Another Harvest of Eat Local Links

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Posted: July 28, 2014 at 11:38 am

This is local wine.

After the Good Food Festival appearances, the Sky Full of Bacon video, and the general interest in “good meat”, not expecting this.  More here.

Everything, always, all the time at Civil Eats.

Think it matters if you know your farmer?

Who needs kale?

We love the Eli’s Farmer’s Market.

Eat local Maryland.

Eat local Western Massachusetts.

Let us know what else you’re reading now.

 




The Local Calendar 7/23/14 Angelic Organics Harvest Dinner, TOTN Chicago 8/13, Spence Farm

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Posted: July 23, 2014 at 9:07 am

nasturtiumGCmGCMCookbookEndlessrows

Providing summer meals in neighborhoods where children do not have access to good food is one of the many ways Share Our Strength fights hunger in Chicago. One way to reduce violence in Chicago communities is by providing good food to children in these stressed neighborhoods so they feel a sense of community and full stomachs are a way to do that. You can make a difference by attending the Taste of the Nation event at Navy Pier on Wednesday August 13th. Many of the chefs and mixologists that support the local food community will be there, in force! The best way to fight the “G” word is with the other “G” phrase, “good food”.

For those of us who have access to the farmers markets, their tables are full of produce, from Nichol’s Farms endless rows of root vegetables: taproots, bulbs and tubers to Growing Power’s beautifully displayed baskets of greens and edible flowers.  Eggplant, peaches, corn have appeared on the tables. If you ever need an idea of how to cook with what’s available locally, the Green City Market cookbook is the answer. The cookbook is organized in a very approachable manner by season and the recipes highlight the ingredients available that time of year and not necessarily the cooking techniques, so it is a cookbook for everyone.

Farm dinnersAngelic Organics Learning Center Peak Harvest Dinner is this Saturday, Slagel Family Farm’s schedule  (next available dinner 8/9 Found Kitchen and Rootstock),  Prairie Fruit Farms & Creamery schedule(-12/4), Mint Creek,  and Spence Farm Harvest dinner tickets just went on sale.

Need info - Organizations in Chicagoland providing resources, classes and advocacy on local food: Illinois Stewardship AllianceAdvocates for Urban AgricultureThe Plant ChicagoAngelics Organics Learning CenterWeFarmAmericaThe Peterson Garden Project and The Talking Farm.

Here is a list of the city of Chicago markets! Sign up to become an owner of Chicago’s newest Co-op here, the Chicago Market.  Now on to the busy weeks ahead:

                                                                 The Week’s Local Calendar

July 23

Champaign - Prairie Fruit Farms & Creamery Open House 3-6:30pm

FM – Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Green City Market - 7am – 1pm Carrot Festival Chef demonstration Chef Patrick Sheerin The Trencherman For anyone who has the time, visiting the market on a Wednesday is a luxury!!!!!!

July 24

Chicago(Uptown) - AUA Movie and Mingle Night Weiss Memorial Hospital - 7:30pm – 11:30pm  Join them for July’s Movie & Mingle Night, featuring the film Tierralismo, a stirring defense of the importance of farm work and sustainable agriculture practices in Cuba.

FM – Chicago - Daley Plaza Farmers Market (Through Oct. 30) 7am-3pm Katherine Ann ConfectionsNichols FarmsRiver Valley Kitchens and more.

FM – Chicago (Uptown) - Uptown Farmers Market at Weiss Memorial Hospital - 7am – 1pm (Through Oct) 4646 N. Marine Drive

July 26

Chicago(Caledonia) - 7th Annual Angelic Organics Peak Harvest Dinner - 5pm – 9pm Presented by premier Chicago chefs, including Chef Paul Virant. You’ll enjoy a five-course gourmet meal made with seasonal produce fresh from the farm and other sustainable, local ingredients. All proceeds from the Farm Dinner support their educational programs that build the local food system.

Chicago – Feastival Fundraiser Edible Alchemy – 2pm – dawn Eco-Collective 2042 W. 21st

FM – Chicago (Lincoln Park) -  Green City Market 7am – 1pm Right across from the Hotel Lincoln Chef demonstration Mickey Kearns All Natural Chicago

Chicago - Bike To Brew Organized and Sponsored by the Active Transportation Alliance 3-10pm

FM – 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!!

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

FM - 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.)

FM - Glenview - Glenview Farmers Market(Through 10/11) – Wagner Farm 1510 Wagner Road 8am – Noon Expanded with more vendors!

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

Oak Park - 3rd Annual Edible Garden Tour - 10am – 3pm Sponsored and organized by The Sugar Beet Co-op

FM - Oak Park – Oak Park Farmers Market (through 11/1) - 7am – 1pm 460 Lake St.

FM – Sugar Grove - Sugar Grove Farmers Market - (through 9/27) 8:00 a.m. to noon Village of Sugar Grove Municipal Building Parking Lot, 10 Municipal Drive

July 27

FM – Chicago (Pilsen) - The Pilsen Community Market  9-3pm 18th and Halsted

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

July 28

FM – Lyons - Lyons Community Market - 2-7pm Veteran’s Park Ogden Ave & Lawndale Ave. (every Monday through Sept. 29)

July 29

FM – Chicago - MCA Farmers Market - 7am – 3pm Downtown at the MCA (Every Tuesday through Oct. 28)

Chicago -Publican Quality Meats Guest Chef Burger Night - 6-9pm

SAVE THE DATE

July 30-31

New!!! Chicago(Edgewater) - 70′s Supper The Stew Supper Club – 7-10pm Sauce and Bread Kitchen - Fadist maybe?, delicious maybe?, it’s all a little hazy. They hope to settle these questions once and for all. They will revisit this often forgotten era of tupperware induced cuisine head on (moussaka and hambrosia included).  Don’t miss this fondue time machine for it is only leaving the Sauce and Bread Kitchen station twice. Veggies are always welcome just let them know before hand.

July 30

Chicago(Lincoln Park)Green City Market Tour and Lunch at Perennial Virant - 10:30am Presented by Chicago Gourmets and the Green City Market.

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 2

Chicago (Back of the Yards) - Aquaponics Herb Garden Workshop – 2pm The Plant 1400 W. 46th St.

Chicago - Fork and The Road Bike Tours Sausage Fest - Tour meetup information will be emailed to ticket-holders one week before each tour. Expect to bike 10 to 15 miles per tour and eat at three to five food purveyors befitting that tour’s theme. Vegetarian modifications can be made to all tours but Sausage

August 3

Chicago – Fork and The Road Bike Tours History’s Favorite Foods

August 7-10

Chicago – The 35th American Community Gardening Assoc. Conference - Join your peers, and meet new friends, for exciting tours, networking and presentations by the leading lights in the community garden movement. Plus there will be other incredible presentations, networking, and tours of Chicago gardens (including our Edible Treasures Garden at The Field Museum – the host venue). To top it off, Garfield Park Conservatory is hosting a big “garden soiree” to celebrate the 35 years of achievement of this incredible organization. Find out more and purchase tickets for this event HERE!

August 9-10

NapervilleVeggiefest – 11am – 8pm Vegetarians, vegans, health conscious and family-fun seekers will enjoy Veggie Fest, an outdoor festival held on the grounds ofthe Science of Spirituality Meditation Center. Free admission, free parking and a wide assortment of vegetarian fun for the whole family. Expected to attract 30,000 visitors.

August 9

Bangor, MI - Camp Blueberry – For two Saturdays this season – August 9 and 16 – Joe’s Blueberry Farm is opening their farm up to tent campers. They have seven spots available on each of those Saturdays. Camping hours will be from 6 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. on Sunday.  No charge. It’s primitive camping – but there will be porta potties and fresh water. If you’re already a Joe’s Blues customer, just send them an email. If they have more requests than spots, they’ll draw names. Deadline for letting them know is July 8.

Chicago(Back of the Yards) –  The Monster Food Truck Rally Returns 11:00am–3:00pmThe Plant 
1400 West 46th Street is once again hosting the city’s finest food trucks for a great day of Southside fun at its third annual Food Truck Rally. Tickets are now on sale for $5, and will be available for $7 at the door. Guests of The Plant will enjoy: Local food trucks La Adelita, Bridgeport Pasty, Flirty Cupcakes, and more to be announced. All proceeds directly benefit the mission and programming of Plant Chicago, NFP, a 501c3 non-profit organization with a mission to promote closed-loop food production and sustainable economic development through education and research

Chicago(Hyde Park) - Common Threads Produce Stand and Open House - 10am – 1pm 4901 South Kenwood All the following workshops and activities are FREE!! 11 am & noon: Medicinal Herbs & Weeds – Cheryl Williamson, Herbologist + Master Gardener Ongoing: Cooking in the Garden – Stephanie Folkens, Common Threads Chef Ongoing Kid’s Activity: Oragami Flower Making

Fairbury - Slagel Farm Dinner with Found Kitchen & Rootstock 2:30pm Bus option available from Chicago.

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 fight hunger in Illinois. A beautiful venue, Navy Pier and it’s the night for fireworks, incredible chefs and very tasty cocktails. Join the hunger core and make a difference while tasting food from the chefs we love.

August 16

Chicago – Fork and The Road Bike Tours Emerald Necklace Tour

Oak Park - 7th Annual Oak Park Micro Brew Review - Get to downtown Oak Park  for the largest zero-waste, craft beer event in the Midwest!  Featuring over 150 inventive brews from the Midwest’s finest craft breweries, live music and small plates from popular local restaurants. Co-produced with the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. The Micro Brew Review is a fundraiser benefiting Seven Generations Ahead and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. Tickets are non-refundable.

August 17

Chicago - Fork and The Road Bike Tours Korean, Remixed

Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Sunday Supper at Floriole - 6-8pm Join them one Sunday each month. Ode To Sweet Corn: Chilled corn soup, local marinated shrimp, seared flank steak, corn pudding, tomato-corn salad, cornmeal crusted crostata, roasted peaches, peach leaf ice cream

August 30

Chicago - Cochon 555′s Heritage BBQ – 4-8pm Goose Island Brewery 1800 W. Fulton Heritage BBQ presented by Goose Island Beer Co. is an all-inclusive event, a stand-up tasting where five notable chefs will each be given a 200 pound heritage breed pig to create six dishes for a crowd of pork-loving enthusiasts. A panel of 20 respected judges will vote for the city’s “BBQ King or Queen.” The events raise awareness for responsible family farms, culinary schools, local food producers, craft brewers, great winemakers, and prestigious distillers wanting to celebrate with an amazing food event during National Bourbon Month. The cause is local, the flavors are global, the talent is unbridled.

Chicago – Fork and The Road Bike Tours Architect’s Diet

September 6

Chicago – Fork and The Road Bike Tours Italy, not Eataly

September 7

Chicago(Uptown) - 5th Annual Kegs For Kids The Hopleaf Bar Tasting Party – 12pm – 5pm A benefit for Edgewater’s Helen C. Pierce Elementary

September 13-14

ChicagoMod Mex & Mod Mix – Kendall College Four of the world’s finest Mexican chefs unite in Chicago this fall to cook, compete, and create.  Join them for two days of hands-on demonstrations, intimate conversation and the most memorable meal of your life: Chef Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill/Topolobampo/XOCO, Chef Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chef Fany Gerson La Newyorkina Brooklyn, NY,  Chef Pablo Salas Amaranta Restaurant, Mexico City

September 13

Chicago(Hyde Park) - Common Threads Produce Stand and Open House - 10am – 1pm 4901 South Kenwood All the following workshops and activities are FREE!! 11 am & Noon: Introduction to Permaculture – Matthew Stephens, Permaculture Expert Ongoing: Cooking in the Garden – Stephanie Folkens, Common Threads ChefOngoing Kid’s Activity: Make Your Own Chia Pet

Fairbury - Slagel Farm Dinner with Three Aces, Bedford & Carriage House 2:30pm Bus option available from Chicago.

September 20

Chicago – Fork and the Road Bike Tours Poultry Slam

September 21

Fairbury – Harvest Feast Spence Farm Foundation

September 26-28

Chicago - Chicago Gourmet Weekend – Millenium Park – Ground Zero for these 3 days in the world for all things culinary. Checkout the link for tickets, information, schedule, events.

October 4

Chicago – Fork and the Road Bike Tours Vedging Out

 




Farmers Markets Celebrated on U.S. Postage Stamps!

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Posted: July 22, 2014 at 9:11 am

 

Sarah Chenevert is the daughter of Don and Elizabeth who run Green Oak Farm in Dunlap, Illinois. Sarah penned the following article about the upcoming Farmers Market postage stamps release by the United States Postal Service.

 

Farmers Markets Forever® stamps. Photo: USPS

Farmers Markets Forever® stamps.
Photo: USPS

Farmers Markets Celebrated on U.S. Postage Stamps!

by

Sarah Chenevert

 

From ripe fruits and vegetables, to hot, fresh bread, to fresh cut flowers and herbs, there is one group to thank . . . farmers!  To celebrate the more than 8,000 farmers markets across the country, the United States Postal Service is issuing four Farmers Market postage stamps this summer.   The USPS first-day ceremony will occur at the Freshfarm Market near the White House in Washington, DC on August 7, 2014.

The release of the Farmers Market stamps coincides with the United States Department of Agriculture’s “National Farmers Market Week” which occurs from August 3 through August 9 this year.  Use of the stamps will promote awareness of the bounty of American agriculture and the high quality produce available at farmers markets in the United States.     To promote awareness of farming and local farmers markets, farmers and consumers should buy and use the stamps on their outgoing mail.  Sheets of 20 Farmers Market stamps sell for $9.80 and will be available nationwide through local post offices and the USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Missouri.

The four stamps, designed by art director Greg Breeding and illustrated by Robin Moline form a panoramic view of a vendor’s stall at a local farmers market.  The colorful, uniquely designed side-by-side or se-tenant stamps display the richness of America’s farmers markets.  Starting from the left, the first stamp depicts a variety of homemade baked goods, fresh eggs and tawny, artisan cheeses.  The next stamp depicts an assortment of perfectly arranged fruits and vegetables just waiting to be used in a garden fresh vegetable soup!  Freshly-cut, eye-catching sunflowers dominate the next frame accented with bouquets of vibrant, colorful flowers.  The last stamp contains an assortment of fresh herbs to enhance the flavor of any meal and potted plants to liven up home gardens.

People may ask, “Why should we support local farmers markets if we can buy produce at the grocery store?”  Local farmers markets provide a venue for farmers to sell their high quality produce face-to-face with their customers.  Because they are closer to the consumer, local producers provide fresher, more flavorful produce for their customers and minimize spoilage and the amount of fuel needed to bring their goods to market.

In addition, farmers markets support small family farms, boost the local economy, create local business and employment opportunities and promote diverse, sustainable farming operations across the country.    By supporting your local farmers market, you can keep local farmers working the land and ensure that the next generation of Americans can enjoy locally grown fruits and vegetables.  So I encourage you to shop at your local farmers market this week and tell your farmers how much you appreciate their good work and their produce.

Green Oak Farm is a diversified family farm located at 15906 North Route 91 in Dunlap, Illinois just north of Peoria. They grow vegetables, poultry and other livestock using sustainable agricultural practices that nurture the soil through natural, biological methods. They provide eggs,  grass-fed, heritage cattle and hogs along with a wide range of vegetables from asparagus to zucchini. greenoakfarm@gmail.com

Sarah, Don and her brother James are not only farmers, they are each philatelists.  Sarah and James are bothYoung Philatelic Leaders Fellows with the American Philatelic Society.

 

 

 




Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

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Posted: July 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm

summer milk

 

Don’t you want to see?

Civil links.

The next round of notable local cheeses.

Don’t forget the old timers.

And someone at their peak right now.

Eat better lunches.

Eat local at the ballpark.

Eat local hospital food.




What’s In Season Now, Whole Roasted Tomatoes

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Posted: July 15, 2014 at 9:21 am

whole roasted tomatoes

Farming, especially organic farming, is an endeavor wrought with variables. Take the weather. I have never heard a farmer like what the weather gave her. Too hot. Too cold. Too wet–”could not work my field.” Too dry–”do you know how much money this irrigation system costs me?” Farmer’s test their soil. Fuss with their compost. Mix and match. Hope and pray. And then a hailstorm comes and wrecks it all. Tomato Mountain Organic Farm, the place that both employs my wife and provides our CSA felt the cruel swing of nature this summer. From one of ideal conditions to that of damage overnight. Their fields felled by one of our now normal, call it climate change not global warming, induced t-storms. Hail blitzed. Winds whipped. A hoop house did a little Wizard of Oz number. A crop of onions and others decimated. To the rescue, jars and jars of summer’s bounty preserved, batches of Tomato Mountain’s tomatoes.

Tomato Mountain delivered quart jars of whole roasted tomatoes to make up for the lost value in their CSA boxes. Now, while I rue the circumstances that got us these jars, I actually welcome their addition to the larder. See, this is the season for canned tomatoes. You may think the time to open a jar of tomatoes is January or so, when the third Polar Vortex has you forgetting tomatoes ever existed. Yet, what will you do. Will a little marinara sauce warm your icy toes. That time of year you need rich, heavy foods anyways. Summer is when you need the light, purity of jarred tomatoes. There are several ideal seasonal dishes to use with your old tomatoes.

Take the abundance of summer squash now filling gardens and stalls. One of the best ways to eat summer squash is stewed in a sauce of whole roasted tomatoes. An even more classic candidate for this style of dish, all the green beans now arriving. Nearly every summer vegetable can be enjoyed in a bath of whole roasted tomatoes. First let me tell you why you should use your old tomatoes and then I’ll give you the basic formula for mixing with summer’s bounty.

This is also the season of tomato, and many of the recipes you will see for baked vegetables call for fresh tomatoes, perhaps fresh tomatoes grated. You could do it that way, but I don’t. For one thing, I want my tomatoes too many ways besides cooked. A good, local tomato makes everything it touches taste better. So, now is also the time of year I eat a lot of bagels; now is the time of year I eat a lot of spreadable goat or sheep’s cheese; now is the time of year I make blue cheese salads and blt’s. That’s where my tomatoes go. When I stew my eggplant, have my caponata, I’m opening the jars. For the other thing is, it’s a lot easier. No worry about peeling. No worrying about being at the right stage. These whole roasted tomatoes from Tomato Mountain are the right consistency and texture for your dishes.

Making them, it depends on the vegetable. Green beans, zucchini, summer squash, greens, about all the vegetables but eggplant, do not need any extra steps. Do this. Sweat an onion or two to give it a head start in a wide bottom pan that you can fit a lid. Add your washed, trimmed vegetables. Cover with the contents of your jarred tomatoes based upon the size of your pan/amount of veg you have on hand. Season pretty hard with salt. Include a clove or more of garlic, some of many herbs if you have (but save enough herbs to use after cooking where they will do the best). Bring to a boil and then turn to a simmer. Put a loose lid (or cover with foil if needed). Some people let it finish in the oven, where the heat is more even, but I think you get fine results stove top. Check starting around 20 or so minutes after you start simmering. Your definition of done may differ from mine.

You may think we put away tomatoes to earn a taste of summer when things are most dreadful, but I’m telling you, we put away tomatoes to have them ready for next summer. Tomato Mountain may have put some away to cover the emergency of lost crops. You should have had them anyways. Eat seasonal food. Eat what’s in season now. What’s in season now is last year’s tomatoes.




This Week’s Harvest of Eat Local Links

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Posted: July 14, 2014 at 2:50 pm

nutrition_prop_poster

Eat local invasive species.

Great locavore hope down for the count?

Think this will get as much play as its opposing story a few years back?  Maybe?

Good ideas?

The Law of Unintended Consequences.

How local is your seafood?

Another way of looking at local food.

We all have to start somewhere.

 

 




July’s Rooftop Movie & Mingle Night at the Weiss Memorial Hospital Rooftop Farm

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Posted: July 14, 2014 at 8:10 am

A film on Cuba’s experience with sustainable agriculture, a talk by a leading advocate for urban ag, and a rooftop farm tour add up to a great summer night out at the Weiss Memorial Hospital Rooftop Farm.

At July’s Rooftop Movie & Mingle Night, the film Tierralismo, a stirring defense of the importance of farm work and practices in Cuba will be the feature attraction at an event that will also include:

  • A talk by Harry Rhodes, Executive Director of Growing Home, about his recent visit to Cuba’s urban agriculture projects
  • Tours of the Rooftop Farm by Loud Grade Produce Squad
  • Networking with Chicago’s urban agriculture community
  • Craft beers & snacks

This is an all ages event (21+ with ID for alcohol) with a $7 admission fee. All proceeds benefit Loud Grade Produce Squad and the Advocates for Urban Agriculture.

 

The night’s festivities will be held at the Weiss Memorial Hospital Rooftop Farm, southwest corner of Leland and Clarendon Avenues in Chicago. It will run from 7:30 to 11:30 pm on July 24th,a rain date has been set for July 31st.

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They are also looking for volunteers for the event. Please contact Jessica at program@auachicago.org if you are available.

 

Links:

http://auachicago.org/

http://loudgradeproducesquad.org/

http://icarusfilms.com/new2014/tie.html




What’s In Season Now: Stale Bread

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Posted: July 10, 2014 at 9:46 am

Don’t Use That Bread Sophie, I’m Letting it Go Bad

bread salad

There are times to finish your bread, times to encourage your daughter make something else for lunch. This time of year, let your bread go stale. You want it that way. You also want summer onions. I made this week, two-thirds of the triumvirate of my repertoire. On Tuesday night, my daughter and I were at Trader Joe’s for soy milk. She urged we also buy avocados. Since guacamole is part of that repertoire, and we have tomatoes and serrano chiles in the Bungalow, I said let’s get. However, we have to wait until tomorrow I said. We need the CSA box Mommy is bringing back for the summer onions. See, we have a few storage onions left, but there was no way I would use those sulfur bombs raw. Wait, I advised, the good onions were a-comin’. Little did I know how good those onions would be until my wife came home earlier than typical her delivery night.

Fresh Farms in Niles bakes some outstanding breads, across a variety of European styles. Given that the backbone of the store, when you peel away all the Russian smoked fish, the Indian lentils, the Romanian mittei, the Serbian cake, is Greek, you know you will enjoy especially, those styles, which usually include a natural starter based “country”, a Halsted standard seeded, and the flatbread called lagana.  We had picked up a crusty, sesame bread on Friday for our 4th fireworks picnic.  After keeping it from Sophie, it dried up properly for salad. This is the season to let your bread go stale. Make salad. Call it panzanella to sound continental. What drew me to bread salad, the buckets of water left in the bowl when using good local tomatoes and cucumbers. If nothing else, the stale bread keeps your salad from being soggy.  It is a solution better than the problem it solved.

It also wows your mouth many ways. It’s not a recipe kind of dish, God knows you don’t need to measure a thing, but I’ll let you in on all my tricks. First, include garlic. This adds your bass notes; something you might not notice but without you would know something was missing. Add the garlic to a big bowl. Then put in your stale bread, cubed. The idea is to put layers of flavor into your binding. Add chunks of cucumbers and tomatoes, a strong hand of salt and aggressive turns of the peppermill. Mix well. Again, the idea is to use the bread to absorb the juices. What comes next, you should heed, as it makes the difference between a good salad and a great salad: hot peppers and herbs. A little herb,  fresh parsley or basil or dried oregano or mint,  is not that unusual in a summer salad with tomatoes. The peppers, I am telling you that a little, or if you have my palate, a lot, make a salad. Don’t believe me. Go for Thai food. Then there’s the onions.

For a good portion of my eating life, onions, raw onions that is, were my kryptonite. The one thing I could not eat. In recent years, I have grown a tolerance for some raw onions, like in tacos. I can stand mild summer onions the best, and they play a vital role in most summer salads, both in eye appeal and well rounded taste. Still, I have never loved a raw onion until this week. I believe Chris from Tomato Mountain bought the seeds for these onions from Madame Zeroni. It’s not that these onions are sweet or mild, but that they are full and complex, more in line with a ramp or good green garlic. I wish you could have some too, but you need to be a CSA subscriber.

Let’s finish this post by finishing the salad. I told you the other day that I never measure out oil and vinegar for salad dressing. Instead, I dash them right into the bowl. This matters in bread salad. The initial drops of vinegar flavor the bread in its own way while the oil lubricates the ingredients. Use your own judgment for what seems right; start light if you are not sure your hand. You also need something pickled for the full effect, see what’s in your pantry maybe last year’s scapes. You can do no worse than store bought pepperoncinis. Finish with cheese for a meal. Fresh mozzarella, feta cheese or asiago all work, producing different final profiles. This is the time of year where you want your bread to go bad.




Time Passes, Time to Tamar

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Posted: July 8, 2014 at 10:55 am

Has the Time of the Locavore Passed?

serrano peppersshiseto peppers

Hey, I’m Mr. Eat with the Seasons, but I want to move on to peppers. As soon as a farmer has some, any, sweet, hot, from a field, grown in a hoop house, smuggled through a rouge Arkansas connection, I’m buying.  I’m buying and I’m working up my options.  As I’m sure I’ve mention many a-times, thinking about what to do with my local produce is nearly as satisfying as actually doing something with my local produce.  Much to the detriment of the rest of the Local Family, I can spend hours talking up what’s coming in the CSA box or what I just bought at the market.  Hell, I get inspired when I see ads for local summer squash in the Treasure Island weekly ad.  I get many  of my best cooking ideas walking Molly the Eat Local Dog.  I’m walking Molly last Sunday with thoughts of food accompanying me.  It dawns on me that I let a whole host of asparagus go to waste.  It dawned on me that without much noticing, the asparagus season passed.  What dawned on me, does anyone care anymore of the passing of seasons.

When we first started the Local Beet, several years ago, the idea that ASPARAGUS WAS IN SEASON seemed so damn exciting.  We covered each  stage, from the lead-up, like we were cable weatherman waiting for Tropical Storm Arthur to morph into a hurricane, to play by-play announcers calling the action as we Iron-chefed the asparagus into multiple dishes, to final, anchorperson gravitas, narrating the inevitable demise as we moved on to the next seasonal delicacy.  Now, does anyone care?  The locavores will eat their asparagus when it’s there.  The others will eat there crap whenever they want.  Who cares if your strawberry is not red, it’s big.

And it’s time to Tamar again.  Due to some very generous farmer friends, we are huge in summer squash and zucchini.  Our Tomato Mountain CSA promises to bring us things like chard and turnips this week, and there is also cauliflower that I had to buy to show Fresh Farm’s my appreciation for having Michigan produce.  Plus, all those peppers.  on Wednesday I will light the grill because of the shishito peppers, and I can use the grill for the zukes and the cauliflower.  I make no specific plans of the serranos besides touching all my dishes with heat, and these first serranos are hot–despite what instinct may tell you, hot weather tends to produce milder peppers, cool weather gets more scovilles.

strawberry infusion

I did get a head start on Tamar-day by making an infusion today. Over the years, I’ve made many, many infusions, predominantly to awful results. You would think there’s nothing easier than putting old fruit into a jar with booze. No. I’ve made some terrible ones. I possess a strong ability to produce salad(s). Without the benefit of measuring, I can almost always get excellent results. My hands know how much salt to sprinkle, pepper to grind, oil and vinegar to dab. In fact, I’m so good at it, I almost never make dressing in advance. I just go as I need. I am the opposite with infusions. Every time I am sureI know what I’m doing, I don’t. Every mix is the wrong mix. I tried to fix secondary fermentations with the use of ultra-proof liquor when that was a problem I should not have had in the first place. Yet, I needed creations before my fruit rotted. This week’s solution seems to be that I’ve infused too long. Those strawberries are coming out in five days, max.

 From my infusions to your asparagus, is anyone paying attention?




It’s Another Week of the Summer Harvest of Eat Local Links

By
Posted: July 7, 2014 at 9:11 am

 

I hope to have more to say about this article (h/t Sean Sanders via  Grant K).

The story of steak and a strip club is not what you think.

Of these 100, some are already out of season, and some will never be in season around here, but there’s still plenty of inspiration.

Know local cheese(makers).

Eat local Western Massachusetts.

Locavore travel advice for London and Paris.

The next generation will eat much better.

Moving ahead on Oregon.




About a Betta

By
Posted: July 2, 2014 at 4:36 pm

What you see here is a betta, an inexpensive, hardy Siamese fighting fish living in a plastic tank in my living room. I’m not a huge fan of the situation, although I do enjoy Thai food. I dislike keeping living animals in enclosed spaces. But this betta serves a larger purpose, and the local pet store fish expert assures me that he is happy where he is, in a Back to the Roots AquaFarm.

Bathed under an LED grow light, wheatgrass thrives atop an AquaFarm.

Bathed under an LED grow light, wheat grass thrives atop an AquaFarm.

This betta (whom I have yet to name because I did not believe he would survive his first week) is, like many captive fish, swimming in a sea of his own waste. However, a small pump pulls the water up into a plastic growing tray. There, the inch-deep water is a bath of ammonia-rich fish poop. The filthy water level rises and then spills over a raised hole in the tray to return to the tank from which it originated.

Normally, living in a tank of increasingly ammonia-filled water would kill a fish. This is why fish owners either continuously filter or replace the water. But this betta (whom I should really name at some point) is luckier than his brethren because this is an aquaponic tank.

Perched in slotted cups above the growing tray are wheat grass plants. Instead of resting in soil, their roots weave among specialized rocks (Growstones, if you will). These rocks were inoculated with at least two types of bacteria. One turns the ammonia into nitrites and the other turns the nitrites to nitrates (If I have that reversed, it doesn’t really matter to anyone except the wheat seeds). You see, the plant roots love them some nitrates and gobble them up out of the water. Thus is the ammonia filtered from the water and the betta (Bobby? Bart? Catherine Zeta?) lives another day to swim back and forth repeatedly all. day. long. As a native of the tropics, he enjoys warm water. As a family with an air conditioner too small to adequately cool our house, we offer him ideal living conditions.

I was skeptical of the setup at first, even though I’d requested the tank as a Father’s Day gift. So much can go wrong when growing plants, let alone plants, bacteria AND a fish. Mind you, I already successfully grew a batch of mushrooms with the Back to the Roots Mushroom Farm, so I might have shown a little more faith. But the online video, the written instructions and the online instructions slightly disagreed with one another and differed from the contents of the kit I received.

Nonetheless, the wheat seeds germinated in just a few days and within two weeks was out of control. Wheat grass is really healthy in the sense that it’s filled with vitamins and not particularly tasty. Our dog, Tesla, ate a few blades at first, but let the others drop to the floor. I tried to eat it raw and gave up quickly. A co-worker has taken home a few dime bags of grass to his juicing wife and she claims to have enjoyed it. Wheat grass requires a specialized device to liquefy it properly, or you can kick it old school with mortar and pestle.

As a local crop, though, the grass doesn’t care about direct sunlight. I placed the tank as far from a window as possible to avoid encouraging algae. The basil seeds, on the other hand, desperately need sunlight and are failing without it.

So I arranged my LED grow light (which formerly failed to keep some artichoke seedlings alive over the winter) over the growing tray and while the grass grew even more quickly, the basil still failed. Putting the assembly in direct southern sunlight would no doubt help, but the ensuing algae in the water would require me to clean the tank with chemicals. Or I could enjoy the distinction of successfully growing yet another type of local flora, as every lazy swimming pool owner is familiar with. By the way, the LED relies heavily on red and blue light, hence the purpleness of the photography.

In any case, the tank is filthy enough as it is because, never having husbanded a fish before, I gave the betta (my younger son thinks we should call him Poops McGee because he poops a lot. The fish, I mean.) way too much food. The excess food sank, disintegrated in the water, and created a brownish murk that took more than a week to clear itself. On top of that, several wheat seeds fell through the slots in the growing cups and attached to the gravel at the bottom of the tank where they grew to look like seaweed. Mr. Fish loves having his own garden and hides himself behind the blades of grass and the beards of debris that has grown on them, wafting gently in the current of the pumped water.

As far as the product goes, the AquaFarm has been educational and mostly fun. The pump that comes with it is somewhat weak and keeps conking out. Fish sometimes hangs out by the pump waiting for it to turn itself back on and flush his water away. Possibly the pump is getting clogged by the disintegrated food debris.

We have more than all the wheat grass we can eat (because none of us eat it). I’m not a big fan of wheat grass as a crop, although it has done a good job of keeping my swimming vertebrae prisoner alive. Its roots grew quickly and thickly. The fantastic customer support staff at Back to the Roots shot down my idea to grow eggplant because I need something with a small and forgiving root structure. This means I’m pretty much sticking with herbs that don’t need too much sunlight or grow too tall.

On the plus side, the tank has been a good conversation starter and costs little to maintain (for under $5 I bought a years’ supply of fish food). A proper aquaponic system (tilapia and lettuce, anyone?) can set you back well over a grand and take up several square yards of space. Building your own can be a fun do-it-yourself project, but the AquaFarm was just over $50, and worth the risk. I’ll have to spend a few bucks to buy more seeds and then, of course, there’s the cost of powering an inch-wide pump and an LED. And the tank and its supporting table occupy a corner of the room that we were struggling to decorate. No doubt hanging a large painting of a fish would have cost us much more than the tank did




The Local Calendar 7/2/14 Merry Berry Happy Fourth!! Fermented Foods at Sugar Beet Co-op

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Posted: July 2, 2014 at 8:21 am

BerriesFarmers FridgeRhubarb

It is that berry time of year, oh happy days! There really is nothing that tastes better than a just picked berry and there is nothing better for you. Berries are little packages of antioxidants and one of the world’s heathiest foods. But you know, when it boils down to it, the flavor of these berries cannot be beat!

Farmer’s Fridge continues to expand, they offer a wide variety of organic salads in a jar with protein options available too that can be bought out of a very cool vending machine. For those condiment queens out there like me, places such as Southport Grocery take advantage of the local produce available to create unique combinations like rhubarb mustard. The thing about canned and jarred goods is that they do last, are a great gift, spice up a simple meal and are a reminder of what was.

Farm dinnersSlagel Family Farm’s schedule  (next available dinner 7/12),  Prairie Fruit Farms & Creamery schedule(-12/4), Mint Creek,  and Angelic Organics Learning Center Peak Harvest Dinner 7/26.

Need info - Organizations in Chicagoland providing resources, classes and advocacy on local food: Illinois Stewardship AllianceAdvocates for Urban AgricultureThe Plant ChicagoAngelics Organics Learning CenterWeFarmAmericaThe Peterson Garden Project and The Talking Farm.

Here is a list of the city of Chicago markets! Sign up to become an owner of Chicago’s newest Co-op here, the Chicago MarketNow onto the busy week ahead and Happy Fourth!!!!!!!

                                                                 The Week’s Local Calendar

July 2

Champaign - Prairie Fruit Farms & Creamery Open House 3-6:30pm

FM – Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Green City Market - 7am – 1pm Chef demonstration Chef Bruce Sherman, Greg Moskow, North Pond For anyone who has the time, visiting the market on a Wednesday is a luxury!!!!!!

July 3

FM – Chicago - Daley Plaza Farmers Market (Through Oct. 30) 7am-3pm Katherine Ann ConfectionsNichols FarmsRiver Valley Kitchens and more.

FM – Chicago (Uptown) - Uptown Farmers Market at Weiss Memorial Hospital - 7am – 1pm (Through Oct) 4646 N. Marine Drive

July 4

HAPPY 4th!!!!

July 5

FM – Chicago (Lincoln Park) -  Green City Market 7am – 1pm Right across from the Hotel Lincoln Chef demonstration Debbie Sharpe Goddess & Grocer

FM – 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(Roger’s Park)Hip-Hop Youth Programming Kick-Off Event at Hello!Howard! 1:30pm – 3pm 7519 N. Ashland July marks the start of a series of weekly hip-hop based youth workshops called Vital Vernacular (spoken word) and Summer Break (breakdancing).  Free burritos from Chipotle, live music from local DJ’s and MC’s, a graffiti contest to help design their shipping container (the backdrop to the stage)  Please RSVP at the link above.

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

FM - 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.)

FM - Glenview - Glenview Farmers Market(Through 10/11) – Wagner Farm 1510 Wagner Road 8am – Noon Expanded with more vendors!

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

FM – Sugar Grove - Sugar Grove Farmers Market - (through 9/27) 8:00 a.m. to noon Village of Sugar Grove Municipal Building Parking Lot, 10 Municipal Drive

July 6-12

ChicagoChicago Craft Gin Week - Go to the link for the schedule.

July 6

FM – Chicago (Pilsen) - The Pilsen Community Market  9-3pm 18th and Halsted

FM – Glencoe Chicago Botanic Garden Farmers Market(First and third Sundays of the month through 10/19) - 9am – 3pm  Esplanade 1000 Lake Cook Rd

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

July 7

FM – Lyons - Lyons Community Market - 2-7pm Veteran’s Park Ogden Ave & Lawndale Ave. (every Monday through Sept. 29)

Oak Park - FERMENTED FOODS FOR HEALTH 7:00pm – 8:30pm The Sugar Beet Co-op 812 W Madison St Edible Alchemist, Andrea Mattson joins Dr. Paul Schattauer of The Green Medical Practice to present a workshop about fermented foods and the magic of probiotics in our diet. Guests will receive a jar of organic and local kimchi! $10 members $15 general admission preregistration required 

July 8

FM – Chicago - MCA Farmers Market - 7am – 3pm Downtown at the MCA (Every Tuesday through Oct. 28)

Chicago -Publican Quality Meats Guest Chef Burger Night - 6-9pm

SAVE THE DATE

July 9

FM – Chicago(West Roger’s Park) - Devon Night Market(through 9/10) opens 4-8pm 2720 W. Devon

July 10

Chicago - Meet The Market at Celeste - Green City Market Junior Board – One thing is guaranteed about these gatherings of the GCMJB, the cocktails are always seasonal and superb!!!!!!!! 6:30pm – 9:30pm 111 W. Hubbard

Chicago(Lakeview)Grand Opening Celebration Greenstar Brewery and Uncommon Ground 23rd Anniversary Party - 6pm 3800 North Clark St.

Chicago(Roger’s Park) - Dinner and A Movie Night at Hello! Howard Garden Presented By Chipotle 7:30pm – 10pm Burrito dinner provided by Chipotle Please bring your own chair, or blanket to sit on. Seating will be on the woodchips in the community area (Howard St. gate entrance). BYOB Dinner is limited to the first 150 ppl who have RSVP’d only.

FM - Chicago(Uptown) - Argyle Night Market(through 9/4) - Opening 5-9pm Argyle and Sheridan Road

FM -  Chicago(Avondale) - Eli’s Cheesecake and Wright College Farmers Market - 7am – 1pm 6701 West Forest Park Drive

July 11-13

New!!! Chicago - Square Roots Festival - The Old Town School of Folk Music and theLincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce’s craft beer and music experience in Chicago’s Lincoln Square is right around the corner.

Chicago - 2nd Annual Windy City Smokeout -  Bub City is proud to announce the second annual “Windy City Smokeout,” taking place July 11th-13th. This summer festival will bring together the best of live country music, beer and BBQ to downtown Chicago.To purchase tickets CLICK HERE.

July 11

Lake Zurich - Lake Zurich Farmers Market (Through  9/26)- 3pm – 7pm Paulus Park, 200 S Rand Road Over 25 vendors, food concessions, along with live music and family programing each week.

July 12

Chicago(Hyde Park) - Common Threads Produce Stand and Open House – 10am – 1pm 4901 South Kenwood All the following workshops and activities are FREE!! 10a and 11a: Coffee Making Demonstration with Sparrow Coffee, Pour Overs, French Presses, and Cold Brewing Ongoing: Cooking with Kids: Grape Caterpillars and Radish Mice – Laura Perez, Common Threads Chef Ongoing Kid’s Activity: Recycled Roll Bird Feeders, Laura Perez, Americorps Volunteer 11:30a: Judging of Sidewalk Chalk Competition Ongoing Bread Making: Chef Marilyn Scott will be sharing her homemade bread and talking technique when it comes to bread making – including making your own yeast

Chicago(Logan Square)Fork and The Road – Emerald Necklace Tour -11am Stop to snack while trying on Chicago’s glorious, connected system of boulevards. $50

Chicago(Garfield Park) - The Garfield Park Community Council “Neighborhood Market” (2nd Saturday of each month through October) 10am – 1pm Southeast intersection of Kedzie and Lake Streets In addition to fresh locally grown produce from the GPCC Garden Network, vendors will be selling: kale chips, sauces, local honey and maple syrup, pickled items, handmade paper jewelry from Uganda, body oils, jewelry, local authors and their books and much more. There is live entertainment too!

Fairbury - Slagel Farm Dinner with  with Nana Organic and Owen & Engine 2:30pm Bus option available from Chicago.

July 13

Chicago(Logan Square)History’s Favorite Foods Fork and The Road - A trip down memory lane through visits to some of Chicago’s oldest and most historic restaurants.

Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Sunday Supper at Floriole - 6-8pm Join them one Sunday each month(next 8/17) Pre-Bastille Day Feast: Country pate, cornichons, grainy mustard, baguette, salad lyonnaise, roasted chicken, pommes anna, ratatouille, blueberry olive oil cake, lemon granita

July 16

Champaign - Prairie Fruit Farms & Creamery Open House 3-6:30pm

FM - Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Green City Market - 7am – 1pm Chef demonstration Chef Elisa Narrow, VIE For anyone who has the time, visiting the market on a Wednesday is a luxury!!!!!!

Chicago (Lincoln Park) – Veggie Bingo The Hideout - (through 8/27) 5:30pm 1354 West Wabansia They’ll be calling games and grilling dogs at the Hideout to support Chicago’s community gardens. Co-sponsored by NeighborSpace, Hideout Veggie Bingo features a grand prize of fresh produce from Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks and a cornucopia of other prizes drawn from local artisanal food producers, farmers, and gardeners – plus HOT DOGS donated by Hot Doug’s. Games run 5:30-8 pm; kids welcome as long as they’re with a responsible grownup.

FM - Chicago(West Roger’s Park) - Devon Night Market (through 9/10) opens 4-8pm 2720 W. Devon

July 17

FM -  Chicago(Avondale) - Eli’s Cheesecake and Wright College Farmers Market - 7am – 1pm 6701 West Forest Park Drive

•••••• Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Green City Market Annual BBQ - This hyper-local food and beverage fest, is absolutely not to be missed, rain, wind or shine, some call it the “real Taste of Chicago”. Tickets are still available as of this posting.

FM - Chicago (Loop) - Daley Plaza Farmers Market (Through Oct. 30) 7am-3pm Katherine Ann ConfectionsNichols FarmsRiver Valley Kitchens and more.

FM - Chicago(Uptown) - Argyle Night Market(through 9/4) - Opening 5-9pm Argyle and Sheridan Road

FM - Chicago (Uptown) - Uptown Farmers Market at Weiss Memorial Hospital - 7am – 1pm (Through Oct) 4646 N. Marine Drive

July 19-20

Chicago - 46th Annual Sheffield Garden Walk and Music Festival and Chicago Craft Beer Festival

July 19

Chicago (Bridgeport) - 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!!

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

Chicago(Lakeview) - Guided Wine Tasting Vintage Rose 3:30pm – 4:30pm Bar Pastoral 2947 N. Broadway

FM - Chicago (Lincoln Park) -  Green City Market 7am – 1pm Right across from the Hotel Lincoln Chef Demonstration Peter Klein, Seedling 10:30am–11:30am

Chicago (Lincoln Park ) - The Edible Gardens Workshop at the Edible Gardens  Expand Your Growing Season: Planting Fall Crops 9 AM–12 PM

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

FM - 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.)

FM - Glenview - Glenview Farmers Market (Through 10/11) – Wagner Farm 1510 Wagner Road 8am – Noon Expanded with more vendors!

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

FM - Sugar Grove - Sugar Grove Farmers Market - (through 9/27) 8:00 a.m. to noon Village of Sugar Grove Municipal Building Parking Lot, 10 Municipal Drive

July 20

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

FM - Chicago (Pilsen) - The Pilsen Community Market  9-3pm 18th and Halsted

FM – Chicago (Portage Park) - Portage Park Farmers Market ( 8/3, 17, 9/7, 21, 10/5) 10am – 2pm near the corner of Berteau and Central

Chicago(Uptown) - 2nd Annual Salsa/Dip Contest - $10 donation will go towards Care For Real Sofo Tap 4923 N. Clark St.

FM - Glencoe Chicago Botanic Garden Farmers Market (First and third Sundays of the month through 10/19) - 9am – 3pm  Esplanade 1000 Lake Cook Rd

MantenoBlue Sky and Bloom On The Farm - 10:30am – 1:30pm Peasants Plot Farm Yoga in the Field (10:30-11:30, please arrive by 10:15)  Brunch (11:30-12:30) Farm Tour (12:30-1:30) Join Todd and Julia McDonald for an in-depth tour of their organic farm. Expect some contact with soil, sun, wind and other natural phenomena. Reserve your tickets here.

New!!! OttawaPicnic At The Creek Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm - They’ll welcome guests beginning at 5:00 p.m.  Enjoy a walk around the farm and then you’ll take the hay rack with guests and gear down to their creek side picnic spot.  At the creek we’ll be grilling hamburgers and enjoying pot-luck sides & deserts.  {This is a low stress event – a watermelon or pan of store bought brownies will be fine – no judgement ;-) } There will be water to wade in, a campfire to relax around, and those fireflies won’t catch themselves! Cost is $5/person (8 & younger free). RSVP to cdrvalleyfarm@gmail.com

July 21

FM - Lyons - Lyons Community Market - 2-7pm Veteran’s Park Ogden Ave & Lawndale Ave. (every Monday through Sept. 29)

July 22

FM - Chicago - MCA Farmers Market - 7am – 3pm Downtown at the MCA (Every Tuesday through Oct. 28)

Chicago -Publican Quality Meats Guest Chef Burger Night - 6-9pm

July 24

Chicago(Uptown)AUA Movie and Mingle Night Weiss Memorial Hospital - 7:30pm – 11:30pm  Join them for July’s Movie & Mingle Night, featuring the film Tierralismo, a stirring defense of the importance of farm work and sustainable agriculture practices in Cuba.

July 26

Chicago(Caledonia) - 7th Annual Angelic Organics Peak Harvest Dinner - 5pm – 9pm Presented by premier Chicago chefs, including Chef Paul Virant. You’ll enjoy a five-course gourmet meal made with seasonal produce fresh from the farm and other sustainable, local ingredients. All proceeds from the Farm Dinner support their educational programs that build the local food system.

Chicago (Oak Park) - 3rd Annual Edible Garden Tour – 10am – 3pm Sponsored and organized by The Sugar Beet Co-op

New!!! Chicago - Bike To Brew Organized and Sponsored by the Active Transportation Alliance 3-10pm

July 30-31

New!!! Chicago(Edgewater) - 70′s Supper The Stew Supper Club – 7-10pm Sauce and Bread Kitchen - Fadist maybe?, delicious maybe?, it’s all a little hazy. They hope to settle these questions once and for all. They will revisit this often forgotten era of tupperware induced cuisine head on (moussaka and hambrosia included).  Don’t miss this fondue time machine for it is only leaving the Sauce and Bread Kitchen station twice. Veggies are always welcome just let them know before hand.

July 30

Chicago(Lincoln Park)Green City Market Tour and Lunch at Perennial Virant - 10:30am Presented by Chicago Gourmets and the Green City Market.

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 7-10

Chicago – The 35th American Community Gardening Assoc. Conference - Join your peers, and meet new friends, for exciting tours, networking and presentations by the leading lights in the community garden movement. Plus there will be other incredible presentations, networking, and tours of Chicago gardens (including our Edible Treasures Garden at The Field Museum – the host venue). To top it off, Garfield Park Conservatory is hosting a big “garden soiree” to celebrate the 35 years of achievement of this incredible organization. Find out more and purchase tickets for this event HERE!

August 9-10

NapervilleVeggiefest – 11am – 8pm Vegetarians, vegans, health conscious and family-fun seekers will enjoy Veggie Fest, an outdoor festival held on the grounds ofthe Science of Spirituality Meditation Center. Free admission, free parking and a wide assortment of vegetarian fun for the whole family. Expected to attract 30,000 visitors.

August 9

Bangor, MI - Camp Blueberry – For two Saturdays this season – August 9 and 16 – Joe’s Blueberry Farm is opening their farm up to tent campers. They have seven spots available on each of those Saturdays. Camping hours will be from 6 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. on Sunday.  No charge. It’s primitive camping – but there will be porta potties and fresh water. If you’re already a Joe’s Blues customer, just send them an email. If they have more requests than spots, they’ll draw names. Deadline for letting them know is July 8.

Chicago(Back of the Yards) –  The Monster Food Truck Rally Returns 11:00am–3:00pmThe Plant 
1400 West 46th Street is once again hosting the city’s finest food trucks for a great day of Southside fun at its third annual Food Truck Rally. Tickets are now on sale for $5, and will be available for $7 at the door. Guests of The Plant will enjoy: Local food trucks La Adelita, Bridgeport Pasty, Flirty Cupcakes, and more to be announced. All proceeds directly benefit the mission and programming of Plant Chicago, NFP, a 501c3 non-profit organization with a mission to promote closed-loop food production and sustainable economic development through education and research

Chicago(Hyde Park) - Common Threads Produce Stand and Open House - 10am – 1pm 4901 South Kenwood All the following workshops and activities are FREE!! 11 am & noon: Medicinal Herbs & Weeds – Cheryl Williamson, Herbologist + Master Gardener Ongoing: Cooking in the Garden – Stephanie Folkens, Common Threads Chef Ongoing Kid’s Activity: Oragami Flower Making

Fairbury - Slagel Farm Dinner with Found Kitchen & Rootstock 2:30pm Bus option available from Chicago.

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 fight hunger in Illinois. A beautiful venue, Navy Pier and it’s the night for fireworks, incredible chefs and very tasty cocktails. Join the hunger core and make a difference while tasting food from the chefs we love.

August 16

Oak Park - 7th Annual Oak Park Micro Brew Review - Get to downtown Oak Park  for the largest zero-waste, craft beer event in the Midwest!  Featuring over 150 inventive brews from the Midwest’s finest craft breweries, live music and small plates from popular local restaurants. Co-produced with the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. The Micro Brew Review is a fundraiser benefiting Seven Generations Ahead and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. Tickets are non-refundable.

August 17

Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Sunday Supper at Floriole - 6-8pm Join them one Sunday each month. Ode To Sweet Corn: Chilled corn soup, local marinated shrimp, seared flank steak, corn pudding, tomato-corn salad, cornmeal crusted crostata, roasted peaches, peach leaf ice cream

September 7

Chicago(Uptown) - 5th Annual Kegs For Kids The Hopleaf Bar Tasting Party – 12pm – 5pm A benefit for Edgewater’s Helen C. Pierce Elementary

September 13

Chicago(Hyde Park) - Common Threads Produce Stand and Open House - 10am – 1pm 4901 South Kenwood All the following workshops and activities are FREE!! 11 am & Noon: Introduction to Permaculture – Matthew Stephens, Permaculture Expert Ongoing: Cooking in the Garden – Stephanie Folkens, Common Threads ChefOngoing Kid’s Activity: Make Your Own Chia Pet

Fairbury - Slagel Farm Dinner with Three Aces, Bedford & Carriage House 2:30pm Bus option available from Chicago.

September 21

Fairbury – Harvest Feast Spence Farm Foundation

 


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Just Enough Coals, Plenty of Water and Some Really Old Produce – It’s Tamaring Time Again

By
Posted: July 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm

TGITD*

*Thank God It’s Tamar Day

a june tamar plate

Dinner’s so simple, so delicious after a bit of tamaring.

 

As I told you last week, it has not been for lack of food. Our Tomato Mountain CSA provides much succulent local produce, and a wife who’s job puts her at farmer’s markets, leads to even more food to use. The problem has been the will to eat local. I lacked the energy, the will to make better use of our local bounty.  I put tamar on my to-do list.  I put it on again.  I made it one of my three wins for the day, an exercise in agile productivity.   Last Wednesday, the morning after the weekly CSA box arrived,  I made an appointment with Ms. Adler.

 

Starting as she says to start, by setting a pot a-boilin’, a heavy hand with the salt.  Except I did not start with any vegetable.  Instead, recognizing a potential flaw with life-by-Tamar, I wondered if my locavore life was being hampered by supplies weighed vegan.  That what was casting me a drift from local eating, was not enough meat.  Still, with the way the various members of the local family are eating, it made little sense to roast a big joint.  Instead, I needed something else to provide protein.  My wife, the Cookbook Addict, the vivacious Condiment Queen makes the best hard boiled eggs.  Yes.  I kid you not.  No better.  Could I, with her advice, duplicate that feat?  I will say that my yolk was 48 seconds too long from her deftness, but overall it was a fine start, and a fine start to Tamarday.

I had plenty of water to work with, and I used it for Swiss chard, but I wanted to use charcoal too.  We had planned on a Father’s Day BBQ, a week or so earlier.  This event got canned as ComEd* blew something in our back alley, squashing half the power in the Bungalow, including the half that covered our stove (but thankfully not the half that covered our upstairs our downstairs fridge/freezers).   I put the sirloin I planned on making back in the freezer but kept a taste for potatoes on the grill.  With asparagus in the house giving me enough leverage to light a chimney’s worth of coals, I had a plan.  I used my rolling pot of water to start the potatoes.  I cooked several bunches of asparagus first.

grilled potatoes

I had all the water I needed. I used more charcoal, and more time at the charcoal, than I expected between my asparagus and my potatoes. The cooling grill ended this Tamarday early, ending my idea of roasting these parsnips and carrots we had lying forlorn in the Bungalow. It did give me the push to tamar again. A few days later, I got to work. I set the pot a boiling, doing another round of chard, blanching (and later freezing) a whole ton of sweet peas, and using that now tasty water to make a bag of brown rice. In the large, round pan, I sauteed onions as a base for braised kale–the cooking  after taking the time needed to well wash the chard and de-stem the kale. And I turned on the oven. It was not that hot, was it.

roasted old veg

I made it. Fixing up parsnips, old sunchokes and just as old carrots before they turned to moldy-mush. Local thyme, dried and olive oil was all they needed. A strategic slice of cucumber here, a round of our romaine lettuce there, and it’s been very easy, again, to be a Local Family.

 

*Speaking of thank god’s, thank god I called Phil the Electrician and not any ol’ electrician. When half the electricity went out, I assumed it was something broken in our box. First thing Monday, I called Phil. When he heard how much electricity we lacked, he declined a visit. He accurately surmised the problem was on ComEd’s end, saving us the cost of his time.