The Local Calendar 1/30/15 Food Policy Summit, PGP Benefit, Cider Summit Returns Feb. 7th, Winter Markets

Posted: January 30, 2015 at 3:15 pm

kalebeet ketchupCider

It was a happy sight to see a table of greens when I walked through the doors of the Nature Museum at the Green City Market last Saturday. They were grown by Genesis Growers in their 7 hoop houses. It is that time of year when the tables are full of condiments from last seasons harvest or root cellar vegetables. But as I told the guys at Nichols, I still think their potatoes taste better than those of large grocery stores. The potatoes don’t have that refrigerator taste, have more water in them and the fingerling potatoes just really have more flavor. Bushel and Peck had plenty of pickled and fermented things, they even had beet ketchup!

The 3rd Annual Cider Summit looms on the horizon, where you will have a choice of 150 different ciders including  Vandermill out of Grand Rapids. Aeppeltreow, cider and perry, among other beverages they have concocted at their site in Wisconsin, is situated within Brightonwoods Orchard, that has over 200 varieties of apples. You don’t get much more tree to cup than cider. There are so many different types of cider, just  like beer and wine, that are determined by the apples, and by the fermenting style. So this is a really fantastic opportunity to taste a breadth of high quality offerings.

Soup and Bread is on again this winter season raising money for local food pantries. Check it out, it is every Wednesday from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the Hideout. The National Maple Syrup Festival is in March.The gigantic Good Food Festival is gearing up for another inspirational 3 days of all things local and sustainable in the food world. If you have time today, you can join up with the Chicago Food Policy Summit at the Chicago Temple, tomorrow support Peterson Garden Project at their Dig In benefit for their cooking school at the Fearless Food Kitchen.

Trying to serve something relatively local, tasty and nutritious for the Superbowl? Floriole Cafe and Bakery can help you. The Local Calendar never ends, it will be updated dynamically as events pop-up, we keep you on your toes at the Local Beet!!

The Local Calendar for This Week and Beyond

Friday, January 30

Chicago - Chicago Food Policy Action Council 2015 Summit – 9am First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple - The Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) is a 501c3 non-profit that advocates for responsible food and agriculture policy recommendations and promotes systemic changes creating self-reliance for all communities in obtaining their food. They are comprised of a Board of Directors, Steering Committee of both civic and city representatives, Neighborhood Food Policy Councils and a membership body of over 550 people. You are invited to participate in the Chicago Food Policy Action Council’s Annual SUMMIT 2015 happening today. They have not held a working summit in four years and look forward to sharing their achievements and strategic directions for the coming year.  This will be a working meeting. They will share the results and continue engaging community during the Good Food Festival’s policy sessions, taking place Friday, March 20th, 2015.

Saturday January 31

Chicago (Edgewater) – Dig In Neighbors! Kitchen Warming and Benefit - Fearless Food Kitchen at the Broadway Armory 5917 N. Broadway 6pm Although the ground might be too frozen right now for digging, they are thrilled to invite you to join them as they commemorate the grand opening of PGP’s new 3,000 sq. ft community cooking school- Fearless Food Kitchen- inside the historical Broadway Armory Park building. All proceeds benefit their mission to teach everyone in Chicago how to grow and cook their own food. Enjoy a bright night with your neighbors today as you plant the seeds for a bountiful 2015 PGP cooking and growing season!

FM – Evanston - Evanston Indoor Market at the Ecology Center 2024 McCormick Blvd. 9am – 1pm (Every Saturday through April)

FM- GlenviewFaith In Place Winter Market 9am – 1pm Glenview New Church 74 Park Drive

Sunday February 1

Superbowl XLIX

FMChicago (Lakeview) - Faith In Place Winter Markets 9:30am – 2pm Temple Sholom 3480 N. Lakeshore Drive

FM – Chicago (Logan Square) - Logan Square Indoor Market – 10am – 3pm 2755 N. Milwaukee Ave. (Every Sunday through March) and they partner with The Nosh. The Logan Square Chamber of Commerce will issue Coupons to SNAP/LINK participants to use like cash when buying food items. This is thanks to Link Up Illinois.  At the Logan Square Farmers Market SNAP/LINK customers will be able to receive up to $30 in Coupons each market.

Wednesday February 4

ChicagoSoup an Bread at The HideoutWhat is Soup and Bread? 5:30pm – 7:30pm The Hideout 1354 W. Wabansia Calling All Cooks Soup and Bread FAQs

Thursday February 5

Chicago (North Center/Ravenswood) - The Power of the Press: Ciders of the UK, France, Spain and the US - The Fountainhead Chicago 7pm Fountainhead and The Northman Present: The Power of the Press…The Apple Press that is! Join them as they explore and celebrate Ciders from throughout the United States, UK, Spain and France. As a matter of fact, they’ll be offering beverages made with all sorts of pressed apples from Ciders to their Spirited relatives. Chef Cleetus and Crew will be offering some outstanding Cider inspired dishes.

February 7

FM – Arlington Heights - Faith In Place Winter Market Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 1234 N. Arlington Hts Rd.

Chicago - Third Annual Cider Summit at Navy Pier Grand Ballroom – 2 Sessions 11am – 3pm and 4pm – 8pm The owners and cidermakers will be on hand to inform and guide guests through the samplings which will be available in 4-ounce portions. Cider Summit will feature over 150 ciders including regional favorites and international classics from countries such as England, Scotland, France, and Spain. The event will also feature specially selected food pairings, regional and national cider association display booths, and an event store featuring Cider Summit t-shirts and other merchandise. This has sold out every year. You don’t get anymore farm to bottle than cider!!!

FM – Chicago(Lincoln Park) - Green City Market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 2430 N. Cannon Drivc 8am – 1pm (Indoor market dates: 2/21, 3/7, 3/21, 4/4, 4/18)

Chicago(West Loop)Whole Hog Break Down Class at City Winery – Sponsored and organized by The Red Meat Market 10am – 1pm

FM - Evanston - Evanston Indoor Market at the Ecology Center 2024 McCormick Blvd. 9am – 1pm (Every Saturday through April)

FMMorton GroveMorton Grove Winter Market –  9am – 2pm Morton Grove Civic Center 6140 S.  Dempster St.

February 8

FM - Chicago (Hyde Park) - Hyde Park Handmade Artisan Bazaar and Farmers Market - 11am – 4pm Hydepark Handmad 5311 S. Lake Park Av. West 2nd floor

FM - Chicago (Logan Square) - Logan Square Indoor Market - 10am – 3pm 2755 N. Milwaukee Ave. (Every Sunday through March)

FMChicago (Roger’s Park) - Glenwood Sunday Market (3/8, 4/12, 5/3) at The Glenwood Bar 6962 N. Glenwood Ave. 9am – 2pm

February 11

Chicago - Soup an Bread at The Hideout - What is Soup and Bread? 5:30pm – 7:30pm The Hideout 1354 W. Wabansia Calling All Cooks Soup and Bread FAQs

February 14

Happy Valentine’s Day

Chicago - Third Annual Chicago Urban Livestock Expo - 10am – 1pm Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W. 111th Street In search of a fun (and informative) Valentine’s Day excursion? What says “I love ewe” better than a date at the 3rd annual Urban Livestock Expo! Presented by: Angelic Organics Learning Center, the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts and  Advocates for Urban Agriculture.

Chicago - The Wicker Park Dog Fundraiser at The Twisted Spoke – 7-10:30pm

FM - Chicago (Hyde Park/Woodlawn) - 61st Farmers Market at Experimental Station – 9am – 2pm 6100 S. Blackstone (3/14, 4/11) The Chicago Southside’s premier farmers market, straddling the Hyde Park and Woodlawn neighborhoods, offering the freshest produce, meat, eggs, cheeses and prepared foods from local and regional farms. This year’s lineup includes Ellis Family Farms, Organic Bread of Heaven, Mint Creek Farm, A10 Homemade Pastas, Sauce & Bread Kitchen, Growing Power, The Urban Canopy, The Eating Well and many more.

FMChicago (Hyde Park) - Faith In Place Winter Markets  9am – 1pm Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park
5500 S. Woodlawn Ave

FM - Evanston - Evanston Indoor Market at the Ecology Center 2024 McCormick Blvd. 9am – 1pm (Every Saturday through April)

February 15

ChicagoChicago Food Swap

FM - Chicago (Logan Square) - Logan Square Indoor Market - 10am – 3pm 2755 N. Milwaukee Ave. (Every Sunday through March)

FM – Chicago (Pilsen) Pilsen Community Indoor Market at the Honky Tonk BBQ 11am -3:30pm 18th St and Racine Indoor season: every third Sunday Pilsen Community Market strives to provide fresh, quality farm products, arts and crafts, music and information to a diverse community while embracing and connecting with surrounding neighborhoods.

Chicago (Ravenswood) - Cupid, Dinner and Trivia River Valley Farmers Table with Chicago Market  - 6-9pm 1820 W Wilson

February 17

Mardi Gras aka Fat Tuesday

Chicago (Logan Square)Sauced Night Market – 6pm – 11pm Emporium Logan Square 2363 North Milwaukee Ave

February 18

Chicago - Soup an Bread at The Hideout - What is Soup and Bread? 5:30pm – 7:30pm The Hideout 1354 W. Wabansia Calling All Cooks Soup and Bread FAQs

February 21

FM - Chicago(Lincoln Park) - Green City Market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 8am – 1pm (Indoor market dates: 3/7, 3/21, 4/4, 4/18)

FMChicago (Ukranian Village) - The Empty Bottle Farmers Market - 12pm – 5pm 1035 N. Western

FM - Evanston - Evanston Indoor Market at the Ecology Center 2024 McCormick Blvd. 9am – 1pm (Every Saturday through April)

February 22

FM - Chicago (Logan Square) - Logan Square Indoor Market - 10am – 3pm 2755 N. Milwaukee Ave. (Every Sunday through March)

FM – Deerfield - Faith In Place Winter Markets – 10am – 2pm North Shore Unitarian Church 2100 Half Day Road

February 23 – 27

Charc Week - From February 23-28, The Butcher & Larder, The Dawson, La Sardine, Perennial Virant, The Radler, Table, Donkey, & Stick, Tete, West Loop Salumi, and Chop Shop will be featuring special Charcuterie offerings on their menus. Stop in any or all of them to see what they have come up with!

February 25

Chicago (Logan Square)Our Kitchen, OurselvesA Panel Discussion About Food and Feminism 7-10pm Revolution Brewing 2323 N. Milwaukee Sponsored by Graze Magazine What does it mean to be a woman and a chef? Or is the conversation over — is there equality in the kitchen?  In conjunction with Render: Feminist Food & Culture Quarterly‘s #foodfemfeb events, Graze, Render, and Women and Children First are hosting a panel discussion about food and feminism, from the perspective of four well-known Chicago chefs, moderated by WCF’s own Lynn Mooney and Eden Sherman. Featured speakers include: Gale Gand, Beverly Kim, Iliana Regan, and Mindy Segal  Come for the conversation and stay for the beer and snacks! Ticket price includes appetizers and free pours of Revolution Brewing‘s five signature beers.

Chicago - Soup an Bread at The Hideout - What is Soup and Bread? 5:30pm – 7:30pm The Hideout 1354 W. Wabansia Calling All Cooks Soup and Bread FAQs

February 26

ChicagoCharc Bites – The Official Charc Week Party – Join all of the Charc Week chefs  at The Dawson (730 West Grand Ave) for bites of their signature Charcuterie creations.  7p – 10pm Moody Tongue, CH Distillery beverage sponsors tickets

February 28

FMChicago (Beverly) - Faith In Place Winter Markets - Beverly Unitarian Church, 10244 S. Longwood Dr

FM - Evanston - Evanston Indoor Market at the Ecology Center 2024 McCormick Blvd. 9am – 1pm (Every Saturday through April)

March 1

Champaign - Heirloominous 2015 Seed Swap at Prairie Fruit Farm 1-4pm

Chicago (Lincoln Square) – Peterson Garden Project 6th Annual Seed Swap - 2-4pm Swedish Covenant Hospital 5145 N. California

Chicago (Rogers Park)Heat It Up Pro-Am Chili Cook Off & Fundraiser – 12pm – 3pm 1328 W. Morse Ave. Join the fun as a competitive chili-master OR a delighted chili eater at the Sixth Annual Heat It Up! This way-too-delicious event is a great way to celebrate the many ways of chili as well as supporting Glenwood Sunday Market, Rogers Park’s favorite Farmers Market and its ground-breaking Food Access Programs. Chili, Live Auction, Cash Bar, 50-50 Raffle, Popular vote chili winners, Judged chili winners…great prizes for the chefs and a fantastic time for all!

March 3

Chicago (Andersonville) - Chef Edna Lewis Benefit Dinner - BIG JONES RESTAURANT | Chef Paul Fehribach, Owner 5347 North Clark Street Cocktail Hors d’oeuvres Reception ~ 6:00 pm 6-Course Dinner ~ 7:00 pm $125.00 per person

March 5-8

Brown County, IndianaNational Maple Syrup Festival - The National Maple Syrup Festival moves to Brown County, and March 5 – 8 will feature tree tapping, sap boiling, incredible foods and unique drinks using maple syrup as an ingredient. The Dutch Oven Diva will cook, bake and have samples of her sweet and savory foods around a huge stone fireplace in Brown County State Park.  The rangers there will lead interpretive hikes, teaching how to indentify maple trees in winter and spring.  Descendents of the Delaware and Shawnee will reenact how their ancestors made maple syrup on this land centuries ago, and nearby French Colonial reenactors will demonstrate how early white settlers made it differently.

March 6-7

PeoriaSeeds2Success II Greater Peoria Food Summit – 9am start Peoria Riverfront Museum  222 Southwest Washington Street

March 7

FM – WoodstockWoodstock Farmers Market – 9am – Noon Farm Bureau

March 19-21


Chicago (Pilsen) - THE GOOD FOOD FESTIVAL - Thursday 3/19 Good Food Financing Fair, Friday 3/20 Trade Show, School Food and Policy Conference, Friday 3/20 Localicious Party, Saturday 3/21 Good Food Festival, Urban Farm Bus Tour


March 21

Chicago – 8th Annual Pinot Days 2-5pm Navy Pier

March 25

Springfield - LOCAL FOOD LOBBY DAY! Sponsored by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance

March 28

ChicagoBand of Farmers CSA Coalition at The Hideout 5-10pm  Join Band of Farmers at the 3rd Annual Talent Show–the event that started it all! We define “talent” broadly, from performance art to poetry to music, and of course the farmers’ fashion show! This year the Talent Show will be coupled with a silent auction featuring everything from farm-made foodstuffs to wearables to faerie homes. Proceeds will be used to start the Band of Farmers’ fund for CSA scholarships.

April 10

Chicago16th Annual Whisky Fest Chicago – 6:30pm Hyatt Regency Before there was Baconfest, Poutinefest, Donutfest and Ramenfest there was Whisky. Get ready for whisky week and all that it entails.

April 12

Milwaukee - CheeseTopia Noon -4pm The First Annual CheeseTopia, a new one-day cheese festival debuts at the Pritzlaff Building, a renovated warehouse in the Historic Third Ward of downtown Milwaukee, while Year two will be in Chicago, and Year 3 in Minneapolis.

April 17-18

ChicagoBACONFEST UIC forum Extra crispy, in a beignet, bacon in bloodies and more! Friday dinner 7-10pm, Saturday midday 12-3pm and evening 7-10pm.

April 25

ChicagoPastoral Artisan Producer Festival at the French Market – Meet regional cheese makers, charcuterie, beer and wine producers. A day to taste and sip just about everything you can buy at Pastoral and it is free.

This Is Not All That Came In My Tomato Mountain CSA Box This Week

Posted: January 29, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Did You Get a CSA Box?

CSA - 150129

A long time back, the Local Beet had a contributor who took amazing pictures of his weekly CSA. I’m sure he’s cringing as he sees this week’s CSA picture. Still, did his CSA box come in January? Did your CSA box come in January? Don’t you want to see what can come in a CSA box. In January. In Chicago(land). Here’s the thing, this is not even all that came in our Tomato Mountain CSA this week at the end of January.

“Why did you not put away the frozen raspberries.”

A lot came in our January Tomato Mountain CSA box, as we get a large box fit for a family of four.  We got three quart jars of whole roasted tomatoes, a bag with about 30 carrots, another bag with about 20 beets (local beet, hahah), and a final bag of about 20 red potatoes, which my wife calls the best tasting ever, finding their taste somewhat like artichoke hearts. I could not figure out how to put all that in a picture, so I did this composed thing. You see the parts of the box not all of the box. Except I forgot some stuff.

On the top of the box were three silver packets. I assumed they were ice packs to keep our box tidy until we took it in from delivery.*  I just put them aside, thinking they go back to Tomato Mountain along with our wax box.  It turned the Tomato Mountain CSA delivery included a supply of organic raspberries flash-frozen in season and presented to us for our smoothie making pleasure. They have now been secured back in the cold. I’m not sure, in or out of the ice pack, it would have added to the picture composition. Take my word.

Yes, we do not have four seasons of growing in the Midwest. It does not mean we cannot have four seasons of CSA deliveries. It takes foresight by a farm. Putting away fruit and vegetables for us. Growing more than enough beets and carrots and potatoes to outlast the market season. The process is not demanding, just necessary. Eat local now with a four-season CSA.

*As the Condiment Queen was doing the deliveries, our box remained within the confines of her van until she got home.

Seeds 2 Sucess II – Greater Peoria Food Summit

Posted: January 28, 2015 at 2:42 pm





Downstate Food Summit:

Planning for a Sustainable Food System

Sustainable local food systems balance economic prosperity, environmental preservation, and public health while moving agricultural products from farmer to consumer. National, regional, and local trends indicate a shift in farming practices and consumer demand, as well as present an opportunity for the greater Peoria Region to capitalize on this growing economic sector.

Join us for a conversation with key leaders from Growing Power, Spence Farm Foundation, Chicago Public Schools, genHkids, and other Midwest leaders as we explore strategies to strengthening the local foods movement in our region.

The conference spans two days and includes over a dozen presentations. This year’s themes include:

o   Farm to School: Success Stories and Strategies

o   Farm to Veteran:  Supporting Military Veterans through Agriculture

o   Farm to Market: Making Local Agriculture Financially Viable

o   Community Gardens: Growing Community Involvement

o   Local Foods Policy: Responsible Strategies for Local Government

Join us for opportunity to learn from other Midwest Communities, at the Greater Peoria Regional Food Summit on Friday and Saturday, March 6 & 7 from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday. (registration at 8:30 a.m.) at the Peoria Riverfront Museum located at  222 Southwest Washington Street in Peoria.

Greater Peoria Regional Food Summit/Fee for the event is $95 which includes a Continental-style breakfast and a light lunch for both days.  One day registration is $60.  These rates are for registration by February 14, 2015, after deadline registration fee of $125 for both days.  Complete the registration for the Event Here

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this event, please contact the Peoria Extension Office at (309) 685-3140 or

University of Illinois Extension · U.S. Department of Agriculture · Local Extension Councils Cooperating

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.



This Week Eat Local Without Venturing Outside – Irv and Shelly’s Freshpicks

Posted: January 26, 2015 at 10:21 am

Eat Local Now

Wasn’t it just last week we were saying, the reasons to eat local don’t go away when the weather turns cold. And don’t be fooled Chicago, just because we escaped the storm of the century bearing down on the East coast, does not mean we’re done with winter. Oh, we have plenty of cold a-comin’ and probably a thing or two heavier than this weekend’s dusting. Here’s the thing, we can maintain our locavore life without ever living the comfort of our bungalows. Just point your way to Local Beet sponsors Irv and Shelly’s Freshpicks and you can continue to eat local all year.

Know that almost the whole inventory available for home delivery from Irv and Shelly is local or organic, but they help you by putting in very bold letters, what is local on any given week. So, for instance, I start browsing through the produce. I see the beets are no longer local but the red and green cabbage are. I could order away and not fret so much. Other local produce available this week includes daikon radish, celery root, hard squash and turnips. There are also the key kitchen staples onions and potatoes in local versions. You could make a couple of nice salads from the radishes and cabbages, glaze some turnips (we’re partial to miso in our house) and roast some squash. Does that sound like a boring week of food?

Just as vital as providing local produce when you think there is none, Irv and Shelly provide the full array of eat local stuff. You can make your whole diet local just from shopping online. There is butter and cheeses from our friends at Nordic Creamery; milk from local farms in Illinois and Wisconsin (taste test!); local eggs, and all the meat your need. Even the fish comes from local waters on Freshpicks. Finally, dive into all the sauces, cakes, condiments, and other quality treats produced by area artisans. Many choices.

Getting back to those reasons to eat local. When we began this endeavor, an early reason was the challenge. I mean there was blog called Eat Local Challenge. Could you do it, we asked ourselves all over the country. We all answered that one long ago. Knowing we could has allowed us to focus on the many better reasons to eat local: the quality of the food, the ability to use the right kinds of growers and producers, respect for animals, protection of the environment and cash to the community. Still, we did it when there was some challenge, especially in tracking down local food in dark days. Now, how much challenge is there to boot up the computer, hit the bookmark for, and fill up your virtual basket with local food.

Winterize your Chickens to Keep Them Healthy and Laying

Posted: January 25, 2015 at 1:56 pm

As we are now well into winter, those who keep chickens may see a drop in egg production from your flock. Hormones produced by a chicken dictate the amount of eggs produced and as we get shorter days and overcast skies the chicken will produce less hormones, and thus less eggs. The colder temperatures can also stress a bird slowing egg production and even affecting overall health. If you are worried about your chickens being left out in the winter cold don’t stress, there are ways to protect your birds and keep the eggs coming.




When raising chickens, the basic needs are adequate food, fresh water, and shelter. This is true all year, but it can be a challenge when there is six inches of snow on the ground and the temperature does not get much above 0. If you free range your chickens, as I do, then obviously food can be a concern. There are less bugs, blades of grass or weeds for them to eat so food has to be supplemented.

Chickens nibbling on some scrap carrots

Chickens nibbling on some scrap carrots

A good layer feed with 16% to 18% protein will help keep chickens healthy and laying. An addition of cracked corn will give them energy to face the cold. Table scraps can also be used to supplement as chickens eat almost anything and things like carrot peelings, egg shells, and old bread will provide much needed vitamins and minerals.


Heater watering bucket Photo:

Heater watering bucket Photo:


Submersible tank heater Photo:

Submersible tank heater Photo:


Submersible tank heater

Submersible tank heater

Water is a problem in the winter as it will freeze and thus be of no use to the chickens. Freezing can also damage a plastic or metal watering can from the expanding ice. One thing anybody raising chickens in the winter should invest in is a heated water bucket or a submersible tank heater. Having to break the ice out of a watering bowl is not much fun and using a heated bucket will give your chickens a continuous supply of water. As many heated buckets are made for larger livestock, be careful that the bucket is not too deep or if it is deep, a platform for the chickens is provided. Smaller or bantam chickens will tend to roost on the rim of a taller bucket and stand a chance of falling in and drowning.

Chickens enjoying themselves under a heat lamp as snow and sleet fall outside.

Chickens enjoying themselves under a heat lamp as snow and sleet fall outside.

Shelter for your chickens should provide protection from the wind and cold but should still provide good ventilation. A heat lamp can provide extra warmth for chickens but be careful that it is high enough that it will not start a fire and the chickens, in a frenzy, will not knock it down. Straw or other bedding should be provided. A good rule is to provide much deeper bedding in the winter for both warmth and to absorb the increase in waste products produced by the chickens. Chickens will not go outside as much when there is snow on the ground and there should be a way in place to account for longer hours inside.


As I said above, chickens slow their egg production due to shorter days. Chickens evolved to produce eggs when the chance of a chick surviving is the greatest. When days are longer the weather is warmer and chicks have a greater survival rate. Chickens should have approximately 14 hours of light to produce eggs. You can trick your chickens into thinking that the day is longer than it is by providing light that mimics the daylight. I use a florescent light with a full spectrum bulb. You can get by with just an incandescent bulb as well. You just need to have the light on in the evening when the chickens are starting to roost.IMG_0479


Raising chickens can be fun and rewarding for anybody with the space to do it. And with a little extra care, your chickens will give you eggs all year long!


Further information:


Where To Source Local Foods Now – UPDATED for 2015!

Posted: January 21, 2015 at 11:02 am

During the colder months with fewer farmers markets to choose from, here are some ideas for locally produced products and foods and beverages. Below the list of stores are several other resources and organizations that provide tons of events and information in regard to urban agriculture and sustainable food in Chicago.  Don’t forget that you never need to leave the home for local food.  Just point your browser to Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks and the farm food will come to you.


These stores specialize in local foods (all stores in Chicago unless otherwise specified)

NEWEST!!Sugar Beet Coop – 812 W. Madison, Chicago

NEWFountainhead Market – 1966 W. Montrose

NEW - Local Foods – 1427 W. Willow

Carnivore – 1042 Pleasant, Oak Park

Baker Miller Bakery and Millhouse – 4610 N. Western

River Valley Farmer’s Table – 1820 W. Wilson

Cellar Door Provisions – 3025 W. Diversey

Belli’s Juice Bar – 1223 W. 18th

Bang Bang Pie Shop - 2051 N. California Ave.

Dark Matter Coffee Roaster and Star Lounge Coffee Bar - Western and Chicago

Dill Pickle Food Co-op – 3039 West Fullerton, Chicago

Floriole Cafe and Bakery - 1220 West Webster They started at the Green City Market and now years later are a bustling cafe. They source directly from a lot of local farmers, they bake breads, pastries and make really delicious salads, soups and pizzas on Fridays!

Green Grocer 1402 West Grand Ave in West Town

Katherine Anne Confections - 2745 W. Armitage She has flavors at her shop that you will not find at any of her market stands.

LUSH Wine & Spirits - 2232 W. Roscoe, 1257 S. Halsted, 1412 W. Chicago

Marion Street Cheese Market 100 South Marion St. Oak Park

Plum Market - 1233 N. Wells St.

Plenty Good Food Grocery and Deli - 2036 West Division – You can buy  Joe’s Frozen Organic blueberries grown in Michigan here.

Provenance Food & Wine - Lincoln Square 2312 W. Leland Ave . Lincoln Square locale wine tasting every Thur 6-8pm

Publican Quality Meats – 835 W. Fulton, Chicago

Sauce and Bread Kitchen - 6338-40 N. Clark, Chicago

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

Standard Market 333 West Ogden Ave. Westmont

Area resources for local food initiatives, workshop, classesAdvocates for Urban Agriculture ,Angelic Organics , Edible Evanston,  Illinois Stewardship Alliance , The Land ConnectionThe Peterson Garden Project , The Spence Farm FoundationThe Talking Farm , WeFarmAmerica


Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

Posted: January 21, 2015 at 10:11 am

It’s That Time of Week Again to Expand Our Locavore Learning


This news is massive.

We do believe in this and we believe that eating local can make a difference in this.

Bittman on the State of Food.

But did you hear any of this during the SOTU?

Way to go Seattle.

Get local money for your local food enterprise.

An eat local chain in the works?

Some tips for winter eating.

What’s in Season Now – Winter Markets – Updated for Third Week in January

Posted: January 21, 2015 at 9:58 am

Eat Local Now


All sorts of food including sausages and tofu plus all you can Nosh await Sunday, January 25 at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market2755 N. Milwaukee Av

It’s back.  Green City Market indoors at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Saturday, January 242430 N. Cannon


Weekly winter market at the Evanston Ecology Center on Saturday, January 24 from 9 AM to 1 PM, with a chance to catch the Condiment Queen selling – 2024 N McCormick Blvd


Community Winter Market on  Saturday, January 24  from 9 AM to 1 PM – 327 Hamilton

Park Ridge
Faith in Place Winter Market at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church on Saturday, January 24 from 9 AM to 1 PM.  - 205 N. Prospect

If you know of any other farmer’s markets in the Chicago area, please let us know.

One Comment

Did You Get a CSA Box Last Week – A Tomato Mountain 12 Month-er Will Serve Your Locavore Needs

Posted: January 20, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Eat Local Now

The other day, my daughter and I ate poorly for lunch–not of local food by a longshot. I said to her, “what do I always say.” She responded, I don’t know Dad, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Kids. She knew it was another of my favorite life-lesson cliches, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs to get your prince,” which means in our chowhound family, Dad’s dragging us to try another weird new restaurant. I love the validity, the usefulness of a good phrase no matter how trite or well-worn. And one I like saying around these pages a lot is, “the reasons to eat local don’t go away just because it’s winter” (or just because it got cold, etc.). We are a Local Family because there is meaning in eating this way. This contrasts to eating local because it happens to be there. But there is winter. It has not stopped us in ten years. It helps, greatly, that we belong to a yearly CSA (for community supported agriculture) from Tomato Mountain, a sponsor of the Local Beet (and employer of the Condiment Queen).

One does not starve in the winter because they can eat stored and put-away foods. In addition, in the harsh conditions of Wisconsin, green, sweet, frost-kissed, spinach grows under protective hoop-house cover. A farm that kept surplus stocks of carrots, potatoes, turnips and other vegetables; turned some of their tomato harvest into whole roasted jarred product; processed other of their crops into jams, salsas, soups and juices; even froze bags of squash puree, well they could keep you supplied with local food all winter. That’s not counting the bags and bags of spinach that make winter Popeye’s favorite season. The winter CSA box, which comes every-other week, provides a solid base for your eat local needs.

Having a CSA subscription always enhances the locavore lifestyle. It supplies you will a variety of produce. There are recipes and a community to learn how to deal with that variety–kohlrabi anyone? You meet your farmer, understanding the process. There is value in knowing where you food comes from. Many CSAs can get you local food before and after area farmer’s markets operate. The four season Tomato Mountain CSA gets you local food either way before your market opens for the season or way after your market closes for the season, depending on how you want to see it.

Most of us do not live on a farm nor have access to a large root cellar. Do you have the skill or time to put-away? For city dwellers especially, you may not have the space for an extra freezer or for a lot of canned goods. Relying of a CSA provider like Tomato Mountain, you have someone capable and experienced in preserving. They have been doing things to their tomatoes for many, many years. Moreover, you get someone with (probably) better storage facilities. Would not you want them to hold the carrots for the winter? Then, they bring it to your door. No hunting down an irregularly held winter market. No getting out only to find the few bags of greens for sale already went. There will be enough for you if you order it. We highly recommend you sign up for a year-round CSA from Local Beet sponsor, Tomato Mountain Organic Farm.

As long time users of the Tomato Mountain CSA, including the winter version, we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

tomato mountain in winter

Oh Precious Cabbage, What Do We Do With You

Posted: January 15, 2015 at 11:30 am

Locavore Problems

cabbage in winter

This week’s Crain’s Chicago Business asks a question we’ve been answering for years, “How to Eat Local in Winter.” The article is a lot of yes, without a lof of the how, the gist being that the Midwest is not a barren wasteland come polar vortex. There are, it notes, indoor grown items like microgreens and storage crops including beets, apples and potatoes. It also notes the existence of winter markets, specifically Green City. Finally, it quotes a few chefs who explain how they cope with serving local food all year. What the article misses is the actual coping.

What’s it like on the front lines of eating local in the darkest days. Are we giving up for the asparagus that’s always a-standin’ for sale at Fresh Farms? No, we cook from our stores, making this week, two turnip dishes and one acorn squash number. And with the benefit of having one of the Local Family also working at indoor markets, we grab what is available. Last week at the Evanston winter market, there was not a lot of produce to be had–in fact most of it was being sold by the Condiment Queen for Tomato Mountain. We did not need those carrots or turnips she sold. We needed something fresh, green, or at least the palest yet closest thing to green around this time of year. Yes, cabbages store.  She scored a cabbage.  Do not be fooled by a blackening outer layer. Inside, all is well and tasty.   How to eat local in winter.  Eat a cabbage.

What, however, do we do with our prized, singular cabbage. Since I am the master of cole slaw and other cabbage salads–my superpower–I immediately offering up shredding and dressing. The rest of the Local Family countered with a desire for sauteed, maybe with a little curry powder? As you can see from the pic, it sits in our fridge at present on top of some old thyme. Our window for decision looms, because storage-smorage, it won’t be that palatable soon.   The thing about eating local in the winter is living with your choices.  Make a mistake on that cabbage, there may not be another one to fool with for six months.

How to eat local in winter. Learn to prize what you can find. Learn to agree amongst your mispocha whether a salad or a saute meets your needs. As this family has shown for many years, the answer to how to eat local in winter comes not in possibilities but in working out the details.

Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

Posted: January 14, 2015 at 3:25 pm


Can you imagine this list has 12 now?

Some very good charts.

Locavore in winter.

Eat local sprouts.

Eat local research paper.

Eat local lettuce now.

Another good reason to remember Mario Cuomo.

Here’s to a sustainable 2015.

Please share what else you’re reading in the eat local universe.

In 2015 There Will Be a 2015 Guide to Community Support Agriculture (CSA’s) – Call for Help

Posted: January 12, 2015 at 10:24 am

A Community of Community Supported Agriculture


Winter CSA - 142202

If we’ve done nothing else well at the Local Beet, we’ve put out an excellent listing each year of Chicago area Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms–our last one is here. The backbone of our current list stems from the diligent research of long time Beet contributor Wendy Aeschlimann. In addition, local food maven and CSA advocate, Robin Schirmer, has played a strong role in ensuring we have the best list possible. Their work will play a good part in what goes up in 2015. Still, we would like your help too.

Before we post our 2015 listing of CSAs, we love to get your feedback in a couple of ways. First of all, do you know any farms missing from our big list? We like to think we know it all, but we also know we don’t. If you know of a CSA out there that we don’t, please tell us. Second, what’s special about your CSA (or do you know about a special CSA). Which CSA farm is growing figs? Who’s starting early and going late? Finally, what did you think about your CSA? Can you give us honest feedback?

Use the comments to add what you want, or if you prefer, you can send me an email at Rob AT Your help is much appreciated.


Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

Posted: January 7, 2015 at 2:04 pm


To cold to work, we got some things for you to read.

Since we’ve last linked, things have only got worse.

Eat local trees.

Which side were you on?

When our side won.

Our kinda place.

Lots more.


The Coldest Farmer’s Market Ever

Posted: January 6, 2015 at 10:52 am

Baby It’s Cold Outside

It’s a new year and new season to revitalize the Local Beet.  Despite the dearth of posts, know that we have been eating local and will continue to eat local in 2015.  The Local Family’s ability to remain a local family come much easier these days.  We find markets all winter including Evanston, Logan Square, and 61st Street.  Our CSA comes year-round from Tomato Mountain.*  We can supplement from Irv and Shelly, whose Fresh Pick’s inventory of local produce right now includes salad mix, celery root, sweet potatoes, various radishes and more.  Seems easy now, but walking Molly the Eat Local Dog the last couple of days, I thought back to that time in very early 2008, when we did our locavore shopping at the coldest farmer’s market ever.

Ever go shopping where it was so cold the apple seller had to remain in a sealed vehicle lest the product froze. Us hardy types who wanted a red delicious or two had to wait. The partner with the bum end of the deal banged on the door. Up it rolled. Inside with space heater and fruit, the other filled the order. That day in January about as cold as this day in January, five farmers served the college town. Besides apples, we could buy eggs, bison, and hoop-house lettuce. Always needing greens, we got the rest just to support the hardy farmers. Could you imagine an outside farmer’s market in Chicago in January? In Polar Vortex II? Ann Arbor continues to hold their farmer’s market year-round, outdoors, whatever the temp. Think about the efforts some, farmers and shoppers, made to have local food. What are you gonna do this year.

*Tomato Mountain employs the Condiment Queen.