The Local Calendar 3/20/13 Spring Equinox, Farm Dinner Season Starts Early!

March 20, 2013 at 9:40 am

Spring officially arrives tomorrow! Soon tables of spring onions will appear at the markets and the supply of local product will continue to improve from now on. Make sure to check the Local Calendar often, as we update it with the latest information on farmers markets and farm dinners. They tend to pop up suddenly just like spring flowers.

Farm dinners (FD) are starting earlier this year.  We have started a section, listing some of the dinners on the calendar we are aware of so far, with some of the leading sustainable farmers in the area, Mint Creek Farm, Prairie Fruit Farms and Slagel Family Farms. The dinners tend to book up pretty quickly so time to get a-scheduling! There are other “road trip” (RT) opportunities ahead, like the Great Lakes Cider and Perry Competition in Grand Rapids. Morel season is soon, ramps will start appearing at the markets, spring is here!!!

We try to keep up on events but miss some, some sites to check out for further detail on sustainable food/urban ag are the Illinois Stewardship Alliance out of Springfield and the Advocates for Urban Agriculture here in Chicago as well as WeFarmAmerica which has tons of weekly events. The Peterson Garden Project has lots of information and workshops for the urban gardner, Matt Kirouac described their Victory Garden they showcased at The Chicago Flower and Garden Show. Now on to the very busy week ahead.

Farm Dinners 2013

Mint Creek Farm – Stelle, IL 4/21, 5/11 All meet-up at The Greenouse Bed & Breakfast just down the road from Mint Creek. Dinners are BYOB and include a farm tour. Mint Creek is known for their sheep but ask Farmer & Poet Harry Carr to recite one of his poems or bring a poem of your own to share!!

Outstanding In The Field – National farm dinner tour, has set the bar for farm dinners with their connected tables of white table cloths and stemware. Here are their Midwest dates, go to the links for reservations. 8/4 (Shooting Star Farms, Chef Tory Miller, Mineral Point, WI), 8/5(Pinehold Gardens, Chef Dan Van Rite, Oakcreek, WI), 8/7(City Farm Chicago, Chef Jared Wentworth), 8/8(Mick Klug,Chef Brian Huston, St. Josephs, MI), 8/10(Seedling Farm,  Chef Stephanie Izard, South Haven, MI)

Prairie Fruit Farms -Champaign, IL  5/18, 5/25, 6/1, 6/15, 6/29, 7/13, 7/27, 8/10, 8/24, 9/7, 9/21, 10/26 The Prairie Fruit site describes the chef, theme and menu. Here is brief description of what to expect. Reservations can be made on the Showclix site, only 40 seats available per dinner and only 4 tickets can be purchased per person, the price incudes tax, tip not included BYOB. Prairie Fruit is known for their goats and cheeses but they ,also, make some killer gelato!

Slagel Family Farms5/18, 6/8, 7/20, 8/10, 9/14 The Slagel Family has teamed up with some well known Chicago chefs who have supported farm to table food for a long time. For each of these dinners, transportation is included in the price from Chicago to the farm, and its BYOB. Slagel pork among their other meats has been a sought after menu item at some of the top restaurants in Chicago and Farmer Louis John Slagel has been a leader in sustainable farming.

March 20

Chicago – Penny Pastry Fundraising and Tasting and Preview Borelli’s 2124 West Lawrence Ave. 7-9pm Food prepared by Chefs Axel Erkenswick and Peter Becker $20/person donation requested All funds go towards helping Penny Pastry get off the ground in a new space!

Chicago - Soup and Bread at The Hideout - 1354 W. Wabansia  5:30pm -8pm This week it’s another geographic showdown–this one transcontinental. Are you ready for soups pitting Paris against Tokyo? Our soup cooks include Chicagoist editor Chuck Sudo and a return visit from the good people at Vera, plus Alana Zaritz, Rebecca Lyon and Justin Dennis, Bari Singh and Emily Bouchard, Sam Zelitch, Justin Jackson, and Bradley Newman, executive chef at the University of Chicago’s Quadrangle Club. Our DJ next week is our own Ryan Hembrey; bread graciously donated by Publican Quality Meats. Pay-what-you-can donations benefit Common Threads, which teaches cooking and nutrition to low-income kids.

March 21

Chicago - Green Cleaning Basics WeFarmAmerica The Green Exchange 2545 West Diversey $20 Reserve here

Chicago – Uptown Market Uptown Farmers’ Market is year round. Every Thursday from 7-1 inside Weiss Memorial Hospital or in the parking lot during the warmer months. 4646 N Marine Drive This is an appropriate day to stock up on Spark of the Heart Soups.

March 23-24

RT!! Grand Rapids, MI - Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition - The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association, a not for profit organization formed to showcase and promote the art of apple and pear fermentation beverages and provide related educational opportunities, is the sponsor of this competition taking place at the Courtyard by Marriot in downtown Grand Rapids.

March 23

Chicago - Food The Nature of Eating exhibit opens at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Chicago – Green City Market at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 8:30- 1pm 2430 North Cannon Drive The market runs indoors through April 27th Bring your children to Club Sprouts at 9:30 – 10:15am. Chef Heather Terhune of Sable Kitchen is giving the chef demo at 10:30.

Chicago – The Empty Bottle Farmers Market – Noon – 5pm 1035 N. Western Chicago Seed Library will host a Seed Swap!

Elgin - Winter Market at Habitat for Humanity ReStore Elgin - 800 North State St. 9am – 3pm (thru May) Their mantra is “Keepin It Local1″ As such, their intention has always been to supply the local community with local products and crafts.

Evanston – Winter Evanston Farmer and Artisan Market at the Ecology Center  9-1pm 2024 McCormick Blvd.  The market will be at this location for the next 5 months, today and every Saturday through April 27, 2013. Spark of the Heart Soups and C & D Family Farms will be there

RT!! Grand Rapids, MI – Michigan Cider Takeover in Celebration of the Cider and Perry Competition – Hopcat -25 S. Ionia

La Fox – Heritage Prairie Saturday Farmer’s Market  9am – 1pm 2N308 Brundige Road

RT!! Michigan City, Indiana - Wine Tasting by Candlelight - Road trip to Michigan City for a local wine event sponsored by the Tryon Farm Institute. 7:30pm – 10:00pm Shady Creek Winery 2030 Tryon Rd. Celebrate Earth Hour in style.

Oak Park – Wettstein Organic Farm Buzz Cafe 12pm – 3pm Beef, pork and eggs

March 24

Chicago – Logan Square Winter Market – 10-2pm Congress Theater Lobby 2135 North Milwaukee

Chicago – Pig Butchering Demo - Butcher and Larder 5pm 1026 North Milwaukee $50


March 28

Chicago - City Chicks WeFarmAmerica Urban Homesteading in Chicago Chicks in the City 6pm Green Exchange 2545 West Diversey $20 Reserve here

March 30

Chicago - Bee Keeping Class Chicago Honey Co-op - Jane Addams Hull House 10am – 3pm $75

April 4-7

Chicago - Fete Chicago - A 3 day celebration of food and design Grubstreet Chicago has all the details.

April 10

Chicago - Pig Butchering Demo Butcher and Larder 5pm 1026 North Milwaukee

April 14

Chicago – Bread Class at Floriole – 3pm 1220 West Webster Complimentary glass of wine and pizza dinner, $75

April 20

Chicago - BACONFEST – UIC Forum It is Sold Out but there are creative ways to win tickets here...

Chicago - Pinot Days  Navy Pier 2-5pm

Chicago - Red Meat Market Spring Lamb Butcher Class - With Ben Harrison Master Butcher Whole Foods Lincoln Park and a cooking class with Ryan Hutmacher of Centered Chef Studios. 10am – 1pm 177 North Ada Learn, eat and take some some good meat! $150

April 21

Chicago - Calling all kids!!! Earth Day at Sandwich Me In – 11am – 7pm 3037 North Clark(near Halsted) All day event with snacks and guests, sustainable farmers, learn how to make bread, music, arts and crafts.

Stelle – Mint Creek Farm Sunday Brunch & Farm Tour 11am Meet-up at The Greenhouse Bed & Breakfast  3606 N 1700 E Rd. $50 For more information contact Julie at There will be plenty of time to visit all the animals living on the 200+ acre farm including cows, chickens, pigs, sheep and goats.  Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather. See the 3 minute short film on Farmer Harry Carr by Storybuzzmedia here.

April 23

Chicago – Great Lakes Sustainable and Invasive Species Dinner Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet Shop 2070 N. Clybourn 7:30pm – 9pm $65 Celebrate the Great Lakes distinctive seafood bounty including the controversial Asian Carp. Sponsored by Lake Michigan League of Women Voters For further information and reservations email

April 26

Chicago - Whiskyfest It sold out pretty darn quickly last year!! Better get your tickets now!

April 27

Chicago - Third Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival Chicago French Market Go to the link for tickets, although it is free, there still is a maximum capacity and I think this year they will reach it!!! Meet+eat+shop w/ 90+ culinary producers.

April 28

Chicago - Michael Pollan lecture at Elmhurst College  “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation”

May 4

Chicago – Bull Breakdown Class & Tasting 10am – 1pm Red Meat Market 10am – 1pm Cut, Cook & Carry Toro, Toro, Toro hosted by Centered Chef Studios.

May 7

Chicago – 11th Annual Growing Home Benefit 6pm Salvage One 1840 West Hubbard Chef Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno and Food For Thought Order tickets online here...

May 11

FD!! Stelle- Mother’s Day Eve and Farm TourMint Creek Farm BYOB $60 3pm Meet-up at The Greenhouse Bed & Breakfast 3606 N. 1700 E. Rd. For more information contact Julie at

May 16-26

Chicago – 1o day celebration Chicago Craft Beer Week

May 17

Chicago - Half Acre Brewery Anniversary Party – Hee hee!! Stay tuned!

May 18

Champaign – Celebrate Spring! The start of Farm Dinner season at Prairie Fruit Farms in Champaign. 4pm 4410 North Lincoln Ave. This is our first dinner of the 2013 season.  As has become our tradition, expect an explosion of spring flavors such as Caveny Farm Katadin lamb, ramps (wild leeks), spring greens, sweet turnips, asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries. Purchase tickets here. (FYI, they make some killer gelato!!)

Fairbury - Slagel Family Farm First Farm Dinner of the Season! Transportation included from Chicago to the farm and back. $125 BYOB The dinner will be prepared and served by Guest Chef Nicole Pederson of Found Kitchen and Guest Chef John Asbaty of Panozzo’s. Please BYOB, lemonade and water will be provided and of course includes a tour of the farm, butchering class on sustainable meat practices and lots of food!!


These stores specialize in local foods:

Artisanal Wilmette – 414 Linden Ave. Wilmette

Butcher and Larder 1026 North Milwaukee in Noble Square, Chicago

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

Edible Alchemy Foods Co-op - Located in the near-SW Pilsen neighborhood, the co-op has grown to five locations in, including Hyde Park, River North, Lakeview, and Logan Square

Green Grocer 1402 West Grand Ave in West Town Check out their produce share January 9th through May 4th. You can still subscribe even though the share has started already.

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.

Publican Quality Meats – 835 W. Fulton, Chicago

Sauce and Bread Kitchen - 6338-40 N. Clark, Chicago

Standard Market – 333 East Ogden Ave., Westmont Be sure to say hi to Rockstar Butcher Joe Parajecki!!!