat social! Local, sustainable and All-Natural that is! We are going to be hosting events in Madison, Milwaukee and of course Chicago. We’ll be having an event a week and some will involve Meat-Ups! We create events around Meat! Like “Meat ups” in bars where people pick up orders, trade cuts and have fun, We hold farm dinners, and butcher parties. We’re taking the meat industry to a new level and reinventing the Butcher shop! We make Meat buying an Experience! We’ll also be selling Meat from multiple local providers all in one place online. Its like a Farmers Market Online for Meat, delivered via truck or picked up in various fun locations. Its almost like a CSA with drinks and apps included!

More will be revealed as Red Meat Market rolls out their Meat Ups. The best thing to do is “to get” social with them and “Like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Some good meat is coming to Chi-town soon!!!!!!!!!!




Spring Bounty 2012

By
Posted: June 9, 2012 at 11:23 am

This was an odd March, as you will recall, and the unlikely heat wave we saw lured some of us into planting gardens way earlier than is advisable. Most edible plants can’t go in the ground until after the last frost has passed, and there was no guarantee that a solid freeze wouldn’t destroy my work.

To bring you up to date, we bought a new house last year and spent the last part of 2011 remodeling it (check it out at www.reluctantrenovator.com). It’s got a good-sized chunk of southern yard and a garage that casts shade on a 4 x 20 garden bed. It also sports a rocking 2nd story deck that gets more sunlight than anywhere else and is an ideal spot for tomatoes, out of reach from all but the most ambitious squirrels and chipmunks. In cooler weather, boxes of lettuce grow nicely up there as well, shaded when nestled up close to the railing.

In summer 2011, we grew squash and pumpkin on the semi-shady west side of the garage. Although the vines were prolific, the fruit was not, and the baby pumpkins made cute table toppers. The squash did okay but was flavorless and unimpressive.

So when the winter heat wave rolled in, I picked up plenty of scrap lumber, vermiculite, peat moss and manure. I built a 4 x 20 box on the south side of the garage and two 4 x 5 boxes against the fence that backed up to the unimproved alley. Also, a massive tree trunk from a neighbor’s tree had fallen into the grassy alley. I sawed it into smaller segments and pieced together  an odd-shaped “box” in the alley. Into that I planted onion sets, sunflower seeds, wildflower seeds and beans.

Brassicas by the Compost Bin

Brassicas by the Compost Bin

Up against the garage I planted pre-seeded tapes of mesclun and lettuce. If it weren’t for a heavy wind blowing the day I embedded the tapes, I would have perfectly straight rows of lettuce today. On the south side of the garage went the beets, carrots, peas, potatoes, garlic and onions and chives, all from seeds, bulbs and potato eyes.

One of the 4 x 5 boxes got asparagus crowns, broccoli raab (rapini), cabbage and pak choi (kinda like bok choi, but more leafy and less like a head) all from seed The other 4 x 5 box got transplants of cabbage, collard greens and broccoli with rows of oregano, basil and dill between.

Additionally, I began growing watermelon and peppers from seed in a southern facing window inside the house. These I either grew in a shoebox of empty toilet paper tubes filled with soil or plastic containers we would otherwise have recycled.

Each sprout lives in its own plastic greenhouse

Each sprout lives in its own plastic greenhouse

The end result, several months later, is enough food that I think—if I estimate from first harvest to the end of the season this fall—I could feed my family three meals a day for about two months. Provided they really really like salad. The lettuce LOVES its location. And while some of the mesclun are quite bitter, the lighter green lettuces are delicious and go great in a salad with goat cheese, pear and walnut. Just prior to eating, we rip off a bowlful of the leaves, carefully pick out the grass growing between the lettuces, rinse it several times (slugs are EVERYWHERE) and dry it in our salad spinner (best $3 garage sale find EVER!). We cannot eat lettuce fast enough to thin the garden out, and we let some of the more bitter species bolt and develop flowers and seeds. They grew to about 3 feet tall and shaded their neighbors until my wife ripped them out, annoyed to have to look at them anymore. Others quickly grew back. Even though I planted them myself, they fit the definition of weeds.

The cabbages, rapini and pak choi were terrific. When they were just barely mature, I’d rip them out and wash them, pick some nearby green onions and stir fry them with balsamic vinegar, sesame seed and honey.

Pak Choi ready for cleaning

Pak Choi ready for cleaning

Ditto for the collard greens and broccoli leaves. After we ate or gave away broccoli crowns, the leaves cooked up just the same as any green. We’re trying to make room for tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, so the brassicas HAVE to go, as they spread out so wide horizontally.

We eat peas for breakfast almost every day. We’ve pulled out baby carrots as we thinned the row out and they’re as tasty as the “adult” version (although I’ll admit I don’t like the flavor of the leafy bits). The beats are wonderful. Not only do the greens stir fry as well as anything, but the beet roots, when roasted with a little olive oil, are delicious in a salad with goat cheese. Sweet without being cloying, and very tender and flavorful.

More lettuce than we know what to do with

More lettuce than we know what to do with

The sunflowers have grown to about 2 feet tall and are always helpful for letting us know where the sun is at any given moment. A neighbor feeds the birds with sunflower seeds, and squirrels have planted more of them in parts of my garden where I don’t want them. They are a hardy lot, these sunflowers, and I can see an entire lawn full of them if the rodents and my neighbor had their way.

Onions are everywhere. Somehow they have also started growing in parts of my lawn where I never planted them. The potato leaves are growing very bushy, and I keep covering them with more soil to encourage more spuds to develop.

The beans have done very poorly. They sprout, push out some 1-inch wide leaves and quickly die away. The herbs I planted between the brassica leaves have done poorly as well, completely shaded out by their larger neighbors. Grass is doing well everywhere, even though I covered the lawn beneath the boxes with weedcloth. But picking the grass out has been relatively easy.

A beautiful head of broccoli about to be eaten

A beautiful head of broccoli about to be eaten

The cucumbers that I grew from seed sprouted very quickly indoors and did poorly once transplanted into the raised beds. Likewise, the eggplant and tomato transplants in the same bed have not fared well. The leaves look diseased in general. Some leaves look droopy from too much heat; others look like they’re not getting enough sunlight (neighboring bushes have been shading them in mid-afternoon).

In general, though, it’s a good garden and we’ve been very excited to give food away. Our overall costs were about $300 for plants, soil components, material and tools and we’ve probably eaten $80 in produce already with much more on its way. My plans to improve on this include

  • Growing more plants from seeds that we harvest instead of purchase
  • Creating cold frames to start and end the growing season earlier
  • Putting the nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers) in a sunnier, better drained location
  • Improving on the first-year asparagus, which has been growing into beautiful ferns. The roots need to be protected for several years. So after this year, I’m going to turn that box into an asparagus-only bed and never till the soil again.

Fortunately, we’ve got a lot more backyard to turn into raised beds.




The Weekly Harvest 6/8/12 Blogs Here and Yonder Friday, June 8th, 2012
To Market with Mo: Turnips take their turn from tip to tail Friday, June 8th, 2012
It’s Scape Time & What Else is In Season Now Friday, June 8th, 2012
We Have Rhubarb Thursday, June 7th, 2012
Unique Crop Mob and Mini-Vacation Opportunity at Kismet Farm in Michigan Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
The Local Calendar 6/6/12 It’s Alliums Galore At The Markets Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
The Porchetta Sandwich Monday, June 4th, 2012
She’s Cookin’ and Not Done with Her Greens Monday, June 4th, 2012
The Weekly Harvest 6/2/12 Blogs Here and Yonder Saturday, June 2nd, 2012
Make Yourself a Turkish Breakfast This Weekend Friday, June 1st, 2012