The Weekly Harvest 7/27/12 Sustainable Food Blogs Here and Yonder

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Posted: July 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm

It has been a busy week in the sustainable food blogosphere. The biggest local topic is the farm to table community rallying around Harvest Moon Farms’ Drought Aid 2012 campaign, you can make donations at the link on their site. The ongoing drought has affected 80% of their business, Anthony Todd at The Chicagoist mentioned it here. Chandra Ram at Plate Magazine wrote about their plight and need here. As of this post, the Green Grocer has chosen Harvest Moon Farms as their donation of the month group and Uncommon Ground responded immediately when they became aware of the issue by offering a Drought Aid menu and other special events coming up in August. Lets help them get their tomatoes to market and save some of their greens!

The Chicago Mobile Food Ordinance being passed was the other big local issue this week and Louisa Chu from WBEZ was at the hearings and in the middle of it. Crain’s Chicago business reported on the outcome.  At least one Aldermen sees the bigger picture, Alderman John of the 45th Ward was the lone dissenting vote. Robin Armer tells the story of how a “Mobile pie truck staved off hunger during the Great Depression” Quinn Ford reported on the lead-up to the vote. Eater Chicago weighs in here. Grubstreet Chicago has their current update on it here. Grubstreet includes the huge issue about Chick-a-Filet, and information about the Art Smith fundraiser is here, Flick-the-Hate. Louisa Chu has the perfect response to all this Chick-A-Filet business, eat more hot dogs, “Eat Mor Hot Dogz“!!!!!!!!!!!!

In 2 minutes you can take action to help change the food system. You can vote for your favorite local farmers market here organized by the American Farmland Trust. On Change.org, sign the petition to ask Trader Joe’s to buy meat without drugs. Meatwithoutdrugs has their own petition here. The Organic Consumers Association is calling the current Farm Bill, the worst Farm Bill ever. The National Sustainable Agricultural Coalition is asking for a better Farm Bill here. JustLabelIt is petitioning for mandatory labeling of GMO products. Slow Food USA has endorsed this petition with their own. If you clinked on all the links, you just made a difference!!!

In the small roundup of the issues circulating, with this drought the New York Times sees food prices rising. Nourishing the Planet reported that Monsanto receives an F when it comes to sustainable agriculture. The New York Times also reported that Cargill was forced to recall 29,300 pounds of beef due to salmonella. On a positive note, Rodale Press published the story of Will Witherspoon, an NFL linebacker for the Tennessee Titans and a sustainable farmer who is working to get antibiotics out of the meat industry. Grist.org published this piece of progress, Sysco is not buying meat from pigs raised in gestation crates. Sign those epetitions, every signature does make a difference!!! (See the previous paragraph)

Anthony Todd at the Chicagoist published a great piece for anyone who is curious about what a farm dinner is like, “Pigs, Beer, Whiskey, Good Feelings at a City Provisions Farm Dinner” Michael Gebbert at Grubstreet Chicago wrote a follow-up post to it. If you want a chance to go to a “real” County Fair, Grubstreet reminded us of the one going on this weekend in Lake County. Grubstreet Chicago spied this write-up on the Slow Food USA blog on what’s going on at Growing Home urban farm.

This goes in the “local, local” category and the “who knew” category, that you could use chocolate as mulch and the Blommer Chocolate Factory is happy to provide it, as posted on the Well Community Blog which is sponsored by Swedish Covenant Hospital and Galter Life Center.

I couldn’t resist this one, fellow Beetniks, “Making Use of the Whole Beet” in the New York Times.

Here is one more fantastic local blog on food, Frombellytobacon. So many fantastic blogs such little time. Grab a cold craft beer, or iced tea with some fresh herbs and enjoy summer while it is still here!! As usual if you have a favorite blog, let us know in the comments below!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 




The Local Calendar 7/25/12 Peaches, Blackberries the fruits of summer

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Posted: July 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm


The fruits of summer. More and more peaches are showing up on the farmer’s tables. These peaches were on Ellis Family Farm’s table at the Green City Market. The huge blackberries, yes, they were as big as they look in this picture were on Orianna’s table when she made a summer appearance at the Green City Market. For more guidance as to what is in season, visit Chief Beet Rob Gardner’s What’s In Season piece here. Wondering where the closest farmer’s market is to you? Check our farmer’s market locator here. How to shop at a farmer’s market, here is how.

It is that Farm Dinner time of year. Check the calendar below for a farm dinner that works for you. Anthony Todd at the Chicagoist shows you what exactly goes on at a farm dinner when he went to a City Provisions dinner at La Pryor Farms last weekend. Michael Gebbert at Grubstreet Chicago added his commentary here. City Provisions provides a bus so you don’t have to worry about being so relaxed at the end of the event that you really don’t want to drive, City Provisions does that for you, with their biodiesel bus! So on to all the events still ahead for summer and book your farm dinner now before summer is gone! Mint Creek Farm has a dinner on for this weekend, Slagel Family Farm has a dinner scheduled for next weekend August 4th with Nightwood and The Bristol, pretty awesome list, some of the other dinners these chefs are involved in are already sold out!

WHAT TO DO NOW

The Spence Farm Foundation has ongoing farmer training programs going. Here is their 2012-2013 calendar.

July 25

Chicago – The Green City Market – 7-1pm Southern end of Lincoln Park Guest Chef will be Troy Graves of the Red Door. 10:30am

Chicago – The Hideout Veggie Bingo – 5:30pm Free Hot Dogs by Hot Doug’s! $2 bingo cards, supports Chicago community gardens!

July 26

New!! Berwyn – The Inaugural Sugar Beet Coop Benefit Gala – A Square Dance and Farm to Table Dinner Fitzgerald’s Nightclub 6615 Roosevelt Rd. 6pm Music provided by the Golden Horse Ranch Square Dance Band To benefit the newly opening Sugar Beet Cooperative in Oak Park and River Forest. $40 adults $10 children

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

Chicago - Eli’s and Wright College Farmers Market – 7am – 1pm 6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive (Near Wilbur Wright College) Every Thursday  until October 25. Eli’s Cheesecake World . A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables from Nichol’s Farm, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences’ Farm Stand, Cooper Farm, and more will be here! The Farmers Market also includes vibrant flowers, hand crafts, artisan breads, exciting spices, books, informational lectures and Eli’s famous grilled lunches. Chief Beet Rob Gardner posted about them here.

Chicago – Green City Market Junior Board “Meet The Market” at Nellcote – 6-8pm 833 W. Randolph Featuring Board member Chef Jared Van Camp’s food, farmer Mick Klug rom St. Joseph, MI. and Wisconsin’s Death Door Spirits.

July 28

Chicago – Green City Market – Farm to Table Fest with Organic Gardening Magazine at the market. Interactive cooking demos, pruning demo, planting activities and more.The chef demonstration will be Shelley Young of The Chopping Block. The hours are  7am to 1pm and the market is in Lincoln Park, right across from the Farm in the Zoo. Nordic Creamery will now be carrying milk from Sassy Cow Creamery. Club Sprouts at 9:30 am will have a visit from the Urban Worm Girl to learn about worm composting.

Calling all gardners!!! Chicago – Edible Gardens Monthly Workshop 9:30am – 10:15am WIth Jeannie Pinsof Nolan founder of the Edible Gardner. This month’s topic will be “Expand Your Growing Season:Planting Fall Crops” To make a reservation for this free workshop email RSVP@greencitymarket.org.

Chicago – Crop Mob at Chicago Urban Lights Farm – Sponsored by the Green City Market Junior Board 2-4pm

Chicago - Edible Alchemy Festival and Fundraiser Go to the link for all the events, details and locations.

Chicago – Sipping and Digging at The Plant - A Cocktail Garden Workshop where you will learn to grow your own herbs for cocktails. 6:30pm – 8:00pm with Kate Purvis

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.

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 – 2:30pm 1693 E. 3800 N. Road – Ride the trolley to have a tour of the different animal hangouts for the goats, the sheeps and the pigs. Home Bistro‘s Chef de Cuisine David Cooper along with sous chef Victor Morenz of will prepare the meal. After dinner, you head up the hill for a campfire and some star gazing, bring your lawn chairs! $70 BYOB

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

July 29

Campton Hills - Slow Food Chicago and Slow Food City’s Edge present “A Potluck Picnic at Garfield Farm” 2:30 -6pm 3N016 Garfield Road Bring a dish and a blanket Beverage will be provided.$15 general admission $12 members

Chicago – Flick the Hate A Chicken Fry for Equality – Hosted by Chef Art Smith and Jesus Salgueiro at their home 1-4pm Contact Equality Illinois to RSVP $100 suggested donation

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

Chicago – Edible Alchemy Summer Festival – 10:00am – 4:30am 2042 W. 21st

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.

July 30

Chicago – Floriole Monthly Dinner – This month features Pasta Puttana – Jessica Volpe cooks with Sandra to create a meal straight from the Green City Market. $75 7pm

July 31

Chicago – The New Generation Farmers Market at Browntrout  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 - Locavores Drink Local Kendall College River Works Campus 900 N. Branch 2-4pm For reservations email Megan@Illinoiswine.com Sponsored by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance

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 – Organic Vegetable Gardening Workshop – The Plant 140 W. 46th St. 6:30pm – 8pm

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

SAVE THE DATE

August 2

Chicago – Country Financial Chef Challenge Daley Plaza – 11am – 1pm Daley Plaza  The following chefs will compete for this year’s Master of the Market title: John Anderes, executive chef of Telegraph, Sarah Grueneberg, executive chef of Spiaggia and Top Chef season 9 runner-up, Dale Levitski, executive chef of Frog n Snail and Top Chef season 3 runner-up.

Kalamazoo, MI - Farm to Fork Dinner featuring Eater’s Guild from Bangor, MI. at Food Dance – 401 E. Michigan Ave. For all you folks taking a summer break in Michigan!!

August 3

Lollapaloza starts – If you go be sure to check out the Lolla Farmers MarketSeedling Farms, River Valley Kitchens, and Tiny Greens will be some of the vendors!

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

Chicago – North Lawndale Greening Committee Garden Tour 9am – 12:30pm Meet at the Douglass Branch Library Potluck to follow

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 5

Chicago – Urban Foraging (part of the Scrumptious Pantry Heirloom 2.0 event series ) – 10 am – 1pm 3270 West Fullerton They’re bringing in expert forager/gardener Sarah Baumgarten for this class. You will learn how to hunt down, recognize and safely harvest all sorts of tasty, hidden wild-growing plants in Chicago. Event is kid-friendly, so bring everyone along. Cost for the event is $25.

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

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 9

Chicago – Seedling Farm + Goat Collaboration Dinner – Seedling lost a lot of their apple crop due to the warm weather then frost this Spring. Held at the Underground Goat 6:30pm $195 This dinner is to help the farm and celebrate the fruit that it produces.

August 10

Chicago – Hungry for Change: Growing Faith, Growing Food – Presented by the Chicago Lights Urban Farm in collaboration with Growing Power-Chicago and the Academy for Faith and Life of Fourth Presbyterian Church Keynote Presentation 7pm in the Fourth Church Sanctuary Roger Thurow Senior Fellow for Global Agriculture and Food Policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Appetizers by Eric Mansavage of Farmhouse will be served.

Chicago – Hungry for Change workshops all day – Chicago Lights Urban Farm

Northwest Michigan – 4th Annual Northwest Michigan Hop Tour and Field Day 8am – 5pm Read about it here in the Beet by Associate Beet Editor Wendy Aeschlimann @aschie30

August 11

FD!! Caledonia/Chicago – Angelic Organics 5th Annual Peak Harvest Farm Dinner- 5pm 1547 Rockton Rd.  Join them for a delicious 5-course seasonal meal prepared by some of the region’s most recognized chefs, set in the beautiful and abundant fields of Angelic Organics at the peak of harvest season. The chefs include Marc Bernard of Big Bowl, Molly Johnson of Calihan Catering, Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp of Sunday Dinner, Nathan Chappell of Rushing Waters Fisheries, William Harriman of Angelic Organics They  are offering round trip transportation via bus from Chicago for $25. Guests who join them can take part in a pre-event reception at Big Bowl, 60 E. Ohio St., Chicago from 2:00-3:00 p.m featuring free seasonal appetizers and cocktails. The bus will leave the restaurant at 3 p.m., and return at 11 p.m. Tickets for the dinner itself are $150, purchase tickets and transportation here, all proceeds benefit the Learning Center’s Educational programs.

August 12

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

August 13

Chicago – Edible Chicago and Brooklyn Brewery present The Quarterly Carousal at Hopleaf – 5148 N. Clark St. 6-9pm Beer tasting and food samplings. Free RSVP to events@ediblechicago.com

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 Farm “Dinner 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 Cerveceria & Few SpiritsFor tickets, please call (773) 293.2489.  $275 This is a mini-vacation, all day affair typically running from 11am to midnight.

Chicago – Slow Food Chicago Vegetarian Harvest Dinner – Uncommon Ground Devon

August 19

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

August 23

Chicago – Seed Saving (part of the Scrumptious Pantry Heirloom 2.0 event series ) – 6-8pm 3270 West Fullerton This class, also, taught by Sarah Baumgarten, will teach you how to properly save and store seeds from your garden as well as from nature. $25

August 25

Chicago – Edible Gardens Workshop 9:30am – 10:15am “Keeping a Garden Tidy:Staking, Pruning, Harvesting and Composting”

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.

August 26

Chicago – This is it, The 8th Annual Corks and Crayons Benefit- An all ages celebration to benefit Purple Asparagus. The Greenhouse Loft in the Green Exchange 2545 West Diversey 4pm – 7pm It is great for all ages. This year’s event will include Top Chef contestant Heather Terhune of Sable KitchenThree Floyds BrewingCandid Wines and delicious non-alcoholic beverages for kids. Adults are $70, kids 5-15 $15, and children under 5 year olds are free.To register now go here. We hope that all Beet-niks will try to attend this terrific event and support Melissa Graham and the Purple Asparagi!!!!!!!!!

September 1

FD!! 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 13

Chicago – Canning (part of the Scrumptious Pantry Heirloom 2.0 event series ) – 6-8pm 3270 West Fullerton This class is going to be taught by Laura McLaughlin of The Glass Rooster. Laura is going to discuss how to identify good canning produce, the best seasons to can, recommended equipment types and brands, and as previously implied, tips on how to make canning less stressful and more fun! $25

September 15

Chicago – Edible Gardens Workshop 9:30am – 10:15am “Growing Locally:Tips for Gardening in Chicago”

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 . Do you have your tickets yet?

 

 




The Weekly Harvest 7/20/12 Sustainable Food Blogs Here and Yonder

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Posted: July 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm

 

 

Corn has started to appear at the markets despite the drought we have been having. I am sure all of you very knowledgeable Beeters know this, but each single thread of corn silk needs to be pollinated in order to produce one kernel of corn on the cob. I never knew this until a farmer explained the wind, the tassle and the kernels to me this past weekend. But drought seems to be on every farmer’s mind and restaurants like Uncommon Ground have started a “Drought Aid 2012″ menu to donate $5 of every meal to help Harvest Moon Farms whose crops are down 80%.

The other picture is a market tip from this #middlevore. At the Green City Market, River Valley Ranch and Kitchens has 2 tents, one to sell mushrooms and the other is all about foods you can buy made with mushrooms. The mushroom, garlic scape and arugula soup is so good, that you don’t need cold weather as an excuse to buy it, good, good, good!

So the drought was all over the blogosphere this week. Harry Carr of Mint Creek Farm had this blog post titled “Backs Against the Wall? “talking about climate change and our response to it. USA Today reported that the “Drought expected to drive up cost of milk, cheese” The New York Times reported “Widespread Drought is Expected to Worsen“Agri-view talks about corn pollination(for thoses who would like to learn more) and the rain.Reuters reported “U.S. worse drought since 1956-NOAA” Everyone please do your rain dance!!!

For your E-activism votes of the week, The Organic Consumers Association sent out their rundown of the current Farm Bill which they do not like at all and are asking for you to take a minute and email a letter to your  Congressman here. Food and Water Watch have their full take on the Farm Bill here. The Huffington Post published a piece by Andrew Kimbrall, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety “Will Congress Let Monsanto Write Its Own Rules?” Signon.org has this petition going to “Stop the Monsanto Rider” Along those lines, Rodale Press “Proof That GMOs Really Are Unhealthy” Here is another E-petition asking Jamba Juice to stop using styrofoam.

Nourishing the Planet wade in on “Rising Food Prices and Social Unrest

On Organic Foods and the labeling issues, the New York Times printed “Has ‘Organic’ Been Oversized

On some local notes, Ellen Malloy and Grant Kessler’s 100mealproject continues. Their latest post “A Fence May Have Two Sides.But It Is Still One Fence“.

Louisa Chu at the Movable Feast Blog at WBEZ had this wrap-up of the 2012 Green City Market BBQ.

On a food truck note, Louisa Chu was at the meeting yesterday and tweeting for WBEZ from the vote of the City Councils License and Consumer(restaurant) Protection Committee and here is her recount. Michael Gebert of Grubstreet Chicago (who was at the Publican Quality Meats Dark Lord Dinner Lucky guy!) sounds in with his thoughts here.

Help start a locally-focused grocery called Plenty in Ukranian Village, Grubstreet posted their Kickstarter page.

I met Maggie Hennessy at a Chicago Food Writers Forum sponsored by Graze Magazine but Maggie has a great blog and her recent post sounds yummy, margesnextmeal.com, on beets of course! Beet bruschetta which is another great idea for beets,you know we love them, along with Kelly Hewitt’s recipe for pickled beets here.

Enjoy this beautiful weather today, have a great weekend, let us know your fave blog!!

 

 




We Love What’s in Season Now – Summer Onions, Apples, Potatoes

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Posted: July 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm

We apologize for not getting up sooner, a more current what’s in season now. What’s in season now, is surely summer, and the markets are starting to get colorful with tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Still, we love to focus this time of year on a some of the items mostly restricted to market shoppers like you. In our last installment of what’s in season, we talked about garlic scapes, those long green stems that could serve as an herb or as a vegetable. Now, we want to focus on three seemingly mundane items: onions, potatoes and apples.

It’s summer. Yes! Summer brings its own variety of apple, of potato and onion. And while you may find that you locavore diet next winter consists mostly of apples, onions, and potatoes, you will not be eating the apples, onions and potatoes of summer. Summer apples, like lodi’s and transparants, are known for their intensity, tartness and ability to go soft fast. Summer apples are often known as sauce apples, because their flavor translates and you cannot otherwise keep them. Summer onions are often known as salad onions or sweet onions. You will know you have a summer onion because its skin is soft and pliable. We call them salad onions because that’s what they are best for, and actually do poorly in many cooked dishes–they can literally dissolve when over-cooked. Summer onions are often immature versions of the same onions you will eat later, and summer potatoes are newly grown versions of the same potatoes you will eat later too. In other words, “new potato” is not a variety but a stage in the cycle of agriculture. Any potato can be “new”. You will recognize a true new or “freshly dug” potato by a skin that appears to be peeling off, because that’s what happens when farmer’s wash-up their freshly dug potatoes.

Storage notes: for sure store summer onions and potatoes in the fridge, not the least your root cellar is too hot this time of year. Whether you refrigerate your summer apples or not, they will still grow soft soon.

Here’s what else is in season now:

  • Orchard fruit - You’ve probably heard by now that crops of peaches, nectarines, plums and related fruits have been decimated by our weird weather.  Eat what you can find.
  • Tomatoes – What everyone really wants at the market, right.  The first tomatoes tend to be small, but slicers and heirlooms are showing up too.
  • Berries – Crops of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries have been been better than larger fruit.  Go for these first.
  • Beans - There’s been green beans for a while and soon there will be other kinds of fresh beans
  • Summer’s loves - Besides tomatoes, more of what we expect in markets, summer squashes, cucumbers, eggplants, and peppers.
  • A new kind of salad – Very little lettuce and spinach, but basil is the new green.  In addition, you can make salads from cabbage, kohlrabi, beets, carrots, and other summer stuff.

Share with us any special market finds.


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There’s a Picnic on City’s Edge

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Posted: July 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm

 

Our friends at Slow Food Chicago do a lot of things around town.  Recently, they ran a workshop on canning fennel, and they threw a pot-luck with the Chicago Honey Co-op.  Slow Food Chicago knows that their friends do not just live in the City of Chicago.  Of course, some of the friends of Slow Food Chicago do live way on the city’s edge, far enough from the rest of the pack, that they formed their own chapter (or what used to be known as a Convivia), known, accurately enough as Slow Food City’s Edge.  Now, Slow Food Chicago and Slow Food City’s Edge have teamed up to treat you to a picnic and day at Garfield Farm in LaFox, Illinois on July 29.  While the purpose of the day is to share the pleasures of food, experience farm life, and get out to the country; the event is also about raising some funds to assist in sending participants to the Terra Madre show this fall in Turin, Italy.

Details of this happening are below.  Hope you can make the trek.

On Sunday, July 29, Slow Food Chicago and Slow FoodCity’s Edge will co-host a picnic day at Garfield FarmInn and Museum in LaFox, Illinois. Join us at the historic farm for a beautiful afternoon of shared food,farm tours, music, games and more. Guests will have the opportunity to visit with heritage breed livestock, explore the barns and learn about life on a 19th century farmstead. Food and drinks will be on hand, but be sure to bring a small potluck dish to share and a blanket to sit on! Slow Food Chicago will provide dessert.
Garfield Farm is a 281-acre farmstead and former 1840′s teamster inn 40 miles west of Chicago. The latest inn owner, Elva Ruth Garfield, founded the museum in 1977 to teach about America’s prairie farm heritage.
The event runs from 2:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale, and the cost to attend is $15 for adults, $5 for kids 4-12 or $32 special pricing for families. Kids 3 and under are free. An extra $5 donation goes to sending Slow Food delegates to Terra Madre. To purchase tickets, visit here.



The Local Calendar 7/18/12 Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

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Posted: July 18, 2012 at 8:58 am

 

                                                              It is that tomato time of year. These are pictures from Nichols Farm’s table at the MCA Market on Tuesday. Tomato Mountain, which has a great crop calendar on their site for what is in season, will have sun golds, slicers and many more on their tables at the markets. There is nothing like popping a sun gold tomato in your mouth to taste the flavor of what summer is all about.

After a visit to a more traditional farm that uses industrial methods this past weekend, I have such an appreciation for all that these farmers, at the markets, go through to bring pesticide free produce to the markets. If you think it is hot in the city, the farmers have to pick their crops, harvest them, box them, then drive them to the markets. When you are sitting in an air conditioned office think of what these farmers have gone through to bring you this tasty product and throw in a rain dance or a rain chant, the farmers could use all your rain thoughts!!!

So if you are wondering what exactly is in season, Brockman Family Farming has an informative blog about what is in their CSA, to find a farmers market nearest you check our market locator, and to sign up for a CSA check our very comprehensive CSA guide here. Chief Beet Rob Gardner has a new post about What Is In Season here!

WHAT TO DO NOW

The Spence Farm Foundation has ongoing farmer training programs going. Here is their 2012-2013 calendar.

July 18

Chicago – The Green City Market – 7-1pm Southern end of Lincoln Park Guest Chef will be Mark Steuer of The Bedford 10:30am

Chicago – The Hideout Veggie Bingo – 5:30pm Free Hot Dogs by Hot Doug’s! $2 bingo cards, supports Chicago community gardens!

July 19

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

Chicago - Eli’s and Wright College Farmers Market – 7am – 1pm 6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive (Near Wilbur Wright College) Every Thursday  until October 25. Eli’s Cheesecake World . A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables from Nichol’s Farm, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences’ Farm Stand, Cooper Farm, and more will be here! The Farmers Market also includes vibrant flowers, hand crafts, artisan breads, exciting spices, books, informational lectures and Eli’s famous grilled lunches. Chief Beet Rob Gardner posted about them here.

Chicago – Lincoln Square – Kick-Off for the Square Roots Festival! Summer Brew 2012 6:30pm – 10:00pm 4533 N. Lincoln Ave.

Chicago – The Publican Dark Lord Dinner – 837 West Fulton Market  Grubstreet reported on it here I won’t go on and on about the chefs involved although I could and I am not really even a beer drinker…Bidding for a seat is here..

July 20

Chicago – Lincoln Square -The Square Roots Festival opens today – 5pm – 10pm Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Wilson The Old Town School of Folk Music and the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce present “Square Roots,” the first ever craft beer and music experience in Chicago’s Lincoln Square.

Chicago – Logan Square – Milwaukee Arts Festival – 4-11pm Art, Food, Music, Performance

July 21

Chicago – Green City Market – The chef demonstration will be Christopher Tong of My Private Chef. The hours are  7am to 1pm and the market is in Lincoln Park, right across from the Farm in the Zoo. Nordic Creamery will now be carrying milk from Sassy Cow Creamery. Club Sprouts at 9:30 am will have a visit from the Urban Worm Girl to learn about worm composting.

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

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.

Chicago – Lincoln Square Square Roots Festival continues 12pm – 10pm Lincoln Ave between Montrose and Wilson

Chicago – Logan Square Milwaukee Arts Festival 11am – 10pm

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.

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

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

July 22

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

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

Chicago – Logan Square – Milwaukee Arts Festival – 11am – 10pm

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 – Lincoln Square - Square Roots Festival ends today 12pm – 8pm Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Wilson

Chicago – Logan Square – Sunday Dinner Pop-Up BBQ at Azimuth Projects Pop-Up Gallery $20 4-8pm 2704 N. Whipple

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

July 24

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 – Organic Vegetable Gardening Workshop – The Plant 140 W. 46th St. 6:30pm – 8pm

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

SAVE THE DATE

July 26

New!! Berwyn – The Inaugural Sugar Beet Coop Benefit Gala – A Square Dance and Farm to Table Dinner Fitzgerald’s Nightclub 6615 Roosevelt Rd. 6pm Music provided by the Golden Horse Ranch Square Dance Band To benefit the newly opening Sugar Beet Cooperative in Oak Park and River Forest. $40 adults $10 children

Chicago – Green City Market Junior BoardMeet The Market” at Nellcote – 6-8pm 833 W. Randolph Featuring Board member Chef Jared Van Camp’s food, farmer Mick Klug rom St. Joseph, MI. and Wisconsin’s Death Door Spirits.

July 28

Calling all gardners!!! Chicago – Edible Gardens Monthly Workshop 9:30am – 10:15am WIth Jeannie Pinsof Nolan founder of the Edible Gardner. This month’s topic will be “Expand Your Growing Season:Planting Fall Crops” To make a reservation for this free workshop email RSVP@greencitymarket.org.

Chicago – Crop Mob at Chicago Urban Lights Farm – Sponsored by the Green City Market Junior Board 2-4pm

FD!! Stelle – Mint Creek Farm Dinner and Tour – 2:30pm 1693 E. 3800 N. Road – Ride the trolley to have a tour of the different animal hangouts for the goats, the sheeps and the pigs. Home Bistro‘s Chef de Cuisine David Cooper along with sous chef Victor Morenz of will prepare the meal. After dinner, you head up the hill for a campfire and some star gazing, bring your lawn chairs! $70 BYOB

Chicago - Edible Alchemy Festival and Fundraiser Go to the link for all the events, details and locations.

Chicago – Sipping and Digging at The Plant - A Cocktail Garden Workshop where you will learn to grow your own herbs for cocktails. 6:30pm – 8:00pm with Kate Purvis

July 29

Campton Hills - Slow Food Chicago and Slow Food City’s Edge present “A Potluck Picnic at Garfield Farm” 2:30 -6pm 3N016 Garfield Road Bring a dish and a blanket Beverage will be provided.$15 general admission $12 members

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

Chicago – Edible Alchemy Summer Festival – 10:00am – 4:30am 2042 W. 21st

July 30

Chicago – Floriole Monthly Dinner – This month features Pasta Puttana – Jessica Volpe cooks with Sandra to create a meal straight from the Green City Market. $75 7pm

Kalamazoo, MI - Farm to Fork Dinner featuring Eater’s Guild from Bangor, MI. at Food Dance – 401 E. Michigan Ave. For all you folks taking a summer break in Michigan!!

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

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 10

Chicago – Hungry for Change: Growing Faith, Growing Food – Presented by the Chicago Lights Urban Farm in collaboration with Growing Power-Chicago and the Academy for Faith and Life of Fourth Presbyterian Church Keynote Presentation 7pm in the Fourth Church Sanctuary Roger Thurow Senior Fellow for Global Agriculture and Food Policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Appetizers by Eric Mansavage of Farmhouse will be served.

August 9

Chicago – Seedling Farm + Goat Collaboration Dinner – Seedling lost a lot of their apple crop due to the warm weather then frost this Spring. Held at the Underground Goat 6:30pm $195 This dinner is to help the farm and celebrate the fruit that it produces.

August 10

Northwest Michigan – 4th Annual Northwest Michigan Hop Tour and Field Day 8am – 5pm Read about it here in the Beet by Associate Beet Editor Wendy Aeschlimann @aschie30

Chicago – Hungry for Change workshops all day – Chicago Lights Urban Farm

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

Chicago – Edible Chicago and Brooklyn Brewery present The Quarterly Carousal at Hopleaf – 5148 N. Clark St. 6-9pm Beer tasting and food samplings. Free RSVP to events@ediblechicago.com

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 Farm “Dinner 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 Cerveceria & Few SpiritsFor tickets, please call (773) 293.2489.  $275 This is a mini-vacation, all day affair typically running from 11am to midnight.

Chicago – Slow Food Chicago Vegetarian Harvest Dinner – Uncommon Ground Devon

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

Chicago – Edible Gardens Workshop 9:30am – 10:15am “Keeping a Garden Tidy:Staking, Pruning, Harvesting and Composting”

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.

August 26

Chicago – This is it, The 8th Annual Corks and Crayons Benefit- An all ages celebration to benefit Purple Asparagus. The Greenhouse Loft in the Green Exchange 2545 West Diversey 4pm – 7pm It is great for all ages. This year’s event will include Top Chef contestant Heather Terhune of Sable Kitchen, Three Floyds Brewing, Candid Wines and delicious non-alcoholic beverages for kids. Adults are $70, kids 5-15 $15, and children under 5 year olds are free.To register now go here. We hope that all Beet-niks will try to attend this terrific event and support Melissa Graham and the Purple Asparagi!!!!!!!!!

September 1

FD!! 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

Chicago – Edible Gardens Workshop 9:30am – 10:15am “Growing Locally:Tips for Gardening in Chicago”

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 . Do you have your tickets yet?

 

 

 

 






Pickled Beets

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Posted: July 18, 2012 at 12:51 am

I know what you’re thinking: pickled beets are gross. But I promise you, when they’re not purchased in a mystery can where they’re hardly recognizable, they are irresistible. Beets are without a doubt one of my favorite vegetables in the world (artichokes are at the top, no question). They are earthy and complex and warm and perfect on salads. Usually I just throw a couple in foil and roast them for 30 – 45 minutes every week so I can make salads with goat cheese, arugula and walnuts, but these past couple of weeks it has just been way too hot for the oven. If you’re a city dweller I know you’re with me because AC units hardly have the capacity to cool off a bedroom let alone combat the oven. So I offer you pickled beets as an alternative to your standard roasted beets!

You will have to use your stove, but it will make several pint jars which will be enough to keep you oven free for quite some time. The recipe I used to pickle beets is from the most informative book I’ve found thus far: Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. The book calls for 10 cups of prepared beets – I just bought a bag of them at the farmers market for $5 and called it a day. Boil beets whole with the tops almost all removed in a large pot covered and cook for about 40 minutes (prepare canning jars while the beets boil; for instructions see my post on Strawberry Jam). When beets are cooked, run them under cool water, remove skins and slice them as you like.

Acquire pickling spice (or make it!) and tie 3 tablespoons in a spice bag. The Spice House is where I got my pickling spice. Combine 2 and a half cups white vinegar, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar OR honey (which I used and I really recommend) and the spice bag. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat heat and stir to make sure the honey dissolves. Boil gently for 15 minutes, remove the spice bag and add beets. Return the mixture to a boil. Ladle the beets into the prepared jars within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Ladle the hot liquid over the beets to cover. Wipe the rim, center the lid and screw the band on; place the jars in canner and process for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and wait 5 minutes to remove the jars. Cool for 24 hours and store.

Once you have achieved this perfection, serve with homemade ricotta and sourdough (as in the picture) or on top of a lovely salad of arugula or romaine. This is such an easy “condiment” to make and it’s so healthy! I find it a delightful alternative to my roasted beets with quite the kick. Try it out – and let me know what you think!

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 http://eatatkellys.blogspot.com




Louie the (late) Watch Llama

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Posted: July 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm

We’ve told you about life on Rivendell farm before – we mostly raise sheep, but we have chickens, four work horses, a few dairy goats, and a few steers.

But we haven’t told you much about the newest member of the family — Louie the Watch Llama.

You see, in past years, we’ve had problems with coyotes (and sometimes dogs) attacking the sheep. We used to keep the steers in the pasture with the sheep, but there were still problems.

Louie, the Watch Llama

Then we got Louie, from a neighboring farm. Louie’s a friendly, even-tempered llama, unless you’re a coyote. We think he knows his job is to watch over his flock. Since we got Louie, the sheep aren’t bothered by the coyotes. But maybe he’s doing his job too well.

Lambing season just ended. In the past, the coyotes would take care of the afterbirth. Not so much, now that Louie’s on the job. At least we still have the turkey vultures around.

Louie Up-Close

A few weeks ago, Louie had the ultimate chance to bond with the sheep. He had to be sheared. That heavy winter coat just wouldn’t do as the weather here gets warmer. He didn’t seem to mind too much.

Shearing Louie

 

When we started farming, over 30 years ago, we never envisioned taking care of a llama. We’ve missed a lot over all these years.

On a sad note:

Two weeks ago Louie was okay on Sunday, when we moved the sheep to a new pasture. He was last through the gate though, and I thought maybe he had a sore foot. His gait seemed a little off, but nothing that anyone else would have noticed.

Then Monday morning we went out and he was down, unable to get up. It was definitely something neurological. We called around to find a vet because not many vets know anything about llamas.

The vet said it was probably one of 3 things; thiamine deficiency, listeriosis, or meningeal worm. We treated for all 3 but it was most probably meningeal worm. Sheep do get it but it is a more common in llamas. It is a parasite that attacks the spinal column or brain. Deer are the carriers.

Louie lasted for a week but never got up again. Add the recent 100 plus temps and there was a lot of stress for him. We will miss him as he had a great temperament and liked people. We may get another llama but with the drought we don’t feel we can add any more mouths to feed now. We are feeding our winter hay now so we don’t know if we will have to sell some sheep later on.


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Why I love Wisconsin (hint: It’s the unique beers)

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Posted: July 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Why I love Wisconsin

Yes, it’s got great cheese, brats, lakes, cows, ginseng, cranberries, and friendly people, but that’s not the main reason I love Wisconsin.

It’s the beer.

Yes, the beer. Many unique beers not available outside Wisconsin’s borders.

l to r: O’So Brewing’s The Big O, New Glarus’ Wisconsin Belgian Red (made with cherries), Ale Asylum’s Ambergeddon, Tyranena’s Headless Man, Big Bay’s Long Weekend, Tyranena’s Stone Tepee, O’So Brewing’s Lupulin Maximus, Sprecher’s Special Amber

I’m on my annual retreat to a family place in Northern Wisconsin, and I have in front of me a panoply of local Wisconsin brews rarely available outside the state.

Wisconsin is a great state for beer. According to the Brewers’ Association, in 2010 Wisconsin had 72 breweries, or one for every 78,986 residents. Contrast that with Illinois, at 49 breweries (one for every 261,850 residents) or Michigan. Yes, Michigan had more breweries than Wisconsin, at 85, but that’s only one for every 116,278 residents. Clearly, Wisconsinites can get sated more easily than Michiganders.

As I’m writing this, I’m sipping on a Floppin’ Crappie, from Northwoods Brewing in Eau Claire. It’s in a 12 oz. can, which can be a good thing; cans are lighter in weight than bottles, they’re easy recyclable, and they totally protect the beer from light. It’s a wheat beer with rather light character, but very refreshing this hot afternoon.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll try another Big Bay Long Weekend IPA. It’s currently made at the production facility of Milwaukee Brewing (a relatively new venture for the brewpub by the same name in the historic Third Ward, on the river — slogan, “Ale’s what cures ya’.”) As an IPA, it has a nice caramel maltiness not overwhelmed by intense hops. It has a bit of sweetness upfront, with grainy overtones, yielding to a lasting, pleasant bitterness.

I also tried a Lupulin Maximus (2010 vintage) from Plover, Wisconsin’s O’So Brewing (which, among many other beers, makes “The Big O” – don’t ask me about the story I have that goes with that beer). It’s an Imperial IPA. Is it a gimmick to include parts of a hop cone in a beer? Maybe, but if you can sip around them, it’s one serious beer that hopheads should love. My tongue is still tingling. Maybe it’s the hop cone pieces in my mouth. (Lupulin refers to a resin in the hop flower, which contributes flavor and bitterness to beers … in ways that are over the top for Lupulin Maximus.)

Another hoppy discovery was called “Kiss the Lips,” from tiny Lake Louie Brewing (although it prides itself as being “the largest brewery in Arena, WI [OK, the only brewery ever in Arena]”). I’m told some have tried to visit the brewery, but drove right past, since it’s off the road, down a small side road, and doesn’t have the flashy signage of many other breweries. Kiss the Lips is another IPA, but this time with pine and citrus aromas, and a definite malt background. It’s worth seeking out, but the promise of the name may not deliver – at least if it’s being consumed in the presence of the opposite sex.

Ale Asylum has always been a personal favorite, so I was happy to learn that it will be expanding significantly this summer. Although it will still be close to the Madison WI airport, it will have its own building, and will increase its capacity from the current 17,000 barrels to about 50,000. I’m now sipping on an Ambergeddon, a copper-colored, malty brew offset with good citrusy hops. I might need to have another tomorrow.

Yesterday, I quaffed a beer from a grand old Wisconsin name – Potosi, from Potosi Wisconsin. Founded in 1852, Potosi was a mainstay drink in southwestern Wisconsin until it closed in 1972. Rebuilt beginning in 1995, it now houses the National Brewery Museum (it beat out Milwaukee and St. Louis for the honor), and all Potosi profits go to a foundation supporting the museum and the historic brewery, as well as other local causes. Potosi Snake Hollow India Pale Ale is another with a good malt background, and a good amount of hop flavor, without the intense bitterness of some other IPAs.

Another malty treat from just north of Milwaukee was Sprecher’s Special Amber Ale. It’s all about the rich, slightly sweet, caramel-ly flavors. Although started as a brewery, Sprecher now makes more craft soda than it does craft beer. (“There’s less paperwork to make a soda,” I remember one of their reps telling me.)

Ah, there were many other beers, too, like beers from Tyranena, Central Waters, Sand Creek … although those three are available outside of Wisconsin.

New Glarus, though, isn’t. Despite moving to a larger brewery several years ago, they’re still being challenged to meet the demand within the state of Wisconsin. One of their newer brews, Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale, has become a favorite. Made with five different hops, it’s an easy-drinking quaff with great hop aroma. And, as the name suggests, it eschews the clichés that define East Coast and West Coast Pale Ales. It’s its own beer. And anything from New Glarus’ Thumbprint series should be snapped up immediately.

The good news for those of us outside the Cheddar Curtain, though, is that all these beers can be found just over the border, at very good prices. From Chicago, the Woodman’s megamarket just off I-94 at Route 50 is an excellent choice. (From a little further west, the Beloit store might be a better option.)

For a map of many (but not all) of Wisconsin’s craft brewers, click the map link on the lower left of this page.


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Weekly Harvest 7/13/12 Sustainable Food Blogs Here and Yonder

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Posted: July 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm

 Since this is a roundup of mostly sustainable food issues mentioned in the blogosphere I had to include a picture of Peter Klein’s from Seedling Farms bicycle powered blender for the Green City Market BBQ last night. Not only did it make the carbon foot print smaller but it kept the noise level down by not using a generator. Peter uses solar power at his farm so it makes sense he would be creative with power at the BBQ! This is a picture of a waste container from a Wednesday at the GCM but those volunteers last night were on point directing all of us to compost, recycle or landfill!

Before I get into the weekly round-up, I have to do a shout out to Beetnik Melissa Graham, who was listed on The Greatist.com for “The Top 15 Crusaders for Health in the Food Industry” .Who are some of the others? Included on the list with Melissa was Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Marian Nestle to name a few. Way to go Melissa!!

Drought and heat was one of the talked about issues this week. WBEZ reported “Some farmers mow fields as drought worsens“. The State Journal Register out of Springfield “Drought designation extended to entire state.” Treehugger.com reported “Organically Grown Corn Outperforms Non-Organic in Drought Conditions” Terradaily posted “Climate Change May Lead to Fewer – But More Violent Thunderstorms

The issues of the meat world continue to rise to the top of the internet issues pile “The Kindest Cut of Meat is Ground” an essay written by Danielle Nierenberg of Nourishing the Planet and Brian Halweil of Edible Manhattan in the New York Times, not all cuts of meat are equal. Here’s what they had to say about the essay on the Huffington Post. Sweet Pea Media and Edible Chicago produced this video on the partnership between Q7 Ranch and Standard Market in Westmont, “Rancher Meets Butcher” The Atlantic published a post “How Your Chicken Dinner is Creating a Drug-Resistant Superbug” The Salt at NPR, put out “A Nation of Meat Eaters:See How It All Adds Up“, on the effect of meat consumption in the US. Finally, one more among other related posts The Pew Charitable Trusts “Chefs Highlight Need to End Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animal Production” Sign this petition to ask Trader Joe’s to sell meat without drugs.

Articles on Monsanto and GMOs, and petitions against Monsanto increase, GMwatch.org “Former Monsanto Employee Warns of Genetically Modified Food Concerns“. Sign this petition for the Millions Against Monsanto campaign. Here’s a good one, Dupont and Monsanto go head to head over patents from Equity.com

Here’s an update on the Farm Bill from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Okay, now for some happy news from The Chicagoist, if this doesn’t get you smiling nothing will, cows listen to tuba music

Grist.org highlighted top chefs going to food policy boot camp.

Finally, Iliana Regan who is opeing Elizabeth Restaurant has a new post on urban foraging at Finding Foods.

Terra Brockman of The Seasons on Henrys Farm is now putting out fantastic posts at BrockmanFamilyFarming.com on what is in season and what is going on at the farm.

And I can’t forget to check in with Grant and Ellen from the 100mealproject who attended chefs camp as guests at Spence Farm.

For those needing a little incentive to check more things off the list, Grubstreet Chicago updated us on Gabriel Viti who is closing Gabriels in Highwood but keeping his other restaurant Miramar open, meanwhile in 18 months he has climbed the 7 summits and done a few other things. Gosh, if he has been able to do all that in 18 months,maybe I can just get up 5 minutes earlier every day, okay 10. : > )!!!

Happy TOC, Pitchfork and farmer’s market foraging this weekend!




This Summer I Eat Cheese

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Posted: July 12, 2012 at 10:20 am

It used to be, come July, I entered the months of greek salads. I would eat any day and every day, some variation of cukes, tomatoes and accessories. It did or did not need cheese. It could be chopped; it could be sliced; it could be left in chunks. The salad satisfied our need to eat seasonal, and the salad satisfied our desire to eat light when hot.

This year, however, even making a salad seems too much work. I can barely be bothered to use the knife beyond slicing the cheese–using a tactic I learned ages ago from Loiusa Chu, always slice the cheese in the direction of the end of the wedge.

It did not quite start out that way this summer. As I’ve already posted, it’s been another year of Turkish breakfasts. But, see, I used to think that Turkish breakfasts were an excuse to eat salad in the morning, but I realized at some point, it really was an excuse to eat more cheese.  The above Turkish breakfast includes 3 types of local cheeses, including squeaky cheese curds.

 

Blame the bread. Good bread always features in Turkish breakfasts, and I always purchased a Red Hen baguette at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market for the meals. Unil I happened upon the baguettes carried by Marion Street Cheese Market. Red Hen’s baguette is decent, better than average, but it’s not fully adequate when you try something else. Something from Marion Street Cheese. What they’re selling is as good as any baguette around Chicagoland. And when I go to MSC for bread, I invariably walk out with cheese. And the more cheese I bought, the less need I had to make the other dishes around the cheese. What better served my needs for laziness?

If I learned that I could live on cheese alone, I also learned that best cheeses in the USA right now may come from Indiana. That’s two raw milk cheeses from Trader’s Point Creamery.  The fleur de la terre on the left and the brick street tomme on the right.  Trader’s Point brags about their grass-fed cows, and these cheeses, filled with complex elements, are really about the milk.  Really, these are like the best of French cheeses.

I surely eat so much cheese because we have so much great local cheese. The best cheese in the USA may come from Indiana, but Wisconsin competes very well. Wisconsin competes so well for many reasons. One great reason to eat Wisconsin cheese is that it’s not just cheddar and limburger. Cheesemakers like Hidden Springs and Carr Valley do excellent things with sheep’s milk, and Wisconsin’s goat dairy’s do outstanding work too. The other great reason to eat Wisconsin cheese is that it comes out well from farmstand operations like LeClare Farms and it comes out (almost) as well from mega operations like Montchevre. I made myself a tasting of Wisconsin goat cheese for lunch the other day. That’s Montchevre chevriotte, a camembert style cheese, and LeClare’s award winnig Evalon. Of course, only one has the interesting-ness from raw milk, but the camembert worked just fine.

I’m eating so much cheese, I ate that plate of Wisconsin cheese for lunch on the same day that I was invited to an event put on by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Cheese for lunch, and then several helpings of Wisconsin cheeses for dinner including a stunning new, washed rind (i.e., stinky) cheese from Hooks called stinky fottene is what I’m all about right now. Blogger Madame Fromage called the Hook’s cheese, a “gateway stinker.” With this special bit of stench, and offerings barely on the market like a collaboration between LeClare and Roelli called ziege zacke–I wish I took a picture to show you why it has its name–the tasting re-affirmed what I learned at lunch. Wisconsin cheeses come from all sizes of makers. That crumbly looking one in the bottom right is the latest from giant Sartori, called canella bellavitano.  It means that you can always find good, local cheeses.

You should be able to pick up Sartori cheeses at your grocery store. I’m eating so much cheese because I’m not just getting my food at grocery stores. I’ve found myself at Woodman’s* in Beloit recently, where there’s a good selection of mid-range Wisconsin cheeses, Brennan’s in Madison, which is a step up, with good prices on things like Holland Family Farm’s goudas, also was in my way recently, and Willy St. Co-op, whose wide range included locally made water-buffalo mozzerella, also called me in last week. How can I not eat so much cheese.

*Something Wisconsin does as well as cheese is beer, and while there are many places to get Wisconsin cheese, there is no better place to get Wisconsin beer than Woodman’s, where the six packs of New Glarus never shy above $8. I tweeted my pleasure at Woodman’s the other day, and it got a re-tweet from @woodmansfood, to the enormous pleasure of my daughter. Know how happy it made her? She made it her facebook status. That happy.


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The Local Calendar 7/12/12 TOC, GCM BBQ, Corn, Campers, Beets!

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Posted: July 12, 2012 at 8:56 am


Local corn was at a few of the farmer’s stands Wednesday at the Green City Market including Nichols Farms. Nichols had some beautiful local beets as well. For those readers who are interested in exactly what is in season and what is available at the markets, the Brockman Family farm blog is a great one to read, Chief Beet @LocalFamily Rob Gardner has continued to post about what is in his CSA box here, Tomato Mountain, where the other half of @localfamily @Shes_Cooking works, has a great blog on what is in season and what is going on at the farm here. If you still have not found what farmer’s market works for you, be sure to check our market locator here and if we are missing your favorite market, let us know in the comments below, we would love that! Have you finally decided to sign up for a CSA, it is not too late, here is our CSA guide to help you make the decision.

  Today is “The Day” for the locavore’s “Taste of Chicago” the Green City Market BBQ. Tickets are still available and you can purchase one at the door. The BBQ is a fundraiser and helps to support programs and personnel so that people like Erin Riley-Strong can give eager campers a tour of the markets and programs like Club Sprouts which introduces young people to greens and vegetables can exist.

It is summertime so there is a lot on the Local calendar, let’s get going to the weeks ahead. If we have missed your favorite farm dinner, lecture or class, let us know in the comments below, we really appreciate it!

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

Farmers Farm Stand 66 East Randolph in the Loop, Chicago 9-3pm M-F

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. Checkout their July newsletter here.

Publican Quality Meats – 835 W. Fulton, Chicago Has Tuesday night Burgers N Whiskey 6-9pm and Sunday Grilling Series starts this Sunday 3-8pm with guest chefs!

Southport Grocery and Cafe 3552 N. Southport, Chicago

WHAT TO DO NOW

The Spence Farm Foundation has ongoing farmer training programs going. Here is their 2012-2013 calendar.

July 12

The Taste of Chicago started yesterday in Grant Park, it ends July 15th. here is a list of the pop-up restaurants, the Celebrity Chef du Jour dinners, the Tony Mantuano dinner for today is sold out, and the Dominicks Cooking Corner Daily demonstrations schedule. Lots to do and eat!!

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

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 summer at the market. Have you purchased your tickets yet?

Chicago - Eli’s and Wright College Farmers Market – 7am – 1pm 6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive (Near Wilbur Wright College) Every Thursday  until October 25. Eli’s Cheesecake World . A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables from Nichol’s Farm, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences’ Farm Stand, Cooper Farm, and more will be here! The Farmers Market also includes vibrant flowers, hand crafts, artisan breads, exciting spices, books, informational lectures and Eli’s famous grilled lunches. Chief Beet Rob Gardner posted about them here.

Chicago – Green Week Homebrew Contest hosted by the Neo-Futurists – $15 includes tastes of brews and foods, sponsored by the Mightbytes and Brewcamp. All in Andersonville 5153 North Ashland at the Neo-Futurist theater.

July 13

Taste of Chicago continues!

July 14

Taste of Chicago Grant Park

Chicago – Green City Market – The chef demonstration will be Michael Taus of Zealous. The hours are  7am to 1pm and the market is in Lincoln Park, right across from the Farm in the Zoo. Nordic Creamery will now be carrying milk from Sassy Cow Creamery.

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

FD!! Caledonia – Wind Ridge Herb Farm “Dinner 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

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.

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.

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

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

July 15

Last chance to check out the Taste of Chicago!

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 – 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.

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

July 17

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 – Haute Couture Coffee Crafts and Coffee with Author Janet Lee – Counter Culture Coffee 177 N. Ada 7-9m

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

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.

SAVE THE DATE

July 19

Chicago – The Publican Dark Lord Dinner – 837 West Fulton Market  Grubstreet reported on it here I won’t go on and on about the chefs involved although I could and I am not really even a beer drinker…Bidding for a seat is here..

July 20

Chicago – The Square Roots Festival opens today – 5pm – 10pm Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Wilson The Old Town School of Folk Music and the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commercepresent “Square Roots,” the first ever craft beer and music experience in Chicago’s Lincoln Square.

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.

Chicago – Square Roots Festival continues 12pm – 10pm Lincoln Ave between Montrose and Wilson

July 22

Chicago – Square Roots Festival ends today 12pm – 8pm Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Wilson

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 24

Chicago – Organic Vegetable Gardening Workshop – The Plant 140 W. 46th St. 6:30pm – 8pm

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

Chicago - Edible Alchemy Festival and Fundraiser

July 29

Campton Hills - Slow Food Chicago and Slow Food City’s Edge present “A Potluck Picnic at Garfield Farm” 2:30 -6pm 3N016 Garfield Road Bring a dish and a blanket Beverage will be provided.$15 general admission $12 members

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

Chicago – Edible Alchemy Summer Festival – 10:00am – 4:30am 2042 W. 21st

July 30

Chicago – Floriole Monthly Dinner – This month features Pasta Puttana – Jessica Volpe cooks with Sandra to create a meal straight from the Green City Market. $75 7pm

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

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 10

Chicago – Hungry for Change: Growing Faith, Growing Food – Presented by the Chicago Lights Urban Farm in collaboration with Growing Power-Chicago and the Academy for Faith and Life of Fourth Presbyterian Church Keynote Presentation 7pm in the Fourth Church Sanctuary Roger Thurow Senior Fellow for Global Agriculture and Food Policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Appetizers by Eric Mansavage of Farmhouse will be served.

August 10

Northwest Michigan – 4th Annual Northwest Michigan Hop Tour and Field Day 8am – 5pm Read about it here in the Beet by Associate Beet Editor Wendy Aeschlimann @aschie30

Chicago – Hungry for Change workshops all day – Chicago Lights Urban Farm

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

New!! Chicago – Edible Chicago and Brooklyn Brewery present The Quarterly Carousal at Hopleaf – 5148 N. Clark St. 6-9pm Beer tasting and food samplings. Free RSVP to events@ediblechicago.com

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 Farm “Dinner 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 Cerveceria & Few SpiritsFor tickets, please call (773) 293.2489.  $275 This is a mini-vacation, all day affair typically running from 11am to midnight.

New!! Chicago – Slow Food Chicago Vegetarian Harvest Dinner – Uncommon Ground Devon

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 . Do you have your tickets yet?

 





Two Michigan Workshops to Learn About Growing Local Hops

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Posted: July 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Even though there’s a lot of competition in the Midwest beer industry (especially from Chicago’s own microbreweries), it’s common to see a Michigan beer or two on tap at most bars and restaurants, and many more in bottles. As beer is currently a growth industry in Michigan (it is currently ranked 5th in the United States in the greatest number of breweries), Michigan has tried to keep up with demand for their local product by cultivating the key ingredient in beer: local hops.

To meet the needs of the state’s burgeoning local beer production, Michigan farmers have ramped up growth of local hops. Michigan farmers have planted approximately 100 acres of hops, and invested over $2 million in purchasing and refurbishing picking and processing equipment for farming hops.

To highlight this new arena for local crops, Michigan State University is organizing two workshops to educate people on growing hops. The first is the 4th Annual Northwest Michigan Hop Tour and Field Day on Friday, August 10th from 8 am to 5 pm. With support from the Michigan Brewers Guild and the Michigan Hop Alliance, the participants will visit the state’s oldest commercial hopyard, attend MSU research trials, learn about picking and processing hops, enjoy lunch at Old Mission Peninsula’s Mission Table, and learn about the brewery needs as well as the role of hops in beer production from Michigan Brewers Guild Executive Director Scott Graham. Space is limited to the first 56 participants so please sign up soon! More information here.

If you cannot get all the way up to Old Mission Peninsula, a second workshop will be held in Southwest Michigan. MSU is hosting a workshop on August 21 at its Southwest Michigan Research and Education Center in Benton Harbor. Learn what is needed to set up a hop yard, select plants, and start growing hops.  You’ll also learn about the history and uses for hops, the requirements for growing, fertilizing and irrigating hops, common insect and disease problems and their management, hop processing, and marketing opportunities for hops. Representatives from local microbreweries will be on hand to discuss hop characteristics and what they add to a brew. This workshop is geared towards potential commercial or serious, amateur hop growers. More information here.




A Slow Beet – Let’s Welcome the Sugar Beet Co-op

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Posted: July 10, 2012 at 10:07 am

Oak Park residents Jenny Jocks Stelzer and Cheryl Munoz, with their neighborhood friends, formed the Sugar Beet Co-op. They intend to build a storefront in Oak Park supplying the village with quality local foods. As they move their plan ahead, they’re engaging the community and throwing a fundraiser. And when you get the end of today’s story, you’ll find a special discount code for that July 26 event.

A few weeks ago, my Saturday went very slowly. Slow food. They say that slow food is not an organization or a collective. They say that slow food lives mostly in the hearts and minds of those who practice it. Those who think both of the pleasures of the table and the battles for good, clean and fair food. On that Saturday, I spent the night intermingling with a lot of people supporting Slow Food Chicago, and also the Chicago Honey Co-op in a beautiful, this is Chicago? setting of Christy Webber Landscaping as part of the annual Summer Solstice potluck.

This jammed together plate of slow food, to me, exemplifies the pleasures of the potluck (with special credit to Slow Food Board Member Jeannine Wise who took care of the salmon.)

Still, where my Saturday really slowed down, to a grinding halt, was at Q7 Ranch in Marango, Illinois with the guys and gals of the Sugar Beet Co-op.

 

After a hot morning petting the horses and chasing the cows (they don’t like being petted), we sat down to a picnic lunch that included market vegetables, home-made bread, and pickled peppers put away last summer (that I could not get enough of).

You’d think this was the star of the day. Beetnik Cheryl Munoz picked up a hunk of Q7 grass-fed beef from Rob Leavitt of Butcher and Larder (who sells exclusively Q7 beef) and roasted it just great. That is, if you cannot tell, a cut from the round, yet it displayed not a bit of the chew that can be that part of the cow. With our beef (and homemade bread), we had sauce made from the horseradish grown in Jenny Seltzer’s garden. OK, are we getting the slow food picture here? Yet, as much as I stuffed myself on the blanket, we were there for more.

If you spent any time at Green City Market or any of Chicago’s farmer’s markets in recent years, you met David Rand. For a while, he was the City’s Chief Forager, and he did an outstanding job of matching country with city. A year or so ago, however, David reversed the order. He was matching city to country for Frank Morgan and his newly formed, ranch in Marengo. Frank Morgan, sadly, passed away this year. David, and Frank’s wife and daughter continue the operation.

We were there to see the cows. Know our food.

There’s not much to a grass-fed cattle operation. In fact, the saying goes (at least the saying I’m making up), the less you see at a grass-fed cattle operation, the more real it gets. It’s grass. Cows. And a great way to spend a day, slowly.

Get to know Jenny, Cheryl and the Sugar Beet Co-op yourself on July 26, at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn. They’re throwing an old fashioned, family-friendly hoe-down with the Golden Horse Ranch Band and one of their farm to table dinners to raise funds for their project. Go to Brown Paper Tickets to sign up now. And enter code “local beet” to get $5 off your ticket!

Welcome Sugar Beet, we expect to hear from you a lot going forward.




Root Cellar Diary, Summer Edition

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Posted: July 10, 2012 at 7:32 am

“Gently refrigerate” highly perishable items”

Root cellar in summer, courtesy David Hammond

Last winter, I did a series of entries entitled of my Root Cellar Diary–see here, here, here, and here for highlights. I started writing this continuing entries in late autumn and I finished in early spring. I figured my root cellar was out of operation for the summer months, when all kinds of local fruits and vegetables would be available for enjoying fresh. I was wrong.

However, I realized recently that it made no sense to stop using a root cellar during the summer.

Here’s how that revelation came about.

My wife Carolyn and I went to Familia Foods in Berwyn to get some masa, chiles, skirt steak and a few other Hispanic food items. While there, we spotted some incredible deals on fruit: a case of 12 mangos for like three bucks, and 24 beautiful bananas for two bucks.

Now, on the carton for the bananas, it suggests storing them at 57 degrees. With the heat wave we’d been enduring, our kitchen was about 30 degrees too warm. Our root cellar, however, though probably not 57 degrees, was more likely in the 60s, and so acceptable.

You can’t refrigerate bananas without their turning brown; in our root cellar, they mature more slowly, enabling us to eat them slowly rather than resorting to a few days of banana-only dishes. They also seem to mature more evenly, with a few brown flecks developing over time but no soft spots or big squishy blemishes.

Ditto the mangoes – they last much longer in the basement than they do in the kitchen.

We figured we might as well keep our potatoes in there as well, as they too seem to age quickly in the heat.

And for just-bottled home-made beer, a relatively cool dark place is where you want to store it, and the root cellar is perfect.

So although my experiences with my root cellar last winter were less than 100% positive, I have hopes that this summer I may be able to “gently refrigerate” highly perishable items and keep them just a little bit longer.

Thank you, Digital Age, for rendering my photo darkroom obsolete and thereby enabling me and my family to enjoy the fruits of our root cellar year-round.




The Weekly Harvest 7/6/12 Sustainable Food Blogs Here and Yonder Friday, July 6th, 2012
Local Calendar 7/4/12 Happy and Hot Fourth! Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
Eli’s Cheesecake and Wright College Farmer’s Market Lecture Series 2012 Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
Midwest Cheese Plate: An Introduction Sunday, July 1st, 2012