Sustainable Food Adventures To Do Before The Summer Ends
August is a time of vacations and relaxing, not a time of lists. However, I just could not help myself with a list of things, in no particular order, that I would love to get in before the summer ends in sustainable food land. Yes, a few of them run into Fall, but early September is still somewhat summery in Chicago. So if you are in and around the city, maybe you took time off in July, here are some day trips and things to do, some goofy(goats get me goofy), some not, in the city.
1. Get to Henry’s Wall of Lettuce at the Evanston Saturday market - I got to Henry’s Wall of Lettuce last year and it is unbelievable. The number of lettuces that Henry grows is incredible. You really have to see it to believe it and subscribing to the Brockman Family Farms newsletter is another information packed email you will be happy you receive.
2. Get up to the tasting room of Aeppeltreow Winery and Cidery in I first met Charles at CiderCon last Spring but he is making cider, perries and spirits and the tasting room is on the site of an incredible heirloom apple tree orchard.
3. Have a beverage and a sausage on Gene’s Sausage Shop rooftop wine and beergarten in Lincoln Square. Gene’s is old school sausage but a Chicago institution that sadly I have not gotten to yet. This may fall into the Indian Summer days of September.
4. Get to the 61st Market and sample some of Axel’s fares. Axel Erk has been baking some mighty fine pastries at Penny Pastry. I have seen them on Facebook but have yet to make it to the market. Art Jackson of Pleasant House Bakery makes appearances with breakfast sandwiches and every market letter that Connie Spreen sends out has something new going on to make it worth your while to get there.
5. Get to Prairie Fruit Farm and Creamery Wednesday Farm Open House in Champaign( this is actually a pitch for them to have some in September) – I have been to Prairie Fruit Farms before and meeting their goats are quite the experience. If you subscribe to their farm newsletter, you will be updated on all the food products being made on the farm inlcuding their incredible gelato and all the antics of their farm animals.
7. Go to a WeFarmAmerica class, they have had kombucha, fermentation and green smoothie classes. The classes tend to pop up quickly so you need to check their website often.
8. Get to a Meet The Market sponsored by the Green City Market Junior Board, the next one is Thursday June 22 at RM Champagne Salon. These events support the SNAP program at the Green City Market.
9. Get to one of the chef demos at the Green City Market. I never fail to learn something at the chef demos and get to taste some great food for free. These are up close and personal events with some of the top chefs of Chicago. I have gone to some but I wish I could make all of them.
10. Get to the Wednesday Green City Market - Wednesdays at the Green City Market are always worthwhile to get to. There are some vendors that are not there Saturdays, like Phoenix Bean, I have grown to absolutely love her 5 Spiced tofu. When you speak with her, only she can convey all the time she has taken to make sure that her tofu is organic and gluten free and by the way, the way she flavors it with spices is out of this world! But it is fun to talk to all the vendors on Wednesdays, there is a flow but not a craziness to business so everyone has time to chat which makes the morning relaxinfg, informative and fun.
11-Go meet Little Debbie and Billy Ray Valentine, the goats that now live at Growing Power’s Iron Street Farm.
12. Get down and check out all that is going on at The Plant.
13. Get to Dirks Fish on a Saturday when he is grilling fish on the Big Green Egg.
14. Get to Veggie Bingo at the Hideout on a Wednesday
Get to your favorite Al Fresco space, Picollo Sogno, the rooftop of the Hotel Lincoln, the patio of Embeya or Province, Perennial Virant, Bar Pastoral, whatever your favorite space is.
Take your favorite beverage(alcoholic of course) and some snacks and watch the sunset by the lake, have a picnic in Millenium park, eat at Friendship Chinese at Du Sable Harbor, sign up for Divvy and start doing your errands by bike, BBQ, volunteer at one of the urban farms or gardens in and around Chicago there are plenty of opportunities, The Talking Farm in Evanston, Growing Power Chicago Lights Urban Farm, Growing Home, Peterson Garden Project, go visit one of the tap rooms of a local Chicago craft brewer or one of the many beer gardens in your neighborhood. Make your own list but do it now, the summer is waning like the harvest!!