Jeannie’s Here With the Other Eat Local Links We’ve Harvested

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Posted: March 31, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Look Who Showed Up in This Week’s Harvest

 

Jeannie’s not just for the Beet.

Like walking on to the Portlandia set.

Change the way we farm!

Eat local in the Bahamas.  Indonesia?

Vermont foodies talking about Alice Water.  An item built for the Weekly Harvest.

We’re not the only ones hawking local matzah.

I got the impression that every month was eat local month in the Low Country.

Friend of Beet Steve P has 100 places you probably cannot afford.

 




The Local Calendar 3/26/14 Farm Dinner Season, Local Foods Awareness Day, Come See Us At Soup And Bread Tonight!

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Posted: March 26, 2014 at 9:09 am

SlagelLunch table on the porchAngelicTheFarm

It is that time of year to start scheduling your farm dinner. Farm dinners with some of the most well known farmers get booked really quickly. Here is Slagel Family Farm’s schedule for the season (5/3-10/4) and all are available for sale now. Prairie Fruit Farms has announced their schedule(5/25-12/4) but they stagger their offerings, so their first 5 dinners went on sale and only the wild game dinner on June 14 still has tickets available, the others are sold out. The offerings for the rest of the summer will be available for sale at the end of May. The best way to stay informed about ticket availability for these dinners is to sign up for the farm newsletters on their websites.

Congratulatons Peterson Garden Project on your 5th Anniversary!!! PGP is the leading organization in Chicago providing classes, programs and resources to teach you how to grow your own food, including a book “Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland” and soon it will be opening the Fearless Food Kitchen(support their KICKSTARTER to make it happen) in Edgewater to teach you how to cook the food that you grow.

It is that time of year for the Country Financial Farmers market bag contest! They’re giving away scholarship money to three Chicago high school students! If you know a student with a gift for art, encourage them to enter their Chicago Farmers MarketsReusable Bag Design Contest. The student with the winning design will win a $1,000 scholarship and see their art on thousands of farmers market canvas bags. Two runners-up will get $500 scholarships. Get more info on how to enter! We love their bags, we love that they are reusable and we love that Chicago high school students get scholarship money from this!

The 2014 CSA Guide is out! If you are a small to mid-size farmer reading this or know one let them know about the USDA’s resources for them, there is a webpage with all sorts of info here! There are so many organizations in Chicagoland providing resources, classes and advocacy on local food. Some of our favorites are Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Advocates for Urban Agriculture, WeFarmAmerica and The Talking Farm in Skokie.

Thanks to Wes King and all the folks that went to the Springfield today to advocate on behalf of local foods! Woo hoo! Come out tonight to Soup and Bread at The Hideout, some of the Beets, Rob and @Shes_Cooking, Jeannie, will be there slinging soup and raising funds for Benton House, the theme is herbalism. Lots going on, the local calendar is picking up, now onto the week ahead:

The Week’s Local Calendar

March 26

Chicago - Soup and Bread at The Hideout - 6pm   Herbalism –  The Hideout 1354 West Wabansia Rob and @Shes_Cooking and Jeannie will all be slinging soup tonight. So come by, we would love to see you!! Bread is donated as ever by their pals at Publican Quality Meats. Pay what you can donations benefit Benton House.

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.

Chicago – Beyond Gourmet “A Spirited Cocktail Dinner” at The Bristol – Friend of the farmer Chef Chris Pandel has designed  a creative, seasonal four-course menu.  The dinner will be paired with cocktails handcrafted by Mixologist David Willhite and guest Mixologists Debbi Peek and Bridget Albert from Southern Wine & Spirits.  Willhite will teach attendees how to prepare the perfect cocktail at home while Chef Pandel will reveal his favorite spirits and pairing tips.

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 27

Chicago – Good Greens Meeting – Monthly meeting held by the USDA FNS (Food & Nutrition Service) in Chicago. There’s a great line-up of presenters(  and Good Greens meetings are always wildly eclectic networking.    You never know who’s going to show up. Some of the presenters will be Andrew Lutsey, co-founder Local Foods, Dan Susman producer film Growing Cities, Funding for Snap machines at farmers markets.

March 28

Chicago – Counter Culture Sustainable Spring Initiative  11am (Public cupping session at 10am every Friday) 117 N. Ada St. Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA), : Green Grocer Chicago will be talking about what a CSA is and the benefits. They are a curated CSA from multiple farms around the city and Illinois.

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 29

Chicago – Thriving Cultures Kimchi Workshop -1pm  Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab -4445 S. King 2nd floor

Chicago - Cheese 101 – Bar Pastoral 12pm – 1:30pm 2947 North Broadway Join the crew at Bar Pastoral for a delectable cheese primer that answers all of your questions about cheese. Washed rind, soft ripened, farmstead; what does it all mean? Join the master cheese mongers of Pastoral in a guided tasting of carefully selected cheeses that cover a wide variety of cheese making styles and techniques. Giving you the tools necessary to walk up to any cheese counter and select your cheeses like a pro. $45 These folks know their cheese!

Chicago - Green City Market Indoor Market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum  8am -1pm Chef demonstration Heather Terhune Sable 10:30-11:30am Next markets will take place:, 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

March 30

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. Last day of the Logan winter market, spring/summer starts May 19th.

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

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

March 31

Chicago - (I AM) FUNdraiser for Chef Dean Zanella(story here thanks to DNAInfo)  Hot Chocolate1747 N. Damen Ave. Eleven chefs (and counting) will cook dinner that evening alongside Hot Chocolate’sMindy Segal. They include John Hogan of Keefer’s; Roger Herring of Grand Tour; Bill Kim of bellyQ, Urbanbelly and Belly Shack; Rob Levitt of the Butcher and LarderLa Sirena Clandestina‘s John Manion; Elissa Narow of Perennial Virant and Vie; Piccolo Sogno‘s Tony Priolo; Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish and Oyster; Heather Terhune ofSable Kitchen and Bar, and Takashi Yagihashi of Takashi and Slurping Turtle. The cost of the dinner is $200. Only 100 will be sold. Call 773-489-1747 to reserve

Chicago - Chowdah Fest is back at Columbia Yacht Club

April 1

Chicago – Bacon Month Kickoff Party – 7-10pm The Berkshire Room 110 East Ohio

SAVE THE DATE

April 3

New!!! Evanston – Seeds To Success – Urban Farming As Economic Development  6pm Rotary International 1560 Sherman Ave.  Visit the indoors Farmers Marketplace to mingle with local vendors and purveyors of Chicago’s native goods. At 7 p.m. attend a free panel discussion and hear experts discuss the future of Chicagoland urban farms in alleviating poverty. The panel will be moderated by WBEZ‘s Monica Eng host of the podcast Chewing the Fat and includes the following panelists: *Kathy Dickhut– Deputy Commissioner at City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development *Erika Allen– Project leader for Growing Power’s Grant Park community garden project  *Rebekah Silverman– Associate Director of Growing Home *Blake Davis– Board Member of the Plant Chicago and professor at IIT

Along with Green City Market, Rotary is hosting a Farmers Marketplace prior to the panel event. Here are a just few: Green City Market, Farmhouse, Rotary First Harvest, Yellow Tractor, Growing Home, and Growing Power.

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 4

Chicago – Celebrate Spring With AUA’s Movie and Mingle Night! 7-10:30pm Benton House 3034 S. Gratten Ave. Special documentary screening of A Community of Gardeners” Local food and beer donated by Lagunitas You have to watch the trailer of this film, it takes 2 minutes and you will be inspired.

April 5

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

Chicago – First Annual South Siders Homesteaders Fair – Sponsored by Blacks In Green 10am – 2pm Logan Center for the Arts Univ. of Chicago 915 E. 60th St.

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

Evanston – The Talking Farm presents “Celebrate The Growing Season at Farmhouse” 5-8pm Farmhouse 703 Church St. In celebration of their first full growing season at The Howard Street Farm, The Talking Farm presents, Celebrate the Growing Season, an event featuring appetizers, a buffet dinner, and local brews provided by Farmhouse Evanston, live music by The Greenleaf Band*, and raffle prizes. The evening will begin with passed hors d’oeuvres, and proceed with a buffet dinner in Farmhouse Evanston’s special event space. $75 inclusive

Niles – Irv and Shelly’s Open House and Pig Roast – 3-6pm 5625 West Howard Rob writes about it here.

April 10

Chicago – Presale tickets go on sale for the Chicago Gourmet Festival including tickets for the Grand Cru tasting as well!

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 11

Chicago – 2 Sparrows Home Brew Dinner – 7pm 553 West Diversey The Lincoln Park brunch outpost’s focus on hyper-local expands for this dinner to feature four Chicago home brewers – including 2 Sparrows’ own bartender Ryne Schofstal – pouring five one-of-a-kind beers along with a five-course meal by Chef Gregory Ellis.  Local beer aficionados in the area are invited in for what is sure to be an unforgettable meal, and the opportunity to taste home brews crafted right here in the city. Tom Keith this is right up your alley!

Wheaton - Soup and Bread Fundraiser 6:30pm – 8pm Tom’s Price Home Furnishings 303 Front St. In support of The People’s Resource Center

April 12

Chicago – CoffeeCon Chicago – 1029 W. 35th St. Held at the Zhou B Art Center (Zhou is pronounced: Joe)  from 9 am to 5 pm. In keeping with CoffeeCon’s mission to be the world’s largest coffee house atmosphere, they found a compelling venue: an art gallery. Purchase tickets here

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 13

Chicago - It’s Back For Its 6th Year Cochon 555 - Blackstone Hotel – 636 S. Michigan 4-8pm I’m passionate about promoting food sources that support a more natural, sustainable food system,” explains Brady Lowe, founder of Cochon 555. Includes over 30 dishes prepared from the entirety of heritage breed pigs from nose to tail, paired with premium wines, brews and spirits and so MUCH MORE!

April 15

Chicago – Re-Thinking Soup What A Waste – Food Loss and Recovery6-7pm Jane Addams Hull House Museum 800 S. Halsted Free Guest Presenters: Ken Dunn, Resource Center, Rajesh Karmani, Zero Precent, Greater Chicago Food Depository Tossing last week’s leftovers or the wilted lettuce, still wrapped in the store packaging (yikes!) is indeed wasteful. But consumer behavior is only one dimension of the global food loss issue affecting agriculture today. In fact, food waste affects every step of the supply chain between farm and fork – from transport to processor to retail, to yes, your home kitchen. According to USDA estimates, between 30 and 50 percent of all food produced is discarded, much of it edible.

April 17

Happy April Food Day!

April Food Day is an event to promote awareness of food pantries by bringing your local community together to participate in a local food drive. We are excited to honor food pantry employees and celebrate the volunteers that support them. Through social media we are infusing fun into the food received from our local pantries by posting recipes and videos cooking our favorite meals.We are growing into the single largest day of food drives across communities. This event is sponsored by the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.

April 22

Champaign – Ramp Fest The Land Connection Dinner and Silent Auction - 6:00 p.m. $150.00 Prairie Fruits Farm 4410 North Lincoln Avenue Please help them celebrate the coming of spring with a farm-to-table meal prepared by Chef Alisa DeMarco of Prairie Fruits Farm featuring ramps, the first wild green of the season

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!

Chicago - A Charitable Confection - A dessert cocktail party. Presented by Grandbaby Cakes. To support Project Orange Tree an active Chicago-based youth movement to stop the violence by both educating teens about its systemic causes and empowering youth to change the cycle. Project Oasis allows for the purchase land in Chicago’s most urban areas to transform them into much needed community gardens in food deserts and safe, peaceful areas for the surrounding youth.

April 27

Crystal Lake – Eco-Friendly Food and Beer FestDuke’s Alehouse & Kitchen 2-6pm 110 Main St.

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.

May 3

*FD Fairbury, Il/Chicago - Slagel Family Farm Dinner – Farm tour and dinner 2:30pm Chef Paul Virant Vie/Perennial Virant $125 Bus option Noon 1800 N. Lincoln BYOB

May 15

Chicago - Second Annual Chefs Playground - A benefit for The Academy of Global Citizenship Terzo Piano at the Modern Wing of the Art Institute

May 25

*FD Champaign – Prairie Fruit Farms Dinner Honey Butter Fried Chicken Memorial Day Celebration Chicago sensation chefs Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp of Honey Butter Fried Chicken and Sunday Dinner Club fame will return to the farm for our first dinner of the season. This event will be held from 1-5pm. It is a simpler menu and is priced at $85 per seat. (Sold out, availability will be determined by any cancellations)

May 31

*FD Champaign – Prairie Fruit Farms Dinner -1-5pm “Bring on the spring!”  Sit down with guest farmers John and Connie Caveny to savor some of their spring, grass-fed lamb.  Rhubarb, asparagus, greens, and other early season delicacies will complement the featured meat. (Sold out, availability will be determined by any cancellations) $125 text/tip BYOB liquor will be for sale at the event as well.

June 11

Chicago/Andersonville – “Piggy Benefit for Southern Foodways AllianceBig Jones (southern heirloom cooking) – 6pm 5347 North Clark To quote Chef Paul Fehribach, “this will be a good one!” They are pleased to offer some deeply rooted Kentucky cooking for their second Piggy Bank Dinner, a benefit for the Southern Foodways Alliance. Julian Van Winkle will be there to discuss his storied bourbon (12, 15, and 23 year will be served) plus a couple of selections from Buffalo Trace Distillery, and they are cooking up a 5-course menu with receipts and inspiration from Lettice Bryan’s The Kentucky Housewife (Louisville, 1839) and The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery. SFA documentary films will be shown, The Poker Night String Band will play some righteous tunes, and good times will be had by all.

June 14

*FD Champaign - Prairie Fruit Farms Dinner -1-5pm Wild Game Dinner  Prairie Fruits Farm on the Range: Longhorn cattle, bison, and elk; they conjure up an image of open range on the western plains, don’t they? Yet, here we are in east-central Illinois, 20 minutes from K & D Ranch. They raise all three of these large and graceful herbivores on their farm near Kickapoo State Park, and they’ll be our guest farmers for this meat centric meal.  Expect late spring and early summer vegetables and fruits to adorn the menu as well. $125 text/tip BYOB liquor will be for sale at the event as well.

June 21

*FD Fairbury, Il/Chicago - Slagel Family Farm Dinner - Farm tour and dinner 2:30pm Chefs Cosmo Goss and Chris Kuziemko The Publican/Publican Quality Meats $125 Bus option Noon 1800 N. Lincoln BYOB

June 28

*FD Champaign - Prairie Fruit Farms Dinner -1-5pm The Urbana Butcher comes to the Farm Chef Josh Boyd earned his culinary stripes cooking at Bacaro and Carmon’s Restaurant in downtown Champaign. He’s recently opened “The Urbana Butcher” shop in downtown Urbana, to rave reviews.  He specializes in house-made sausages, pickles and country pates.  This dinner will transport you to the French countryside, where pork is king and fresh, impromptu menus are the norm (Sold out, availability will be determined by any cancellations) $125 text/tip BYOB liquor will be for sale at the event as well.




This Does Seem Like a Weekly Harvest (Of Eat Local Links)

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Posted: March 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Click Local

Had an unusually hard time finding links today. Let us know if you have any good additions.

 

The World Cheese Championship focuses on commercial, rather than artisan and farmstead cheeses, but it’s still nice to see how well local fared.  Some even say we dominated.

Speaking of local cheese, BIG news.

Drink more local.

Titus tracks down more cools spots, this one a butcher in Michigan City.

Eat local Gloucester, Australia.

Green Garfield Park.

Another reason to get your organic local.

More good press for that other Beet crew.

Good tips ahead of Spring Cleaning.

Jeannie always says when you have nothing else to read, get to the Nourishing the Planet.




The Registration Deadline for Local Food Awareness Day is Monday, March 24th

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Posted: March 19, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Time is running out to join the Illinois Stewardship Alliance for Local Food Awareness Day!

On Wednesday, March 26th, local food advocates, farmers, and citizens from across the state will come together in Springfield for Local Food Awareness Day to encourage their legislators to support local food and farms. The final day to register for this event will be Monday, March 24th. If you plan to attend, please register on or before that date.

Photo: Illinois Stewardship Alliance

Photo: Illinois Stewardship Alliance

This year there are several exciting pieces of legislation we will have the opportunity to support. The first is House Bill 5657/Senate Bill 3380, also called the Farmers’ Market Regulatory Modernization Bill. This bill will:
• Create a simplified, consistent, and statewide process for vendors to offer samples at any farmers market in Illinois
• Provide consistent and uniform regulations for farmers markets throughout the state
• Create new product origin requirements to foster transparency and help consumers identify “re-sellers” at farmers markets
• Cap registration fees for cottage food operations at a reasonable rate

The second piece of legislation is House Bill 5907 which would create a new microloan program for beginning farmers.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to support Senate Bill 1666 which mandates the labeling of food products with genetically engineered ingredients also known as GMOs.
In a snapshot Local Food Awareness Day will consist of a welcoming address by Representative Mike Tryon (sponsor of HB5657), a civic engagement and lobbying training, a legislative update, and a working-lunch. Following lunch we will descend upon the capitol to educate legislators about the importance of local food systems and advocate for positive policy solutions that support local food systems.

ILstew

For more information click here




Special Harvest of Good Food Festival Links

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Posted: March 19, 2014 at 6:30 am

We still have a few of our own things to post in response to this year’s Good Food Festival, but until then, we’ve harvested a special crop of links of what others have been saying.

We ran into our friend Monica a few times over the 3 days.  She found five good things to talk about on this podcast.

Some of the good things tried at the Localicious party.

We’ve already linked to Tammy’s report, but if you missed it, here it is.

Melanie, of the Walking Distance blog, has a few nice posts including her time learning to break out a pig.

Here’s another set of podcasts, from Ferm-Up.

This not reaction to the Good Food Fest, but Hammond’s profile on FamilyFarmed leader, Jim Slama captures the spirit of the event.

A Life Unprocessed discovers kombucha and a few other things.

The official pictures.

More official pictures, these of the Urban Ag tour.

Check back as we’ll update with more reports, photos, and impressions from another bout of Good Food Festing.

 

 

 




Farmer’s Markets are Not Bullshit

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Posted: March 19, 2014 at 1:21 am

Editor’s Note: As part of our Greatest Hits Week/Post Good Food Fest Feeling Good, we’re digging up some of our favorite items from the root cellar.  Once, someone dared challenge the glory that is the farmer’s market.  We let him have it.  

Yes, I know I am preaching to the choir.  You Beetniks know the worth of farmer’s markets.  Nor do I have the heft of the Tribune’s listserv, contacting everyone else when this post goes up.  Besides, earnest defenses are just not as cool as snarky contrariness.  Yet, God, I cannot let a bunch of crap from some snob go unanswered.  He’s telling you farmer’s markets are bullshit, essentially telling you that you are a fool for shopping there.  Do you want to be called a fool?  No, that’s BS.

To this snob, if you go to markets you pay too much; you’re not getting very much; you’re forcing restaurants to charge too much (I think that’s one of the arguments), and you are buying into a false sense of obligation when shopping at a market.  The snob’s case falls apart from his own minimal research let alone his odd rhetoric.  It really falls apart if you apply thinking slightly less shallow.

Do You Pay too Much for Farm Food?

Yes!  There’s reasons you do, but before we get to those reasons let’s address whether you really pay more when shopping at farmer’s markets.  Snob throws up a chart attempting to show how the suckers get taken, and boy does the chart prove something.  It’s an odd chart, often making no account for objective differences.  For instance, when he throws out prices for NY strip steak, he does not differentiate between the grades of the meat.  Does that not account for some price difference.  Same for organic labeling.  Don’t you pay more for that regardless.  Without those points, the chart still proves little.  After all, the market shopper would pay $4 for blueberries but only $3.99 at Dominick’s!  That’s what his chart shows.  You fool paying $5 for a dozen eggs when you could pay over $8 at Whole Foods or $4 for strawberries when you can pay $5 at Dominick’s.  Woops.  Even in the cases where there’s a difference in price, the differences are minor.  If you pay fifty cents a pound more for something are you really getting rooked?

A guy who goes by Food Snob is probably also the kind of guy who will tell you that two buck chuck is as good as any other wine.  There is no accounting for taste.  Some of us pay a bit more for taste.  Or we pay more for things beyond taste.  We have seen Food Inc. or Fresh or read Pollan.  We know the threat of antibiotic resistant animals.  We want out of the industrial system.  We pay the real costs.  Now.  Who knows how many recalls, infections, diabetics, et al. later there will be to pay later.

Besides, we do not always pay the costs Snob says we pay.  He says you pay $4/lb for potatoes.  You can, for certain heirloom varieties or for certain freshly harvested potatoes, but even Nichol’s Farm does not sell all their potatoes for that price.  Likewise tomatoes can easily be found for $2/lb (or less!) at markets.  A savvy market shopper knows also how to get good deals.  In fact, here’s a couple of studies (granted not from Chicago) showing that local food is not more expensive: one/another.

There’s a Better Market in France

Snob makes an odd turn.  After trying to prove you pay too much at the market, he turns around and tells you that your market is no good anyways.  Hahahahaha.  Sucker.  If you only went with him to a small, random market in the South of France you’d get “fresh stroopwaffles, fresh spices, plethora of tapenades, and fresh bread.”  Right,  not just stroopwaffles, but fresh stroopwaffles.  Snob says this even though he went to Green City Market where one could get not waffles but at least crepes made to order (from genuine Frenchmen) and fresh bread to boot.  Of course, GCM, with strict standards does not allow tapenades as olives do not grow around here as they do in the south of France, but there are farmer’s markets in the Chicago area selling tapenade if that’s your thing.  We’ll concede spices, having to say walk a few blocks from GCM to the Spice House.

Frankly, I cannot see how Snob can say the market selections blow.  I could toss out anecdotal evidence from my Beet Reporter in Italy or from visitors from San Francisco, Minneapolis, Boston or San Francisco who raved about our markets compared to others, or that Alice Water’s own gardener felt highly about Green City Market (also put in a top 10 by CNN), yet I know its a logical fallacy to rely on such evidence.  After all, you could cite someone who’s been to Madison or Urbana, telling me about better, bigger markets than around here.  I do not need a rank to know our markets don’t blow.

Farmer’s market food is better.  Ignoring all that industrial food system stuff already mentioned, I can give you other reasons why markets don’t blow.  For instance, farmer’s bringing produce to markets can pick their products when they are ready to be picked not when they are ready to be shipped thousands of miles.  And they can grow varieties for deliciousness not for how many of them can be fit into a box.  Need more.  Well, do you know the standard recipe for corn–you set a pot a-boilin’, then go get yourself some corn.  For those of us without corn in the backyard, the farmer’s market is your next best bet.  By a mile.  Then, there’s all the varieties.  I saw about 25 types of apples at the Daley Plaza yesterday.  I’m not seeing anything that blows.  I see some markets with more than others, and I do know a few suspect markets, but overall to say  our markets are no good is more bull-crap.

Markets Drive Up Restaurant Costs

By the time we get to this argument, I wonder if Snob is simply being paid by the word.  His editors and Chicago Now wanted things a bit puffier.  So, he came up with this argument that the high prices of market food cause, may force the chef’s hand (Snob writes, “chefs want to emulate other chefs with notoriety and feel they need to keep up with the Joneses”).  Is this just another zag after zigging.  The selection blows but it blows so much that chefs have to use it simply to save face.  Maybe I can get Rick Bayless to address this one if, my my, it needs more addressing.  Let’s just leave this the way we’ve left some other points, some things are worth paying; some are willing to pay.

Don’t Shop on Pity

Snob wraps things up with, what I imagine he believes is his hidden ace.  All of you who willingly pay more, who pretend their markets are actually good, well Snob portends that you do it out of a sense of pity towards farmers.  And do you know what.  To crush your hopes and tell you how much BS you are putting up with, he tells you that not all markets take the LINK card and that farmer’s don’t give back as much as chefs.  In other words, these people are not worthy of pity.

The commentators in Snob’s Chicago Now post do a pretty good job or wrecking his Google research on LINK and farmer’s markets around the Chicago area.  Those readers, unlike Snob seem to understand that there are other markets besides Green City.  What Snob also did not know is a few things I happen to know.  I know that the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry routinely does “food rescue” from unsold items at the Oak Park Market.  I know that the Forest Park Market requires a donation to their food pantry as a condition of selling at the market.  I know that vendors at the Hines Market support veterans.  I can go on about things like Farmer Vicki taking time to speak to kids at schools.  Does any of that matter?

Who takes pity on farmers.  Sure we recognize the difficulty of their endeavor.  We recognize how things are often skewed against them, subsidies and such.  Farming is not an easy plight.  I shop at farmer’s markets because I like farmers.  I like meeting them.  I like knowing the story behind my food.  I like knowing about my food.   I know it’s not a charity to shop at farmer’s markets, but I also know that knowing where my food comes from is worth it.  For me.  It’s all worth it.  What about you.  Do you find farmer’s markets bullshit?


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Anatomy of a CSA

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Posted: March 18, 2014 at 8:00 am

Editor’s Note: It’s that time of year when parents sign up for summer camp and everyone signs up for their CSA.  We’ve made a new list for 2014, and Robin Schirmer has much useful information to guide you through the selection process.  Perhaps you are also wondering what it will be like to have a CSA box. In 2008 Michael Morowitz dissected what he got.  We bet you’ll find something not that far off at the end of 2014.  Enjoy this post as we recycle through some Beet classics this week.

As 2008 comes to a close, winter markets are in full swing, I get my first winter CSA delivery this week, and 2009 CSA sign-ups are getting started. For those of you considering purchasing a CSA subscription for 2009, now is the time to sign up. Spaces can fill up fast and you can sometimes get a discount for early purchases.

I know that if you’re new to a CSA, it can be hard to take the plunge. I thought I’d take apart my 2008 CSA half-share from Homegrown Wisconsin to help demystify the whole experience.

How did it work?

I purchased a half-share since there are only two eaters in my household (not counting the twins who are not on solid food yet and who didn’t exist during the 2008 sign-up period). A half-share equals ten deliveries, every other week, from June to October. I also added a dozen eggs to each delivery for an extra fee. (You can also add a lb. of cheese for a fee).

My deliveries went to a residential home not far from my neighborhood. One of the reasons I chose HGW last year was the ease of the pick-up locations. Every Wednesday I went to this home and picked up my delivery from their garage (there was a four hour window for pickups). The pick-up process could not be easier. Pop-in, grab your stuff, sign the sheet, and leave. There was only one delivery I couldn’t make, and a friend was able to pick it up.

So what did you get?
Since HGW is a cooperative of farms, I received a nice variety of produce every week. As expected, deliveries can vary in size due to harvest times but each delivery had a good variety and plenty of stuff to keep me busy cooking and storing. My goal was for 100% usage of what we received. I didn’t quite achieve that, but I was certainly in the neighborhood of 95%, with some items currently in the deep-freeze or fridge.

A Typical CSA Delivery.

A Typical CSA Delivery. Here’s a complete breakdown of what I received over the 10 deliveries:

Green Leafy Things

  • 7 Lettuce (summer crisp, bibb, little gem romaine, green leaf, Red batavian)
  • 2 bags of fresh spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Napa cabbage
  • Wild grape leaves
  • Lacinato kale
  • 2 Arugula
  • Mizuna
  • Frizze
  • Green cabbage head
  • Red cabbage head
  • Red radicchio
  • Bok Choy
  • Sunflower micro greens
Misc. above-ground produce

  • Kohlrabi
  • Cauliflower
  • 2 broccoli heads
  • asparagus
  • Sugar snap peas (first pick of the season from this farm) x2
  • Italian romano beans
  • 2 Cucumbers (Diva variety?)
  • Japanese cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Small celery stalk
  • 4 ears of sweet corn
  • Many tomatoes (heirloom, green, red slicing, saladette, green zebra, sungold cherry)
  • 3 mushroom deliveries (white and crimini)
Underground Produce

  • 4 bags of carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Turnip
  • 2 daikon radish
  • radishes
  • 3 sacks of potatoes (wide variety)
  • 2 sweet potato deliveries (various varieties and sizes)
  • at least 6 large beets
  • white turnips
Peppers

  • Banana pepper
  • 5 green bell peppers
  • Red bell pepper (already chopped up in a quinoa salad)
  • 2 Italian frying peppers
  • Unknown hot peppers (four or five)
Squash

  • Gold summer squash
  • Yellow summer squash
  • acorn squash
  • butternut squash
  • spaghetti squash
  • pie pumpkin
  • 2 delicata squash
  • zucchini
Garlic/Onions

  • Garlic scapes
  • green garlic
  • 7 heads of garlic
  • spring onions
  • Red bottle onions (twice)
  • 5 red onions
  • 2 white onions
  • 2 leeks
Sweet stuff

  • Strawberries (twice)
  • rhubarb (three times)
  • Small yellow watermelon
  • Raspberries
  • Musk melon
  • Apples three times(honeycrisp, mutsu, dolgo crabapples)
  • Plums
  • Pears
Herbs

  • Flat-leaf parsley (twice)
  • Mint
  • Chives (twice)
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Dried mint
Stuff in packages

  • Jar of pear butter
  • Jar of Honey
  • 10 dozen eggs
OK. So how much did this all cost?
The total was $365.00 (this year’s cost is slightly higher). A full-share is much more economical than a half-share, if you can consume or properly store all that produce. I’m happy with the value for the dollar I received.
 
How was the quality?
Everything was as good as you’d find at any local market, in some cases better. I was particularly happy with the variety and quality of greens, squash, and carrots.
What else do I need to know?
Most CSAs, including this one, give you a helpful and interesting newsletter with information about your delivery, farmer bios, recipes, storage tips, etc. The newsletter was delivered via their website, and the coordinator was always available via email to answer any questions.

There are two practical things I enjoy the most about being a part of a CSA: I love to cook, so I like to receive new things that I might normally pass up in a market. This year I cooked mizuna, romano beans, and delicata squash: three great things that I’ve never cooked before. Also, I love having a base of produce always available that I can easily supplement with farmers market trips. I always found myself heading to the Federal Plaza market for peaches, blueberries, spring onions, and a few other things. But, I didn’t have to go overboard because there was always a steady stream of good, local produce at home.

I’m not affiliated with Homegrown Wisconsin in any way, and I don’t want this to be a commercial for them. There are a lot of CSAs out there that cater to a variety of different needs and locations (We’ll be publishing a 2009 guide soon). I just hope this helps de-mystify a CSA subscription for those of you who may be considering joining one in 2009.

 

 

 

 




Our Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

By
Posted: March 17, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Each week we harvest a new set of links of locavore lore and other interesting articles.  Enjoy what we reaped.

 

Great addition to the cast!

We’ll have many more links highlighting the fun we all had at this year’s Good Food Fest, but Tammy sure helps in getting things going.

Eat local pizza (sorta, you get the drift).

Seeds of hope.

The best cheese in the world this year may be local cheese.  And we can call our local cheese any damn thing we want.  This is America.

Do you want to live in an Agrihood?

Is there a cuisine of the Midwest?

Way to go Sugar Beet.

Wait until after you’ve come back from your fast food dinner before reading this.

Our next job?

Share with us some good stuff you’ve been reading.

 




Chef Dean Zanella Has Supported Local For A Very Long Time, Now Let’s Support Him!

By
Posted: March 17, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Chief Beet Rob Gardner pointed out in conversation that Chef Dean Zanella has supported the local food community and farmers for a very long time, from his 10 year time at the helm of 312 Chicago, to Aldino’s, to Rhapsody and now to Firehouse Chicago.

Chicago Eater reported the news here:

Chef Dean Zanella was struck by tragedy. Not long after he took over the kitchen at Chicago Firehouse, Zanella’s wife passed away from childbirth complications after giving birth to twin daughters.

A fundraiser is now set up. Benefit events, including a dinner at HotChocolate and an afterparty at Big Star on March 31, are on the docket. Notable chefs, including Bill Kim, Giuseppe Tentori, Takashi Yagihashi, Mindy Segal, and more are scheduled to cook. Call HotChocolate for details and reservations.
· Friends set up a benefit for a widowed Chicago chef and his newborn twins [Reader]
· All Dean Zanella Coverage [-ECHI-]

So let’s support Chef Zanella in whatever way we can!!




We gotcha new Chicago-area breweries … right here … updated, yet!

By
Posted: March 17, 2014 at 1:51 am

Editor’s Note: As follow-up to our fun at Good Food Festival, we’re re-posting some of our favorite Beet reports.  Nothing we’ve done on the site has been more popular, let alone more all encompassing than Tom Keith’s journey through Chicago area breweries.  And he did not stop with this exhaustive bit of drinking.   For additional breweries he found see here and here

 

l to r: Spiteful Bitter Biker Double IPA, Spiteful Ghost Biker Pale Ale, Flesk Force of Nature Belgian-style IPA, Flesk Gnomon Saison Ale, One Trick Pony growler, Begyle Crash Landed American Wheat Ale, Pipeworks Galaxy Unicorn Imperial IPA, and Pipeworks Last Kiss Scottish Wee Heavy

Bob Skilnik, in his authoritative book Beer, a History of Brewing in Chicago, reports that there were 43 breweries in Chicago prior to prohibition. By the 1980s, that number was zero. If the majority of new or planned breweries actually come online, the Chicago area will easily exceed the pre-prohibition number.

It’s not hard to see why. The craft brewing segment is growing at a rapid pace. In 2012 craft beers showed a 15% volume increase over the previous year, which saw a 13% increase over the year before that.

And the economics are there. Nano-brewhouses are typically available for less than $10,000. Big craft brewers, in part due to economies of scale, can profitably sell some of their 22 oz. “bomber” bottles for $5 or $6 each at retail, despite the costs of distributors and long distance transportation. By contrast, a small local brewery can self-distribute (meaning the only costs are loading the beers into a van and driving them over to the local accounts), and get $8 -$10 per bottle on retail shelves. The cost of ingredients between the two bottles usually is small, if not nonexistent. So the margins for small craft brewers can be pretty generous.

Here’s a probably incomplete list of new breweries, and breweries-in-planning, in the greater Chicagoland area.

New breweries for 2012

Without a doubt, the most important new guy on the block in 2012 was Pipeworks Brewing, which we previewed here. It’s near the corner of North and Western in Chicago. It was also was rated as the world’s best new brewery by Ratebeer, based on 3 million+ reviews of beers and breweries around the world. Anything from Pipeworks with Ninja or Unicorn on the label is worth seeking out. Look for the 22 oz. bombers. But you’ll have to look hard. While each of Pipeworks’ labels is individually distinctive, there’s no “family feel” to them. (I was buying several Pipeworks beers, and ended up coming home with one beer from Perennial, in St. Louis. Apparently the retailer was arranging beers alphabetically by brewery name, and I couldn’t easily tell where Pipeworks ended and the next guy started.)

On a larger scale, Revolution (whose brewpub we previewed here) opened its 45-barrel production brewery in 2012 at 3340 N. Kedzie Ave. in Chicago, including a tap room overlooking the fermenting tanks and canning lines.

More along the lines of the Pipeworks model, two breweries — Spiteful and Begyle — opened just before the end of 2012.

Spiteful, the brainchild of high school buddies Brad Shaffer and Jason Klein at 1815 W. Berteau Ave. Chicago is making exceptional ales on an extremely small system (which we imagine will be expanded soon). Several of their brews have bicycle-themed names (e.g. Ghost Bike, Bitter Biker) but the name that best demonstrates the attitude behind Spiteful is on its Stout: GFY. Being self-distributed, the beers aren’t in many stores. And even if you’re in a store that carries it, good luck finding it. For some reason, Brad and Jason like to make the logo on their labels surprisingly small.

Begyle, a 15-barrel brewery at 1800 W. Cuyler in Chicago, got its start with a Kickstarter campaign. It hopes to establish a community-supported beer program (similar to farmers’ CSA plans), and will be creating a retail space for bottles, growlers and kegs.

Due to a major brain malfunction on the part of the author, the original post of this article forgot to mention Atlas Brewing Company — a resurrection of an old Chicago brewing name, now a brewpub at  2747 N Lincoln Ave., which opened mid-2012.  We wrote about it here. Atlas has been a significant factor in collaborating with other new breweries, helping them get off the ground.

And yet another brain malfunction …  apologies to Randy Mosher, friend of The Local Beet, internationally recognized beer authority, and Creative Director at 5 Rabbit Cerveceria in Bedford Park (among many other hats he wears). 5 Rabbit beers have been on the shelves for almost two years now, and we described the brewery’s launch here, but those early beers were contract brewed at a succession of different Midwestern breweries. 5 Rabbit opened its own Bedford Park brewery last fall, with plans for a tap room in the works. Look for a new beer coming soon. According to Randy, “New beer coming very soon is Missionario, a 6.8% white wheat beer with muscat grapes and almonds. Nice winelike aroma, super-creamy almondy finish, with hints of marzipan.” Can you tell Randy’s the author of  the book Radical Brewing?

5 Rabbit's Bedford Park brewery looks like it has a little room for expansion.

5 Rabbit’s Bedford Park brewery looks like it has a little room for expansion.

Out in Naperville, Solemn Oath opened in late 2012, focusing on Belgian-style and Barrel-aged beers. Don’t look for it in bottles, though. For now, it’s only available in kegs (i.e. in glasses at select watering holes). There are rumors of a second tap room in Chicago, in West Town or Uptown.

Also, don’t look for bottles anytime soon from Church Street Brewing Company. Itasca’s source for “righteously good beer,” opened in April 2012, is only available on tap at select area taverns. And don’t go looking for Church Street on Church Street, It’s at 1480 Industrial Drive, where you can sample a pint or fill a growler. With a 30 bbl brewhouse, it’s likely to become a significant presence in the on-premise business.

Three Angels brews out of a historic barn in Yorkville

Over in Yorkville, Three Angels opened in late 2012. It’s a nanobrewery, offering kegs only to select outlets, featuring locally grown ingredients whenever possible. Housed in a 1850s era barn, Three Angels plans to add a craft distillery sometime in the future.

Lombard also saw a new brewery opening. Flesk Brewing Company, named after an Irish Castle, is a small brewery producing both kegs and bombers. Brothers Will & James O’Brien, both of whom studied at the Siebel Institute of Technology, are in charge.

Another suburban locale is Nevin’s Brewing Company, a brewpub that opened in December 2012 in southwest suburban Plainfield, in the old Limestone brewery. It’s associated with the Tommy Nevin’s Pubs in Evanston, Frankfort, and Naperville, and presumably will be providing suds for those locations, too.

The entrance to One Trick Pony doesn’t look like much, but the beers and ambiance make it worth seeking out.

Also to the south, One Trick Pony is an unprepossessing place in an industrial park in Lansing. Opened Memorial Day 2012, it has a nanobrewery system, with beers named after horse breeds and other horsy accoutrements. The quaint, friendly tap room features Salvation Army and Goodwill-style furniture, and spins vinyl on a 1960’s-era hi-fi.

Even further out, Pig Minds Brewing Co. opened a brewpub at 4080 Steele Dr, in Machesney Park, IL (near Rockford) in mid-2012, featuring a wide variety of beer styles.

Not really a 2012-opened brewery (it opened in October 2011), but still new, is Mundelein’s Tighthead Brewing Company. The wide variety of beers can be sampled in the tap room, or at selected local beer bars.

Nearby, there’s another late-2011 brewery, Light The Lamp Brewery, at 10 N. Lake St. in downtown Grayslake. It’s a hockey-themed brewery, with a tap room that opened in December 2012. (“Light the Lamp” refers to what happens when a goal is scored.)

A mid-2012 opening welcomed Village Vintner Winery & Brewery to Algonquin, at 2380 Esplanade Drive. The restaurant makes its wines, as well as its beers, on the premises.

Also up north, Big Chicago opened late in 2012 in Zion. Russ Sher and Tom Inghram, formerly at the closed Flatlanders brewpub in Lincolnshire, are behind the operation.

Finally, Chicagoans may be surprised that Rolling Meadows Brewery – another that opened in 2012 – is not in Rolling Meadows. It’s a production brewery — no food, no tap room — in Cantrall, IL, near Springfield. Given the region, it’s not surprising that it describes itself as a “farm-based brewery.” Many of its beers are named after a former local resident, the country’s 16th president.

Coming in 2013

By far the biggest news of 2012 was the announcement that Lagunitas Brewing plans to open a massive new brewery in Chicago in late fall, 2013. The Petaluma, California 750 bbl brewery got tired of the cost of shipping its beers across the nation, so decided to open a second brewery, which could top out at 1.7 million barrels (contrast that to some of the other breweries discussed here, at 7 barrels or less.) The tap room, which will be a glassed-in, raised environment 30 feet above the brewery floor, may open as early as July. An interesting factoid — Lagunitas owner Tony Magee — a man of many tweets — famously pointed out that he did the deal for the Chicago brewery at 18th and Rockwell with no city or state incentives. At the time, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium were both pitting East Coast communities against each other to see how much public money and incentives they could get, if they located their (smaller) breweries there.

In my hometown of Evanston, we’ll be going from zero to three breweries in 2013. The largest and most ambitious is Temperance Beer Company (as with Evanston’s craft distiller, FEW Spirits, the name is a reference to Evanston’s historically dry nature, as championed by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and its long-time president, Frances E. Willard). Josh Gilbert, an architect by trade, is heading up the 20 bbl brewery, promising a stylish taproom later in 2013. And Temperance is already making headlines, by signing up the area’s first female brewmaster among the new breweries, Claudia Jendron (who also happens to be a marine biologist).

Two other breweries/brewpubs are also coming to my city. Peckish One (tentative name) is slated to open December 2013. It’s owned by Jamie and Debbie Evans, former owners of Evanston’s Celtic Knot Public House, an Irish Pub. At 623-627 1/2 Howard Street, it’s next door to the well-received craft cocktail bar Ward Eight, and both have been well-subsidized by the City of Evanston, presumably in an effort to gentrify that formerly gritty stretch of the street. A theater space is planned for right down the street, too.

Smylie Bros future home

Look for a fall opening for Smylie Bros. — an ambitious brewpub near the city center, in a classic building across Oak Street from the post office. Owner Michael Smylie cites Evanston as a perfect location to brew beer, since the City of Evanston has its own water supply from Lake Michigan — water well suited for brewing (probably to the horror of the city’s historical proponents of temperance and prohibition). (More on Smylie Bros. to come.)

John Laffler from Goose Island, and Dave Bleitner from Two Brothers are building the 20 bbl Off Color Brewing, near the corner of Pulaski and Armitage in Chicago. Given Laffer’s experience as Goose Island’s Director of Innovation, it’s not surprising that Off Color will focus on more obscure beer styles.

Panic Brewing (which we hope doesn’t get into a trademark dispute with Austin, TX’s Don’t Panic Brewing) is building a 30 bbl brewhouse, including a canning line, reportedly with funding from Vienna Beef, the hot dog people. (Although, given that the report was on April Fools’ Day, there may not be much ground meat money going into the operation.) Opening may not make it in 2013 — look to early 2014, instead.

Brothers Steve and Brian Miller are hoping for a summer 2013 opening of Slapshot Brewing Company, “because life would suck without awesome beer.” The 4 bbl brewhouse is under construction, and the announcement of their actual South Side location should be announced within a month.

New Oberpfalz Brewing Company is planning to open in Northwest Indiana in 2013 (no specific dates announced). The focus reportedly will be beers inspired by the Oberpfalz region in Northern Bavaria.

Hunter'sBrewing

Also in Northwst Indiana, Hunter’s Brewing has just opened at 1535 S Calumet Rd., Chesterton, Indiana. So far, it’s drinks only in the small tap room. Justin Reisetter and Amy Gentry are the owner-brewers, working on a one-barrel system. They’re currently offering a nice variety of eight different beers.

Drew Fox, a brewer at Pipeworks, is planning yet another Northwest Indiana startup, 18th Street Brewery. Drew has been brewing beers in collaboration with friends at Pipeworks and Spiteful, so some of his beers are already showing up around town. In particular, the Sinister Double IPA, brewed at Spiteful, has been getting strong reviews on Ratebeer.com. The planned brick and mortar brewery (with tap room), to be located in Gary, has yet to materialize. However, given that 18th Street has already doubled its Kickstarter goal, we expect news about construction soon.

Empirical Brewery is currently rounding up investors for a late 2013 launch in Chicago. “The Science of Beer” is the rationale behind the name Empirical.

Chicago’s Motor Row — South Michigan Avenue — in the South Loop neighborhood is soon to be home of Broad Shoulders Brewing. A tap room and canned six-pack beer sales are planned. The last time the Broad Shoulders name was associated with beer, it was on several brews from the late Chicago Brewing Company, which ceased operations in the late 1990s.

Also in the planning stages in the South Loop is South Loop Brewing. Not many details are available yet, although they may want to consider the potential conflict with Argus’ brew named “Jimmy Green’s South Loop Lager”.

Bridgeport apparently will be home to Marz Community Brewing, an operation from brothers Ed and Mike Marszewski, co-owners of Maria’s Community Bar, 960 W. 31st St. They’re looking to involve talented homebrewers in their operation, offering “big, interesting beers.” A 2013 official opening sounds optimistic — look for 2014.

Moving much further south, Horse Thief Hollow, a brewpub in the Beverly neighborhood, opened to great crowds early in 2013. The name references the area’s historical role as a stop for thieves who stole horses in Missouri, and were on their way to sell them downtown.

A completely different concept is represented by Hofbräuhaus, in Rosemont, opened in January 2013. A franchised outpost of the original in Munich, it features traditional German beers. It’s likely to be popular with visiting conventioneers

Ale Syndicate Brewers, (formerly New Chicago Brewing) started distributing their beers in March 2013. Founded by brothers Samuel and Jesse Edwin Evans, who previously ran California’s Lucky Hand Brewery (and got tired of California and wanted to move back to family in Chicagoland), are planning “traditional styles with a twist.” Look for their Municipal IPA, made with 100% Cascade as the hop bill, and the Richie Imperial Porter (a vague reference to our former mayor, perhaps?) Their brewery isn’t finished yet, but it’s planned for The Green Exchange, an environmentally friendly complex in Logan Square (and formerly the home of the Frederick Cooper lamp company). A tap room will be included. In the meantime, their beers are being brewed primarily at Galena Brewing, in (obviously) Galena, IL.

Associated with Ale Syndicate, Arcade Brewery is planning a late spring/early summer launch. It bills itself as a community sourced brewery, initially brewing on Ale Syndicate’s 5 bbl system, and then moving to the 30 bbl system in 2014. They’re promising a Scotch Ale named for William Wallace as one of their first offerings, to be sold both in kegs and bottles.

Eric McNeil is another former homebrewer scaling up. His production brewery, named Strange Pelican, will be located at Fulton and Damen in Chicago.

According to Chicago Magazine’s e-mail blast named Dish, the people behind my favorite beer bar in Evanston, Prairie Moon, will be opening a nanobrewery called Mad Mouse Brewing, inside a restaurant, Moxee, at 724 W. Maxwell Street in the University Village neighborhood. Look for it late this summer.  Also, quoting Dish, “if you’re keeping track of all the new brewing operations, you should really just stop before you make yourself crazy.” Sorry, Dish. You’re too late for me …

Lake Effect Brewing, with hops growing up the side of its building on West Montrose Ave., started selling beer out of its small 7 bbl brewhouse around the first of the year 2013. One of its more interesting brews is a collaboration with Dryhop Brewing, called “I Shot a Man in Simcoe.” It’s a Belgian IPA, using the currently hot hop variety referenced in its name.

Speaking of Dryhop Brewers, it will be a gastropub in the Lakeview neighborhood, opening June 13. In the meantime, Dryhop’s proprietor, Greg Shuff, has been collaborating on brews with several of the area’s newer, but already operational breweries. It will be a 70-seat operation, including a nanobrewery.

Another of those collaborating with Dryhop is Une Année Brewing.  Hoping for a late 2013 opening, the 7.5 bbl brewery will focus on Belgian and French style beers, and will be located in Chicago at Hubbard and Ashland – not far from Goose Island’s production brewery. No restaurant or taproom is planned, at least initially.

Ten Ninety Brewing is also going the collaboration route, initially brewing its high-alcohol beers at Church Street in Itasca. The name Ten Ninety references the original gravity reading of its brews — 1.090. (A normal, sessionable beer would clock in closer to 1.040.) Higher original gravity almost always translates to high alcohol content. The beers are also brewed with a twist. For example, Ten Ninety’s Imperial Porter is brewed with cayenne pepper and pomegranate juice.

Inspired by a dog named Sadie, 4 Paws Brewery plans to open a 15 bbl brewery later this year on Wolcott Ave. in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to animal shelters or animal hospitals.

Coming in June 2013, Urban Legend Brewing Company, in Westmont is currently building a 7 bbl brewery and taproom. They promise an alternative to overly hoppy beers.

And over in Lemont, there’s talk of Brew Hounds Beer Company opening late this year in Old Town Square. They’re planning a brewery and tap room.

BuckleDown Brewing, in Lyons, has two beers out — Fiddlesticks, a Belgian IPA, and Belt & Suspenders, an American IPA. Look for a taproom to open this summer.

And, thanks to Only Child Brewery in Northbrook for letting us know about their forthcoming operation. They have a building, They’re promising “sessionable, drinkable beers that offer unique interpretations on popular styles. All beer will be bottle conditioned and available in large bottle format.” They should begin showing up on retail shelves this summer (guessing late summer, at the earliest).

Another west suburban brewery-in-planning we overlooked in the original post of this article is Penrose Brewing, of Geneva. Tom Korder and Eric Hobbs are planning a relatively large 40 bbl brewhouse, to open this fall, including a tasting room and growler sales (the latter pending the beneficence of the City of Geneva’s fine public servants). Belgian and barrel-aged beers will be the focus. They’ll start with kegs, then follow up with bottles.

Derailed Brewing is planning a mid-late 2013 commercial startup; in the meantime they’re still meeting with potential investors and scouting locations, mostly on Chicago’s Northwest side. We hope the fact that Flossmoor Station and Pennsylvania’s Erie Brewing Company, among others, already have beers named Derailed in their lineup won’t be a trademark problem for Derailed in Chicago. Update: Yes, there were trademark problems. Derailed is now called Low Rez Brewing.

Knight & Gunner Brewing Company is planning a mid 2013 opening date. However, as of recently, they had yet to locate a site for the brewery, making that timing rather aggressive. As a production brewery, they plan to make small batches of ales & lagers, in virtually every popular style.

Chain O’ Lakes Brewing is planning on opening as a brewpub soon in 2013, in the historic McHenry Brewery, dating from 1868, in the city of McHenry.

Nearby in McHenry is My Three Sons Brewing. They off unfiltered, unpasteurized, bottle-conditioned beers, but that’s about al we know about them for now.

Also up north, Waukegan will be getting its first brewery since prohibition. Beer-vangelist Larry Bloom is planning to open Zumbier this summer, including a small tap room, growler fills and tours. With a 4 bbl system, don’t expect the beers everywhere, but it’s a great excuse for a trip to Waukegan.

In Plainfield, homebrew shop Chicago Brew Werks has plans to use its equipment to establish a nanobrewery, self-distributing locally.

Aleman, a hopeful brewpub, won an Iron Brew homebrew competition, and got to collaborate with Two Brothers and Stone at the latter’s facility in Escondido California. The resulting brew, marketed by Stone, was Dayman Coffee IPA, which received good reviews. However, Aleman’s Kickstarter campaign failed. Still, as they’re reporting, “Aleman is conservatively six months away from opening a production brewery in the Portage Park area. The Brewpub will follow shortly thereafter.” In the meantime, look for their collaborations at various venues during Chicago Craft Beer Week (May 16  – 26).

Update: In Ravenswood , Band of Bohemia, will be a restaurant and bar, and also manufacture and sell beer on-site. Craig Sindelar, of the restaurant Alinea, and Mike Carroll from Half Acre, are still seeking zoning variances for their site near the intersection of Ravenswood and Leland avenues.

 Hopeful/Questionable

In Oswego, Misfit Craft Brewery is seeking financing and a site. The possibility of a 2013 opening is certainly not guaranteed.

Back in the Southwest suburbs, Blue Nose Brewery in Justice is hoping for a July 2013 opening with a 10 bbl system. However, their Kickstarter campaign fell far short of its goal, so we’ll see what its fate is as the year goes on.

We don’t know much about Nomad Brewing, although it’s apparently in the works. Reportedly, “Nomad Brewing” was trademarked by Lush Wine & Spirits.

Similarly, we don’t have many details about Middle Brow Beer Company. It wants to target homebrewers, giving them an opportunity to have their recipes brewed commercially. In their words, “we hope one day to open our own brewing space.” We’re guessing a 2013 commercial start is optimistic.

Low Dive is currently a home brewery, with commercial aspirations. While there’s been talk of a 2013 launch, we’re skeptical.

Other Beer Operations

Not quite breweries, but with products that may show up on retail shelves:

Berghoff Beers, a historic Chicago beer name formerly produced at Minhas Craft Brewers in Monroe, WI, is getting a makeover. Beginning in June, the reformulated beers will be made at Point Brewery in Stevens Point Wisconsin, based on new recipes developed by brewing experts Randy Mosher and John Hannfan.

Another name with historic Chicago connections, Baderbrau Brewing Company, has been resurrected, under the supervision of Rob Sama and Joe Berwanger. The Chicago Pilsener is available in all Binny’s Beverage Depot locations, and on tap at more than 20 destinations around Chicagoland. It’s also brewed at Point, but has plans to open its own brewery in 2014.

Chicago Beer Company supplies beers “brewed and bottled for you, Chicago.” They’re another brewed at Point Brewery. They’ve been especially successful at gaining broad distribution for their competent but unremarkable beers (in this author’s opinion).

Hopothesis Beer Company launched an IPA early this year, brewed at Minhas. I was unimpressed with it, due to its lack of balance between hops and malt. Ratebeer raters agreed, giving it 22 points out of a possible 100. But kudos to the Hopothesis team for avoiding trademark disputes with Freetail, in Austin, Texas, which has an established line of beers using the Hopothesis name.

Rich Szydlo is also going the contract brewing route for his Big Shoulders Beer Company. His first beer, Hopapalooza IPA, has been brewed at Church Street in Itasca; down the road he plans to have his beers brewed at Big Chicago in Zion. Look for Hopapalooza to begin appearing at the end of May.

––––––

There may be others. If you know of any, or if you can fill in any details on any of the breweries listed here, please leave a comment.

UPDATE! For additional breweries I found see here and here.


27 Comments



The Local Calendar 3/12/14 The Good Food Fest Is Here, Soup And Bread Tonight, Green City Market And More!

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Posted: March 12, 2014 at 10:29 am

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As we go into the incredible 3 days of the Good Food Festival at UIC that brings farmers, advocates, activists, policy makers, entrepreneurs, educators, chefs, from all over the state and country to celebrate, showcase, connect, debate and focus on all things sustainable in the food world, there are a few groups, in particular, that work year round in advocating for and nurturing local food systems in Chicago and Illinois. The Illinois Stewardship Alliance is one of them and you can join them March 26 at the state capitol in Springfield in lobbying our legislators for Local Foods Awareness Day.  A few other groups that standout in offering resources for the beginning to well seasoned food advocate, urban farmer and gardener, Advocates for Urban Agriculture, The Peterson Garden Project (you can buy their book Fearless Food Gardening), WeFarmAmerica, and The Talking Farm in Skokie. As more grocers open in Chicago selling “local” food, there are a”few farm in a store” businesses that have been leaders in advocating, nurturing and encouraging their customers in cooking, eating and supporting the local food community in Chicago, The Green Grocer (West Loop, Noble Square), Sauce and Bread Kitchen (Edgewater), and River Valley Farmer’s Table(Lincoln Square).

It is that time of year for the Country Financial Farmers market bag contest! They’re giving away scholarship money to three Chicago high school students! If you know a student with a gift for art, encourage them to enter their Chicago Farmers MarketsReusable Bag Design Contest. The student with the winning design will win a $1,000 scholarship and see their art on thousands of farmers market canvas bags. Two runners-up will get $500 scholarships. Get more info on how to enter!http://cfin.us/1fZsbE4 We love their bags, we love that they are reusable and we love that Chicago high school students get scholarship money from this!

The 2014 CSA Guide is out! If you are small to mid-size farmer or know one let them know about the USDA’s resources for them, there is a webpage with all sorts of info here!

Now onto the week ahead, it is the Good Food Festival but there are farmers markets, dinners, and other events going on as well:

The Week’s Local Calendar

March 12

Chicago - Soup and Bread at The Hideout - 6pm   Daylight Savings Soup (aka “Lighten Up”) -  5:30pm The Hideout 1354 West Wabansia This week their soup cooks spring forward with a slate of soups simmered with an extra hour of light. On the docket are Michael Slaboch and Penny Duff, the Kovler Center’s Mary Black, Lisa Haufschild, The Fountainhead’s Cleetus Friedman, and more. Their guest DJ is Numero Group’s Michael Slaboch. Bread is donated as ever by their pals at Publican Quality Meats. Pay what you can donations benefit Hands to Help Ministries

March 13

Chicago - Good Food Financing and Innovation Conference 8:30am – 5:30pm UIC Forum The opening symposium at 9:20am includes Walter Robb, co-CEO, Whole Foods Market, Howard Tullman, 1871, Kimbal Musk, The Kitchen Community, Tesla, SpaceX, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Erika Allen, Growing Power, Jim Slama, President, FamilyFarmed.org The conference helps to address one of the biggest challenges facing the Good Food Movement: helping food and farm businesses scale up to meet the burgeoning demand for local, sustainable, and artisanal food.

March 14

Chicago – Counter Culture Sustainable Spring Initiative  11am (Public cupping session at 10am every Friday) 117 N. Ada St. Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA), : Green Grocer Chicago will be talking about what a CSA is and the benefits. They are a curated CSA from multiple farms around the city and Illinois.

Chicago – Trade Show, School Food and Policy Conference  8:30am – 7pm  Local and Sustainable Products Tradeshow, 10:00am – 5:30pm The Good Food Trade Show supports farmers, trade buyers, and other stakeholders to grow their businesses and the Good Food community. Three tracks of panel discussions, Trade, Food Policy and Farm To School. From 5:30pm – 7pm there is a Legislative Panel & Discussion which includes Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Robert F. Flider; State Senator David Koehler; State Representative Robyn Gabel (invited); State Representative Mike Tryon. Senator Koehler introduced SB 1666 last February 2013 and has currently has 18 co-sponsors. According to the text of the bill, its purpose is to “facilitate the exercise of the fundamental right of the people of Illinois to be fully informed about whether the food they purchase and eat is produced with genetic engineering so that they can choose for themselves whether to purchase and eat such foods.” For anyone interested in the a GE Labeling bill in Illinois this a panel to attend!!

Chicago - Localicious – UIC Forum 7-9:30pm Join them to celebrate the farmers who grow your food and the chefs who transform it. Check out 2014′s participants- with more being added daily! Begyle Brewing • Big Bowl • Big Jones • Browntrout • Cello Via • Chicago DinerCrop to Cup Coffee • DasRadler • Death’s Door Spirits • Duke’s Ale House • Eataly  Farmhouse • Fenn Valley Winery • FEW Spirits • Floriole Cafe • Foodlife • Fresh Coast Distributors  •  J.K. Williams Distillery • Journeyman Distillery • Katherine Anne Confections • Koval Distillery • Lehman’s Orchard • Lyfe Kitchen •  Midwest Wine Selections • Mon Ami Gabi • NessAlla Kombucha • New Holland Brewing • North Shore Distillery Osteria Via Stato •   Paris Club Bistro and Bar • Pure Kitchen Catering • Quincy Street Distillery • River Valley Farmer’s Table  • Round Barn Winery • SenTEAmental Moods  Uncommon Ground • Virtue Cider  • Untitled • White Oak Gourmet Wollersheim Winery • Yoberri Gourmet Purchase tickets here.

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 - Good Food Festival and Workshops 9am – 5pm UIC Forum Admission includes access to the exhibit hall, the CSA Farmers Pavillion, micro sessions in the Good Food Commons area and the Chefs at Play demos with Master of Ceremonies Catherine De Orio, Check, Please! : 10:30 – 11:30  Rick Bayless Xoco, Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Frontera Fresco, 11:45 – 12:30 Paul Virant  Perennial Virant, Vie 1:00 – 1:45 Erling Wu-Bower , Nico Osteria,  2:15 – 3:00 Jason Vincent  Nightwood A whole host of workshops for additional fees including Home Butchery and Curing with Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn!

Chicago - Band of Farmers Talent Show The Hideout 7pm – 10pm 1354 West Wabansia They  had so much fun last year, there was no question of making this an annual event! FOURTEEN farms are involved so far with acts from punk to puppets. Come for one or come for all. Door price is $10 or $5 with proof of attendance at the Good Food Fest. Money goes towards the effort and their budding coalition. All farms will be participating the same day in Good Food Festival & Conference – Chicago, so you will have ample opportunity to find out if Community Supported Agriculture is right for you.

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

Chicago - Green City Market Indoor Market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum  8am -1pm Chef demonstration 10:30-11:30am For the winter months, markets will take place:  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

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

March 16

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.

Evanston – Farm To Table Brunch at Farmhouse – 11:30 am 703 West Church St. Sponsored by Chicagourmets featuring Megan Gordon author of Whole Grain Mornings. $47 inclusive

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

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

March 18

Chicago – Re-Thinking Soup Jane Addams Hull House Noon – 1pm  “Cultivating Student Power: Home Grown Activism“ The UIC Heritage Garden is a project envisioned by students for students. Through the cultivation of garden satellites on the east campus of UIC student leaders and student gardeners are reconstructing narratives of sustainability that unite environmental and human diversity. In its first year the student leaders of the Heritage Garden have enacted horticulture programs, art projects, and story sharing activities while growing cilantro, horseradish, egg plant, peppers, mint, onion and tomatoes.

Chicago – Lincoln Park - Master Bread Class Floriole Cafe and Bakery 1220 West Webster 6-8pm

Chicago – West Loop “Search For The Next Weight Watcher’s Chef Cooking Class” – 6-8pm 177 N. Ada St. The Centered Chef Studios Lead by Chef Ryan Hutmacher who won ABC’s The Chew Search For The Next Weight Watcher’s Chef

SAVE THE DATE

March 20

Chicago – An Evening With An Old Bag – 6pm The Party Room between The Bullhead Bar and The Glenwood Cantina 6960 N. Glenwood Join the Roger’s Park Business Alliance for a lively evening as they welcome Spring 2014 to Rogers Park!  There will be a fantastic handbag exchange,enjoy delicious appetizers and desserts with a cash bar.  Benefit Rogers Park Business Alliance, get out and enjoy the company of neighbors and friends and be thankful that winter is officially over!

March 21

Chicago – Revolution Beer Dinner at Two Sparrows 7pm 553 West Diversey Pkwy Logan Square meets Lincoln Park at this four-course dinner, which will feature a collaboration from two of Chicago’s most creative minds and neighborhoods $55 exclusive tax/gratuity

March 22

Chicago - Hyde Park 61st Farmers Indoor Market - 9am – 2pm Experimental Station 6100 S. Blackstone

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 25

Chicago – Brews With BenefitsA benefit for Common Threads 5:30pm – 7:30pm Farmhouse Chicago 228 West Chicago Ave. $40

Chicago – Two Brothers Beer Bar Dinner Uncommon Ground Devon – 6-8pm 1401 West Devon $35 plus tax/tip

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 29

Chicago - Cheese 101 – Bar Pastoral 12pm – 1:30pm 2947 North Broadway Join the crew at Bar Pastoral for a delectable cheese primer that answers all of your questions about cheese. Washed rind, soft ripened, farmstead; what does it all mean? Join the master cheese mongers of Pastoral in a guided tasting of carefully selected cheeses that cover a wide variety of cheese making styles and techniques. Giving you the tools necessary to walk up to any cheese counter and select your cheeses like a pro. $45 These folks know their cheese!

March 30

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

March 31

Chicago - (I AM) FUNdraiser for Chef Dean Zanella(story here thanks to DNAInfo)  Hot Chocolate1747 N. Damen Ave. Eleven chefs (and counting) will cook dinner that evening alongside Hot Chocolate’sMindy Segal. They include John Hogan of Keefer’s; Roger Herring of Grand Tour; Bill Kim of bellyQ, Urbanbelly and Belly Shack; Rob Levitt of the Butcher and LarderLa Sirena Clandestina‘s John Manion; Elissa Narow of Perennial Virant and Vie; Piccolo Sogno‘s Tony Priolo; Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish and Oyster; Heather Terhune ofSable Kitchen and Bar, and Takashi Yagihashi of Takashi and Slurping Turtle. The cost of the dinner is $200. Only 100 will be sold. Call 773-489-1747 to reserve

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

Evanston – The Talking Farm presents “Celebrate The Growing Season at Farmhouse” 5-8pm Farmhouse 703 Church St. In celebration of their first full growing season at The Howard Street Farm, The Talking Farm presents, Celebrate the Growing Season, an event featuring appetizers, a buffet dinner, and local brews provided by Farmhouse Evanston, live music by The Greenleaf Band*, and raffle prizes. The evening will begin with passed hors d’oeuvres, and proceed with a buffet dinner in Farmhouse Evanston’s special event space. $75 inclusive

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.

 May 15

Chicago - Second Annual Chefs Playground - A benefit for The Academy of Global Citizenship Terzo Piano at the Modern Wing of the Art Institute




Is This the Year You’ll Join a CSA?

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Posted: March 12, 2014 at 8:53 am

How to find a CSA and be the best CSA customer you can be

If you’ve already been a member of a CSA, we hope you’ll continue. If you’ve never tried a CSA, this might be the year to give it a try. And, if you’ve participated in a CSA in the past and found it didn’t work for you, the wide variety of farms and CSA offerings might give you a reason to try again. I’ll be the first to admit that a CSA is not for everyone. If you faithfully attend a farmers market every week, if you grow a large garden, or if you simply don’t cook several times a week, you might find a CSA doesn’t fit your lifestyle. But along with the growth in the number of farms offering CSAs, there is also an increase in the flexibility of offerings. For example:

  • There are single-farm CSAs offering as few as 10 weeks (bi-weekly) or as many as 42 weeks—and everything in between; some of the “aggregators,” i.e. services that offer produce procured from a variety of farms, operate truly year-round, supplementing as needed from non-local sources.
  • Some farms offer flex shares, giving you the opportunity to pay only for weeks that you’ll be able to receive your produce, and many farms offer multiple sizes—including a “solo” or “mini” share meant for individuals or small households.
  • While most farms offer multiple pickup sites, some offer home delivery, which can make a CSA accessible to nooks and crannies of the city and suburbs that might not be served by a pickup site.
  • Flexible payment options abound, from online credit card payments to installment payments; at least one farm now offers a “buy-down” arrangement where you pay a certain amount upfront and customize boxes throughout the season, with your purchases deducted from your account.
  • More farms are offering add-ons to their own farm-grown produce, giving you the option to receive extras like eggs, honey, syrup, etc., either by producing their own or augmenting with products from other local farms.
  • Some farms’ offerings include fruits, while many do not. With some, it’s an available option. This year, more farms are offering fruits, meat, flowers—even tomatoes or greens—on a stand-alone basis; i.e., you can purchase a vegetable CSA from one farm and supplement that with fruit (or flowers, or extra tomatoes, or meats) from another.

The Local Beet’s 2014 CSA Guide, and the printed version produced by FamilyFarmed (pdf) provide you with a wealth of information to help you find the best fit for your household.   The printed version, also available at the Good Food Festival, breaks CSAs down by geographic area, so you can pinpoint your options using the Pickup Site Legend abbreviations.  The Beet’s online guide gives more information about each CSA (and includes “aggregators” in its listing) and gives you the ability to search, sort, and compare side by side. Use both guides together for the most complete picture of what’s out there. Here are some things to consider as you delve deeper:

  • How many are you trying to feed with your CSA
  • How convenient are the pickup sites and times, or do you need home delivery
  • What options are there for missed weeks or long vacations
  • Do you want certified organic produce or other third-party verification as to growing practices
  • Are fruits included in the CSA; if not, is there a reasonably located stand-alone fruit option
  • Can you receive eggs, honey, meat, and other add-ons as part of the CSA
  • Can you spread out payments
  • What if the CSA doesn’t work out for you; what are the refund policies (hint: most CSA payments are nonrefundable)

If you decide that a CSA is for you, be the best CSA customer you can be! Here are a few ways you can do that:

  • Be prepared to eat seasonably from what is available in the Midwest, and expect a fair amount of overlap from week to week
  • Get creative with your cooking and preserving to make the most out of your CSA box; your farm will likely provide recipes and the Internet is full of resources
  • If you have concerns or complaints with the quality or variety or service/communication you’re receiving, by all means let your farmer know, but be realistic and . . .
  • Read any newsletters you receive, whether hard copy or via email so you’ll know what challenges the farm may be experiencing in a given week
  • Make plans to visit your farm, if allowed; either join a scheduled farm event or contact your farm ahead to arrange a visit
  • Let your farmer know when you’re really happy with what you’re receiving; sometimes, it’s just the pat on the back needed to slog back out to the field on a rainy day!

We welcome your feedback on recent CSA experiences. Please submit your thoughts in the Comments below.




Smarter Rules for Farmers Markets

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Posted: March 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm

A patchwork quilt is what comes to mind when you think about the food safety regulations for farmers’ markets. In one county you have to jump through three hoops and in the next you only have to jump through one. In some counties using coolers with icepacks to keep perishable items at the proper temperature is perfectly acceptable, while in other counties mechanical refrigeration is mandated. Some counties are very permissive while others are very restrictive. And yet, the more stringent and restrictive regulations have not been proven to be necessary for food safety.

The inconsistent patchwork quilt of regulations is an unnecessary barrier, hurting farmers and entrepreneurs by adding cost and confusion; while impacting the sustainability of farmers’ markets and limiting consumer access to local food and farm products.

HB5657/SB3380 the Farmers Market Regulatory Modernization Bill, sponsored by Representative Mike Tryon and Senator David Koehler, would be a major step forward in addressing a number of barriers to the growth and sustainability of farmers’ markets. If it becomes law HB5657/SB3380 would:

  • Create a strict timeline for the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Farmers Market Task Force to develop consistent and uniform statewide administrative rules and regulations for farmers markets.
  • Create a new statewide sampling license for farmers’ markets license to allow farmers and entrepreneurs to easily offer product samples at multiple farmers’ markets under one license.
  • Create new product origin requirements to foster transparency and help consumers identify “re-sellers” at farmers’ markets.
  • Cap registration fees for Cottage Food Operations at $25/year

HB5657/SB3380 is facing some significant opposition and needs your help. Email and call you legislators now to support smarter farmers market rules. Our friends at the Illinois Environmental Council have created an easy to use form where you can easily type in your address, find out who your legislators are, send them an email and call them.

Click Here to Contact your Legislators and Support HB5657/SB3380

Here are a couple tips on what to say when you call and/or what to include in your email.

  • Always include your ask in the email subject line and towards the beginning of your email
  • Tell them you are a constituent, where you live and the farmers’ market(s) you attend
  • Tell them about why farmers’ markets are important to you and why you feel we need to support the growing local food industry with scale and risk appropriate regulations.
  • Talk about your own experiences. Have you had or witnessed issues with the regulations at farmers markets?
  • Keep it short and simple.
  • If you emailed them, follow-up with a phone call

Here is a suggested draft email template you can use:

Subject line: “Co-Sponsor and Vote Yes On HB5657/SB3380″

Content: “I am a constituent and I regularly shop at my local farmers market. Please co-sponsor and vote yes on HB5657/SB3380. Despite the growth and popularity of farmers’ markets, inconsistent and inappropriate regulations have persisted as a barrier to further growth and economic success. Illinois needs smarter streamlined and consistent state-wide regulations for farmers markets. HB5657/SB3380 is a major step forward in creating risk and scale appropriate regulations for farmers’ markets that will improve consumer access to locally produced food, support farmers’ markets as a whole and the farmers and entrepreneurs that call them home. Please support this important effort.”




Ed Needs A Van: Here’s Why

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Posted: March 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm

EdsvanEdsvan2
The worm business in Chicago may be getting competitive. Growing Power Iron Street Farm has been worm composting since the farm opened and produces their “black gold” worm castings.  The Urban Worm Girl has been spreading the power of worm composting in the home to many. A new worm business has sprung up over the last couple of years, Nature’s Little Recyclers that was residing in the basement of The Plant until just a few days ago and now has moved to First Bethlehem Lutheran Church 1649 W. Le Moyne.

You may have seen a twitter handle scroll by, @EdNeedsAVan or @NLRWorms. Here is Ed’s fund raising page on Indiegogo.com on his worm business and which has a unique video explaining why he is trying to raise $10,000 for a van. His plan is to collect coffee grinds from many of the local coffee roasters and shops as well as food waste products to feed to his worms who get very hungry and eat a lot!

We like coffee, this sounds like a great way to recycle coffee grinds and we love recycling, so we are helping to spread the word about Ed so hopefully he can get his van and start collecting more grinds!




Groundbreaking Local Food Initiative Announced – Localizing the Chicago Foodshed

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Posted: March 11, 2014 at 11:35 am

 Food Land

The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust Announce Groundbreaking Local Food Initiative

According to a press release, The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust today launched Food:Land:Opportunity – Localizing the Chicago Foodshed, a multi-year initiative aimed at increasing the region’s supply of local and sustainable food. The initiative is designed to leverage the Chicago region’s food system in order to strengthen the long-term resiliency of land and communities.

“Local food systems offer an exceptional opportunity to simultaneously improve environmental stewardship and local livelihoods,” says Karie Thomson, Searle family consultant to The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust and chair of the Kinship Foundation board. “We know that it’s possible to grow food and support food entrepreneurs while cultivating land sustainably. Food:Land:Opportunity makes use of this synergy on a systemic scale with an approach that represents a first for the Chicago region.”

Food:Land:Opportunity will provide nearly $2 million annually to local food projects over the next two years. The initiative aims to spur innovation at multiple points in the local food system supply chain through strategic grantmaking, fellowships, pilots, and an innovation competition. The first project to receive support is the Good Food Accelerator, a feature of FamilyFarmed.org’s Good Food Financing Program that prepares local food entrepreneurs to connect with potential investors through business training.

Food:Land:Opportunity is funded by The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust. It is a collaboration of The Chicago Community Trust and Kinship Foundation, a private operating foundation established to support the Searle family’s institutional philanthropy. For more information or to make media inquiries, please visit www.cct.org/flo or contact Kate Allgeier of The Chicago Community Trust at katea@cct.org and 312.616.8000 x127.

You can read the full press release here:

http://www.cct.org/sites/cct.org/files/FoodLandOpportunity_Launch_0314.pdf

 

 

 




Pretty Soon It Will Be a Weekly Harvest Again Monday, March 10th, 2014
The Local Beet 2014 Guide to Chicagoland Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) Monday, March 10th, 2014
It’s A Good Food Week Monday, March 10th, 2014
GE Foods Its Complicated! Sunday, March 9th, 2014
Have you ever dreamed of having your own farm in or near the city? Upcoming workshop can help make this a reality! Thursday, March 6th, 2014
USDA Announces Fiscal Year 2015 Farm to School Grants Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Good Food Festival and More Eat Local Links – The Weekly Harvest Monday, March 3rd, 2014
Coffee: The Need For Caffeine Where Does Local Fit In? The Coffee Project Part 1 Sunday, March 2nd, 2014