Our Next Sponsor Offers a Year Round CSA
If there is one thing we like to say often, it’s join Green Grocer Chicago as a sponsor of the Local Beet, but if there’s something else we like to say even more, that is: the reasons to eat local don’t matter some of the time. We believe in the value and worth of eating local; for the taste, for the environment, for the economy, and for the sense of place and seasonality. This means we do our best to eat local all the time. We aim to eat local in the winter as well as the summer. This means we are especially pleased to announce our second Beet sponsor, Tomato Mountain Farm, because Tomato Mountain enables year-round local eating. For years, Tomato Mountain provided high quality preserved goods at Chicago area winter markets, helping us fight the tyranny of the fresh. Now, Tomato Mountain also offers a CSA box all year.
For about six or so years, various parties, especially faith based groups like Faith in Place, have hosted and promoted winter markets. The advent of these markets nicely coincided with our desire to eat local. Thus, we became market-heads. The way some people chased the Grateful Dead [ed. don’t you mean Phish?], we chased winter markets. One week we’d be shopping in the St. Ben’s neighborhood, the next we’d be in Beverly. Luckily, the markets often sprang very close to our Oak Park home. It was an odd mix back then curated by a woman named Robin Schirmer. Robin took it upon herself to make these markets, not just by identifying vendors but by chasing them down. We joined once. A day that began in a motel room, no joke, to pick up indoor raised fish and vegetables, proceeded West for grains ground on a kitchen machine and then jogged north for organic mushrooms and organic tomato products. Tomato Mountain goods have been mainstays of these winter markets forever. Besides the fish guy drop, my other endearing memory of this era of winter markets was filling up on Tomato Mountain salsa samples.
These days I still really like Tomato Mountain salsas. Produced on the farm, they really speak of the field. Still, I’m not quite as salsa-needy. See, my wife now works for Tomato Mountain, and I can sample almost any day. And where I used to look to Tomato Mountain for products that made it possible to eat local, like canned tomatoes, when I could not get real tomatoes, I now look to Tomato Mountain for a lot more of our diet. For two years, we have been getting our CSA from Tomato Mountain. Last year the CSA ended in December. This year it continues.
I can safely say that I would be ecstatic about the news of Tomato Mountain’s winter CSA if my wife did not work for Tomato Mountain. I would say I would be ecstatic about the news of Tomato Mountain’s winter CSA if they were not a Beet sponsor. It is exactly what our community needs. It is exactly the thing to make it possible to abide by the creed that the reasons to eat local means we should always strive to eat local. Just when it becomes hardest to leave by those words, there will be a CSA box. The box will mix storage crops like onions with hoop-house grown produce, especially frost-kissed spinach, and then supplement those items with their classic jarred items. Moreover, the winter box is hardly one dimensional. For instance, Tomato Mountain offers a few kinds of radishes and a few kinds of turnips. It really will allow you to eat more local.
The Local Beet is proud to announce our second sponsor, Tomato Mountain Farm, and we are proud to tell you about their year round CSA.