What Irv Gets Right

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Posted: May 30, 2014 at 9:44 am

The other day an email arrived.  Local food friend and Local Beet sponsor, Shelly Herman one half of the renown locavore team of Irv and Shelly’s Freshpicks, wanted me to know about a letter Irv sent to the New York Times.  It was in response to an article chef Dan Barber wrote a week earlier on “what farm-to-table got wrong.”

Irv writes, “Hectoring people to eat their cowpeas to save farmers is not a winning recipe to gain market share in the face of this marketing juggernaut.”  See, the bulk of Barber’s article is not so much what farm-to-table got wrong, but what one farmer pair did exceedingly right. Barber’s prescription seemed to be more genuflection at people like Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, who grew that rare version of wheat, emmer, in upstate New York.  Barber notes that farmers like them, ”the best farmers” “are tying up valuable real estate for long periods of time (in an agonizingly short growing season) simply to benefit their soil.”  Our problem was to “honor the other underutilized parts of his rotations — classic cover crops like cowpeas and mustard, which fertilize the soil to ensure healthy harvests in the future.”  Irv notes that we need agricultural sustainability, but delayed hold it is taking local eating comes from bigger problems.

Irv rightly points why local food has barely made a dent in a giant industry dominated by wealthy corporations

Armies of lobbyists shore up the subsidies that almost exclusively benefit huge corn and soybean operations, and billion-dollar advertising budgets reinforce our addiction to the highly processed foods they produce.

He (or I) could go on at length providing examples of the Big Ag pushback from Twitter #agchats; to rancher associations to the crazed studies in favor of the 10,000 mile diet. If you did not think it mattered to them, you would not expect their basic argument to boil down to this: if we do not farm the Monsanto way, we will all starve. Really, that’s what it comes down to.

To Irv, the problem stems from a horribly one-sided battle. We are way out-gunned in the battle for the shopping cart. Still, for all the lobbyists and subsidies they have, we have a few weapons on our side. Not the least is taste and health. In fact, our chipstack stands up pretty well in this game. The problem, too often, we play the wrong game. The game Barber wants us to play. The farm game.

Nearly all the arguments over the lack of local eating remain supply side. Remain focused on the providers. We need more providers. Or we need better distribution systems for the providers. No. We have to fight for demand. That’s where the battle is. Irv and Shelly put fourth a wide array of local food each week to select. They have enough products to sell. Methinks they’d love to have more people to buy.

They’d also love to hear from you. Irv and Shelly are inviting you their Facebook page to offer you own opinions on the limitations of local food.


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The End of the Lazy Locavore and the Return of Tamarday

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Posted: May 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm

The Slippery Slope of Fresh Farms Shopping

lazy locavore 4lazy locavore 5

I’ve been a horribly lazy locavore. What’s even more pathetic, for ages, I meant to write a post on the virtues of being a lazy locavore, but I was too lazy to get it done.  In essence, being a lazy locavore meant I held myself to certain standards of eating, but mostly achieved it through unscrewing jar caps and slicing raw vegetables.   For ages, I could not manage to do much in the kitchen.  No prepared salads, no roasted vegetables.  No nothing.  I was lazy (I had my reasons, but I was lazy.)   If I could throw some of last year’s bread n’ butter zucchini, add some watermelon radish from the root cellar, I was still a locavore no matter how otherwise I gathered things for my plates.  Then a funny thing happened.  I bought it from Fresh Farms.

Fresh Farms is a small chain of Chicago area grocery stores, three locations I believe.  It is, in so many words, a great place, and the Local Family does not mind traveling from Oak Park to Niles to shop at Fresh Farms.  How great is Fresh Farms, I’m not going to say.  Go find out for yourself.  If nothing else, get some of their house-baked breads and their house made Serbian pastries.  If you stopped there, it would help preserve your eat local cred.  We could not.  It started with Greek feta.  Suddenly, we were not getting all our cheese from the Big 10 Conference.  I justified that by the twofold facts that Greek barrel feta is just so good, and more importantly the only local feta that could compare, like from Prairie Fruit Farm’s, was three times as expensive.  What excuse could afford us to buy the packages of their eggplant relish and other salads? It violated so many of our tenets.   Was the end of the Local Family coming?

Luckily, we pulled back.  A huge workload finally lessened, giving me more time to cook, and warmer weather finally brought some green inspiration.  So when we went to Fresh Farms the other day, we still bought Greek cheese, but we did not get anything else particularly out of season.  Instead, we had Tamarday the next day.

tamar day - 140524
If I have any readers left, you know that I’ve long advocated tamaring as a key component of successful eating local. As once written:

Those not so familiar with potential 2012 Oxford English Dictionary word of the year, tamar, var. tamaring, – v. the act of taking raw fruits, vegetables, meats or grain from purchase to a state ready for consumption. Named after author Tamar Adler whose recent book, Everlasting Meal, provides a wholesome guide for household food consumption. Ms. Adler teaches that is not recipes one needs to be well fed; rather it is engagement. You tamar. You wash your lettuces, pick off your leaves of herb; you roast batches of this and saute batches of that. Or you simply boil. Much can be left to chance. If you do the work. You tamar. – See more here.

Like last year, I’ve found that Saturday is the best day to tamar. I got around to fixing up food for the days ahead. As Tamar starts, I started with a boiling pot of water. Next, I got my daughter to peel carrots and parsnips. I pre-heated the oven. It takes much longer for the spinach to drain then it does to par-boil; I had it in a strainer in the sink before I was ready to roast. The hardest thing I did was attempt to make juliennes of carrots, as one of my plans for our large supply of winter carrots was a mustardy “bistro” salad, and bistro carrot salads need to be julienned not shredded. After all that was done, trays of parsnips and carrots sliced, flavored with dry thyme and cooked in a hot oven, I finished the spinach by sauteing it in a pan with local garlic.  I did not achieve a great out on this first tamarday back.  Still, I liked stretching out my cooking muscles for a change.

1st Turkish breakfast 2014

We celebrated our first tamarday in ages with our first Turkish breakfast in ages. Besides the cooked greens, the roasted vegetables, the salad made from Spring greens, there was Greek feta.


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Illinois General Assembly Approves Smarter Rules for Farmers Markets Legislation

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Posted: May 28, 2014 at 1:26 pm

                      cropped-ISAlogo-v-tag

 

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate unanimously approved legislation (HB 5657) last week that will result in smarter, streamlined and statewide rules for food sanitation at farmers markets. HB 5657 was unanimously approved by the Illinois House of Representatives earlier this year. Following the Senate’s approval the legislation will be sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

 

“This is a really important step when it comes to supporting farmers markets and community development. Regional planning commissions, communities and economic development organizations are consistently including local food and farmers markets in their long term plans. As a state, we should be doing everything we can to support the growing local food and sustainable agriculture sector, and that is exactly what this legislation does.” said Wes King Executive Director of Illinois Stewardship Alliance.

 

 

Galesburg Farmers Market  Galesburg Register Mail

Galesburg Farmers Market
Galesburg Register Mail

Illinois Stewardship Alliance has been working along side the Illinois Environmental Council, local health departments, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Public Health Association to develop HB5657.

 

The legislation, sponsored by Representative Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) and State Senator David Koehler (D-Peoria), includes a number of provisions aimed at supporting and sustaining farmers markets and the farmers and vendors that call them home:

 

    • Product Origin and Transparency Provisions – requires farmers market vendors that sell unprocessed produce and/or raw agricultural commodities to have a small sign, label, or packing slip that states the address where their products were physically grown. If they can’t disclose that, they must list where it was purchased from.

     

    • Consistent Statewide Farmers Market Rules – creates a timeline for Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) Farmers’ Market Task Force to complete recommendations for statewide rules and regulations for farmers markets and strengthens that task force’s authority and process for developing and finalizing said rules and regulations. The task force was originally created in statute by the general assembly in 2011. The bill gives the task force until December 15, 2014 to create their recommendations.

     

    • Statewide Sampling Program – Sampling of products is critical to any food business including those at farmers markets. HB 5657 authorizes and instructs IDPH and the farmers market task force to develop a statewide sampling certificate program that would allow a farmer or entrepreneur to offer product samples at any farmers market in the state under one certificate, and just as importantly, under one consistent statewide set of rules.

     

    • Cottage Food Operations – Caps the fee that local health departments can charge cottage food operations for registering at $25 per year.

     

     

Galesburg Farmers Market Photo by Knox College

Galesburg Farmers Market
Photo by Knox College

 

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

 

 

To keep up to date on various Illinois Stewardship Alliance policy and legislative work, visit www.ilstewards.org and follow us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/ilstewards and twitter @ILStewards.

 




I Keep on Harvesting Your Eat Local Links

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Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:50 am

 

Eat local history (of a slightly different meaning of local).

This week’s reasons.

Are we driving anything?

The ultimate locavore!

The quest to become a locavore.

Wondering how they managed to eat local last winter in Ann Arbor?

In New York City, a whole new way of applying the locavore ethos.

Eat local honey (h/t).




The NRA Show 2014 Some Local, Sustainable Light Amid All The Main Stream Food

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Posted: May 22, 2014 at 6:00 am

When it comes to the huge, gigantic, NRA(National Restaurant Association) show, local and sustainable are not necessarily the first words that pop into your mind. However, after walking, which felt like miles of floor over the weekend, I came away feeling hopeful about some of the trends highlighted at the show and left at the very least amused by all the hoopla. This gigantic, behemoth of a show is if anything very entertaining. There were some interesting creatures roaming the floors:

ChefOneBuddhabeerCreaturesshow

Chef One, a dumpling manufacturer under the Twin Marquis brand based in Brooklyn. NY were offering several new products, kale and edamame dumplings, that was a good sign of healthier, green things. I ran into this huge green, walking buddha promoting Lucky Buddha beer. (Okay, the beer is made in China so not a great thing but the green Buddha thing was entertaining.) These other creatures were more Adams Family than anything else but did grab my attention in a ghoulish kind of way as I walked by.

EarnestEatsNumiChocolate

One sign of food hopefulness for me was in the organic section where I saw products displaying the “nongmo verified seal“. I thought it was a good sign to see organic products included in such a huge, mainstream food show which indicates to me that organic products and particularly, “nongmo” products are inching their way to the main stream. Earnest Eats was one, they make whole grain fruit and nut cereals and snacks.

I learned something at the Numi Tea booth. Numi based out of Oakland, CA, eco-audits itself and has B Corporation status. According to the B Corp website, ” B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” The gal at Numi ,also, pointed out that they use hemp for their tea bags. Ever see those silky tea bag pouches touted by “organic” tea companies? They are made using GMO corn. So by using the hemp bags, Numi, is truly talking the talk and walking the walk when it comes to non-gmo status. I must say, the Chocolate Rooibos Indulgent tea they were serving in a tea cocktail called the “Spicy Aztec” was very tasty. I wish more bartenders in Chicago would create more cocktails using coffee and teas, they go really well together and help to keep you awake.

We have Bobby Chang’s, no sugar added, Season’s Soda at the farmers markets and in Chicago but at the show, no sugar sodas were present. It seems to be really coming to the forefront how bad, sugar sodas are for you. I was a bit nostalgic tasting a sugarless cream(vanilla) soda from Birdie and Bill’s, Funley’s snacks were a bit crazy, Reed’s Ginger Beer and candies were one of my favorites using real ginger of course. Milwaukee based Rishi tea has undergone new packaging and continues to expand their line of teas.

For once, I learned the difference between matcha (finley ground green tea, Japan) and mate (infused yerba matte tea drink, South America) at Aiya America organic matcha tea booth. “Local” Peruvian foods and beverages were out in force at the PromPeru pavilion.

semkelpslawLouisaChu

A new addition to the show this year were education sessions, as well as the “Foodamental Studio”, where throughout the show, seminars were held on a variety of topics. Zak Dolezal, Chef of Duke’s AleHouse in Crystal Lake talked about From Farm to Fork and Soil To Service.  Chef Paul Virant of Perennial/Virant gave a seminar Saturday on pickling.

Monday, I attended a seminar called “Oh Say Can We Seaweed” given by Barton Seaver who is a chef, author, speaker and National Geographic fellow focused on the sea and seafood along with fisherman Bren Smith the owner of Thimble Island Oysters.  They talked about “making kelp the new kale” and that part of a sustainable food system be it on land or sea were “thriving human communities”. This seminar was packed which was another good sign.

The NRA team really put together some great talks this year that were spot on, relavant topics in creating a healthy food system. There were tons of foodalebrities from all over the television and media spectrum every day, Robert Irvine, Captain Sig Hansen from Deadliest Catch, most of them had a book to sell.

Lousia Chu was stationed at the Polyscience making rhubarb, ginger and honey soda’s using a rapid infuser. Her drink was refreshing and seasonal.

WisconsincheeseNataliesMushrooms

As you can tell from this long winded post, the show was incredibly overwhelming but I will say the International Wine and Spirits Expo was a terrific place to end the day, nothing like a glass of a vintage wine or a Star of the Bar cocktail to end the day. Wisconsin cheese had their own pavilion, the family from Natalie’s orange juice ,who only pasteurize their orange juice once at very low levels to keep enzyme activity going which helps the flavor, were all in attendance. Dartagnan had a beautiful mushroom display although this was the sad part, they were going to throw all these incredible mushrooms away at the end of the show.

Palazollosustainablewinehoney

Palazzollo’s from Fennville, MI was at the show in force with their gelato truck. It was good to see that Alexander Valley vineyards was promoting their participation in a sustainable wine growing program and I tasted some really good honey from bees located in a pine forest in Crete. Honey expresses the terroir of a land almost like no other product since it really can’t be manipulated. After hearing about this particular honey, I wanted to pack my bags and go visit the Crete woods where the honey was made.

Below are a few more pictures of some crazier things, mostly in the beverage category. Pink designer cans of champagne from Coppola Vineyards, grapefruit rice brew which believe it or not was kind of refreshing, and someone lost their leg, don’t know if they found it?

sofia'spinkgrapefruitriceLeg


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The Local Calendar 5/21/14, Memorial Day, The Start of the “Summer” Market Season

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Posted: May 21, 2014 at 8:54 am

LilacCountry market bagMorel

Memorial Day weekend signals the start of the summer season, although it feels like Spring has only just started. It was cold at the opening of the Daley Plaza market but the tables were filled with bundles of lilacs. Country Financial announced the winner of their market bag contest, student David Paredes. You can pick up a bag at the Country booth at the Daley market. It is ,also, that season for morel hunting. I particpated in an adult foraging field trip to northwest Indiana organized by Chef Iliana Regan of Elizabeth Restaurant.  I did not find the morel pictured above, but my colleague found 3 huge morels. I did try channeling my inner mushroom but was unsuccessful in finding any myself, those morels can be elusive.

Farm dinnersSlagel Family Farm’s schedule  (5/3-10/4),  Prairie Fruit Farms has announced their schedule(5/25-12/4), a recent announcement is a summer solstice dinner to be held nearby at Frillman Farms on 6/21 by our friends at White Oak Gourmet.

Need info – Organizations in Chicagoland providing resources, classes and advocacy on local food: Illinois Stewardship AllianceAdvocates for Urban Agriculture, The Plant ChicagoWeFarmAmerica and The Peterson Garden Project.

Want to volunteer- Do you live in the Evanston/Skokie area? The Talking Farm has lot of volunteer work days available for students, families and corporate team building time at their Howard Street Farm, located at 3701 Howard St on the Evanston/Skokie boarder. They even have a “Talking Farm Hand Certification Program” for those interested in urban agriculture.

If you just do not have time to make it to one of the farmers markets every week but you still want to eat local produce, a produce share from the Green Grocer is an easy way to go. They source from the same farmers who sell at the markets but they handpick and curate the items that go into your weekly share so everything will be ripe to use and they offer flexibility for people who may travel because of work, live alone, or don’t necessarily want a weekly box.

Memorial Day signals the start of the “summer” market season. Here is a list of the city of Chicago markets and their opening dates. If you haven’t already, get to one of the craft beer week events before it is over. Now onto the busy week ahead including the opening of the Pilsen Community Market!

The Week’s Local Calendar

May 21-25

5th Annual Chicago Craft Beer Week  Craft beer week continues! It happens once a year, tons of events going on at over 300 venues in Chicago and throughout Chicagoland! The goal of Chicago Craft Beer Week is as always, to entice patrons to explore the depth and breadth of local craft beer and honor those who enrich our community of beer lovers.

May 21

Lincoln Park - Green City Market – 7am – 1pm Chef demonstration Chef Greg Biggers Sofitel For anyone who has the time, visiting the market on a Wednesday is a luxury!!!!!!  You have a chance to have a front row seat and one one one interaction at the chef demo, you have time to talk to the farmers and vendors about their products, and many of the Chicago farm to table chefs shop at the market on Wednesdays.

May 22

Chicago - Daley Plaza Farmers Market (Through Oct. 30) 7am – 3pm Katherine Ann Confections, Nichols Farms, among others.

May 24

Chicago (Lincoln Park) -  Green City Market 7am – 1pm Right across from the Hotel Lincoln Chef demonstration Jordan Rose River Valley Kitchens 

Chicago(Hyde Park/Woodlawn) – 61st Farmers Market ( Through 12/13, goes indoors as of Nov.) 9am – 2pm

Chicago - Growing Power Iron Street Farm Stand - 10am – 3pm 3333 South Iron St. Pick up your salad greens and they are selling at select Walgreens on the south and west sides!!

Chicago - The Plant Chicago Workshop Series Aquaponics 101 - 2:30pm – 4:30pm The ReBuilding Exchange 1740 W. Webster

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

Evanston - Downtown Evanston Market - (Through 11/8) 7:30am – 1pm Located Intersection of University Place and Oak Ave. (behind Hilton Garden Inn, east of East Railroad Ave.)

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

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)

Chicago (Pilsen) - Opening Day of The Pilsen Community Market  9-3pm 18th and Halsted

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

Logan Square - Logan Square Outdoor  Market  (Through 10/26) 10am–3pm

May 28

Chicago (Downtown) Springtime Garden Mob – 10-11:30am Palmer House 17 East Monroe Join Ground Up Chicago – A Chef Farmer Community and Verdura  for their Springtime Garden Mob.Lead garden Gal, Sara Gasbarra will take us on a tour of one of her current chefs garden projects and demonstrate the advantages to chefs and restaurants of growing their own produce.  So if you are a chef with a few pots to plant or a rooftop to exploit join them for this opportunity to see Sara in action. We may be digging in for some late spring planting. RSVP  at groundupchicago@gmail.com

May 29

Chicago (Edgewater) – Fearless Food Kitchen Open House - 5917 N. Broadway (2nd floor kitchen) from 6-8pm  Learn about their plans for this exciting new project!!!

SAVE THE DATE

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.

Chicago (Oak Park) – Uncork Illinois Wine Festival - Wine aficionados will have a unique opportunity to sample over 150 wines from more than 15 local wineries and taste locally-produced artisan foods at Downtown Oak Park’s Uncork Illinois. Admission is $20 at the gate (cash only) or $15 advance tickets and includes a free souvenir glass and 7 tastings (while supplies last).

June 6-8

Chicago (Wicker Park) – Ribfest – (lincoln/Irving Park/Damen) Does this need any explanation?If you do go to the link. Ribs, beverages, great music, what else do you need?

June 11

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.

Lake Zurich - Opening Day of the Lake Zurich Farmers Market The Market will run every Friday, rain or shine, from June 13th through September 29th, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Paulus Park 200 S Rand Rd

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.

Chicago – Goose & Fox Underground Dining Club BBQ - 7pm Goose & Fox presents a family style BBQ in a casual outdoor setting featuring the finest seasonal produce from local farms. $40 Lincoln Park

June 19

Chicago – Granja Urbana Urban Farm Dinner at City Farm - 7-9pm 1204 N Clybourn Ave $100

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

Prairie View, Il – White Oak Summer Solstice Dinner on Frillman Farms

June 23

Chicago – (North Center) – Bounty of the Midwest Dinner to Support Spence Farm – 7:30pm  10:30pm Browntrout 4111 N. Lincoln Join Chef Sean Sanders of Browntrout and Chef Thomas Leavitt of White Oak Gourmet as they team up to create a four course dinner celebrating the bounty of Midwest corn. You’ll be joined by Chicago’s own Koval distillery with whiskey based cocktail pairings for each course. They’ll be using organic and Non GMO corn in each course as we welcome summer to Chicago.$65 Public Transportation, CTA buses # 50 & 80 or Brown Line stop at Irving Park. Metered Street Parking available on Lincoln Avenue.

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.

July 17

Lincoln Park - Green City Market Annual BBQ - This is hyper local food and beverage fest, not to be missed, rain, wind or shine.

August 2-15

Chicago – 14 Day Intensive Urban Permaculture Design Workshop - Hosted by the Chicago Permaculture Guild and taught by Albert Bates Albert Bates was a civil sector representative at the Copenhagen climate conference, trying to point the world back towards a stable atmosphere using soils and trees – Garden Earth. His books include Climate in Crisis (1990), The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook (2006) and The Biochar Solution (2010). He has taught appropriate technology, natural building and ecovillage design to students from more than sixty nations. A co-founder and past president of the Global Ecovillage Network, he is presently retired and living in an ecovillage in rural Tennessee.

August 13

Chicago – Taste of the Nation Chicago – No child should go hungry and 1 out of 5 in Illinois are. Attend this incredible event to provide fight hunger in Illinois.




Deadline for Applications Alma MBA Food and Wine June 30th

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Posted: May 20, 2014 at 11:17 am

Part of Italian cuisine is the appreciation of local products and produce. So getting an MBA in food and wine in Italy is kind of an MBA in “local” and what it truly means. The Alma Graduate School – the business school of the University of Bologna – offers a 12-month English language MBA program with a unique concentration in Food and Wine. There are scholarship opportunities available thanks to an agreement between Alma Graduate School and Ferrarelle, a leading Italian mineral water brand, two partial scholarships for MBA Food and Wine prospective students will be available for €15,000, one of which is reserved specifically to a USA citizen.

The University of Bologna, established in 1088, is the first university in the western world.
The Alma Graduate School is the business school of the University of Bologna. Founded in 2000, the school received for five consecutive years the Four Palms award in the Eduniversal ranking (network of about 1,000 business schools in the world), placing it second in Italy among “Top Business Schools Internationally Strong”. Alma is one of the most innovative and reputable institutions in Italy. Interdisciplinary approach, industry integration, and internationalization are key pillars to the School’s philosophy that aims to provide students with the appropriate tools, in order to face the ever changing and complex economic landscape with confidence, knowledge, and the right skills to succeed. The MBA Food and Wine offers a unique opportunity to blend theory with experience, thanks to the exclusive knowledge of the most successful Italian companies in this sector. Participants will be able to experience first-hand the specific knowledge that Italy has developed in the food and wine world joining creativity, style, and unique managerial practices. Potential students can apply for the program and find out more about the scholarships by going to the following
URL: http://www.almaweb.unibo.it/internationalmba

If this sounds intriguing to you, get to work, the final deadline for applications is June 30th!




On a Roll, The Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

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Posted: May 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm

 

Everyone’s talking about the need to eat from the whole farm.

Eat local Quebec.

It always helps to be reminded why.

Need more convincing?

The Growing Power Chanel.

Change the system now.

Then build it back up.


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A Streak of Two – The Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

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Posted: May 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

 

Drink local beer made with local grain.

Locavore haven.

Locavore right in the store.

Eat local at the Botanical Gardens.

Do you understand what it means to be organic?

Do you (another take on organics)?

Do you know when to skip the fridge?

 




Fearless Food: From Plot to Plate!

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Posted: May 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Editor’s Note: It does not take the Local Beet to know about LaManda Joy and the Peterson Garden Project.  They’ve been front and central in our Eat Local Community for several years. They recently published a book to help put local food on your plate. And they are only getting better.  We’re proud to share in their expansion.  Over the next season, we will feature several excerpts from Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland.  Before that, Peterson Garden volunteer, Jen Berman provides an overview.

As a proud inaugural member of the Peterson Garden Project’s community of avid urban gardeners, as well as a long time grow-at-home enthusiast, I’m excited to be a new contributor to The Local Beet.  I’ll be featuring excerpts from PGP’s newly published growing guide: Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland and adding in some of my own experiences (and challenges!) planting and plating in our lovely city.

2013.08.26-LaManda Joy

First a little background. Peterson Garden Project is a nonprofit organization committed to teaching people to grow their own food.  PGP was founded in March of 2010 by LaManda Joy, who turned a passion for the history behind WWII Victory Gardens and her own “Yarden” into a nationwide model for “pop-up” raised bed community gardens. Since 2010, PGP “grew” from one location to eight and inspired thousands of Chicagoans to explore the magic that could spring from a 4ft by 8ft plot of dirt.

This year, LaManda and her co-author, Teresa Gale, collaborated to write a book for urban “grewbies”—the PGP term for beginner gardeners.  Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland is a month-by-month, step-by-step guide to everything from deciding what to grow and when to grow it; to small-space, container and raised bed methods; to tips on organic practices for beating pests and diseases.  In other words—everything that anyone who’s ever wanted to try gardening in an urban environment and Chicago’s challenging climate might find daunting.

peterson - Peppers

Additionally, Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland tackles another obstacle encountered by those who plant—what to do with what you grew! Those of you who’ve stared at a counter full of beautiful produce with a mixture of pride and dread know what I’m talking about.  HOW am I ever going to use all of this??? We take a few beautiful pictures, post them on Twitter and then start making up bags of green (and red and yellow and purple) goodies for everyone we know. Because who has time to cook all of that stuff, right? Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland features simple recipes that will put your bounty to delicious use.

FFG_Cover_1231_print copy

Over the course of the growing season, I will be providing excerpts from the book, as well as my own tips and experiences.  If you would like to purchase Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland, you can buy it on Amazon or pick up a copy at one of these local retailers. Stay tuned for our first installment.

Jennifer L. Berman is an avid condo and community gardener, as well as cocktail chef and food explorer, both at home and in the “field”. Jennifer is also passionate about animal rescue and with her tries-to-be-tolerant partner, Mike, is the proud parent of three urban pups, Bailey, Boudreau and Rexy, as well as Puig, the ginormous Guinea Pig (nope, he’s NOT being fattened up for any food exploration projects!)
In her day job, Jennifer has been happily retired from the practice of law since about a 30 minutes after she passed the Illinois Bar exam. Since that time, she ran HR Consulting and Outsourcing practices for two national CPA /Consulting firms. In 2009, she established her own HR firm, OAU Consulting, Inc., combining her passion for entrepreneurship, both her own and her clients’, with the ability to ensure the free time necessary to pursue her hobbies and interests. Of course, sometimes that means gardening at midnight and canning while counseling clients but so far, at least, everyone seems happy with the arrangement.
Jennifer is excited to be part of the dialogue at the Local Beet and hopes to provide content that will encourage others to experiment from “Plot to Plate”!

Twitter: @boudreaulicious


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The Local Calendar 5/7/14 Wednesdays at Green City, Beats at Iron Street, Mother’s Day at Mint Creek

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Posted: May 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm

NomadpizzaAsparagus14amazingshrimpgcm

Found a few new vendors at the opening of the Green City Market last Saturday. One of the new ones is The Nomad Food Company, which has a portable, wood-fired, pizza oven. They are cooking up handmade pizzas made with market ingredients. Another newcomer is Amazing Shrimp out of Indiana. Shrimp are omnivores and ingest a lot of nasty stuff in the ocean, particularly if they are penned up in a small space, Amazing Shrimp are farm-raised using a recirculator in salted water, so they are as fresh as fresh can be. Asparagus is in seasonal abundance right now. The GCM is open Wednesday as well, which is the best day of the week to shop the market and get a free cooking lesson from top Chicago chefs. Sign up for the GCM cookbook coming out this summer, and tickets for the annual GCM BBQ, July 17,  have gone on sale. 

Mint Creek Farm is putting on a brunch for Mother’s Day. Here is Slagel Family Farm’s schedule  (5/3-10/4),  Prairie Fruit Farms has announced their schedule(5/25-12/4, a last minute addition are 2 family style brunches last Saturday May 3 and this Sunday May 10.  A recent announcement is a summer solstice dinner to be held nearby at Frillman Farms on 6/21 by our friends at White Oak Gourmet.

Organizations in Chicagoland providing resources, classes and advocacy on local food: Illinois Stewardship AllianceAdvocates for Urban Agriculture, The Plant Chicago and WeFarmAmerica. PGP(Peterson Garden Project)  provides 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 in Edgewater.

Do you live in the Evanston/Skokie area? The Talking Farm has lot of volunteer work days available for students, families and corporate team building time at their Howard Street Farm, located at 3701 Howard St on the Evanston/Skokie boarder. They even have a “Talking Farm Hand Certification Program” for those interested in urban agriculture.

If you just do not have time to make it to one of the farmers markets every week but you still want to eat local produce, a produce share from the Green Grocer is an easy way to go. They source from the same farmers who sell at the markets but they handpick and curate the items that go into your weekly share so everything will be ripe to use and they offer flexibility for people who may travel because of work, live alone, or don’t necessarily want a weekly box.

The local calendar is picking up, take advantage of the incredible markets and farmstead/craft/artisanal food and beverage scene that Chicago has to offer! Believe it or not, ramp season is almost over, asparagus are on the tables in full force. The 61st Market and the Daley Plaza outdoor markets open next week! Now onto the busy week ahead!

The Week’s Local Calendar

May 7

Lincoln Park – Green City Market – 7am – 1pm Chef demonstration Chef Paul Virant Perennial Virant For anyone who has the time, visiting the market on a Wednesday is a luxury!!!!!!  You have a chance to have a front row seat and one one one interaction at the chef demo, you have time to talk to the farmers and vendors about their products, and many of the Chicago farm to table chefs shop at the market on Wednesdays.

May 8

Chicago - Beats and BBQ Growing Power Iron Street Farm - 5:30pm You’ll have delicious BBQ and veggies from the farm, as well as local beer to quench your thirst. Duane Powell of Maximum Audio Visual will be providing the “beets” for our BBQ. Come see what’s growing, taste honey from our six bee hives, pet our adorable goats, and see the newest commercial compost facility in Chicago. Your ticket and donation help fund their work in Chicago.

May 10

Champaign - Family Style Brunch at Prairie Fruit 9:30am and 11:30am seatings

Chicago - Growing Power Iron Street Farm Stand - 10am – 3pm 3333 South Iron St. Pick up your salad greens and they are selling at select Walgreens on the south and west sides!!

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

Evanston - Downtown Evanston Market Opens - (5/10-11/8) 7:30am – 1pm Located Intersection of University Place and Oak Ave. (behind Hilton Garden Inn, east of East Railroad Ave.)

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

Lincoln Park –  Green City Market 7am – 1pm Right across from the Hotel Lincoln Chef demo is Rick Bayless 

May 11

Happy Mother’s Day!

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

Logan Square - 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.

Stelle(90 min from Chicago) - Mint Creek Mother’s Day Brunch - 11am

May 12

Chicago - Ada St. and County Barbecue Join The Hideout for “On The Table” -As of 4/28 this event was sold out, check the Hideout website or call to see f they have openings.

Chicago - Michigan Wineries Walk Around Tasting - City Winery 6-9pm 1200 W. Randolph

Chicago - SWANK-A-LICIOUS - Les Dames Escoffier Bi-Annual Fundraiser 5:30pm – 9:30pm Gallery 1028 1028 North Hooker St.

SAVE THE DATE

May 15

Chicago – Daley Plaza Farmers Market Opens – Country Financial announces winner of their market bag contest and it is a chance to pick one up to use for the season!

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

May 16

Join in and CELEBRATE Food Revolution Day!

May 17-18

Roger’s Park – Moah’s Ark Spring Plant Sale 12-5pm 1839 W. Touhy Ave.

May 17

Chicago –  The Plant Chicago Workshop Series - Container Gardening - 10am 1400 W. 46th St.

Hyde Park – 61st Farmers Market Opens – (5/17-12/13) 9am – 2pm 61st and Dorchester

Roger’s Park – The Red Cherry Supper Club presents Cultured – 6-10pm Join them for #CulturedGSM,  glorious evening of beautiful food, free flowing Revolution Brewery beers, signature cocktails, wine, cider, soft drinks and live entertainment.  Cultured: A Red Cherry Supper Club Event benefits Glenwood Sunday Market – your farmers market in Rogers Park, a program of Rogers Park Business Alliance. Sourced from the finest local farmers, food artisans, brewers, distilleries and performers, Cultured will occur in a fabulous surprise location to be announced to event attendees only. Ticket prices are all inclusive.

May 18

Chicago – Chicago Monthly Food Swap at Green Home Experts

May 19

Chicago - Trash Fish Chicago 2014Big Jones 6pm 5347 N. Clark This year, besides an impressive selection of hometown heroes, chef Susan Spicer will be joining us from New Orleans and chef Colby Garrelts is headed up from Kansas City. It’s bound to be a fun and delicious time, all to help support the work of Chefs Collaborative and promote ocean and fishing sustainability. Get your tickets today!

May 20

Chicago – 12th Annual Growing Home Spring Dinner and Auction – Salvage One 1840 W. Hubbard 5:30pm – 9:30pm Tickets

May 24

Chicago - The Plant Chicago Workshop Series Aquaponics 101 - 2:30pm – 4:30pm The ReBuilding Exchange 1740 W. Webster

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

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.

Lake Zurich - Opening Day of the Lake Zurich Farmers Market The Market will run every Friday, rain or shine, from June 13th through September 29th, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Paulus Park 200 S Rand Rd

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

Prairie View, Il – White Oak Summer Solstice Dinner on Frillman Farms

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.

July 17

Lincoln Park - Green City Market Annual BBQ - This is hyper local food and beverage fest, not to be missed, rain, wind or shine.

August 2-15

Chicago – 14 Day Intensive Urban Permaculture Design Workshop - Hosted by the Chicago Permaculture Guild and taught by Albert Bates Albert Bates was a civil sector representative at the Copenhagen climate conference, trying to point the world back towards a stable atmosphere using soils and trees – Garden Earth. His books include Climate in Crisis (1990), The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook (2006) and The Biochar Solution (2010). He has taught appropriate technology, natural building and ecovillage design to students from more than sixty nations. A co-founder and past president of the Global Ecovillage Network, he is presently retired and living in an ecovillage in rural Tennessee.

August 13

Chicago – Taste of the Nation Chicago – No child should go hungry and 1 out of 5 in Illinois are. Attend this incredible event to provide fight hunger in Illinois.




A New Streak of Weekly Harvests Starts Now

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Posted: May 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Sorry, for missing a week, but our Iron Man harvest streak of eat local links starts anew with this batch.

 

Drink local paw-paw beer.

Drink local water.

Eat organic, so you think?

James Beard Foundation Publication of the Year!

Our Jeannie’s a star!

Eat local Gators.

Lessons of a locavore.

Eat local goat cheese.

Eat local award wining cheese.

It’s more than good pickles that make you eat local




Fences Make Good Puppies

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Posted: May 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Since we purchased our new homestead and planted a number of garden beds, I’d always been worried about infiltration by rodents, skunks and rabbits. To be fair to these smaller mammals, they did very little damage to my vegetables. Most of this damage was due to insects or my own incompetence. Yet I maintained a heartfelt conviction that we had to offer a deterrent to keep away the critters.

keeping dogs out of the garden

Who knew he’d like veggies? And neckties.

In 2013, we adopted a handsome mutt whom we named Tesla. As his bag of tricks expanded, we used home-grown peas and beans as training rewards. As our omnivorous puppy grew, he became tall enough to reach into the beanstalks and grab his own rewards. Eventually the garden went fallow and only a few drooping collard plants remained in the soil. It was too cold and wet for me to bother tossing them into compost, so I left them alone, figuring I could always pull them out in the spring.

For Tesla, this was a winter buffet. When we let him out in the yard to destroy the grass with his doggy debris, he often took a walk around the back of the garage to dig some collards out of the snow and gnaw on these cold, dessicated leaves. Like a good scavenger, Tesla is partial to the taste of decomposition.

As the snow melted, he dug the soil in the Brassica bed, and then dug in other garden beds to see if there was anything worth eating. Before long, it became apparent that the biggest threat to the 2014 crop would be our guard dog.

I put up a thin-wire garden fence. It was bout 2 feet tall and mostly ornamental. But I figured that would at least teach him that there are boundaries he should not cross.

A thin wire fence kolds back the savage puppy.

A thin wire fence holds back the savage puppy.

As you can guess, he not only was able to squeeze between the wires, but eventually pushed it down and just walked right over it.

Around this time I also decided to abandoned my raised table garden bed and replace it with a very tall raised bed with much more soil. This, I hoped, would help regulate temperature and moisture better, and maybe even offer earthworms a pathway to reach the rotting compost just beneath the top layers of garden soil. It was also just high enough so that the dog could not stick his snout in the dirt.

Then I carried some very heavy stones from one part of our property way way down to the garden, hoping to raise the height of the lettuce bed to keep Tesla from breaching the wall.

Tesla can jump. Did I mention that Tesla can jump? The higher wall proved an amusing challenge for him as his long, gaunt body easily stretched to reach up and jump into the bed, leaving his paw prints in the soil just to demonstrate that he was able to do it. I would frequently catch him in there and he would stare at me with his adoring eyes as if to say, “That was fun! What’s next?” I knew it was a matter of time before he was able to climb into my tall raised bed.

I bought another rain barrel to form a wall at the spot he could most easily breach. He squeezed between the barrel and the stones. So I got more wire garden fence to enclose the lettuce bed. Tesla easily mastered this, slipping between the wires and making his way comfortably into the bed.

My costs were mounting. A pittance, mind you, compared to the other costs of owning a dog, but we had hoped that our garden capital costs were done for a while. Instead, I found myself buying steel posts and orange plastic fencing to keep Tesla out. He soon showed me which posts needed more reinforcement and, continuing our little game of cat-and-mouse, the dog and human kept building and scaling the fence until finally, after weeks of mending fences and adjusting posts, Tesla was barking in frustration as I stood on the garden side of the fence (with the tall raised bed) and he was trapped outside of it (with the lawn he was turning brown with his waste).

Reveling in my Pyrrhic victory, I paused and realized that I had changed an easy walk into a slightly more difficult path across the driveway and around the garage to reach the garden. And by mid-April, the lettuce bed (which now features an old window screen to help block the dog–classy, huh?) was sprouting young seeds aside the garlic I planted last October. And Tesla had only managed to get in once or twice. He doesn’t even LIKE garlic, mind you. I think he either enjoys thwarting my plans or just plain resents being excluded from an area that he once claimed as part of his domain.

Orange fencing cordons off the garden.

Orange fencing cordons off the garden.

It has become much more difficult to tend to my garden. And when I do, I have to put up with the incessant barking of an angry dog (whom I still love deeply, by the way). But I’m happy to report that the asparagus have sprung up proudly, the beets and peas (seeded from peas I saved from last year’s crop and NOT from a packet purchased at a garden center) are already poking up above the soil and the wildflower, iceberg lettuce, mesclun and spinach are showing signs of life.

It’s a cooler spring than last year, so I haven’t enjoyed the early jump on planting. But we have high hopes to grow a wide variety of vegetables and take our chances with the squirrels and rabbits, who will be safe from Tesla as long as they keep on the correct side of the fence.