Are We Still a Local Family

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Posted: February 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Yes. The CSA Boxes Still Come

Winter CSA - 142202

It helps to be a Local Family when your CSA provider, Tomato Mountain*, drops off their boxes all year. This came the other day: sugar-sweet carrots, summer-in-a-jar whole roasted tomatoes, local beets, and onions to add to a huge stockpile.  We’ve been getting local food, but have we stayed a Local Family? It’s been ages since we’ve checked in with Beet readers.

Some time in the Spring of 2013, I was noodling around on how I could add a little more scratch to the Local Family coffers.  My Dad had been teaching for about five years at DeVry University, and it seemed to provide him that little extra to keep the Sierra Trading account churning.  What if I did a teaching gig.  It seemed like something that could blend well into my other gigs (and also help keep my brain matter a little more plastic).  I sent a resume.  I did a sample lecture.  I received favorable reviews.  I heard nothing.  Flash forward to the end of 2013.  Work was very good.  I struggled to keep up with the caseload.  And DeVry called.  Take a class?

Taking a class meant learning how to teach the 21st century way, with computers and blended learning. It also meant refreshing myself on many areas of Law not thought about since I took the Bar exam in 1990.  I was Professor Gardner.  I was Vital Information to my clients.  I was also fully engaged in Project Remove My Gut through much time at Gym.  Through all of that, I was kinda still part of a Local Family, but in the limits of 24 hours a day, I was not a Local Beet blogger.

I say kinda because something else that pretty much went by the wayside in late 2013 was fun days spent tamaring.  No longer would I start a morning with a pot of salted boiling water and end with containers of proto-dishes; no bags of salads prepared, no pans of vegetables roasted, nothing boiled, sauteed or grilled in advance.  Believe me, the lack of tamaring did put a crimp on local eating.   We went out more.  I’ve cheated on things like prepared deli salads.  I’ve never stopped believing in local food, but I stopped believing in working so hard to have local food.  Still, if we did not cook our vegetables enough, we ate them often raw.  The Condiment Queen makes an awesome hummus, and with our supply of local carrots and radishes, made many a good meal.  In our worst days, we remained a pretty good Local Family.

The intense weather helped and hindered our local eating.  Helped by making it the easiest winter ever to keep a root cellar in the sky.  I need to do an inventory, but off the top of my head I can tell you we have a lot in the attic, some heirloom apples, more squash than we’ll ever eat, a lot of onions too, but those will always be eaten; carrots, beets, parsnips, potatoes, and cabbage, I know, are all there.  In addition to that our CSA has provided us frozen raspberries, frozen squash puree, and jars of tomatoes.  Our own seasonal preservation efforts put greens and a few other things away.  Then, we have pickles and other stuff made my my mother–just opened some bread n’ butter summer squash this week as we finished up the pickled garlic scapes.  We are not at a loss for local food to keep us a Local Family.   We do not, however, have as regular supply of greens as we’re used too.

Polar vortexes keep Wisconsin farmers from nurturing frost-kissed spinach.  At least it keeps our Wisconsin farmer from nurturing frost-kissed spinach.  Rightly so (we agree), Tomato Mountain has not artificially heated their hoops to get a winter spinach crop.  So, this year, it’s just been too cold.  Normally, our winter CSA would be awash in green.  There has been no spinach so far in our CSA boxes.  At least it has forestalled the argument I will have with the now non-meat eating Cookbook Addict when I’m gonna want bacon on my spinach salad.

That’s exactly the happy tension that keeps us going as  Local Family.  Life may intrude.  Our dedication may waver, but the CSA box comes.  We will eat more carrots.  The regular blogging should return.

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain




The Local Calendar 2/27/14 Support The Plant at Revolution Brewing Tap Room, Urban Roots, Sugar Beet Market

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Posted: February 27, 2014 at 11:34 am

Urban CanopyHarvestJuiceUrban roots

It is that time of year where “local” greens are scarce. Local greens exist, but they just are not as plentiful or as easily accessible as in the midst of the summer harvest.  There still are farmers markets to source from and The Urban Canopy microgreens at the Logan Square Farmers market were a shot of summer in winter. Actually, microgreens are a concentrated shot of antioxidants and vitamins, don’t take that little sprig of arugula for granted. The Urban Canopy ,also, has a Composting Club for the individual and a “LUCSA“, Local Unified Community Supported Agriculture(no, this is not the name of a new country that has broken away from Russia). The offering is a cross section of local goods including kombucha, coffee, bread among other items. This LUCSA has peaked my interest, when you say coffee and bread. Go to the link, I did not realize the breadth of product included until I read the fine print, it is an unusual mix for a CSA, I guess that’s why it is called a LUCSA.

Other green options springing up are juice spots. Harvest Juicery,  on Lake and Morgan offers 100% natural, cold pressed juices. She will source local where she can but the juice options include a variety of green and fruit juice combinations like Green Juice #1(spinach, kale, turnip greens, cucumbers, pear and lime). If you have ever tried juicing, particularly greens, it takes an awful lot of vegetables to make an 8 oz glass of juice. HJ has a culinary background and uses their own proprietary recipes so the juices don’t have that “grassy, earthy” taste that only hard core juicers really love. For those people who have great intentions but not necessarily the inclination or time to juice themselves, these are fantastic, really tasty options and an easy way to get greens in winter or summer.

PGP, the Peterson Garden Project has a bustling schedule full of workshops and events to support the budding or experienced home gardener as we move into “planting season”. They came out with a new book, Fearless Food Gardening in Chicago and have a packed calendar of classes and workshops. Christy Webber Landscapes offer a slew of classes for the home gardener. Of course, the center of the sustainable food universe in the midwest and beyond, the Good Food Festival with a very jam-packed calendar already is March 13-15th.  Rob Gardner offers his insight as to what’s planned for this years event. Get to Revolution Brewing tonight to support the Plant, or see the movie Urban Roots, go to the Sugar Beet’s market in Oak Park, , learn how to market your farm from Growing Power. The local calendar is always chock full of events no matter the weather. Now onto the week ahead:

The Week’s Local Calendar

February 27

Logan Square - Seeds For Success:A Benefit for the Plant Chicago - 6-9pm Revolution Brewing Tap Room 3340 N. Kedzie Plant. The Plant Chicago is excited to announce Seeds For Success, a fundraiser at the Revolution Brewery Tap Room to celebrate another great year of promoting closed loop food production and building reuse at The Plant!  The event will include:  light dinner fare and dessert, craft beers from Revolution Brewery, a silent auction with raffle prizes from event sponsors and items from local Chicago businesses.

February 28

Chicago - Journeyman Distillery Dinner at Two Sparrows -  Hailing from Three Oaks, Michigan, Journeyman will bring several of its handcrafted, organically certified spirits to 2 Sparrows to be paired with four courses by Chef/Owner Gregory Ellis. 2 Sparrows’ dedication to staying seasonal continues with this throwback to an era of definitive, classic dishes.

March 1

BeverlyWinter Farmers Market Faith In Place - 9am – 1pm Beverly Unitarian Church 10244 S. Longwood Dr.

Chicago – Pre-fest Screening of Urban Roots – Sponsored by the One Earth Film Festival and hosted by the Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab 2-4:30pm  4445 South King Drive Get tickets Joining the discussion will be Orrin Williams, Executive Director, Center for Urban Transformation; Johnnie Owens, Centers for New Horizons; and Sherry Williams, Founder, Bronzeville Historical Society.

Chicago – Farmers For Chicago Marketing Series at Growing Power Iron Street

Chicago - Green City Market Indoor Market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum  8am -1pm Chef demonstration 10:30-11:30am Micky Kearns All Natural Chicago. For the winter months, markets will take place:  3/15, 3/29, 4/5, 4/19. Preorders for the new Green City Market Cookbook can be placed here.

ChicagoGrowing Power Iron Street Farm Stand - 10am – 3pm 3333 South Iron St. With their hoop houses they have fresh produce all winter

ElginWinter Market Elgin - 9am -1pm 800 North State St.

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

Oak Park – Winter Market at Unity Temple3-5pm Sponsored by the Sugar Beet Coop SHOP:  We are lining up great local vendors for this market. Peerless Bread & Jam, Three Queens Organic Maple Syrup, CRUMB bakery, River Valley Organics… just to name a few!SEE: The crew from One Earth Film Festival will preview 2 inspiring food films in UNITY TEMPLE’S sanctuary. ATTEND:  2:30-4 pm Seed Starting with Sharon Storbeck Rob Gardner adds additional information.

Woodstock - Woodstock Indoor Market - 9am – Noon McHenry County Farm Bureau Building ( 3/1, 4/5)

March 2

Chicago - Logan Square Indoor Market  10am–3pm Logan Blvd 2755 North Milwaukee. The NOSH will share space with the Indoor Logan Square market at the old Pierre Bakery Building. The market runs  through 3/30/14 except for 12/1/13.

GlencoeChicago Botanic Garden Winter Farmers Market - 9am – 1pm OPEN 1000 Lake Cook Rd

March 5

Chicago - Soup and Bread at The Hideout - 6pm Roots versus Sprouts-  5:30pm The Hideout 1354 West Wabansia Each week of Soup & Bread has a theme—something to inspire cooks to new heights of culinary creativity. Want to get on the schedule to cook for Soup & Bread 2104? Check out the list of options below and then email us at soupnbread10@gmail.com with your preferred dates, or for more information go to soupandbread.net.Bread courtesy Publican Quality Meats and Crumb Bread. Pay what you can donations benefit a local food pantry.

SAVE THE DATE

March 6

Chicago - Green City Market Junior Board Movie Night at Patagonia Chicago - 7pm 1800 North Clybourn Queen of The Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?” is a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis from Taggart Siegel, director of THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN.

March 7-19

Chicago - One Earth Film Festival – Sponsored by Green Community Connections One Earth Film Festival is the Midwest’s premier environmental film festival, creating opportunities for understanding climate change, sustainability and the power of human involvement. We showcase top-issue, thought-provoking environmental films and lead audiences in riveting post-film discussions focused on solutions. Schedule

March 8

New!!! Chicago - Urban Farm Dreams: Assessing Risks & Resources to Start a Market Garden – 1-5pm Arturo Velasquez Institute (Windy City Harvest) 2800 S Western Avenue, south entrance off of 31st Street Read more about this opportunity from Robert Haugland.

March 9

Chicago – Chicago Food Swap – 2pm Free Range Office Wicker Park Fills up very quickly so sign up now!

March 10

Chicago – Sauce and Bread Kitchen comes to the Half Acre Tap Room - If you’ve been to their store, you’ve probably seen that they are very fond of the sauces coming out the space that the CO-OP folks have just up the street from them. If you visited them there, you also then know that they not only make sauce, but pretty delicious meals as well. So Half Acre is pretty excited to announce that they are bringing that food to their taproom for one of their Monday Nights Dinners

March 13-15

*****   Chicago UIC Forum 10th Anniversary Good Food Festival The agendas are set, lots of great seminars, speakers, food, beverages and more. Follow Good FoodFestCHI on twitter It looks to be another incredible inspiring weekend to bring positive change to the food world! Rob Gardner talks about the history and what is going on for this year’s event.

March 15 – 23

Chicago – Chicago Flower and Garden Show Navy Pier Includes places like Dirk’s Fish on the slate for a cooking demo and Growing Power always participates.

March 15

Chicago – Band of Farmers Talent Show The Hideout

Chicago – Winter Farmers Market Faith In Place - 9am – 1pm Lutheran School of Theology 1100 East 55th St.

March 16

Palatine - Winter Farmers Market Faith In Place - Countryside Church UU 10am – 2pm

March 22

Morton Grove - Spring Farmers Market – 9am -2pm Morton Grove Civic Center

March 23

Logan Square - Cheese & Wine Pairing 101 7-8:30pm Provenance Food & Wine 2528 N California Richard & Nicole Benjamin showcase a carefully-curated selection of wines & cheeses while talking about general pairing guidelines, and stories behind their products & the people who make them. Join them for a fun evening in the fashion of an informal dinner party. Cost is $35 per person. Participants receive 15% off any purchases made that night.

March 26

Chicago – Cider and a Movie- Tierralismo at Uncommon Ground – 6-8pm Uncommon Ground 1401 West Devon Join Growing Home in this unique opportunity to enjoy Virtue cider and appetizers while exploring the intriguging, relevant, and inspiring world of Cuban agriculture! Harry Rhodes, Growing Home’s Executive Director and leader in Chicago’s urban agriculture movement, will speak about his recent trip to Cuba and discuss how Cuban agricultural practices relate to urban farming and development in Chicago. Following the discussion, you’ll screen Tierralismo by Alejandro Ramirez Anderson, an inspiring documentary about a 26-acre farming co-op in the outskirts of Havana.

Springfield - 2014 Local Foods Awareness Day at the Capitol 10am to 4pm THe State Library & Capitol Complex Join local food consumers, farmers and advocates from around Illinois working to promote and raise awareness about local food systems and sustainable agriculture in Illinois. Sponsored by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.

March 29-30

Chicago –  2-DAY WORKSHOP: “HIGH BIONUTRIENT CROP PRODUCTION - 9:30am – 4:30pm Garfield Park Conservatory  Learn from a life long Farmer of his understanding and first hand experiences utilizing a Biological Approach to crop production. Dan Kittredge, Executive Director of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA) & the Real Food Campaign, will lead the workshop.  Cost: $150.00, with Scholarship funds available for Farmers. *For Event Information*: please contact the North Lawndale GreeningCommittee – Dr. Shemuel Israel, President NLGC – cell: 773-332-7887; or Annamaria Leon, Director, Education & Community Outreach cell: 414-339-55537, or email at  nlgreeningcommittee@gmail.co

March 30

Oak Park - Winter Market Faith In Place -8:30am – 1pm St. Giles Catholic Parish 1045 Columbian Ave.

March 31

Chicago - Chowdah Fest is back at Columbia Yacht Club

April 4-5

Beloit, WI – The Right to Food Conference with Vandana Shiva Beloit College Co-sponsored by Angelic Organics and the Weissberg Program in Human Rights

April 5

Chicago – Spring Lamb Butcher Class – From the folks at The Red Meat Market 

April 6

Chicago - Chicago Food Swap 3pm The Chopping Block Sign up for their newsletter to get all the information on signup and how it works

April 10

Chicago - The Art of Simple Food Alice Waters in Conversation With Ruth Reichl The Chicago Humanties Festival 6pm The Art Institute Reception following benefitting the Edible Schoolyard Project and Green City Market. Tickets

April 12

Chicago – 4th Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival – French Market 11am – 3pm Every year this free event gets ever more crowded. So this year I suggest being strategic, get there early to meet the actual producers of many of the cheeses and products that Pastoral sells.

April 25

Chicago – 15th Annual Whiskyfest Chicago – This has SOLDOUT already but keep checking the calendar for all the other ancillary events that happen during this week!

April 27

Lincoln Square - Salute to Women in Wine & Cheese - 7-8:30pm Provenance Lincoln Square  2312 W. Leland Avenue With Mother’s Day on the horizon, they are  inspired to create a different take on their wine & cheese pairing class. Taste a lineup of offerings made by great women cheese & wine makers. Join senior staff members Richard & Nicole for a fabulously tasty lineup! Cost is $35 per person. Participants receive 15% off any purchases made that night.

 


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Several Friends in One Place – Winter Market with the Sugar Beet on Sat March 1

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Posted: February 27, 2014 at 7:27 am

Special Afternoon Winter Market this Saturday at Unity Temple in Oak Park

One of the pleasures of living in Oak Park is the constant presence of Frank Lloyd Wright. People come from around the world to tour the architecture in Oak Park. Four or five days a week, when I’m running late to the gym, I pass such key works as his home and studio. As stunning as a Heurtley or Moore House (among many) can be from the outside, you cannot get the full extent of genius without walking inside. Unity Temple on the other hand, is, well, interesting from the outside but also a hunking block of concrete, foreshadow of Circle Campus, Boston City Hall and all that other brutal buildings to come. Step in, however, and it is warm, gorgeous and positively able to Unitarian-ize you. And this is one Oak Park, Frank Lloyd Wright, you can wander. At least wander when there is also a winter market, a special winter market with movie previews, coop lessons, seed starting workshops and many great vendors.

Many friends of Beet are gathering this Saturday, March 1, in the afternoon at Unity. In fact, one of the oldest friends of Beet, Robin Schirmer, is helping curate this gathering. She’s brought along her old cohorts and other long time friends of the Beet, Tomato Mountain.   Speaking of Tomato Mountain, there is no bigger friend of Beet than the Condiment Queen herself, She’s Cooking, will be staffing the Tomato Mountain table on Saturday. There will be several other great local farms and artisans at this market. And there’s more. Our friends at One Earth Film Festival will be showing previews for their forthcoming event on March 7-9. Finally, those other Beetniks, Oak Park’s Sugar Beet-Coop, fresh off the news of location, will be having a member meeting with many key updates. This is your chance to get involved in rising new community food co-op.

Shop, see, learn all in the confines of one of the world’s great buildings. You have to be inside, this Saturday, March 1, to make it happen. See you there.
Sugar Beet March Market Event
Unity Temple
875 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL
March 1
3 – 5 PM



Happy Anniversary Good Food Festival

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Posted: February 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Ten Years of Good Food Festing

 

Good Food Festival_Amanda Areias_110

Photo credit Amanda Areias

From March 13 through March 15, over 5,000 people are expected to attend the Good Food Festival at the UIC Forum in Chicago.  Aiming to expand the reach of real, local food, the Festival interconnects farmers with consumers, entrepreneurs with funders, thinkers with those looking for change, apprentices with mentors, and always, those who like to eat with much good things to try.

2014 is the tenth year of the Good Food Festival.  The return of the Festival each year, bigger and stronger than the year before testifies to the hunger for a better food system.   Local food has been dismissed as a fad.  CSAs have been discussed as something you do for a summer to cross off your bucket list.  It’s all fodder for segments of Portlandia.  Yet, the work remains far from finished.  Making local food more accessible, enabling artisans, convincing your neighbors to eat like you, there is still so much to do.  Once a year, since 2004, Jim Slama and his team at FamilyFarmed, said things can get better if we all try.  We all try at the Good Food Festival.

The Good Food Festival, f/k/a the FamilyFarmed Expo, serves multiple audiences each year.  A critical component in recent years has been the Food Financing Fair.  Taking up a day, this event connects people looking to grow food enterprises with those looking to invest in food enterprises. At other days of the Festival each year, the focus may be on trade or consumers.  There are tons of panels to learn.  For those in the trade it may be on how to better supply local food to your customers.  For the crowds, it may be how to preserve your local food for year-round consumption.  All come together for a night of sampling at the Localicious party because we know the best way to get people to eat local is to have them eat local.   This year’s Festival features an outstanding selection of nationally renown speakers including:

  • Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods
  • Deborah Kane, Director of USDA Farm to School Initiative
  • Will Allen, MacArthur Genius and Growing Power founder
  • Seven James Beard award winners and nominees leading chef demos and workshops, including Rick Bayless
  • Micheal Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn breaking down a whole hog and teaching salumi methods
  • 30+ chefs and local libation producers at the Localicious party
  • Stephen Jones, Bread Lab and Fred Kirschenmann of Stone Barns Center leading the conversation around Ancient Grains

The Local Beet is proud to have contributed to the Good Food Festival.  We’ve served on the Advisory Board, sat on panels, moderated events, hosted a table in the Exhibitor’s Hall and spent countless hours schmoozing with like-minded folk.  We’ve taken a little trip down memory lane below.  And it’s all very happy memories.  We’re looking forward to another Festival soon.  We heartily congratulate Jim, and Lloyd, Isabel and Jim, Holly and Kim, Grant and Kim, Connor, Kathy, and Kathy and all the others who’ve done this for ten years.  You’ve done a great job.  Happy anniversary!

We cannot say we were there at the inauguration.  In 2004, local food to us mostly meant the best Italian beef sandwich.  Influenced by regular visits to the Oak Park Farmer’s Market, befriended by Farmer Vicki Westerhoff, and spoiled by the products we got, myself and the three girls I live with, morphed into the Local Family.  What became a bit of a lark, could we eat that way, became our passion.  We had to eat this way.  We became dedicated to the idea that if we could get it local, we would only eat it local.  And we started parading around our locavore passion to whoever would pay attention.  Someone who did pay close attention was Monica Eng, then of the Chicago Tribune.  I met Monica in 2002 when I invited her along on a kooky quest to eat around Chicago for 24 hours.  Over time, we shared very similar food passions.  We wanted great soup dumplings but we also wanted local, pastured raised pork in those dumplings.  In 2008, I found out that Monica was moderating a panel at something called the FamilyFarmed Expo.  The panel: eating local. Me.  The panel needed me.

I contacted Monica.  She agreed.  I met the Family Farmed Expo audience in a talk about how I managed to be part of a Local Family.  I also met Jim and Holly and the whole FamilyFarmed Experience.  All those good ideas, all that good food, I was smitten. Some of what impressed me so much about the Expp can be found in this post.  By 2010, I had the privilege on sitting on the Advisory Board helping to plan the Expo. I used my influence that year to bring the Local Beet’s (then) chicken farmer, Helen Standen, to a wider audience. Here’s me looking forward to more on what I helped plan that year. Another great thing about 2010 is the Local Beet had the use of Brad Moldofsky as a Beet Reporter. Amongst the things Brad covered that year was the Financing Food to Fork aspect of the Expo. He wrote another story on the Expo here. It was great being in the middle of the movement.

Besides Helen, myself and other Beetniks sat on panelists at subsequent Expos. In 2011, I shared a panel with Paul Virant and other spirited food preservationists. Here’s a little recap from the 2011 Expo.

Better than speaking, in 2011 we had the first Local Beet table at that Expo. It’s really what I love best about being involved.  For one thing, the table allows us to meet readers of our site. Then, we can share our experiences and provide vital information, including passing out copies of our CSA guide. Finally, best, with our table, we it is our chance to chat with all the other heros of the good food movement. During the course of the Festival, various farmers, writers, thinkers, chefs, advocates, market managers, artisans, etc. stop by our table like a bunch of Shriners.

After being a panelist for a few years, 2012 found me moderating and helping make kraut.


Photo of Ben Walker & myself courtesy of Megg/PopArtichoke.com

Here’s our report from the 2012 Festival.

We were very CSA focused at the Good Food Festival in 2013.

After the Fest, we’re always looking to see what others are saying. Here’s a collection of links from after the 2012 Festival and here’s a collection of links after last year’s Good Food Festival.  You can surely see what a good thing the Good Food Festival has been these last ten years.

Join in celebrating 10 year of Good Food, March 13-March 15 at the UIC Forum.  When the next big anniversary comes, you can say  you were there.




The Return of the Weekly Harvest

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Posted: February 24, 2014 at 11:12 am

With the weather so cold, we have not been able to harvest much (the way our winter CSA has not contained any spinach yet–well, maybe, but it’s time to get back on the beat).

Food Stamps At Farmers’ Markets Work

Eat a local “mother-in-law.”

These are indeed awesome (at the Logan Square farmer’s market, I’ve been known to sample more than five at a time).

Speaking of weather, should not Chicago area chefs being doing more Russian and less Italian menus?

All the eat local winter advise that’s been missing from the Beet.

Have you tried all these great Wisconsin cheeses yet?

And we can call our Wisconsin cheeses any stinkin’ thing we want.

Dealing with picky kids.




Heartland Cafe Gets a Heartwarming Local Upgrade

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Posted: February 24, 2014 at 10:03 am

For more than three decades, Heartland Cafe has served as the heart of Rogers Park, a community hub for wholesome food morning, noon, and night. As timeworn as the cottage-like cafe may be, it’s still got a few tricks up its sleeve, as proven by its recent relaunch with a Midwestern focus under new executive chef Kim Gracen and managing partner Tom Rosenfeld, who just so happens to do double-duty as an organic farmer. Getting away from its previous incarnation, wherein much of the dishes oddly skewed Mexican, Heartland Cafe gets to the heart of Midwestern cookery with a new menu that draws upon local farms throughout the year to supply as much as possible for the restaurant. Under this inspired philosophy, Heartland Cafe has transformed from a restaurant that dictated ingredients based on haphazard menu construction to a restaurant that lets seasonal, local ingredients do the dictating.

buffalo chili
(Buffalo chili)

“Good, organic food should be available to everyone. It shouldn’t be elitist,” explains Rosenfeld, a Rogers Park resident who was all too giddy about the opportunity to come aboard as managing partner when the positioned open up to him. As a longtime fan of Heartland Cafe, Rosenfeld wanted the chance to perpetuate the restaurant’s identity as a neighborhood keystone. The vegetarian had long turned to Heartland as his go-to restaurant for food that was prepared with the customer in mind, rather than have a vegetarian dish contrived as an afterthought. It’s this customer-focused sentiment that enamored Rosenfeld about working with Heartland, and it’s an ideology he shares with Gracen, nee of Chicago Diner. For her, it’s all about the spiritual connection to food, fostering an emotional attachment between herself and the food, and parlaying that to the guests’ experience. As cliche as it sounds, Gracen is a firm believer in cooking with love and this is one place where that is in fact evident; the love for wholesome sourcing, for thoughtful cooking, and for hospitality are all paramount at the heartwarming Heartland Cafe.

meatloaf
(Turkey meatloaf)

That love manifests itself most importantly in the restaurant’s newfound commitment to local sourcing. Much of the core philosophies of Heartland are still the same, such as catering to vegetarians, but rejiggered through a locavore lens. The restaurant lets the ingredients mandate the menu, allowing Midwestern products to shine in all their glory year-round. Along with buffalo from South Dakota, a prominent player on the no-beef menu (the buffalo chili is a little bit of heaven), much of the provisions hale from Rosenfeld’s Earth First Farms in Berrien Center, Michigan. Throughout the year, this includes melons, apples, strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini, winter squash, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatillos, and lots more. He recently planted peaches and plums, so expect to sink your teeth into some new stone fruit dishes later this year.

Barnyard sandwich
(Barnyard sandwich)

A key component in Heartland’s refocus on Midwestern cuisine and seasonality is simplicity, so as to let the pristine ingredients truly shine. “It’s the kind of food you’d have on a farm,” Rosenfeld describes, and he would know, describing Heartland’s fare as simple and approachable, with no more than five or six ingredients on a plate. Farm-fresh eggs adjoin puff pastry, spinach, and cheese in a decadent breakfast pie, locally plucked turkeys take center stage in turkey meatloaf and the gluttonous “Barnyard sandwich” striated with bacon and eggs, seasonal vegetables are baked into a gratin with Parmesan and pistachio-basil pesto, and mashed cauliflower and root vegetables masquerade convincingly as mashed potatoes. The menu still caters heavily to vegetarians and those with dietary needs, with 70% of the menu meat-free, 30% of it vegan, and 50% of it gluten-free.

There’s always been a lot of heart at Heartland Cafe, but thanks to its reconfigured focus on local, sustainable, and seasonal sourcing, the Rogers Park mainstay has never felt more heartwarming.

Heartland Cafe 7000 N. Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL (773-465-8005 and http://www.heartlandcafe.com/)




The Local Calendar 2/12/14 Fermentation, Cider, Coffee, 5th PGP Seed Swap, Urban Livestock

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Posted: February 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm

FermWeFarm CoffeetastingCounterCulture Expo_Poster_2014

If you thought local, sustainable food slowed down in the winter, that the Polar Vortex was keeping everyone inside, think again! There are lots of classes, events, markets going on in Chicago to continue spreading the knowledge and joy of sustainable food and beverage. Seneca Kern, at WeFarmAmerica is working on wild fermentations of all kinds, water kefir, milk kefir, kambucha and his experiments. Get on the WeFarm mailing list to stay up-to-date on the classes he is offering or to join his Thriving Culture community. Counter Culture Coffee Chicago is spreading the word on sustainable, specialty coffee at their weekly cupping sessions on Friday morning, and it is called a coffee lab for a reason. I met Aaron and James from the DotCrossCoffee project who are trying to introduce the University of Chicago community and beyond to the tastes of specialty coffee. The weather didn’t keep people away from the cider summit last Saturday! Check Hail2TheAle’s calendar for upcoming craft beer and cider events in Chicago. PGP, the Peterson Garden Project has a busy calendar to encourage the home gardener, they came out with a new book, Fearless Food Gardening in Chicago and have a packed calendar of classes and workshops including their 5th Annual Seed Swap on Sunday. Christy Webber Landscapes offer a slew of classes for the home gardener.

The AUA WInter Gathering and Urban Livestock Expo takes place next weekend and of course, the center of the sustainable food universe in the midwest and beyond, the Good Food Festival with a very jam-packed calendar already is March 13-15th.  Tonight, Soup and Bread at The Hideout, Love, Lust and Hate . Onto the week ahead!

The Week’s Local Calendar

February 12

Chicago – Soup and Bread at The Hideout - Love, Lust and Hate - Our soup cooks all come from the ranks of LTH Forum, who are promising an aphrodisiac tomato soup, Vietnamese rice soup with a beef heart meatball (!), potage de garbanzos/cocido andaluz (featuring saffron, the spice of love) and a whole lot more. This crew also always rounds up platters of desserts as well, so this is one S&B you won’t want to miss. (To read their deliberations, see the LTH thread here: http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=38917 ) Special guest DJ this week is DJ Lady J, aka Jillian Matson. Bread courtesy Publican Quality Meats and Crumb Bread. Pay what you can donations benefit Casa Catalina in Back of the Yards.

February 14

Happy Valentines!

Chicago - Valentines Wood & Wine Make It Take It for couples - 2:30pm – 5:30pm Rebuilding Exchange  Make your board and then take it home with a bottle of wine. This cutting board project is the perfect introduction to working with wood. Students will leave with a beautiful finished piece made from urban ash and get the opportunity to use a router, drill press, and orbital sander to shape their cutting boards. Lastly you will use walnut oil to achieve a hand-rubbed finish. All of the ash trees in North America are dying as a result of the emerald ash borer beetle. Here’s your chance to make something with this beautifully figured hardwood before its all gone.

February 15

ChicagoEat Your Heart Out  - 6:00 pm to midnight Presented  by the folks at The Red Meat Market The Chop Shop and 1st Ward Events 2033 W North Avenue  $50 per ticket includes 2 complimentary drinks! Join 4 butchers, 3 bands, and 3 comedians for a sensory experience that pairs food, music, and cocktails!  Watch as their butchers demonstrate their cutlery skills and prepare dishes from a pig, goat, lamb, and cow. Rock out to White Mystery, Blasted Diplomats, and SoftSpeaker throughout the night, and be entertained by local comedians during the butchery presentations. Ticket price includes a culinary sampling from each animal, two complimentary drink tickets, and a full night of live entertainment! Butchers with Knives, Bands, Girls in Red Dresses, with full bar – what can go wrong?

Chicago - Green City Market Indoor Market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum  8am -1pm Chef demonstration 10:30-11:30am The Heart Boys Dan and Steve. For the winter months, markets will take place:  3/1, 3/15, 3/29, 4/5, 4/19. Preorders for the new Green City Market Cookbook can be placed here.

ChicagoGrowing Power Iron Street Farm Stand - 10am – 3pm 3333 South Iron St. With their hoop houses they have fresh produce all winter

ChicagoFaith In Place Winter Market - 9am – 1pm Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park 5500 Woodlawn Ave.

Chicago - Delilah’s 16th Annual Vintage Beer Fest

ElginWinter Market Elgin - 9am -1pm 800 North State St.

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

Oak Park - Faith In Place Winter Market - 9am -1pm Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church 405 S Euclid Ave.

February 16

Chicago – 5th Annual PGP Seed Swap – Swedish Convenant Hospital 2pm Bring your vegetable and herb seeds to share with other edible gardeners! You never know what you’ll find – gardeners are generous people, after all. Reconnect with old friends and meet new ones as we all get excited about growing together in 2013! This event is FREE, and open to the public. Grewbies welcome!

Chicago - Logan Square Indoor Market  10am–3pm Logan Blvd 2755 North Milwaukee. The NOSH will share space with the Indoor Logan Square market at the old Pierre Bakery Building. The market runs  through 3/30/14 except for 12/1/13.

GlencoeChicago Botanic Garden Winter Farmers Market - 9am – 1pm OPEN 1000 Lake Cook Rd

Logan Square - Raclette Party  7-8:30pm Provenance Food & Wine 2528 N. California

February 18

Chicago - Solidarity Soup: Exploring The Right To Organize With The Fight For 15 6-7pm Jane Addams Hull House

Orland Park - Meet The Buyer Event Cook County Farm Bureau  9am – 4pm Orland Park Civic Center

February 19

Chicago – Soup and Bread runs every Wed. through April 16th. The Hideout 1354 West Wabansia 5:30pm – 8pm Theme “The River” Each week of Soup & Bread has a theme—something to inspire cooks to new heights of culinary creativity. Want to get on the schedule to cook for Soup & Bread 2104? Check out the list of options below and then email us at soupnbread10@gmail.com with your preferred dates, or for more information go to soupandbread.net.

Chicago - Food Patriots World Premier Chicago Cultural Center - 5:30pm – 8:30pm Claudia Cassidy Theater 78 E. Washington Touched by their teenage son’s battle with a foodborne superbug, Jeff and Jennifer Spitz document their family’s struggle to raise backyard chickens, grow food and transform into Food Patriots. Join them for the world premier as well as dinner catered by Chipotle and Paramount events. For dinner, RSVP here, movie seating is first come first served. Watch the trailer.

Springfield - 11th Annual Composting Symposium - Lincoln Land Community College

SAVE THE DATE

February 21

Chicago - A Place At The Table screening and discussion 7pm Lutheran School of Theology 1100 E. 55th St.

February 22

Arlington Heights - Faith In Place Winter Market – 9am – 1pm Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church 1234 N Arlington Heights Rd.

Chicago – Urban Livestock Expo - Angelic Organics Learning CenterAdvocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA), and the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts again present the Urban Livestock Expo from 10AM to 1PM at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W 111th Street in Chicago.

February 23

Chicago – Glenwood Sunday Market 5th Annual Heat It Up Chili Cookoff  - 12pm – 3pm Heat It Up! is a fundraising event to support the Glenwood Sunday Market, Rogers Park’s farmers market that brings local food to everyone in the community.   It will feature local cooks, both professional and home-based, providing chili tastings to attendees, a booth decoration contest, a cash bar, prize-wheel and tons of fun for the whole family! Choose your favorite chilis and vote with your tips (all tips benefit Glenwood Sunday Market)!  There will also be professional judges and local luminaries on hand to choose the top three chilis of the day

Chicago – Poutine Fest 2 – This wil sellout the way Doughnut Fest has soldout. Chicagoans love food FESTs in the winter!

Chicago – Food Patriots Screening at Temple Shalom – 12:30pm – 2:30pm Temple Sholom 3480 N. Lake Shore Dr. Sponsored by Faith In Place

February 26

Chicago – Winter’s Hard Eat Your Pancakes -7-10pm 6338 N. Clark St.  The Stew Supper Club presents another awesome dinner at Sauce and Bread Kitchen.

February 27

Logan Square – Seeds For Success:A Benefit for the Plant Chicago – 6-9pm Revolution Brewery Tap Room 3340 N. Kedzie Plant Chicago, NFP is excited to announce Seeds For Success, a fundraiser at the Revolution Brewery Tap Room to celebrate another great year of promoting closed loop food production and building reuse at The Plant!  The event will include:  light dinner fare and dessert, craft beers from Revolution Brewery, a silent auction with items from local Chicago businesses, raffle prizes from event sponsors

February 28

Chicago – Journeyman Distillery Dinner at Two Sparrows –  Hailing from Three Oaks, Michigan, Journeyman will bring several of its handcrafted, organically certified spirits to 2 Sparrows to be paired with four courses of time-honored, quintessential American cuisine by Chef/Owner Gregory Ellis. 2 Sparrows’ dedication to staying seasonal continues with this throwback to an era of definitive, classic dishes.

March 1

Beverly – Winter Farmers Market Faith In Place - 9am – 1pm Beverly Unitarian Church 10244 S. Longwood Dr.

Woodstock - Woodstock Indoor Market - 9am – Noon McHenry County Farm Bureau Building ( 3/1, 4/5)

March 7-19

Chicago - One Earth Film Festival – Sponsored by Green Community Connections One Earth Film Festival is the Midwest’s premier environmental film festival, creating opportunities for understanding climate change, sustainability and the power of human involvement. We showcase top-issue, thought-provoking environmental films and lead audiences in riveting post-film discussions focused on solutions. Schedule

March 9

Chicago – Chicago Food Swap – 2pm Free Range Office Wicker Park Fills up very quickly so sign up now!

March 13-15

Chicago UIC Forum 10th Anniversary Good Food Festival The agendas are set, lots of great seminars, speakers, food, beverages and more. Follow Good FoodFestCHI on twitter It looks to be another incredible inspiring weekend to bring positive change to the food world!

March 15 – 23

Chicago – Chicago Flower and Garden Show Navy Pier Includes places like Dirk’s Fish on the slate for a cooking demo and Growing Power always participates.

March 15

Chicago – Band of Farmers Talent Show The Hideout

Chicago – Winter Farmers Market Faith In Place - 9am – 1pm Lutheran School of Theology 1100 East 55th St.

March 16

Palatine - Winter Farmers Market Faith In Place - Countryside Church UU 10am – 2pm

March 22

Morton Grove - Spring Farmers Market – 9am -2pm Morton Grove Civic Center

March 23

Logan Square - Cheese & Wine Pairing 101 7-8:30pm Provenance Food & Wine 2528 N California Richard & Nicole Benjamin showcase a carefully-curated selection of wines & cheeses while talking about general pairing guidelines, and stories behind their products & the people who make them. Join them for a fun evening in the fashion of an informal dinner party. Cost is $35 per person. Participants receive 15% off any purchases made that night.

March 29-30

Chicago –  2-DAY WORKSHOP: “HIGH BIONUTRIENT CROP PRODUCTION - 9:30am – 4:30pm Garfield Park Conservatory  Learn from a life long Farmer of his understanding and first hand experiences utilizing a Biological Approach to crop production. Dan Kittredge, Executive Director of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA) & the Real Food Campaign, will lead the workshop.  Cost: $150.00, with Scholarship funds available for Farmers. *For Event Information*: please contact the North Lawndale GreeningCommittee – Dr. Shemuel Israel, President NLGC – cell: 773-332-7887; or Annamaria Leon, Director, Education & Community Outreach cell: 414-339-55537, or email at  nlgreeningcommittee@gmail.co

March 30

Oak Park - Winter Market Faith In Place -8:30am – 1pm St. Giles Catholic Parish 1045 Columbian Ave.

March 31

Chicago - Chowdah Fest is back at Columbia Yacht Club

April 5

Chicago – Spring Lamb Butcher Class – From the folks at The Red Meat Market 

April 6

Chicago - Chicago Food Swap 3pm The Chopping Block Sign up for their newsletter to get all the information on signup and how it works

April 25

Chicago – 15th Annual Whiskyfest Chicago – This has SOLDOUT already but keep checking the calendar for all the other ancillary events that happen during this week!

April 27

Lincoln Square - Salute to Women in Wine & Cheese - 7-8:30pm Provenance Lincoln Square  2312 W. Leland Avenue With Mother’s Day on the horizon, they are  inspired to create a different take on their wine & cheese pairing class. Taste a lineup of offerings made by great women cheese & wine makers. Join senior staff members Richard & Nicole for a fabulously tasty lineup! Cost is $35 per person. Participants receive 15% off any purchases made that night.

 


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From The Crowds At The Cider Summit The Cider Revolution in Chicago Has Begun

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Posted: February 10, 2014 at 7:40 pm

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I wasn’t going to write a specific post about the Cider Summit that took place last Saturday at Navy Pier but after seeing the huge crowds that were there, I felt a post was warranted.  I will give you my brief run down and impressions. One of the biggest insights I took away from meeting all these producers is that artisanal cider is all about the apple, the trees, the farm and the land.

The crowds on Saturday were absolutely unbelievable. I attended the 11am – 3pm session (there was a later session 4-8pm) and I got there around 12:15pm and the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier was already too crowded for me. Attendees were hunched around every table and I heard that people had lined up well before 11am to get in right away.

The tables were arranged alphabetically and the first table I encountered was on my list to stop by anyways, Aeppeltreow Winery & Distillery. The neat thing about Aeppeltreow is that the Winery sits on the grounds of Brightonwoods Orchard in Burlington Wisconsin. Brightonwood grows up to 200 different types of heirloom apples, some eating and some for cider(cider apples are too astringent for eating). They were pouring Appely Doux a champagne method sparkling cider, Orchard Oriole Perry(fermented pears, a whole other category that is coming into its own as well) and Songbird Cider made from Macintosh and Red Delicious. Aeppeltreow welcomes visitors to the distillery and offers spirits made from the local products as well. Basically, you never know what Charles the cider maker will come up with next and their blog has a lot of useful and interesting information on it if you want to learn more.

One cider maker that was top on my list was Farnum Hill Ciders at Poverty Lane Orchards in Lebanon, NH. Farnum Hill has been making ciders since the 80′s and Steve Wood the founder is known as the “great grandfather of the cider renaissance”(Quote from the book, The World’s Best Ciders). Last year when I attended the summit, my sources told me, “try Farnum Hill, they are the best of the best” and at that point I had no idea of the history. The factoid that interested me was that they were in Lebanon, NH the town next door to the college I went to Dartmouth, in Hanover, which always brings up memories of hiking, biking, driving through the woods, hills and mountains of New Hampshire. Farnum Hill is known for their orchards of heirloom cider apples. This year the founder, Steve Wood, was at the summit, tasting their “Dooryard Cider”. Their Dooryard Ciders are numbered(see the picture below). So for example the #1310 that I tasted, had a pedigree on their website “A happy blend of two fermentations from the 2012 harvest (one early in the season and one late), Dooryard 1310 derives most of its acidity from Esopus Spitzenberg and Ribston Pippin, and its structure from Dabinett, Chisel Jersey, and Ellis Bitter.  It’s a tiny bit off-dry, with aromas of lime and lime peel, tart pie cherries, pear, pineapple, BSA*, and some faint floral thing.  To us, the taste follows the aroma pretty faithfully, together with a bit of brine, quinine, and whisky (do those go together?).  The finish does the same, with pleasant fruits and clean acidity to the end.” The fun aspect of their Dooryard line is that each batch will have a completely different flavor profile based on the circumstances, apples, time, etc. 

Next to Farnum was another cider maker that was pretty incredible, E. Z. Orchards Cidre. Mark Zielinski, was a wine maker before turning to cider and he goes at cider with a wine makers point of view of balancing tannins, acidity and fruit. His family grows the apples and he is all caring about the specific apples. The interesting thing about cider that I gathered during the summit is that it takes a wine makers perspective in balancing tannins, acidity and fruit but the buyers and the people driving demand for cider and at  the summit were craft beer people.

In the interest of time in my writing this, I have to wrap it up. There were a wide variety of producers at the summit and you can’t speak of cider in Chicago without  Virtue(they put cider on the map in Chicago) and they were there in full force tasting Mitten, Percheron, Lapinette(I may have missed one, given they were at the end of the alphabet I got to their very packed table towards the end), Suttons Bay MI cider, wine and spirit maker Black Star Farms (which is a great place to visit as well), Vander Mill Ciders(they are on a lot of Chicago beverage lists and collaborate with Chicago chefs for cider dinners, here is their blog) Spring Lake MI. There were English ciders, French ciders, a whole host of perries, and even the guy who wrote the book on cider, Pete Brown was at a table signing copies of his book that I already quoted from The World’s Best Ciders. After continuing to walk around and feeling a bit overwhelmed in information, people, tasting so many different ciders, I figured I better get the book to make sense of everything.

The crowd was very intent on drinking their ciders. It was hard to get people to look up from their glass to get by them to check out all the tables.  I got the distinct sense this was a very dedicated crowd to drinking their ciders and perries. There had been lots of events in Chicago leading up to the cider summit to stoke this interest and a great site to stay up on cider and craft beer events in Chicago is “Hail To The Ale“. The Fountainhead had representation in the crowd and they will soon be opening a cider pub, “The Northman“. I think maybe this crowd was on to something!

Sandor Katz in his book, The Art of Fermentation, may have hit home on why cider resonates with people, fermenting fruit is steeped in tradition. “One of the great challenges of reviving local food is to avoid simply replicating the most popular globalized products and instead to develop strategies to turn what grows most easily and abundantly in each region into products that satisfy our cravings. People almost everywhere have traditions of turning fruits and other available carbohydrates into alcohol.”

According to Michael Pollan in his latest book, Cooked, in the chapter, Earth, ” Alcohol itself probably contributed to the health, as well as the happiness of ancient people. Alcohol is a rich source of calories as well as nutrients. People who drink in moderation(which a 5-percent mead pretty much guarantees (my thought is you can include cider and perries in this category as well) live longer and endure lower rates of many diseases than both people who don’t drink at all and people who drink to excess.” Pollan ,also, brings up the “Drunken Monkey Hypothesis” on monkeys and fermented fruit. Maybe this crowd somehow intuited that cider is a good thing in more ways than one!

What I loved best about the summit is how so many of the producers were really dedicated to the apples they grew or at least knowing the provenance of the fruit. Granted I am a relative cider newbie, but I just did not realize the wide variety of ciders in the market and how tied to “terroir” (to borrow a wine term )they really were which just adds to the diversity of taste and food pairing that cider offers. Maybe it is the lower alcohol content to generalize which makes a slightly lower price point for cider, or maybe it is just the fact that in the end what captured my attention is that these artisanal ciders and perries just tasted great!

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