Exotic Vegetables for the Garden – Asian Vegetables

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Posted: September 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Now that the 2013 gardening season is winding down it is not too early to start planning for 2014. Most gardeners have their favorite varieties of tomatoes, peppers or potatoes and already have a plan in mind as to where they will go and how much will be planted. Anticipating the coming of the seed catalogs later this year, gardeners with a little flair for experimentation may want to add some exotic or ethnic vegetables to their 2014 planting roster. This week I will talk a little about Asian vegetables.

Vegetables from Asia that are familiar to many American gardeners include bok choi and Chinese cabbage. There are other Asian greens though, that are easy to grow plus pack a great deal of nutrients. Komatsuna is a relative of the turnip family. Also called spinach mustard, it is a large leafy green grown in Japan, Taiwan and Korea. With dark glossy green leaves it is rich in calcium and vitamin A. They can be harvested at any stage and prepared like spinach in the early stages and more like cabbage as they mature. The flavor grows stronger and hotter if allowed to mature and if grown in hot weather. Komatsuna can be stir-fried, pickled, boiled and added to soups or used fresh in salads. Tatsoi is a very similar green that is becoming popular in North America.

Komatsuna Photo: Kitazawa Seed Co.

Komatsuna
Photo: Kitazawa Seed Co.

Tatsoi Photo: Kitazawa Seed Co.

Tatsoi
Photo: Kitazawa Seed Co.

Pickling is a quite common way to preserve vegetables in Asian countries. Greens, such as the ones mentioned above, as well as just about any vegetable grown, are pickled in one form or another in Korean, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Melons are no exception as with the aptly named “Pickling Melon.” Similar to pickling cucumbers of the west, but much larger, the young melons can be eaten raw or added to a salad as you would a cucumber. Pickling though, is the most common preparation used for this vegetable in Asia. The pickling melon is also versatile enough to be baked stuffed with beef, pork, chicken or vegetables or even used in a stir fry.

Bitter melon is another cucurbit that can be pickled, stuffed, or used in soups. It is native to Southern China and thrives in the heat and humid climate of mid-summer. It has twice the beta carotene of broccoli and is high in potassium and calcium. It also contains high amounts of fiber, phosphorous, and Vitamins C, B1, B2, and B3 and lutein, an important nutrient for eyesight.

 

Bitter Melon Photo: SeriousEats.com

Bitter Melon
Photo: SeriousEats.com

 

Daikon Radish is a very large rooted relative of the radish. Used in many ways from Japan to Bangladesh, this vegetable can be stir fried, baked, or used in soups. It can also be used fresh in salads.  In several cuisines the leaves are used in various ways. These include a dish, made for the Japanese Festival of Seven Herbs, which is seven-herb rice porridge (nanakusa-gayu) that is eaten on January 7. The daikon can grow quite large and there are contests for the largest daikon in Japan. It is used frequently in Korean kim chee. Like many Asian veggies, the daikon is often pickled.

 

 

Daikon Radish Photo: Kitazawa Seed Co.

Daikon Radish
Photo: Kitazawa Seed Co.

Yardlong Bean, also called Chinese Long Bean or sometimes Asparagus Bean, is a bean that is not directly related to the common pole bean, but is grown in much the same way. As its name implies, it grows from 14 to 30 inches long. It is used in many stir fries, soups, or in many dishes that call for green beans.

 

Yardlong Bean Photo: Lion Seeds

Yardlong Bean
Photo: Lion Seeds

 

Chinese broccoli or gai-lan, a broccoli relative, is also called Chinese kale or kailan. The edible vegetable consists of a tender green flower stem with buds of what will become white flowers. The leaves and stems are light to medium green in color. Different varieties of gai-lan vary in stem length and color from light to medium green. It grows best in cooler weather and is great in stir fries.

The vegetables mentioned above are grown in much the same way as their western counterparts. The leafy greens and the daikon are grown like other brassicas, the melons like other cucurbits and so on. The list I have discussed only includes a few of many more vegetables grown by Asian gardeners that can just as easily be grown in our country.  If you feel a little adventurous try an Asian vegetable in your garden next year! In Future articles, I will talk about vegetables from other parts of the world.

 

PurdueUniversity has several publications on growing Asian vegetables including: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1996/V3-488.html

And  http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-187.pdf

A couple of sources of Asian vegetable seeds are:

Kitazawa Seed Company http://www.kitazawaseed.com/

Evergreen Seeds http://www.evergreenseeds.com/vegetableseeds.html




Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

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Posted: September 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Portrait
Follow link for important visual.

A challenge we wholly support (but wish we did not have to).

We love Madison too.

At least from our perspective, yes.

This rings true too.

A new trend, eating local.

Some interesting thoughts of an amazing abundance pepper festival.

Eat local Utah.

We love college kids eating local.

 




The Local Calendar 9/25/13 Indy Spirits Expo, Chicago Gourmet Fest, Edible Chicago Fall

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Posted: September 25, 2013 at 9:34 am

HoneySwiss GourmetEdaut
It is that apple time of year. What is your favorite varietal? Honey Crisps are a favorite of market shoppers but Raye of Ellis Farms recommended Swiss Gourmet to me which is not as “pretty” looking an apple. The Swiss Gourmet, also, known as an Ariet, is a cross between a Golden Delicious and an Ida Red but has been around since the 1980′s. I have not tried it yet to see if it lives up to it’s billing as tastier than Honey Crisps. But rumor has it that it is an Ellis family farm favorite!

Edible Chicago Autumn is out and about, say cheese, raw milk, goat’s milk soap, cider and plenty of other great stories, recipes and local shopping ideas. Go to the website to find out where to pick it up or you can subscribe so  you won’t miss an issue! Food Day Chicago (Oct. 24) is less than a month away. Earth Day was first created in 1970, and is now recognized and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. Food Day is in its infancy, so help it grow! “Like” the Food Day CHI facebook page, and encourage your friends and family to as well and put the Food Day Eat Real event at Daley Plaza on your calendar for Oct. 24th.

The Chicago Gourmet festival is this weekend, it is a Lollapalooza for foodies, need I say more? It is more action, food, beverage, seminar, tasting packed than ever before. Tonight you can get local and Indie with the Indy Spirits Expo at the Hilton Towers. The Local Calendar never stops!!!!!!!

 

                                                                                  The Week Ahead

September 25

Chicago - Indie Spirits Expo Chicago - The Chicago Hilton Towers 720 S. Michigan 5-9pm VIP 6:30-9pm general Meet the distillers, brand owners, importers and others who make it possible for you to enjoy a great a variety of small batch, unique, artisanal spirits from around the world. Journeyman Distillery will be there! There will be a From Grain to Bottle Seminar ar 5pm that includes Journeyman, Koval Distilling, Mississsippi River Distilling Company and Roughstock Montana Distillery. Quincy Street Distillery just outside of Chicago as well as other local craft spirit makers!!

Chicago - FIVE CHEFS FOR WOMEN Vermilion 6pm – 9pm 10 W. Hubbard St. Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet and Vermilion restaurant are pleased to announce the official kick off to this year’s event with an once-in-a-lifetime dinner honoring women in the hospitality industry. Five Chefs for Women showcases a five-course dinner prepared by renowned women chefs also appearing at Chicago Gourmet, including culinary queens Rohini Dey of Vermilion, Carrie Nahabedian of NAHA/Brindille, Mindy Segal of Hot Chocolate, Ina Pinkney of Ina’s, and special international guest chef Svetlana Riscova of Elements in Latvia. Proceeds benefit  James Beard Foundation Vermilion Women In Culinary Leadership Scholarship

Chicago - Green City Market Lincoln Park 7am – 1pm 10:30m Chef demo will be a pleasure for anyone who can attend, Andrew Zimmerman Sepia. Be sure to check out the 5 Star salads at The Honest Meal Project along with a Seasons Soda from Bobbie Chang and bring home some  stomach satisfying soup and sauces from River Valley Kitchens. Stop by the Phoenix Bean booth and taste some of their organic, gluten free tofu and they always have tastings of the different recipes using tofu.

Chicago – Wine Wednesdays at Province – Seasonal farm to table 5 course tasting menu. 159 North Jefferson A Gold level LEED certified restaurant with 3 stars from the Green Restaurant Association.

September 26

Chicago - Eli’s Cheesecake & Wright College’s Farmer Markets  Open through October 31 7am – 1pm Fresh fruits and vegetables from Nichol’s Farm and the Chicago High School of Agricultural Sciences, as well as hand crafts, flowers. FREE Continental Breakfast from 7am – 9am with $5 market purchase.

Chicago - Daley Center Farmers Market - Market will run May 16th through October 31. The Urban Canopy sells their microgreens and wheat grass made with a hand crank!

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

September 27-29

Chicago – Millenium Park - Chicago Gourmet - A celebration of food and wine. Chicago becomes Ground Zero for the culinary world and the Foodapalooza of Chicago this weekend. The full listing of the very packed event schedule is here. The locavore is included in this weekend although there is no L in the word gourmet. Paul Virant of Vie and Perennial Virant talks about The Whole Hog and later does a book signing for his book Preservation Kitchen, Rob Levitt of Butcher and Larder demonstrates butchery and homemade charcuterie. Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno talks about heritage recipes. There are 2 main stages, seminars galore, tasting sessions this truly is the Lollapalooza of good food in Chicago.

September 28

Chicago(Wicker Park) – The Nosh Food Festival 10am- 5pm A.N. Pritzker School just off Damen

Chicago 61st Farmers Market -  9am – 2pm Located on 61st Street between Dorchester and Blackstone Avenues. Say hello to Axel at Penny Pastry and taste some of his very yummy creations! Penny Pastry jams is on my “must buy” list! 

Chicago - Green City Market Lincoln Park 7am – 1pm Chef demonstration 10:30am Ken Carter Gather  9-11:30 The Kid’s Table at Club Sprouts Kids learn how to make their own snacks! Stop by the Chicago Indoor Garden’s booth, say hi to Paula and taste her handcrafted hummus.

Chicago - Iron Street Farm Stand - 9am – 3pm 3333 S. Iron St.

Evanston - Downtown Evanston Farmers Market - This market will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. every Saturday through November 2.  Intersection of University Place and Oak Ave. (behind Hilton Garden Inn, east of East Railroad Ave.) In 2013, the market celebrate its 38th year. Make sure to checkout Henrys Farmstand !!

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

Morton Grove - Morton Grove Farmers Market (6/8-10/19) 8am – 12pm  - 6210 Dempster St

Oak Park - Oak Park Farmers Market - The market will run every Saturday through 10/26 7am – 1pm Pilgrim Church, right next door to where the market is held, offers fresh warm donuts, juice and coffee, with live bluegrass music nearby. The Oak Park Farmers’ Market is located at 460 Lake St., just one block west of Ridgeland Avenue.

Oak Park – Green Living and Learning Tour – Sponsored by Green Community Connections  takes place throughout Oak Park & River Forest. Beginning at noon and ending with a (5:30-7:30) Harvest Party hosted by the Sugar Beet Coop, guests may visit as many or as few sites as time allows. See first-hand examples of sustainable living—from basic to amazing

Woodstock - Woodstock Farmers Market Outdoors 9am -12pm

September 29

Chicago – Tomato Canning - Experimental Station – 2-4pm Is canning and preserving tomatoes still a mysterious process to you? Do you already can, but want to know more? If so, join Miriam Rubin, nationally known food writer and tomato connaisseur,  in the kitchen of Experimental Station, for a hands-on canning lesson. In addition to learning how to can, you will learn about heirloom tomatoes and get answers to all of those burning tomato questions you’d like answers to! Rubin, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, was the first woman to work in the kitchen of the Four Seasons Restaurant. Author of Grains, she writes the food and gardening column “Miriam’s Garden” for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Her new cookbook, Tomatoes, celebrates tomatoes in all their forms. In it, she provides fifty vibrant recipes, as well as wisdom on how to choose tomatoes and which tomato is right for each dish.

Chicago - Glenwood Sunday Outdoor Market 9am-2pmIt is the 4th anniversary for the market and runs until October 27, 2013.  The Outdoor Market is located Glenwood Avenue on the west side of the CTA Red Line between Morse and Lunt Avenues in Rogers Park.

Chicago - Logan Square Outdoor Market 10am–3pm Logan Blvd between Whipple and Milwaukee Ave; May 19–Oct 27

Chicago - Pilsen Community Market -9am–3pm  (Ends 10/7) 1800 S Halsted St Chicago Community Bank parking lot

Fairbury - From Grain to Bread - Spence Farm Foundation – Course taught by Greg Wade of Little Goat

September 30

Chicago - Green Zebra The menu focuses specifically on a locally grown ingredient today.

Chicago – Re-Thinking Soup Unfinished Business and 21st Home Economics – Re-Thinking Soup returns at the dinner hour 6-7:30pm

SAVE THE DATE

October 3

Chicago – A Veggie Affair – Cheat On Meat or Go Whole Beast - 7-10pm The 1st Ward 2033 North Ave  Join 10 of Chicago’s best chefs, four of the city’s top mixologists, and synth-pop band Hey Champ. Attendees can cheat on meat, as eight chefs cook all-vegetable dishes with Green City Market vendor produce, or go whole beast, as chefs Paul Virant (Perennial Virant) and Bill Kim (bellyQ, Urban Belly & Belly Shack) prepare whole animals. Mixologists including The Aviary’s Charles Joly and Big Star’s Ben Fasman will craft drinks showcasing local spirits and produce. Proceeds will benefit the Green City Market’s LINK Card matching program

October 4-14

Reedsburg, WI – Fermentation Fest

October 4

Chicago - Pilot Light Back To School Block Party – 6pm 825 W. Fulton Publican Quality Meats Help shape our youth’s relationship with food. Pilot Light is a nonprofit organization that empowers children to make healthy choices, by integrating culinary education with school standards, curriculum and culture. Pilot Light chefs will be cooking up a very special evening featuring innovative food and drink. The night will include a DJ, as well as a silent and live auction. $175

October 5

Chicago - Seasonal Soul Food: A Celebration of Chef Edna Lewis Inspiration Kitchen 3504 West Lake St. 6pm -10pm The proceeds of this unique event will benefit The Sugar Beet Co-op, a volunteer organization that provides educational experiences that celebrate local food. From canning classes to The Edible Garden Tour, The Sugar Beet Co-op has reached over 3000 people in 18 months with positive and practical information about sustainable food choices that support local farmers, strengthens our community and feeds our bodies and souls.

October 6

Champaign – Eastern Illinois Foodbank Fundraiser – 2pm Prairie Fruits Farm 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. Wes and Lesley are thrilled and honored to host a farm dinner fundraiser for the Eastern Illinois Food Bank. Chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill-Topolobamba and XOXO will be their guest chef for the day. What a day it looks to be!

October 13

Fairbury – From Hog to Charcuterie – Taught by Jared Van Camp of Nellcote and Old Town Social Club

October 24

!!!!!!Chicago – FOOD DAY CHICAGO and nationwide What are you going to do to celebrate Food Day? Or join the event at Daley Plaza! Checkout the Facebook page for Food Day CHI for further details.

November 21-23

Chicago - Chicago Food Film Festival – Kendall College – It was great last year what can I say? This is a pretty fun event for anyone interested in Chicago, in food and in a great time.

November 21

Chicago – Bioneers Chicago -

WHERE TO SOURCE LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

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 Watch this fantastic video about GMOs, sourcing local and see what you are missing if you don’t shop at the GG.

LUSH Wine & Spirits - 2232 W. Roscoe, 1257 S. Halsted, 1412 W. Chicago - Throwing it down, Lush style, and getting all down and dirty with your wine. Understanding the terroir, that is. Taking a look down under, the dirt, the land and the root of the vine. But, more importantly, learning what exactly we like and how to ask for it by name. Which flavors, which grapes. With food or without. And also recognizing consistently what we do not care for. Life is just too short to drink undesirable beverages.

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

Sharpening By Dave  - Green City Market and other locations throughout Chicagoland. If you want to eat local, you need to have sharp knives to prepare the produce!!  Let Dave know that you read about him in the Local Beet and you will get one dollar off each knife sharpened. 

Standard Market 333 West Ogden Ave. Westmont

Our full list of area markets can be found here. Area resources for local food initiatives, workshop, classes: Advocates for Urban Agriculture ,Angelic Organics , Edible EvanstonIllinois Stewardship Alliance , The Land ConnectionThe Peterson Garden Project , The Spence Farm FoundationThe Talking FarmWeFarmAmerica




Legal Guide for Farmers Available

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Posted: September 24, 2013 at 11:05 am

SPRINGFIELD – Last week, The Illinois Stewardship Alliance released a legal guide for farmers wanting to sell directly to consumers, restaurants and others.

The guide is intended to be an introduction to the legal framework surrounding agriculture for beginning and current farmers who are interested in being part of the fastest growing sector of their industry – direct farm marketing of vegetables, fruits, meats and other products.

Specific to Illinois, the guide is a handy reference on topics like taxing, zoning, liability insurance, cottage food laws, and regulations that pertain to specific foods.

“I’m excited about the potential of this guide to help beginning and current farmers make the leap into local and organic food sales,” Wes King, Illinois Stewardship Alliance executive director and guide co-author, said.

Illinois Stewardship Alliance first published a legal guide for farmers interested in direct farm marketing in 2003. Changes to the laws and rules regarding food, such as the passage of the Cottage Food Act, compost reform, and federal Food Safety Modernization Act, demanded an update.

“My hope is that this guide will help people grow safe food, form successful business ventures and make the vision of local and organic food as an engine of prosperity for our community, our state and our region real,” Rich Schell, an attorney that focuses on agriculture-related issues and guide co-author, said.

The guide, officially titled “Guide to Illinois Laws Governing Direct Farm Marketing,” is also in the process of being translated into Spanish. The Spanish translation is set to be released later in the year.

In addition to farmers, King said the guide will prove useful to educators in the field of local food and economic developers who provide technical assistance to farmers and entrepreneurs.

Hard copies of the guide can be obtained from the Illinois Stewardship Alliance by calling 217-528-1563 or emailing isa@ilstewards.org. A PDF of the guide is available at ISA’s website, www.ilstewards.org.

Illinois Stewardship Alliance is a nonprofit that promotes environmentally sustainable, economically viable, socially just, local food systems through policy development, advocacy, and education.

To keep up to date on Illinois Stewardship Alliance, visit https://www.facebook.com/ilstewards or follow ISA on twitter, @ilstewards.

Illinois

 




Summer Squash: Beyond Zucchini

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Posted: September 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm

One of summer’s unsung heroes is the humble squash.  Their delicate skins and flesh cannot be waxed, and so they tend to have a short shelf life, and except for zucchini have all but disappeared from grocery stores.  All the more reason to get thee to a farmers market!

A New World of Squash

There you will find tender and delicious yellow crooknecks, green and yellow zephyrs, multicolored scalloped pattypans, eightball zucchinis, delicate pale green Lebanese (Zahra) zucchini, and large mottled Italian heirloom zucchinis such as Costata Romanesca. And if you can’t decide, look for quart containers that many farmers stuff full of a medley of beautiful summer squashes.

Yellow Crookneck is one of the oldest documented varieties of squash. Researchers have traced its cultivation to the Lenape people who once inhabited the Delaware valley.

Pattypan squash also originated among the native people of the eastern United States. Both the white and yellow varieties date from pre-Colombian times. The first European settlers came to know it by a variety of names in the languages of different tribes. It soon made its way to Europe, and in France was called pâtisson panaché, which translates to “variegated squash,” but which turned into pattypan in English. The scalloped edges of these yellow, white, and/or green squash lend a festive look to any dish.

Zephyr is a relative newcomer – about the same size as the crookneck, but with a sturdy straight neck and a green bottom.   It is a hybrid, with one parent being the yellow crookneck and the other a mixture of Delicata and Yellow Acorn, and delicious.

Lebanese Zucchini  (also called Middle Eastern or Zahra) is shorter and plumper than regular zucchini, with an extremely delicate pale-jade skin. It’s almost impossible to get one without nicks and scratches, but don’t let those surface defects dissuade you from tasting the meltingly creamy flesh within.

 

Squashes of All Sizes

Size actually does matter in the world of summer squashes, but not as you might imagine.  The large ones are good for stuffing and sautéing, the medium ones are great for grilling and for tons of other recipes from soup to cake, and the small ones, well . . . those itsy-bitsy squash are esteemed by chefs more for their looks than for their taste. Their cuteness diverts some from the reality that they are immature and often harsh-tasting.

But anything larger than itsy-bitsy is delicious, and as with all fresh vegetables, the simplest treatments are the best.  Grilling is super-easy: just slice them longitudinally, brush with oil, sprinkle with salt, and slap on the grill.  Or try the simple sautéd squash dish below.
Secrets of a Seasonal Cook Weekly Vegetable ProfilesEvery week, Secrets of the Seasonal Cook profiles a vegetable in season right now, and available at your local farmers’ market. Subscribe Now!
Summer Squash Sautee

Sauteed Summer Squash with Herbs

This recipe works well with squash of any variety and any size, except for monstrous!

Ingredients

1/4    cup butter or olive oil

1    small onion, thinly sliced

2    tablespoons chopped garlic

2    tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, parsley, or other herb

1    pound yellow crookneck or zephyr squash, sliced into 1/4-1/2-inch-thick rounds

1    pound pattypan, sliced in half, then place the cut surface on the board and cut into 1/4-1/2-inch slices

Instructions

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and herb; sauté until onion is just tender, about 2 minutes.

2. Add yellow squash and zucchini; sauté until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  Serves 4 to 6.

 

Seasonal Cook’s Notes:

You can use any kind of summer squash in this recipe, and any kind of herb.  Just be sure to cook the squash until tender, since that’s when you get their full flavor.

Creative Commons License© The Land Connection Foundation Farm Fresh Now! is a project of The Land Connection, an educational nonprofit that preserves farmland, trains new farmers, and connects people with great locally-grown foods. This series is made possible with generous support from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.




Weekly Harvest of Local Eating Here and There

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Posted: September 23, 2013 at 8:40 am

We believe these are local foods too.

Drink local rice wine.

Eat local NYC continues.

Eat local at the college cafeteria.

Eat local Alaska!

Eat local perspectives in Washington DC.




Saving Tomato Seed is Easy

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Posted: September 22, 2013 at 10:12 pm

It’s the end of the garden season and, in taking stock of what you produced this year, you may have some standouts in taste and quality among the tomatoes included in the bounty of your garden. You may have received a really great heirloom tomato from a friend and wish you could get some of those seeds for yourself.

Or you may have a true heirloom, one tomato that has been passed down from generation to generation. There are many reasons to save seeds from year-to-year. Some other reasons that I did not mention above are that saved seeds are free and it is a lot of fun to do-it-yourself. To show you how to save seeds from every vegetable grown is nearly impossible in one article, so since tomatoes are the most popular vegetable grown, I will demonstrate saving tomato seeds.

One word of warning, saving tomato seeds can be kind of gross, but the following is the way it is done by commercial seed companies. It is also the way it is done for other kinds of produce with interiors that can be described as gloppy or gooey, such as cucumbers and cantaloupes. In fact, in nature these types of vegetables take advantage of the fact that an animal will carry its fruit away, but not eat the gooey part. Nature uses bacteria then to separate the seed from the glop.

An  heirloom variety that I am saving

An heirloom variety that I am saving

 

Another variety I am saving that started as a volunteer

Another variety I am saving that started as a volunteer

To save tomato seed the first step is to pick out specimens that have qualities that you want to keep. Whether this is size or taste, choose what you want to see growing next year. Tomatoes are self fertile so what you save will more than likely breed true. That is to say, you will get the same variety when you grow the seeds again. This is not necessarily true of hybrids though. They may revert back to one of the breeding stock that they were derived from rather than their current form, but there is also a chance that you will get the same hybrid. This is called hybrid stabilization. Also, pick fully ripe fruit from healthy, disease free plants.

 

 

"Goop" in a clear jar with a little water added

“Goop” in a clear jar with a little water added

The seed from the tomato will be fermented to release it from the goop in the tomato. To start this process, cut the tomato across the “equator” of the fruit. Scoop out or squeeze out the “goop” with the seed that is encased within it into a clear container, such as a jar. (Cutting across the “equator” of the fruit makes it easier to squeeze out the seed). Add a little water to the jar to help suspend the seed; it does not need to be full. Too much water will slow down the action of the bacteria that are fermenting the fruit.

Mold forming on the surface of the seed-water mixture

Mold forming on the surface of the seed-water mixture

 

 

After a couple of days you will see mold forming on the top of the water. When you see this appear, gently stir the seed and water. If you do not stir, the mold may affect the viability of the seed. In a few days the viable seed will sink to the bottom. Skim off all of the material that floats, including any floating seeds. Dump the remaining seed into a strainer or colander that has holes that will not allow the seed to pass through.

 

Viable seeds have sunk to bottom

Viable seeds have sunk to bottom

Using a garden hose (preferable) or a kitchen faucet, spray the seed to wash away the remaining glop. The seed may stink at this point and you may want to do this outside. Once the seed is clean, you will want to place the seed on a coffee filter or on a wooden surface so it can dry. If you use a paper towel or a piece of office paper the seed may stick. Plastic surfaces may cause the seed to rot before it is dry. Put the seed in a warm dry place and let them dry until they break readily, instead of just bending. Store the seed in a cool dry place in an envelope or in a dry mason jar. Some people freeze seed but you really need to know the moisture content to do this as the seed may rupture if the moisture content is too high.

Fermented seed before cleaning

Fermented seed before cleaning

Cleaning seed with a hose

Cleaning seed with a hose

 

Seeds after  cleaning

Seeds after cleaning

If you save only the best seed year after year you will have a true heirloom, totally acclimated to the climate of your garden location and you will have varieties of tomatoes you can call your own. As I said, the process above can be used for cucumber and cantaloupe seeds. You will have to let the fruit of these become very yellow and ripe and save seed from fruit after the vine has died. There are many publications and websites that show how to saves seeds from all possible vegetables grown.

The Seed Savers Exchange has a tutorial on saving tomato seeds here:

http://www.seedsavers.org/Education/Webinar-Archive/#tomato

The author, Nancy Bubel, has written several books on seed starting and saving:

http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Seed-Starters-Handbook/dp/0878577521

Another good book on saving seeds was written by Robert E. Gough:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Guide-Saving-Seeds/dp/1603425748/ref=pd_sim_b_6




Yes! Local Food Still Widely Available

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Posted: September 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Eat Local Supermarkets

Based on visits to various area grocery stores as well as perusals of ads shows that local food can still be widely found at places besides farmer’s markets.

Plum Market Chicago

plum 4

We told you we knew of Plum Market before they became a Local Beet sponsor, as we saw their ample eat local inventory on a visit to their Ann Arbor store a few years back.  A recent visit there found much local food including tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, basil, peaches and melon from local sources.

Dominick’s

We hold Dominick’s to a high standard based on their promotions. Sadly, we’ve found not much of late to back up their signs promising local food.

Meijer

The only thing in the ad: Wisconsin russet potatoes. We suspect more in-store.

Fresh Farms

We’ve never seen their ad in the papers we review.  On the other hand, loving this store, we’ve actually been there several times in recent weeks.  Their fresh lake fish is outstanding.  In-store, we’ve seen many local items including peaches, grapes, peppers, muskmelons, and tomatoes.

Jewel

Nada

Treasure Island

Their weekly ad, on the back page of the Trib Food section, lists locally grown cucumbers, zucchini, and yellow squash, and Michigan carrots and apples.

Angelo Caputo’s

caputos5

Caputo’s advertises local eggplants and grapes, but a recent visit to their store showed a lot more including peaches, sweet corn, various peppers, celery, apples, and melon.

Sunset Foods

As we have noted before, Sunset Foods proudly proclaims its affiliation with Didier Farms of Illinois. This week’s Sunset ad shows Didier cabbage (green, red and savoy) and several types of Didier hard squash. We suspect some of their other produce is also from Didier Farms, so ask.

Tony’s Finer Foods

tonys

A couple of things: cucumbers, apples, and carrots.

Ultra Foods

ultra

Michigan apples, zucchini and yellow squash; Wisconsin red potatoes, and an note saying they get fresh fruits and vegetables daily from Hennings Greenhouse, Demotte, Indiana.

Food 4 Less

See Jewel

Super Low Foods

super low foods

Various Michigan apples.

Aldi

That would be a surprise, no?

A&G

Locally grown sweet corn, Michigan apples.

Butera

See Jewel.

 

 

What local foods are you seeing at your neighborhood grocery stores?


2 Comments



Celebrate Eat Local Day – September 22

By
Posted: September 20, 2013 at 8:16 am

Join Sarah Stegner and Other Chicago Chef’s on a Very Special Occasion

At the Local Beet we believe that every day is eat local day, but we also understand the need to urge a little more adherence to this philosophy. So, when we heard that one of our chef hero’s, Sarah Stegner, and one of our friends, Green City Market Board Member, Cindy Kurman, were cooking up an idea for a National Eat Local Day, we said yes! Sarah and Cindy decided that the Fall Equinox would be as good a time as any to be Eat Local Day, and this year’s Eat Local Day arrives on Sunday, September 22. The goal of Eat Local Day is to raise awareness of the importance of supporting local sustainable farms and increase the flow of local sustainable food to the tables across the country. They enlisted a stellar cadre of chefs long associated with putting local sustainable food on their menus including Alice Waters, Rick Bayless, Norman Van Aken, and Paul Fehribach to make Eat Local Day happen.

This Sunday, restaurants in Chicago and across the country will serve a totally locally sourced item on their menu.   Sarah Stegner has a full spread planned with heirloom tomatoes and pumpkins, local oats, sausage made from Mint Creek lamb and a couple of our great Midwestern cheeses.  Of course the participating restaurants in the Chicago area, like Big Jones, Prairie Grass Cafe Oceanique, and Frontera Grill, treat most days as eat local days. This day, however, they want you to especially notice.

We think that’s a great thing, and we hope you will think about joining them this Sunday.




The Fate of VB6

By
Posted: September 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm

See My Problem

I’ve told you that with the gentle persuasion of the Condiment Queen, I adopted the Mark Bittman derived, “VB6″ eating plan, for a 28 day trial. I kvelled last week over achieving this challenge. What I have not said, will I endure more VB6 eating.

Yes, endure is the word I still need to use. After a lifetime of eating mostly what I’ve wanted, any plan, no matter what, has put pain into the way I look at food. Because now, for now (at least) I constantly see, what I am not eating, not what I am eating. I walk out the health club doors and the aromas of Five Guys beguile me. I lunch on prosciutto and fresh mozzarella sandwich at Freddy’s and pain over not being able to put grated local cheese on pasta at dinner that night confounds me. Still, as I noted the other day, I’ve (almost) stuck to the plan after the challenge ended.

As I wound my way through the 28 days, I insisted I would ditch VB6 as soon as I could. I would not turn 180 degrees, becoming Paleo, nor would I just give in to old days of Italian beef and Gene and Jude’s. Instead, I kept on talking about cheese and dairy. I wanted more. I wanted some Greek style yogurt for local berries; I wanted to use fresh sheep’s milk cheese as a base for summer tomatoes, and I wanted a Greek salad to be a greek salad, with feta. Except I did not.

Day 29, I am sure, was to show my wife that it was not a fluke. That I would abide even though released. Days 30, 30, 32, just seemed momentum, the thing to do. Where I go back and fourth: is structure good is this structure good; is their value in a plan even if obedience to the plan becomes the goal. I vacillate. I tell you, I vacillate. I am highly motivated by the fact that my tummy has not been this flat in twenty years. And I had the fortune (or misfortune) of wondering who this Joel Fuhrman MD was after seeing him take up a big block of time on the TV grid. I am convinced, more than ever, that I should eat less animal. The question remains, how much less.

boiled chicken

Last week, I made a call to ditch VB6 for the day because it just seemed practical to eat crappy Bohemian food (no really!). Today was the second day I strayed. I have in the plans for dinner, a meeting with friends for Thai food. There will be pork neck and Issan sausage and catfish, and duh, tons of fish sauce. It would have to be the non-vegan meal, but there was also poached chicken from last Friday, our Yom Kippur’s Eve meal on the lunch plate. I yearn for a smaller waist. I despise waste. Today the homonyms collided. Thrift won. Do you see my problem. That portion of chicken, skin and fat off, sharing a plate with herbaceous salsa verde, chick peas, tomatoes, jalapenos and roasted peppers; did I really do any damage to my dietary goals? Yet, will today’s good chicken be tomorrow’s fried chicken?

To be continued.




The Local Calendar 9/18/13 The Wurst Festival Starts Today, Chicken Coops, VeganMania, Hullabaloo in Skokie

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Posted: September 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm

wurstfestivalRhutabega Talkingfarmjpg
The Wurst Festival starts today at Daley Plaza, you have to go to determine your “best of the wurst” and of course there will be plenty of kraut! The event is organized by our friends, the  ”good meat” people at the Red Meat Market and Family FarmedVeganMania is this weekend, Chicken Coop tour, the Talking Farm’s Hullabaloo in Skokie, and more.

Food Day Chicago (Oct. 24) is about a month away. Earth Day was first created in 1970, and is now recognized and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. Food Day is in its infancy, so help it grow! Please “like” the Food Day CHI facebook page, and encourage your friends and family to as well and put the Food Day Chicago Good Food event at Daley Plaza on your calendar for Oct. 24th.

Root vegetables like rutabagas are on the tables now at the markets. I told Chad of Nichols Farms that to me they seemed prehistoric and one of those foods that would survive the end of the world. He assured me they are easy to cook, once you soften them up by putting them in the microwave for a few minutes. But root vegetables require sharp knives! Check out where Dave Nells(Sharpening By Dave) will be so you can make sure your knives stay sharp. Get $1 off per knife by mentioning you read about him in The Local Beet.

As an aside, the honey crisp apples that I bought from Ellis Farms, when I took a bite out of one, after leaving it in the fridge overnight, was incredibly crispy, juicy and refreshing! Check out there apples! It is a busy week on the Local Calendar, check it out below!

                                                                                  The Week Ahead

September 18-20

Chicago – The Wurst Festival - 10am – 8pm Chicago’s Wurst Festival is a culinary celebration of local and sustainable artisan sausage, craft beer and wine, and Chicago music. While there are several Oktoberfest and fall festivals that take place in September they are not culinary events, nor do they showcase local sausage makers who utilize naturally pastured, sustainably raised meat from local farms. This is sausage made the old fashioned way. The City of Chicago’s Farmers Market Program has partnered with Red Meat Market and Family Farmed to host this three day event.

September 18

Chicago - Green City Market Lincoln Park 7am – 1pm 10:30m Chef demo Riley Huddleston Prasino. Be sure to check out the 5 Star salads at The Honest Meal Project along with a Seasons Soda from Bobbie Chang and bring home some  stomach satisfying soup and sauces from River Valley Kitchens. Stop by the Phoenix Bean booth and taste some of their organic, gluten free tofu and they always have tastings of the different recipes using tofu.

Chicago – Wine Wednesdays at Province – Seasonal farm to table 5 course tasting menu. 159 North Jefferson A Gold level LEED certified restaurant with 3 stars from the Green Restaurant Association.

September 19

Chicago - Dinner and a Movie at Global Garden -  2954 West Lawrence Ave. 6-8:30pm Featuring a special preview screening of the documentary and food from our friends at Chipotle. Touched by their teenage son’s battle with a foodborne superbug, filmmakers Jeff & Jennifer Spitz document their family’s struggle to raise backyard chickens, grow food, and transform into Food Patriots. Food Patriots (72 minutes/preview version) features people from all walks of life who are trying to change the way Americans eat and buy food, and educate the next generation of consumers Visit http://www.foodpatriots.com/ for a sneak peek.

Chicago - Eli’s Cheesecake & Wright College’s Farmer Markets  Open through October 31 7am – 1pm Fresh fruits and vegetables from Nichol’s Farm and the Chicago High School of Agricultural Sciences, as well as hand crafts, flowers. FREE Continental Breakfast from 7am – 9am with $5 market purchase.

Chicago - Daley Center Farmers Market - Market will run May 16th through October 31. The Urban Canopy sells their microgreens and wheat grass made with a hand crank!

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

September 20-21

Chicago - Chicagoland Chicken Enthusisasts presents Windy City Coop Tour 10am – 2pm each day Robert Haugland provides further detail here on The Beet.

September 21-22

Andersonville - City Made Fest - Clark Street between Argyle & Carmen.  Featuring an array of Chicago-based musicians, brewers and artisans, this new festival is a celebration of all of the great stuff being made right here in our city. 12pm – 9pm No cover

September 21

Chicago - Food Truck Social - Kendall College 11am – 10pm

Chicago - VeganMania - Broadway Armory

Chicago(Wicker Park) – The Nosh Food Festival 10am- 5pm A.N. Pritzker School just off Damen

Chicago 61st Farmers Market -  9am – 2pm Located on 61st Street between Dorchester and Blackstone Avenues. Say hello to Axel at Penny Pastry and taste some of his very yummy creations! Penny Pastry jams is on my “must buy” list! 

Chicago - Green City Market Lincoln Park 7am – 1pm Chef demonstration 10:30am Christine Cikowski Josh Kulp Sunday Dinner and Honey Buttered Fried Chicken  Stop by the Chicago Indoor Garden’s booth, say hi to Paula and taste her handcrafted tofu.

Chicago - Iron Street Farm Stand - 9am – 3pm 3333 S. Iron St.

Evanston - Downtown Evanston Farmers Market - This market will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. every Saturday through November 2.  Intersection of University Place and Oak Ave. (behind Hilton Garden Inn, east of East Railroad Ave.) In 2013, the market celebrate its 38th year. Make sure to checkout Henrys Farmstand !!

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

Morton Grove - Morton Grove Farmers Market (6/8-10/19) 8am – 12pm  - 6210 Dempster St

Oak Park - Oak Park Farmers Market - The market will run every Saturday through 10/26 7am – 1pm Pilgrim Church, right next door to where the market is held, offers fresh warm donuts, juice and coffee, with live bluegrass music nearby. The Oak Park Farmers’ Market is located at 460 Lake St., just one block west of Ridgeland Avenue.

Skokie - Third Annual Hullabaloo to Support The Talking Farm 2-6pm Howard Street Farm You’re cordially invited to The Talking Farm’s 3rd Annual Hullabaloo at the Howard Street Farm! This celebration of sustainability promises to be a fun, family-friendly way to spend a day outdoors. Come on down to the Farm and check it out.

Woodstock - Woodstock Farmers Market Outdoors 9am -12pm

September 22

Champaign - Fall Fork In the Road Tasting Tour - 12-5pm Hosted by Prairie Fruits Farm You’ll spend about four hours on a Sunday afternoon enjoying a goat dairy and organic orchard, a wild game (bison, cattle, elk, deer) ranch and antique shop and a winery: Prairie Fruits Farm of Champaign, KD Ranch & Sugar Shack Antiques in Oakwood, and Sleepy Creek Vineyards in Fairmount.

Chicago - Green Grocer Chicago – 5th Annual BBQ - 12pm – 4pm

Chicago - Uncommon Ground and Vandermill Cider present Cider Toast and Pig Roast 2-6pm $40 1401 West Devon

Chicago - Glenwood Sunday Outdoor Market 9am-2pmIt is the 4th anniversary for the market and runs until October 27, 2013.  The Outdoor Market is located Glenwood Avenue on the west side of the CTA Red Line between Morse and Lunt Avenues in Rogers Park.

Chicago - Logan Square Outdoor Market 10am–3pm Logan Blvd between Whipple and Milwaukee Ave; May 19–Oct 27

Chicago - Pilsen Community Market -9am–3pm  (Ends 10/7) 1800 S Halsted St Chicago Community Bank parking lot

Fairbury - Harvest Feast – Sponsored by the Spence Farm Foundation

September 23

Chicago - Between Bites – 6:30pm to 9:30pm Between Bites bridges the delicious overlap between eating and storytelling. Food memories shape our personal experiences. Special meals become defining moments. Words fill the space between bites. We wanted to create an ongoing philanthropic forum for food-inspired storytelling, starting with six writers who cook, dine and chronicle their culinary lives and travels. Proceeds from this event will benefit Un86′d, a local charity that helps hospitality professionals in need.

The theme is “Food Firsts,” in honor of our initial event.

Chicago - Green Zebra The menu focuses specifically on a locally grown ingredient today.

Chicago – Re-Thinking Soup Unfinished Business and 21st Home Economics – Re-Thinking Soup returns at the dinner hour 6-7:30pm

SAVE THE DATE

September 25

Chicago – Indie Spirits Expo Chicago – The Chicago Hilton Towers 5-9pm VIP 6:30-9pm general Meet the distillers, brand owners, importers and others who make it possible for you to enjoy a great a variety of small batch, unique, artisanal spirits from around the world. Journeyman Distillery will be there!

Chicago – FIVE CHEFS FOR WOMEN Vermilion 6pm – 9pm 10 W. Hubbard St. Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet and Vermilion restaurant are pleased to announce the official kick off to this year’s event with an once-in-a-lifetime dinner honoring women in the hospitality industry. Five Chefs for Women showcases a five-course dinner prepared by renowned women chefs also appearing at Chicago Gourmet, including culinary queens Rohini Dey of Vermilion, Carrie Nahabedian of NAHA/Brindille, Mindy Segal of Hot Chocolate, Ina Pinkney of Ina’s, and special international guest chef Svetlana Riscova of Elements in Latvia. Proceeds benefit  James Beard Foundation Vermilion Women In Culinary Leadership Scholarship

September 27-29

Chicago – Millenium Park - Chicago Gourmet - A celebration of food and wine. Chicago becomes Ground Zero for the culinary world during this weekend. This will sell out.

September 29

Fairbury - From Grain to Bread – Spence Farm Foundation – Course taught by Greg Wade of Little Goat

October 3

Chicago – A Veggie Affair – Cheat On Meat or Go Whole Beast - 7-10pm The 1st Ward 2033 North Ave  Join 10 of Chicago’s best chefs, four of the city’s top mixologists, and synth-pop band Hey Champ. Attendees can cheat on meat, as eight chefs cook all-vegetable dishes with Green City Market vendor produce, or go whole beast, as chefs Paul Virant (Perennial Virant) and Bill Kim (bellyQ, Urban Belly & Belly Shack) prepare whole animals. Mixologists including The Aviary’s Charles Joly and Big Star’s Ben Fasman will craft drinks showcasing local spirits and produce. Proceeds will benefit the Green City Market’s LINK Card matching program

October 4-14

Reedsburg, WI – Fermentation Fest

October 4

Chicago - Pilot Light Back To School Block Party – 6pm 825 W. Fulton Publican Quality Meats Help shape our youth’s relationship with food. Pilot Light is a nonprofit organization that empowers children to make healthy choices, by integrating culinary education with school standards, curriculum and culture. Pilot Light chefs will be cooking up a very special evening featuring innovative food and drink. The night will include a DJ, as well as a silent and live auction. $175

October 5

Chicago - Seasonal Soul Food: A Celebration of Chef Edna Lewis Inspiration Kitchen 3504 West Lake St. 6pm -10pm The proceeds of this unique event will benefit The Sugar Beet Co-op, a volunteer organization that provides educational experiences that celebrate local food. From canning classes to The Edible Garden Tour, The Sugar Beet Co-op has reached over 3000 people in 18 months with positive and practical information about sustainable food choices that support local farmers, strengthens our community and feeds our bodies and souls.

October 6

Champaign – Eastern Illinois Foodbank Fundraiser – 2pm Prairie Fruits Farm 4410 N. Lincoln Ave. Wes and Lesley are thrilled and honored to host a farm dinner fundraiser for the Eastern Illinois Food Bank. Chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill-Topolobamba and XOXO will be their guest chef for the day. What a day it looks to be!

October 13

Fairbury – From Hog to Charcuterie – Taught by Jared Van Camp of Nellcote and Old Town Social Club

October 24

!!!!!!Chicago – FOOD DAY CHICAGO and nationwide What are you going to do to celebrate Food Day? Or join the event at Daley Plaza! Checkout the Facebook page for Food Day CHI for further details.

November 21-23

Chicago - Chicago Food Film Festival – Kendall College – It was great last year what can I say? This is a pretty fun event for anyone interested in Chicago, in food and in a great time.

November 21

Chicago – Bioneers Chicago -

WHERE TO SOURCE LOCAL FOODS

These stores specialize in local foods:

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 Watch this fantastic video about GMOs, sourcing local and see what you are missing if you don’t shop at the GG.

LUSH Wine & Spirits - 2232 W. Roscoe, 1257 S. Halsted, 1412 W. Chicago - Throwing it down, Lush style, and getting all down and dirty with your wine. Understanding the terroir, that is. Taking a look down under, the dirt, the land and the root of the vine. But, more importantly, learning what exactly we like and how to ask for it by name. Which flavors, which grapes. With food or without. And also recognizing consistently what we do not care for. Life is just too short to drink undesirable beverages.

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

Sharpening By Dave  - Green City Market and other locations throughout Chicagoland. If you want to eat local, you need to have sharp knives to prepare the produce!!  Let Dave know that you read about him in the Local Beet and you will get one dollar off each knife sharpened. 

Standard Market 333 West Ogden Ave. Westmont

Our full list of area markets can be found here. Area resources for local food initiatives, workshop, classes: Advocates for Urban Agriculture ,Angelic Organics , Edible EvanstonIllinois Stewardship Alliance , The Land ConnectionThe Peterson Garden Project , The Spence Farm FoundationThe Talking FarmWeFarmAmerica




2013 Golden Beet Award Winners Announced

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Posted: September 17, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Image

Monica Eng, Chicago Honey Co-op, and Community Shares Project of Rogers Park are among the 2013 Golden Beet Award winners named at the Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s annual Harvest Celebration in Springfield on Sunday.

The Golden Beet Awards grew out of a desire by Illinois Stewardship Alliance to highlight ingenuitive local food practices so that they might get the recognition they deserve, and so that they can serve as a guide for others.

“There are so many people doing really exciting and original things when it comes to local food. A lot of time those people don’t get any recognition, let alone the recognition they deserve. We think of the Golden Beet Awards as a way to highlight some really special people and draw people’s attention to what’s going on with agriculture in the state,” Wes King, Illinois Stewardship Alliance executive director, said.

Illinois Stewardship Alliance solicits nominations from the general public for the following categories: farm to school; restaurants and institutions; community food projects; innovative farmer; scaling up; and other.

A committee then goes through the nominees and decides on the winners in the specific categories. The committee can decide not to give an award for a certain category if the nominees for a category don’t fit within the Golden Beet parameters.

 

The 2013 winners are:

 

Community Food Project

Name: Community Shares Project of Roger Park.

Website: http://www.glenwoodsundaymarket.org/communityshares.htm

The Community Shares Project is a cutting-edge community food access program.  A collaboration of Glenwood Sunday Market, St. Ignatius Church Food Pantry and Christopher House, the project purchases Community Supported Agriculture shares from the farmers of Glenwood Sunday Market and gives the food away at no charge to food insecure Rogers Park families. Rogers Park is the most diverse neighborhood in Chicago where nearly 50 percent of children under the age of five live below the poverty line. Community Shares includes an educational component presented in English and Spanish that helps the participating families learn how to incorporate more local, fresh fruits and vegetables into their everyday diets with the goal of helping families develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This unique project purchased 15 CSA shares from local farmers in its first year (2012) and gave away the 3,000 pounds of produce to more than 100 food insecure families.

 

Innovative Farmer

Name: Michael Thompson, owner of Chicago Honey Co-op

Website: http://www.chicagohoneycoop.com/

Chicago Honey Co-op's previous location in North Lawndale Photo:Chicago Honey Co-op

Chicago Honey Co-op’s previous location in North Lawndale
Photo:Chicago Honey Co-op

Since 2004, Chicago Honey Co-op has been a pioneer in urban beekeeping. Officially becoming an Illinois registered agricultural cooperative in 2006, it uses cooperative principles as a guide to foster greater understanding of the honey bee’s place in an urban environment, the close relationship between pollinators and the food supply and the good that can come from deep community relationships. One of three founding members and a lifelong beekeeper, Michael Thompson has been mentor to a countless number of students, trainees, neighbors, and new beekeepers. His commitment to sustainable chemical free agriculture has been a hallmark of the Co-op’s mission. The honey that results from this work is just a bonus that helps enable it to continue.

Restaurant and Institutions (tie)

Name: Ken Myszka, owner, chef, of Station 220

Website: http://www.stationtwotwenty.com/

Ken Myszka Photo: Station 220

Ken Myszka
Photo: Station 220

Ken is a native of Illinois who went to culinary school in New York and then went to Las Vegas to get a degree in hospitality management followed by working in restaurants across the U.S. before deciding to come back to Illinois to his family’s farm with the goal of growing his own ingredients for a farm to fork restaurant. Ken is the farmer and the chef, splitting his days between his farm and restaurant. I love eating at Station 220 not only because of the fresh, local, and delicious food but because the servers know so much about the food that they are serving. They can tell you how the food was grown, as well as how it was prepared. As Central Illinois’s only farm-to-fork restaurant they are not only providing a great place to eat, but they are educating consumers and other hospitality professionals about the beauty of the sustainable food movement by providing an outstanding dining experience. Station 220 is at: 220 E Front St  Bloomington, IL 61701

AND

Name: Dan King chef at Camp Ondessonk

Website: http://www.ondessonk.com/

Dan King has helped initiate Camp Ondessonk’s local food sourcing program.  For the first time in the over 50 years of Camp Ondessonks operations, their food service now sources local produce and pork from Southern Illinois Farmers. Camp Ondessonk operates year around, but serves over 2,500 children during 9 weeks of summer camp.  Campers are now served local greens, cucumber, melons, garlic, peppers, and other local seasonal produce that has been incorporated into the daily meal service.  In addition to using local produces they have also started to source local pork products from a local Southern Illinois Farmer, the meat is processed at Open Gate Meats of Ana, IL. 2012 was the first year of Camp Ondessonk’s sourcing local initiative, but this will be a great foundation to grow from. Camp Ondessonk is located in the Shawnee National Forest of Southern Illinois, near Ozark, Illinois

Other Varieties

Name: Monica Eng former Watchdog Reporter for the Chicago Tribune, current producer at WBEZ

Monica Eng Photo: Chicago Tribune

Monica Eng
Photo: Chicago Tribune

Monica was nominated in recognition of her focus on cooking, health, sustainability and local food in her writing for the Chicago Tribune. Her in-depth coverage of the local and sustainable food scene, her efforts as a watchdog reporter as it pertains to food issues as well as her writing on subjects ranging from traveling to a farm to procure a live turkey for Thanksgiving to butchering a whole hog has given her readers an unvarnished look at food.

Illinois Stewardship Alliance is a nonprofit that promotes environmentally sustainable, economically viable, socially just, local food systems through policy development, advocacy, and education.

To keep up to date on Illinois Stewardship Alliance, visit

http://www.ilstewards.org/

or

https://www.facebook.com/ilstewards

or follow ISA on twitter, @ilstewards.

goldenbeetpic

Some content taken from a press release by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.




The Weekly Harvest of Where the Local Family is and Other Eat Local Links

By
Posted: September 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm

 

Not where the Local Family is at (yet).

But where the Local Family may go soon.

Good luck.

Eat local Washington.

Eat local New York.

Benefits of eating local.

Yes, you can believe in local food and gun control (and also support hunting).

Bookmark this.

Brainwashed?

Food Tank has your fall reading list ready.

 




28 Days Just Flew By

By
Posted: September 13, 2013 at 8:45 am

Am I a Vegan

vb6 meal

Such a nice Bittman approved meal! Whole grains, ample veg, and the protein also from a plant.  That’s locally made, organic Phoenix tofu with sprouted spelt and local tomatoes. As the Chinese learned long ago, if you dose it all with soy sauce, you’ll get the same glutamate high that a t-bone steak provides, and you’ll leave the table satisfied. Did I do this for 28 days. Am I now a vegan.  Would Tony Bourdain erase me from his holiday card list?

Yes. No. And not only did I complete my 28 day VB6 challenge, I made it 37 straight days of VB6. It could have been 38 days and counting if not for this:

friselle

It was not so much that as the meal that followed. As I explained, right from the start, I slightly modified Bittman’s schedule. VB6 stands for “Vegan before 6,” his idea that if you could book two vegan meals during the day, you could go wild after six or for dinner, and those two vegan meals would be so good for you, it would hardly matter what happened after six. My problem.

vb6 challah

In a world filled with too many tempting non-vegan pleasures, I had to divvy them out in a different fashion than Bittman. Somedays I wanted to have challah toast slathered in butter. Do you know that challah’s not vegan? To maintain my overall commitment to VB6, I would have all vegan food the rest of the day.

Except for the other day. I made myself one of my favorite summer treats for lunch, frisselle salad. That is, great Tomato Mountain tomatoes* and other seasonal vegetables tossed with a light dressing and dropped carefully onto a whole wheat, locally baked friselle (what’s a friselle, like a Cretan rusk, it was twice baked bread produced for times when wheat would be scarce; these days they’re more enjoyed for their flavor and texture than for their utility as fresh bread is pretty much always available.) The hardest part of friselle, keeping the salad from falling through the hole. And keeping off the cheese.

I could have enjoyed the lunch without some shavings of local provolone, but I assumed I’d have a vegan dinner. There was lots of veg and a some red rice already prepared, so I knew it would be easy to V (I’ll return to this in a day or so). Then, fate intervened. My wife, the vivacious Condiment Queen, left her phone at home, a phone she’d need shortly at the Riverside Farmer’s Market. I got in the car and raced after her, but we did not intersect until all the way in Riverside. I delivered the phone, but I was slaked from the running around in the extreme September heat. On my way home I went looking for a store to buy a can of fizzy water (no more pop for me). I did not find that but I found a little Bohemian restaurant in downtown Riverside. I had to pop in. I saw a room filled with people enjoying large plates of appealing looking food. There was a lot of beige on those tables, and I wanted some.

I could have, should have, waited another day for Bohemian food; waited for a day where I had not expended my “B6″ on lunch. Yet, by going this night, I could entice my daughter with gravy and the opportunity to help She pack up from the market.

I’d love to tell you that I ended VB6 with the most pleasurable 2,500 calorie meal imaginable: light as air dumplings, crisp, greaseless, cutlets; nuanced, yet impossibly rich gravy. I’ll say this about dinner at Little Bohemia. It was ungodly cheap. Two dinners, with gobs and gobs of meats (one a combo of roast pork and breaded pork, the other svíčková, a braised beef dish with a vegetable sauce) bread dumplings on one plate, mashed potatoes on another, sides of cabbage and sauerkraut, soup (split pea and beef noodle), very good bread, AND home made kolacky came to $18. Except it was not. My only comfort is knowing the Czech Paradox.

In the day hence, I returned to having only one non-vegan meal. Why, how, and what I plan to do going forward will be explained in posts to come.

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain.




Save Eggplant Seeds the Seed Savers Exchange Way

By
Posted: September 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Saving seeds from heirloom varieties is one of the greatest ways to be local and sustainable. For those who are interested The Seed Savers exchange will be hosting a free webinar on eggplant seed saving. From the SSE website:

“Eggplant is a wonderfully diverse crop-type that can be addictive for chefs and seed savers alike. Though its spongy flesh makes seed removal a bit more complicated, saving seeds from this self-pollinating Solanum is fairly straightforward. Join us to learn how you can grow and maintain many different varieties in your own backyard.”

The webinar will be on September 23, 2013 7:00 p.m., Central Time

If you wish to attend this free webinar please register here.




Ratatouille – Fresh Garden Tomatoes, Peppers, Zucchini, and Eggplants all in One Dish Thursday, September 12th, 2013
The Local Calendar 9/11/13 Final Public Hearings To Label GE Food Tues., Rhone Rangers, and More Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
CITY FOLKS FLOCK TO SEE BACKYARD BIRDS Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
Do you know beans? Monday, September 9th, 2013
The Local Calendar 9/4/13 Chipotle Cultivate, ReVIVE, Raise The Roof and Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
Vive le Terroir – A Review Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
Weekly Harvest of Not All Eat Local Links Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013