Today is National CSA Sign-up Day!

Posted: February 28, 2015 at 1:44 pm

As February 28th was the most common sign up date for CSA’a across the country last year it is appropriate that this day should be National CSA Sign Up Day. Spring is just around the corner and the veggies, along with other goodies from eggs and meat to wool, will be available to those who take advantage to what CSAs have to offer!

Photo: Spurgeon Veggies - East Galesburg, Illinois

Photo: Spurgeon Veggies – East Galesburg, Illinois

CSAs or Community Supported Agriculture has grown in popularity since they were introduced in the 1980’s. They provide a way for small farmers to make a living, doing what they love to do, and a way to connect people with agriculture on a very personal level.

According to a press release put out by Small Farm Central:

“February 28th was chosen as National CSA Sign-up Day because this day is the most popular day to sign up for CSA shares according to the 2014 CSA Farming Report. Buying a CSA share in late winter is important because farmers are making the capital investments for this year’s harvest now and the CSA model means they do not need to finance these costs with costly credit.”


Since it is deep in the throes of winter, February is also a great time to start thinking about all of the summer produce, the tomatoes, lettuce, swiss chard, pepper, and much more that will be coming in the CSA shares in the coming months!

If you haven’t done so, check out The Local Beet’s 2015 Local Beet List of Community Supported Agriculture Farms and sign up today!


Small Farm Central’s CSA page:


There Was Still Time to Harvest the Eat Local Links

Posted: February 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm

In Which We Look for More Love for Our Friends at Vera


We love Sugar Beet Co-op  stories.

Mark Bittman tells us to watch out for them.

More Bittman.  He summarizes 571 pages of new government eating advice.

Shop local co-ops.

Eat stinky cheeses — just had Ameribella for lunch today!

More love for the coffee at Beet sponsor, Vera.

The wine’s not local but the winemakers are.

Many more links.

And nothing, I mean nothing to do with local food, but near and dear to me for oh so many reasons.

The 2015 Local Beet List of Community Supported Agriculture Farms (“CSAs”)

Posted: February 26, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Find a CSA

We proudly introduce another big list of CSA farms serving the Chicago area. The list includes produce farms as well as animal farms, even a honey CSA. We take an expansive view of CSA operations, and our list includes various “aggregators”, distributors, and retail operations as well as farmer-owned enterprises. We’d rather err on choice.

As we promise every year, this is only a draft. We are always adding, amending, sadly sometimes removing, farms and information about the farms. Moreover, as in previous years, this is a crowd sourced document. Please let us know about any farms or CSA variations we missed.

This year’s CSA guide was a combined effort of several Beet Reporters, with special contributions from Robin Schirmer, Sophie Gardner, Sheila Essig and the staff at FamilyFarmed.Org.   We continue to rely heavily research done by Wendy Aeschlimann, who built the database we still use.

We have made diligent efforts to ensure all CSAs listed currently operate, and, to the extent possible, updated their prices for 2015–some CSAs have not published price schedules for 2015, and we have noted that in the listings. Other information in our table may not be current, and we advise you to always contact the farm for current drop-off and delivery information as well as various updates.

The Guide below is completely searchable and sortable. The search box in the upper right-hand corner may be used to narrow down the farms by typing in key words. For example, by entering the name of a specific town, nearby towns, or Chicago neighborhood, the Guide will list only farms delivering to those areas.

The search box may also be used to find farms offering unique services or goods (such as, certified organic, eggs, or home delivery). Each column may be sorted alphabetically by clicking the arrows in the header of each column. Finally non-traditional CSAs are noted with an “A”, to indicate that they aggregate their products from several sources; in some instances, they augment with non-local offerings.

As always, we welcome news, additions, corrections and suggestions for our guide.  This is a living table, and if your farm is not there now, we hope to have it listed soon.  Please use the comments or email Local Beet Editor Robert Gardner at Rob @ to help us make the best listing possible.

2015 CSA Listings

Name/Location/WebsiteType of CSAType of Farm or FarmingType of Shares & CostPickup Sites?Home Delivery?How often?Length of SeasonExtra Products/Information
Angelic Organics
Caledonia, IL
web site
Vegetable & some fruit (mostly melons)

Balanced selection of 10-14 vegetables per week & melons
Biodynamic approach to organic farming20-week Vegetable Share ($720)

Half Vegetable Share ($400)

Also offers various flex shares, extended season and fruit options. See web site for details.
Pickup @ farm, or in the following SUBURBS: Highland Park, Deerfield, Winnetka, Wilmette, Evanston, Oak Park, Rockford, Arlington Heights, Edison Park/Park Ridge, Elmhurst, La Grange, Downer's Grove, Wheaton, Geneva, Elgin, Crystal Lake

In CHICAGO: Ravenswood Manor, Wicker Park/Bucktown, Rogers Park, Andersonville/Edgewater, Uptown/Ravenswood, St. Benedict's, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Irving Park, Logan Square, Hyde Park, Beverly

In WISCONSIN: Beloit, Lake Geneva

Home delivery available
YesWeekly (20 or 12-week shares)

Bi-weekly (1/2 share)

Flex share - sign up for number of weeks desired
Mid-June through mid-Oct. (for 20 week or 1/2 shares)

Mid-Aug. – mid-Oct. (for 12 week late start share)
Fruit shares extra starting with 10 deliveries for $480

Extended season shares available
Barrington Natural Farms
web site
Vegetables and fruit or "Full Diet" with eggs, milk, meat addedNatural - see web site for farming practicesFull Vegetable Share  ‐ 22 Weeks $72
Half Vegetable Share – 11 Weeks $395
Full Diet CSA Share – 22 Weeks $3,495
Full Diet CSA Half Share‐11 Weeks $1,895
Pickup @ farm NoWeeklyMay - OctoberMeat, eggs
Beaver Creek Gardens
Poplar Grove, IL
web site
Fruits & vegetables

Eggs (year-round)
Organic; harvests own seeds, grows own inputs, and cycles according to natureFull Share (¾ bushel) $595.00
Half Share (3/4 bushel every other week 10 wk total) - $350.00
Individual Share ( ½ bushel every other week) $240.00
Pickup @ On Farm or Poplar Grove
Crystal Lake
Loves Park
NoWeekly (21-week)

Bi-weekly (10-week)
Jun-OctoberEgg CSA extra (year-round)

Will limit subscribers to 100
Belly Fire Farm
Mount Morris, IL
web site
Vegetables and berriesBelly Fire Farm (BFF)is a small, bio-intensive, naturally operated, family farm building just and joyful community through food, work, play, and education.

Heirloom, Open-pollinated and non-GMO produce.
A full share cost $550 and runs for 15-weeks

A half share cost $300 and is an every other week box

**2014 Prices**
full share on farm

contact for half-share pickups
Noweekly (15 weeks)

Jun - SeptemberU-Pick and market share (purchasing at the farmstand) options
Bob's Fresh and Local
St. Charles, IL
Vegetables and herbs Produce grown using organic practices, including only organic fertilizer and pesticides22 week $725
16 week $$525
6 week $225

11 biweekly $430
8 biweekly $325
3 biweekly $115
Pickup likely to be at farm, St. Charles, Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Geneva, Elmhurst, Lombard, East DundeeNoWeekly (20- or 18-weeks)

Biweekly (10-week)
Summer and Summer/Fall
Bountiful Blessings
Hinckley, IL
Web Site
VegetablesSubscription vegetable program delivers to your home & includes a wide variety of vegetables.20 weeks $900 (feeds family of four)

1/2 share $500 (feeds 2 people)

Home delivery to Hinckley, Big Rock, Waterman, Shabbona and the surrounding areaYesWeekly16-20 weeks (June-October)None
Broad Branch Farm
Wyoming, IL
web site
Separate vegetable, meat (some combination of pork, poultry, beef), egg and fall sharesChemical-free farm that claims to surpass USDA organic standardsFull $583

Half $313.50
Custom share (min. 11 weeks) -- you choose the weeks $28.50

See web site for prices on egg, meat and fall CSAs

Pickup @ the farm or in Peoria, Peoria Heights & NapervilleNoFull share is 22 weeks

Half-share is biweekly for 11 weeks

Fall season - November

Egg Share

Meat Share

Fall Share

Wool, Angora yarn
Brook Farm
Harvard, IL
web site
VegetablesVariety of mechanized and non-mechanized tools, "home-grown" inventionsFull $350

Half $200

**2014 CSA Prices**
Pickup @ the farmNoWeekly18 weeks - June - OctoberBread $105

**2014 price**
Bumblebee Acres Farm
Harvard, IL
web site
Fruit & vegetables, Wool/Yarn 3-generation, diversified farm

No chemical pesticides or commercial fertilizers
Not currently listed
Pickup @ Woodstock Farmer’s Market by "shopping" their booth & selecting what you'd likeNoWeekly June - AugustWood/yarn CSA extra
C&D Family Farms
web site
Pork, beef, poultry, lamb, bison, eggsRaises hogs in their natural environment on pasture and in wooded areas where they graze on pasture or eat leaves, weeds, berries and acorns from their large wooded pens. Hogs are very social animals and are kept in droves so they can socialize and prosper. When you choose to support our farm through purchasing a CSA, we will give you a C & D gift card. This CSA shareholder gift card will have the amount you paid, plus an additional dollar amount (additional amount increases as value of CSA increases). For example, a shareholder purchasing a CSA for $310 will receive a card valued at $350.

Shareholders are then able to use this card at any of our locations throughout the year, as many or as few days per month as they would like.
At Farm or
Various markets in CHICAGO: Lincoln Square, Gold Coast, Andersonville, Hyde Park, Beverly, Pilsen and North Center; SUBURBS: Evanston
(Note this is for winter markets only. Schedule may change)
NoVaries - At any marketYear-round
Cedar Valley Farm
Ottawa, IL
web site
Meat & eggs (Various cuts of beef, pork & chicken + eggs)Raising animals without hormones or drugs in sustainable environment3 months $315
6 months $610
1 year $1200

Every-other-month option for smaller households
On Farm or
Pickup in CHICAGO: Lakeview, Edgewater, Logan Square, Lincoln Square; SUBURBS: Arlington Heights, Oak Park, Evanston, Aurora
NoMonthly Year-roundNone
Chicago Honey Co-Op
Chicago, IL
web site
HoneyNatural, chemical free$75 credit toward future purchasesPickup @ Green City Market or Logan Square Farmer's MarketNoVariesYear-roundCSA members have access to products that we make or grow which we don't sell at the farmers markets or in our online store.
Chicago Patchwork Farms
Chicago, IL
VegetablesUrban farm located on Chicago's west sideCSA is currently SOLD OUT - See web site to be added to their waiting listPickup @ farm on 2805 W Chicago Ave.NoWeeklySpring: 9 weeks (May-July)

Summer: 13 weeks (July-end of Sept.)

Fall: 7 weeks (Oct.-Nov.)
Countryside Produce
LaGrange, IN
local harvest
Vegetables, herbs & fruit (some fruit sourced from Michigan farms)

19.5-acre Amish farm using old-fashioned growing methods, including horses for plowing and avoiding use of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides & insecticides (except in case of emergency, in which case Farmer will notify shareholders) Not currently listedPickup @ farm, in Riverside & additional sites in Indiana & Michigan,NoWeeklyMay-OctNone
Crème de la Crop
Porter, IN
web site
Vegetables, herbs & edible flowers

Certified Organic (200 types of unique heirloom varieties);
“Standard Market” plan gets more common market vegetables
“Epicurean” gets everything they grow
Standard $760 (Full) $380 (Half)

Epicurean -- Epicureans receive everything we grow, the first portions of a new variety that ripens out of our fields, and a slightly larger amount $950(Full) $475 (Half)

Additional prices for fruit and storage vegetables - see web site
Pickup @ Farm, or locations in Windfield, Crown Point, Valparaiso, Merrillville, Schererville & Chesterton, INNoWeeklySummer Vegetable & Fruit shares 18 weeks (June-October)

Storage & Winter Fruit shares (Nov.-Dec.)
Fruit and storage vegetables

Winter (non-local) fruit
Earth and Skye Farm
Manhattan, IL
Local Harvest page
Vegetables & herbsEnvironmentally and sustainable methods of farming$375 (contains 5-10 items)Pickup @ the farm or in Orland Park or FrankfortNoWeekly 20 weeks June – Oct.
Earth First Farms
Berrien Center, MI
web site
ApplesCertified organic farming on 60 acres encompassing 4500 fruit-bearing apple trees $75 annual membership subscription. Member shares are available until July 4th. In exchange for this commitment to support the farm early in the season, members receive apples, cider, and discounts worth $100 or more at regular retail prices.Pickup @ farm, plus Chicago, Various suburbs, South Bend - see web site for specifics NoBiweekly (6 shares)

CSA members receive 60 pounds of certified organic apples and a gallon of our premium apple cider throughout the season. Every two weeks, each CSA member picks up a 10-pound bag (1 Peck) of certified organic apples of the variety that is most exciting that week.
September through NovemberDiscounted rates on cider and special bulk offers on other farm produce.
East Slope Farm
Manawa, WI
web site
VegetablesPreparing to transition toward USDA organic certification. That means we adhere to organic practices in all areas of production on the farm.$450

Additional options for Wisconsin residents
Pickup at farm or Wilmette, Highland ParkNoBiweekly

(In Wisconsin weekly or biweekly)
11 weeks - June - October
Eden Place Nature Center
Chicago, IL
web site
VegetablesSustainable urban agricultureFull share - $500

Half share - $300
Pickup at the farm

Offering additional pickups to groups of 20 or more
NoWeekly20 boxes - May 31 - October 11
Edible Alchemy Foods Co-op (A)
Chicago, IL
web site
Fruits & vegetablesFood Co-op that organizes an all-organic or sustainably-grown produce share every other weekNo commitment

$33 Hive share
Pickup in Eco Collective in Pilsen and other locations in ChicagoNoWeeklyYear-round
(Non-local produce in winter)
Enjoy Pioneer Farm - Hampshire, IL web siteVegetables, fruit & perennials - U-Pick Small, sustainable farmNot currently listedPickup @ FarmNoWeekly or biweeklySummer - 20 WeeksU-Pick from farm
Esther's Place/Lamb of God Farm
Big Rock, IL
Local Harvest page
Vegetables and fruit

Wool, soaps, lotions and balms
Embraces Christian principles in the spirit, character and depth of agrarian living

Naturally grown produce; no herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers

Harvest dedicated only to CSA subscribers
$795/year for a 20-week

$30/week 1/2 bushel boxes

Pickup in Wheaton, Big Rock, Aurora, St. Charles and Batavia YesWeekly June-Oct.Wool, soaps, lotions and balms extra
Farmer's Garden
DeKalb, IL
Local Harvest page
Vegetables and berriesBiological soil management,Non GMO,No chemicals,herbicides,pesticides are ever used. Sustainable farming practices_Our way of life at The Farmers Garden.Full $600

Half $300

Individual $200
Home deliveryYesWeekly18 weeks- May - OctoberTBD
Farmer Nick's LLC
Facebook page
Meat, eggsNo antibiotics/animal byproducts.Contact farm for detailsContact farm for detailsNoN/AN/A
Farmer Tom's CSA (A)

web site
Vegetables & FruitPurchases produce from several growers that use organic methods.

Operates differently than traditional CSA - you pay upfront membership fee and then order produce when you want -- no commitment
$50 upfront membership fee & produce is paid for weekly (skipping weeks is permitted).

Full share -> $37.00

Half share -> $27.00

Quarter share -> $18.00

Fruit ->

Pickup in Kenilworth, Berwyn and various Chicago

See web site for specifics
NoWeeklyYear-round (July-Oct, produce is local; from Nov-June, produce is selected from other nonlocal growers)
Four Friends Farm
Hebron, IL
web site
VegetablesUses only organically-approved seeds, farms sustainably without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers Full (1 bushel) $630

Half (2 people) $400

Single (peck) $100

Community (donates to food pantry) $100

Worker share -- call for details

(**2014 Prices**)

Pickup @ farm or in Crystal Lake or Rogers Park (Chicago)NoWeekly (Jun-Oct)None
Frillman Farms
Prairie View, IL
web site
VegetablesHeirloom GMO-free cropsNot currently listed

"10 Spots for 2015"
Pickup @ farmNoWeekly or biweeklyJune through OctoberEggs, honey,
Genesis Growers
St. Anne, IL
web site
Vegetables, eggs, poultry, fruits & herbsEcocert Indiana Certified OrganicSpring $145 (medium); $270 (large)

Summer (21 weeks) $695 (medium); $1350 (large)

Fall $220 (medium); $420 (large)

Medium 3-season share $955; Medium spring & fall, large summer share $1545; Large 3-season share $1835
Pickup in numerous drop-offs in Chicago and Northern Illinois. See web site for specificsNoWeekly9 months (Apr. – Dec.) or by season: Apr. & May (Spring); June-Oct (Summer); Oct-Dec. (Fall) Egg shares starting at $34.50 biweekly for spring shares

Chickens (2/month) starting at $28 for spring shares
Geneva Lakes Produce
Burlington, WI
web site
Vegetables, some fruitSustainable farmingFull (bushel) - $645 - $660

Half (half bushel) - $395 - 410

Price based on when enrolled

Additional prices for mushrooms or bread
Pickup in numerous locations in Wisconsin, Chicago and Chicago suburbs including Oak Park, Logan Square, Grayslake, Evanston and Palatine. See web site for full listYes through Grubhub

See website for details
WeeklyJune - OctPartnering with Simple Bakery & Market of Lake Geneva and River Valley Ranch & Kitchens of Burlington
Gentleman Farmer
Barrington, IL
web site

Practices organic methods (no pesticides or herbicides)Summer Share
- Full - $525. - 16 weeks - June 19th through October 2nd

- Half - $275. - 8 weeks (bi-weekly, odd or even)

Fall Share - $225. - 6 weeks - October 9th through November 13th

Full Season (Summer & Fall combined) - $700. - 22 weeks - June 19th through November 13th
Pickup in Barrington and Logan Square Farmer's MarketNoWeekly or biweekly20 weeks (Jun-Oct) for full share

10 weeks for half share
Eggs extra

"Think outside the box" - prepayment for discount at the farmer's market
Grass Is Greener Gardens
Monroe, WI
Meat & Poultry

Aggregating 4 different producers in Southwest Wisconsin that raise free range, grass & grain fed meat & poultrySmall $450, medium, $600, large, $740, poultry only $400 (Beloit and Farm pick up locations receive 10% off share cost). Pickup produce @ farm & in Beloit
Lakeview, Hyde Park, Oak Park, Beloit, Evanston, and on the farm in Monroe, WI
NoMonthly (meat) or weekly (produce)

Meat shares are two 5-month cycles (Dec-Apr; Jun-Oct)

Produce share are 20 weeks (June-Oct)
Grassroots Farm
Monroe, WI
Vegetables, herbs, fruit & cut flowers

USDA Certified Organic

Mother-daughter operation using minimal machinery to farm 40 acres as it would be done 100 years ago.
Summer $424

Several additional options including tomatoes, eggs, dairy, and flowers
Pickup in CHICAGO: Andersonville, Loop (LaSalle/Randolph); in SUBURBS: EvanstonNoWeeklySummer -- 18 weeks
Cut flower share extra

Tomatoes, cheese, dairy, pantry items, meat and eggs - from Grassroots and other local farms

Thanksgiving share including one turkey
Grateful Plains
Grand Ridge, IL
Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers, & FruitSmall Plot INtensive growers for CSA

No synthetic chemicals used on farm

Non-GMO from seed

Farm proceeds benefit Dirt & Duty Horticulture Therapy for Veterans and families experiencing PTSD
FULL SHARE $830 approximately 1/2 bushel weekly
HALF SHARE$560 approx. 1/4 bushel weekly–or– 1/2 bushel every other week
INDIVIDUAL SHARE $330 approx. 1/8 bushel weekly–or– 1/4 bushel every other week
TRIAL SHARE $140 four Half Share baskets to give the CSA a try!

Pre-pay, Military and Farm Volunteer discounts are available as well as internship positions. Different price for Lake Geneva residents
Pickup on the farm and in MorrisNoWeekly

(bi-weekly for Wisconsin)
22 weeks - May - OctoberOther: Monthly buying club through United Natural Foods, local organic eggs at farm stand
Gray Farms
Watseka, IL
VegetablesAdhering to USDA Certified Organic standards while in process of becoming certifiedPayment by Check: $360 for returning members $385 for new members
Payment Online via website (includes 2.9% processing fee): $370 for returning members, $396 for new members
Pickup in CHICAGO at Lakeview, Ravenswood Manor & River West and in SUBURBS: New Lenox, Frankfort, Oak Park & KankakeeNoWeekly20 weeks (June-Oct.)None
Green Acres Farm
North Judson, IN
Vegetables70-year old family farm started by Japanese immigrants in its third generation and growing Certified Naturally Grown organic vegetables2-person $550

Family $990

**Note, these are 2014 prices**
Pickup @ Green City Market & Evanston Farmer's Market plus West Loop and Beverly

**2014 Locations**
NoWeekly22 weeks (June-November)None
Green Earth Farm
Richmond, IL
Vegetables (100 different varieties)

Chickens, eggs, turkeys, geese & ducks
Certified Naturally Grown vegetablesFull $500 (box --feeds family of 4)

Half $300 (1/2 box --feeds 2)
Pickup @ farm or in Gurnee or Crystal Lake, ILNoWeekly16 weeks (June-Oct.)
Green Earth Institute
South Naperville, IL
Vegetable & herbUSDA certified organic, nonprofit promoting health & environmental sustainability, leasing 49 acres at the McDonald Farm, owned by The Conservation FoundationMain Season weekly share - $670 if your pickup site is the farm, or $690 other pickup sites

Main Season biweekly share - $360 if your pickup site is the farm, or $370 if you choose other pick up sites

Spring weekly share - $140 if your pickup site is the farm, or $150 if you choose other pick up sites

Spring biweekly share - $75 if your pickup site is the farm, or $80 if you choose other pick up sites

Fall weekly shareis $140 if your pickup site is the farm, or $150 if you choose other pick up sites

Fall biweekly share the price is $75 if your pickup site is the farm, or $80 if you choose other pick up sites
Pickup @ farm & in Batavia, Lombard, Western Springs & Winfield, ILNoWeekly or BiweeklySpring (4 weeks)

Main (20 weeks – Jun-Nov.)

Late Fall (4 weeks – Nov.)
Green Grocer (A)
Chicago, IL (West Town)
Vegetables and some specialty itemsSmall store specializing in local and organic food that puts together a weekly box of organic and/or local foods (not all foods are local) $18/week for single share

$26/week for single plus share

$32/week for double share
Pickup at store or delivery Yes -- available to a limited area $8 (boundaries are North to North Ave., South to Van Buren, East to State & West to Western)WeeklyYear-roundNone
Growing Power
Farm Co-op in Wisconsin
Vegetables, FruitMarket Basket Program is a "cross between a mobile grocery store & CSA." Part of a cooperative that includes farms in Milwaukee region, farms in the Midwest & South, & urban farms in ChicagoMarket Basket Program is a cross between a mobile grocery store & CSA.

Place order weekly
Regular $17
Junior $9
Sustainable $28
Fruit $17
Contact the farm for detailsNoWeekly Spring, summer & fallWinter CSA

Meat, honey
Harrison Market Gardens
Winnebago, IL
VegetablesCertified Naturally Grown produce & U-pick farm Full Share (20 weeks) $750

Every Other Week Share (10 weeks) $400

Every Other Week Share Chicago Delivery (10 weeks) $500. Includes delivery on Thursdays.
Pickup @ farm, Chicago, Machesney Park & Arlington Heights

Delivery to downtown Chicago or Arlington Heights sites extra $100/season for biweekly delivery
Yes - We’ll deliver to your home if you have 5 or more boxes delivered to your home.Weekly or BiweeklySummer

U-Pick April - November
Monthly U-pick of favorite produce -- See web site for U-pick pricing
Harvest Moon Farms
West Central Wisconsin
Vegetables Certified OrganicPay-as-you-go box thru Peapod $29.99/weekHome delivery throughout most of Chicagoland via PeapodYesAs often as you'd likeJuly-Sept.No
Healthy Food Hub (A)
Chicago, IL
Vegetables"Consumer-operated," holistically-focused cooperative run through the Holistic Family Medicine Healthy Lifestyle & Prevention Chicago that uses collective buying power to purchase organic produce$25 annual membership fee, pre-pay orders for produceContact collective for more detailsNoContact collective for more detailsContact collective for more detailsContact collective for more details
Heritage Prairie Farm
Elburn, IL
web site
VegetablesDedicated to "Four Season Farming," in which the farm produces food during all four seasons through use of hoophousesSpring $250

FULL SUMMER CSA - $625 / Wheaton pick-up $675

HALF SUMMER CSA - $350 / Wheaton pick-up $375

FALL CSA - $250
Pickup @ farm or at Wheaton French Market

NoWeekly (Full) or Biweekly (Half)Spring (5 weeks starting in May)

Summer (June-Oct.)

Fall (Oct.-Nov.)
Egg shares extra starting at $30

10% off Farm Dinner tickets May-November
Hildreth Organics
web site
Vegetables, eggs, poultryOrganic18 Week - $685

Half share for $370
Pickups in Rockford, Rochelle and St. CharlesNoWeekly or BiweeklyJune through September Hopeful Future: Free range poultry meats, honey, seedlings, gardening classes, goat milk/cheese, grains
Iron Creek Farm
LaPorte, IN
Vegetables & small fruits (over 100 varieties)Certified Organic (over 100 varieties of produce)Standard $585 (one grocery bag)

Family Size $875 (box)

Small $390 (1/2 grocery bag)

Fall/Winter $245
Chicago, Indiana and southwest lower Michigan

Contact farm for specifics
NoWeeklyStandard & Large shares run from Jun-Oct

Winter runs from Oct-Dec.
Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks (A)
Chicago, IL
web site
Vegetables & fruit. Website store has meat, dairy, eggs & moreSources from organic & local (the box contains produce from outside the region.)Various sizes and themes including veg, cleanse, and primal -- See web site for detailsHome delivery. ($5.50 shipping & handling fee.)YesWeekly, bi-weekly or when orderedYear-round.Boxes contain produce but can be customized to include non-produce items
Joe's Blueberries/Moss Funnel Farm
Bangor, MI
Fruit (blueberries)Sustainably & naturally grown Jersey high bush blueberriesBlueberry Bush Rental: $35

$85 can be
5 pounds a week for four weeks or
10 pounds a week for two weeks

10-pound box each week for three weeks
Pickup at 10 sites thru Chicagoland

Andersonville / Evanston / Lisle / Lombard / Long Grove / Naperville
Oak Park / Palatine / Park Ridge / Pilsen-South Loop / Ukrainian Village
Yes -- contact farm for detailsWeekly or biweekly 3 weeks during blueberry seasonWinter CSA of frozen blueberries also available
Kings Hill Farm
Mineral Point, WI
Vegetables (with additional cheese share available)Certified Organic 20 weeks
Large $600

Small $400
Pickup on Farm or in CHICAGO: downtown (several locations); in SUBURBS: Oak Park, Glencoe WISCONSIN: Madison, DodgevilleNoWeekly Jun-Oct Maple syrup $10

Weekly cheese share $100
Klug Orchards/Green Organics
Berrien Center, MI
Vegetables, fruit with separate meat CSAMost veggies are USDA Certified OrganicPRODUCE
$295 (12-wk March start with add'l $10/mo increase thru June) or $480 (20-wk March payment with add'l $15/mo increase thru June)

See web site for additional prices, discounts
Pickup @ farm and in Chicagoland farmer's markets including Downtown/Loop (Daley & Federal Plaza Nettlehorst, Independence Park & in SUBURBS: Wilmette, Northfield & Buffalo Grove & in INDIANA: South BendNoWeeklyJune-OctVarious meat, turkey options
Lake Breeze Organics
Benton Heights, MI
Vegetables & fruit (egg option)Certified organic with emphasis on hard-to-find crops & Jersey blueberriesFull $550 (IL residents); $475 (MI residents)

Half $300 (IL residents); $250 (MI residents)
Pickup in Evanston, Ravenswood & Stevensville, MI

See web site for specific addresses
NoWeekly (full)

Biweekly (half)
June-SeptEgg share extra $54 (9 weeks); $102 (17 weeks)
Majestic Nursery & Farm
Millbrook, IL
Vegetables, herbs Certified Naturally Grown produce, annuals and herbsTHREE SEASON
Std. $660
Upsize $840
Std. $560, Large $740
Std. $460, Large $640
Std. $100
Pickup @ farm in as well as Chicago, Brookfield, and Naperville -- See web site for details and additional sitesYes
$5-$9 per week
Weekly3-season: May-November

Spring and Summer - May - October

Summer: June-Oct.

Fall: Oct.-November
Meadow Haven Farm
Sheffield, IL
Meat (Beef, poultry & optional pork), (egg option)Certified Organic - grassfed beef, pastured pork, free range chickenTraditional $330 (for 3 mos) includes a variety of ground beef, sausage, chicken, roast/stew meat/Soup Bones, steaks, shoulder meat, bacon, pork chops

Express $330 (for 3 mos) includes ground meat and sausage

Cross-fit (larger than full, single box) $750 ($800 with eggs)
Pickup @ farm and in Chicago, Elgin, Downer's Grove, Arlington Heights, Bloomington, Peoria, Quad CitiesNoMonthly with 3 month CSA seasons4 seasons:

February to April

May to July

August to October

November to January
Azomite available
Midnight Sun Farm
Grayslake, IL
Vegetables (egg option)USDA Certified Organic

3 acre farm in Prairie Crossing neighborhood w/pastured chickens
Full Vegetable Share – $528
Half Vegetable Share – $264
Pickup @ farm or in CHICAGO: Humboldt Park
NoWeeklyMain season: 22 weeks (Jun.-Oct.)
Mike & Clare’s Farm Woodstock, IL
VegetablesCertified Organic, small-scale intensive farming

2-season shares
Spring (4 weeks) $80

Summer: Regular $450 (feeds 2 adults who cook 4x/week); Family $630 (feeds family of 4 who cook 5x/week); Half (biweekly) $225 (feeds 1 adult who cooks 4x/week)
Pickup @ farm or in Chicago: Logan Square, Hyde Park, Lakeview
Crystal Lake
NoWeeklySpring: May-June

Summer: Jun-October
Mint Creek Farm
Stelle, IL
Grass-fed Meat (lamb, goat, beef, rose veal, chicken & pork), dairy & eggsOrganic, pasture-raisedWhole shares - 10 lbs
Half shares - 5 lbs

Traditional CSA (includes pork, lamb, beef, veal, goat, poultry): 3 months $369 (whole); $198 (half); 6 months $698 (whole); $369 (half)

Pork & Poultry CSA: 3 months $263 (whole); $156 (half); 6 months $494 (whole) $263 (half)

Lamb & Goat CSA: 3 months $450 (whole) $244 (half); 6 months $838 (whole) $450 (half)

Weekly fresh meat & dairy home delivery packages - 4 week share from $124!
12 week share from $372
26 week share from only $806!
Pickup in CHICAGO: At various farmer's markets, depending on season - See web site for detailsYes -- See web site for detailsMonthly & weekly

Year-round 3 months or 3 month or 6 month subscriptionsWhole or half animal purchases an option
Molter Family Orchards
Benton Harbor, MI
Fruit, vegetables, herbs (6-8 vegetables+1 fruit item)Certified Organic (MOSA)20 weeks

Full $599

Half (biweekly) $375

Pickup@ farm in Michigan; Kalamazoo & Benton Harbor; South Bend, IndianaNoWeekly20 weeks (June 1 - Oct 12)

Half shares have 3 options (all options equal 10 share boxes):
1. Receive a share every-other week starting the week of June 1st.
2. Receive a share every week for the first 10 weeks of the season (6/1-8/3).
3. Receive a share every week for the last 10 weeks of the season (8/10-10/11).
Once a member, you will have the opportunity for bulk buys throughout the season. Depending on annual crop, options may include but are not limited to: strawberries, peaches, pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, pears and apples.
Montalbano Farms
Sandwich, IL
Vegetables, herbs grown on farm

Fruit sourced from organic farms across country (including some Midwest farms)
Uses organic methods; committed to socially responsible practices & transparency (visitors allowed to visit farm)Standard - prepacked by farm
Custom - choose from web site each week

Custom CSA members have a minimum order of $22 each week

Standard Prices
Farm builder - $990
Traditional - $590
Get started - $350
Pickup @ farm in Sandwich; Multiple sites throughout Chicago as well as several Western suburbs. See web site for detailsNoWeekly24 weeks - June through November
M’s Organic Farm
Woodstock, IL
web site
Vegetable (egg option)Certified Naturally Grown veggies, free-range eggs18 weeks (Woodstock) Full $455; Half $275

Pickup @ farm NoWeekly18 weeks (Jun-Oct)Eggs - 6 dozen for season
Nature's Choice
Grant Park, IL
Pastured-raised meat (pork, chicken, beef, turkeys) & eggs

Two-time Frontera Farmers Foundation grant winner that pasture-raises chicken, turkey, eggs, pork, and grass-fed beef;
3 CSA packages: Traditional, Kosher (not certified) & Fresh Cuts
New CSA members will be charged a one-time startup fee of $26, covering the transportation and delivery of the meat in insulated totes.

All shares 15 lbs of meat
3 month shares for $360
6 month share $690

Options include kosher and fresh cuts (i.e., no cured meats)
Pickup @ farm or in Frankfort, Bolingbrook, and South Side of Chicago -- See web site for detailsNoMonthlyYear-round in 3 month incrementsCSA members can add a full egg share of 4 dozen eggs each month to their meat CSA ( $60 for 3 month shares, $120 for 6 month shares). CSA members may also add a 1/2 egg share of 2 dozen eggs per month ($30 for 3 month shares and $60 for 6 month shares).
Nature's Pasture
Auburndale, WI
Meat (Beef)Specializes in grass-fed Black Angus beef, pastured chicken & turkey & "naturally raised" porkFamily Grass-Fed Beef share $389.98 (~ 45 lbs.)

Premium Grass-Fed Beef share $439.79 (~ 45 lbs., includes premium steak cuts such as ribeyes, strips, filets)
Contact farm for detailsContact farm for detailsContact farm for detailsContact farm for detailsMaple syrup

Other meats
Newleaf Grocery (A)
Chicago, IL (Rogers Park)
Vegetables & fruitSmall grocer that offers weekly organic produce boxes (Note: produce organic though not necessarily local)Start at $15/week (up to $33)Pickup @ store; home delivery availableYesWeeklyYear-roundCall store for details
Nichols Farm and Orchard
Marengo, IL
Variety of vegetables & fruitFamily farm using sustainable practices and specializing in varietySummer - 22 weeks
Fruit & Vegetable Share: $880
Double Share: $1,650
Fruit and Vegetable Half Share: $440 - every other week

Fall - 7 Week Season
Fruit & Vegetable Share: $280
Pickup @ farm or throughout 30 Chicagoland sites -- see web site for detailsNoWeeklySummer: 22 weeks (Jun-Nov.)

Fall: 7 weeks (Nov-Dec)
All CSA members will receive preferred customer benefits. You will receive a 20% discount on anything purchased at any of our farmers markets during the CSA season.
Our Farm in Volo (in partnership with Torpland Farm)
Volo, IL
Vegetables4th-generation farmers who are transitioning their century-old farm back to natural, sustainable farming practices. 3 of 17 acres dedicated to sustainable production.Not Currently ListedNot Currently ListedNoWeekly or biweeklyNot None
Peasant’s Plot
Manteno, IL

Worker share option
Sustainable & organicIndividual Share is $390

Family Share is $780.
Pickup @ farm or at a few in CHICAGO: Lincoln Square; Manteno Farmer's MarketYesWeekly20 weeks June - OctoberFruit, honey, soap available
Pleasant Boundaries
Geneva, IL

Vegetables & fruitSustainableFull Share-$600-
Half Share-$300
Quarter Share-$150 a half share sized box every other week
Pickup locations:
Pushing the Envelope Farm
33W699 Averill Rd
Geneva, IL 60134

Elgin Drop site
Community Crisis Center parking lot
37 South Geneva St
Elgin IL 60120
NoWeekly or biweekly18 weeks from mid-June through October
Plow Creek Farm, Tiskilwa IL

Vegetables & fruitcertified naturally grown by intentional community$450 / season for Evanston pickup, $375 / season for farm pickupPickup @ the farm or EvanstonNoWeekly18 weeks, June - SeptemberPossibly honey, whole wheat flour, or nuts
Purple Leaf Farms
Chicago, IL
Vegetables, herbs & flowersPurple Leaf is not certified organic, but does not use synthetic chemicals at the farm.15 weeks
Farmer's Choice” Membership $300

Flexible Choice” Membership $375 (+$3.75/month to join FarmMatch)
Day TBD: At the farm in on 87th Street in Chicago
Day TBD: At Gensler downtown Chicago office (Gensler employees only.)
Thursdays at the University of Illinois at Chicago campus (West side)
Thursdays at the Hines VA Veterans Hospital Farmers’ Market (Hines, IL)
Thursdays at Jessica’s home in Forest Park, Illinois
Saturdays at the Printer's Row farmers market in Chicago
NoWeekly15 weeks from July - OctoberFlowers
Radical Root Farm
Marseilles, IL
Vegetables, eggsUSDA & MOSA Certified OrganicSpring (4 wks) $145 SOLD OUT

Summer (9 wks) $360
(18 wks) $605

Fall (6 wks) $220
Pickup at the farm in Libertyville, College of Lake County, Horticulture Building or Logan Square Farmers MarketNoWeekly or biweekly (half shares)

Vacation Rescheduling program (up to 4 boxes in calendar year)
Spring (May-June)

Summer - 18 weeks (June-Oct.)

Fall (Oct.-Nov.)

CSA members receive 20% off at market

Egg shares $20 (spring); $94.50 (summer); $31.50 (fall) Half Shares (bi-weekly) available as well
Ready Jam Farms
Marengo, IL
Vegetables (8-14 varieties including herbs)"Organically Grown"18 weeks

Small $450

Medium $720

Large $945
Pickup in at farm or in Crystal Lake, Elgin, Elmhurst NoWeekly18 weeks (mid-June through Oct)None
R Family Farm
Poplar Grove, IL
EggsNo chemicals, pastured raisedEmail for detailsPickup @ farm or @ farmer's markets in Northwest suburbsNoVariesVariesNone
Richert/Phillips Farms
Local Harvest
Fruits & vegetablesCertified organic, naturally grown, grass-fed/pastured poultry & eggsFull $566

2-months $350
Pickup at farm or in Palatine or Palos HeightsYes -- to Michiana areaWeekly June-SeptEggs & poultry (discounts for CSA members)
Riemer Family Farm
Brodhead, WI
Web site
MeatAll of our animals are raised free of antibiotics, steroids, hormones and animal byproducts! Our animals are on grass when possible, are always treated humanely, have constant access to the outdoors and are fed rations of our non-GMO raised grains. Happy animals = tasty meat. We process our meat at local family-owned butcher shops.6 month's supply of meat

Large (20-22 lbs) $700

Small (10-11 lbs) $370
Crystal Lake, IL, Fitchburg, WI, and Wauwatosa, WI. NoMonthlyN/A
Rustic Road Farm
Elburn, IL
Fruits & vegetables"Because the farm feeds our family, too, and we're also raising pigs, goats, sheep and turkey you'll never see a chemical or drug on this farm."FULL SHARE (household of 4 to 6) for 22 weeks, $700 to $825

HALF SHARE (household of 2 to 4) for 22 weeks, $405 to $450

Winter Storage Box, first & third weeks of November, $120
Pickup at farmYes

Batavia, Elburn Geneva, St. Charles & Sugar Grove
WeeklyJune - OctoberEggs $120
Sandhill Family Farms
Prairie Crossing, IL & Brodhead, WI
Vegetables, herbs & some fruit (80% from their farm; remainder from other local organic farms), eggs, dairy, meat (sourced from Sandhill & 3 partner farms in Southern Wisconsin) & trout (sourced from Rushing Waters)Certified Organic* (composed of 2 farms -- one in Brodhead, WI & one in Grayslake, IL)

*all produce in vegetable share is certified organic except for strawberries and corn
Sandhill offers a wide variety of fruit, vegetable, dairy, egg and meat CSAs. Certain CSAs are currently sold out. See their web site for additional options.

Summer and Fall Vegetable - $725

Summer vegetable - $560

Fruit - $240
Pickup at farm or in Glenview, Evanston, Lake Forest, Buffalo Grove, Mundelein, Northfield, Barrington, Glen Ellyn, Clarendon Hills or Oak ParkNoWeeklyYear-roundEggs, fruit, cheese, meat - from other farms
Sandbox Organics
Grayslake, IL

VegetablesOrganicFull Share-$500

Half Share-$300

Half shares receive a box every other week
Chicago/LakeviewNoWeekly or biweekly 16 weeks - June - September
Scotch Hill Farm
Brodhead, Wisconsin
Vegetables & herbs; flowersCertified Organic 18 weeks
Regular $585

Large family (double) share $1125

Fall $145 (2 lg deliveries)

*Prices denote Chicago CSAs; check with farm for Wisconsin pricing
To be determined

NoWeekly18 weeks (June or July-Oct.)Flower shares available for $110 extra
Slagel Family Farm
Fairbury, IL
Beef, pork, lamb & chickenHormone free. Boxes will include a variety - from chickens & beef steaks to breakfast sausage & hamburgers$60/month + $5 for delivery locationBlue Frog Local 22 - 22 East Hubbard Street Chicago

West Town Bakery - 1916 W Chicago Ave Chicago

Spring Bluff Nursery
Sugar Grove, IL
VegetablesHistoric FarmFull share $525

Half share (every
other week pick up)
- $265
On Farm NoWeekly16 weeks - June - SeptemberFlowers, eggs, Christmas tree, honey, pumpkin
Tempel Farms Organics (frmly Red Tail Farm)
Old Mill Creek, IL
Vegetables, fruit & flowerGrow vegetables according to the strict standards of organic certification (no petroleum based pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers).Summer (20 wks) $625; Half (10 wks/ biweekly) $380

Fall $130 (pickup on farm only)

Fruit $360

See web site for additional options
Pickup @ farm, or Gurnee/Waukegan
Lake Bluff
Mt. Prospect
Chicago/Logan Square
NoWeekly or biweekly (half)Summer: 20 weeks (Jun-Oct)

Fall: 3 weeks (Oct-Nov)


Fruit share: 18 weeks (June-Oct)
Flower $95
Three Plaid Farmers
Winfield, IL
VegetablesNo chemicals, minimal impact on land$680/seasonPickup at farm (Winfield), in Aurora, Lincoln Park, Wilmette, Arlington Heights & BataviaNoWeekly June-Oct.Herbs, herbal teas, fruit, and flowers
Tomato Mountain Farm
Brooklyn, WI
Vegetables, herbs and some fruit

Optional add ons include eggs (certified organic) from New Century Farm & other various products such as maple syrup, honey, flour, oil & cheese from small local farms
Certified Organic

4 distinct share seasons covering 12 months (including winter share)
Tomato Mountain offers two forms of membership, Sustaining and Seasonal. For each form of membership, they offer four box sizes from solo to large.

See their web site for all options.
Home delivery throughout the greater Chicago area. No pickup sites.Yes (throughout Chicagoland). Delivery fees vary by zone.Weekly (except for biweekly Winter)Year-roundTomato Mountain's jarred salsas, juice, soup, jam and other products as well as extra produce (as available) can be added to weekly delivery.

Egg shares available

Online store features products from other local farms including honey, sunflower oil
Trail's End
Putnam, IL
MeatUSDA Certified Organic meat that raises grass-fed Scottish Highland/Black Angus cross cattle; beef sold by halves and quarters. 1/2 Share $625 (1/4 Beef)

1 share $1200 (1/2 Beef)

2 shares $2375
For one share, Trail’s End Organic Farm will provide a side of certified-organic grass-fed beef over 12 months, with the cuts varying from
month to month
Pickup in Evanston with potential for more sites Wheaton, Peoria Heights, & Pekin, ILNoMonthlyYear-roundNone
Trogg's Hollow
Elgin, IL
Vegetables & herbsFamily-owned practicing bio-intensive urban farmingFull (weekly) $700-720
Half (biweekly) $385-395

Price based on how many payments requested

Additional fee for credit card payments

Shares are 1/2 bushel
Pickup @ farm & Elgin, Hampshire, Streamwood, Roselle, Wheaton, Berwyn, Logan Square, Sycamore, Dekalb-NIU, Huntley, Arlington Heights, West Dundee, Rockford NoWeekly or biweekly (half)18 weeks with possibility of bonus week or two (June-Oct.)None
Urban Canopy/Local Unified CSA
Chicago, IL
Vegetables & local products such as bread, mushrooms, coffee, and kombuchaSustainableSee web site for current pricingDelivery to Chicago YesWeeklyYear-foundKombucha, bread, granola, coffee
Vernon Park/Mother Carr's Organic Farm
Lynwood, IL
VegetablesOrganicNot currently listed for 2015Chicago - South SideNoBiweekly22 Weeks ("Harvest Season")None
Walnut Acres
Walnut, IL
web site
Meat (Range-fed beef, chicken, pork, turkey, eggs)Meat is free of antibiotics, hormones & animal by-products$100 each month with a minimum 3 month commitment

$5 one time freezer bag fee.

Each month's share is about 18 pounds of beef, chicken, pork & eggs. Members can opt for "no beef", "no pork" or "no chicken" and receive different mixes
Pickup @ farm in Walnut, IL or
Ottawa, Yorkville, Oswego,
Quad_Cities (Bettendorf, IA), Batavia, Aurora, South Elgin, Naperville, Lombard
No3, 6 or 12 months Year-roundCan add-on extra products such as ground beef, sausage patties, links, etc.
Wellhausen Farms
Wheaton, IL
Vegetables & fruit (tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, sweet corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, peppers & spinach)No chemical fertilizers, insecticides or herbicidesAnnual membership $175 then $19 per weekHome delivery. Delivery route includes Bloomingdale, Glen Ellyn, Roselle, West Chicago, Wheaton, Naperville, Lombard, Villa Park, Streamwood, Schaumburg & BartlettYesWeekly 22 weeks (June-Nov)None
Willow Ridge Organic Farm (Formerly Sweet Earth Organic Farm)
Wauzeka, WI
Vegetables (special emphasis on heirloom tomatoes)Certified organic in 1974 Full Share - $550

Partial Share - $400

Mini Share - $250
Arlington Heights, Elgin, Chicago--North Center, Old Irving, Logan Square, Portage ParkNoWeekly 18 to 20 weeks depending on the weather Partnering with neighboring farms for add-ons, which may include additional fruit, eggs, honey, maple syrup, and more
Wright Way Farm
Monroe, WI
Local Harvest page
Vegetables & herbs

Work shares available
Certifed Organic & use only heirloom seed varietiesFull $440

Half $240

A full share is a bushel. The half share is half of a bushel basket.
Pickup in ILLINOIS: Rockford, Park Ridge, Morton Grove & Northfield; in WISCONSIN: Beloit & KenoshaNoWeeklyJune - OctNone

One Comment

Hear Local Music at City Winery Sunday, March 8 Carrie Newcomer: Forager, Farmer, Hunger Activist, Musician

Posted: February 25, 2015 at 7:19 pm

Friend of the Beet, the multitalented Ann Flood, one of the owners and editor of Edible Chicago magazine posted this on her blog and asked if we would share it.

Carrie Newcomer will be  City Winery Chicago Sunday, March 8 at 5PM to showcase her newest CD called “A Permeable Life.” She is a champion for social justice, particularly hunger efforts. Don’t miss this special performance in an intimate setting at City Winery. Tickets available online at:

Never Stop Eating Local – What’s in Season and Where to Find It Sponsored by Vera Chicago

Posted: February 25, 2015 at 9:23 am

There is Always Local Food


Vera-LOGO-Fpattern (1) (1)

Who eats local in February?  You do.  Your sponsors at Vera do–go listen to Chef Mendez kvell over his 1871 milk.  Ok, it’s not a weekend filled with winter markets.  But you have something.  You can always shop  at these places.   Just as good, you can get your local food without leaving home by visiting our sponsor Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks.  And don’t forget, local food is not just the “fresh” stuff.

What’s In Season Now


Indoor Crops

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Sprouts

Storage Crops

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Apples
  • Squash
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Celery root
  • Turnips
  • Radishes

Year round

  • Meats, poultry, lake fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk, cheese and other dairy
  • Mushrooms
  • Grains and breads
  • Preserved and jarred products

Where to Find Local Food

In addition to the following markets, there are several stores in the Chicago area that focus on selling local foods.


All sorts of food including sausages and tofu plus all you can Nosh await Sunday, March 1 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market - 2755 N. Milwaukee Av

Faith in Place Winter Market at Beverly Unitarian Church on Saturday, February 28 from 9 AM to 1 PM.  - 10244 S. Longwood

Portage Park Winter Market on Sunday March 1 from 10 AM to 2 PM - Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Av


Weekly winter market at the Evanston Ecology Center on Saturday, February 28 from 9 AM to 1 PM, with a chance to catch the Condiment Queen selling - 2024 N McCormick Blvd


Community Winter Market on  Saturday, February 14  from 9 AM to 1 PM - 327 Hamilton


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

What's In Season and Where to Find It - Sponsored by Vera 1023 W. Lake, Chicago

What’s In Season and Where to Find It – Sponsored by Vera 1023 W. Lake, Chicago

The Taste of Chicago Should Be Serbian

Posted: February 24, 2015 at 11:17 am

The Quest for True Local Cuisine

Serbian Food Facebook Page

Serbian Food Facebook Page

Yesterday, I was at my Mother’s house. She asked me to help promote a farmer’s market being held at her synagogue in April. I will, but my immediate comment was, it was nice for someone to throw a market in April. See, we have very few Spring markets. It reminded me, which I mentioned last night, that come Spring, I would likely re-post one of my rants about needing more Spring farmer’s markets. That made me think of another thing I’ve been meaning to rant. What our local food should really taste like.

We have lots of local food these days in the Chicago area. The Local Beet CSA guide should be up soon, and again should have over seventy-five area farms. Beyond the farms, there is all sorts of local dairy, meats, artisanal products, a very complete locavore diet can be had. Except what does it taste like. Of Chicago. The Midwest. Our area. What I see, mostly, is that we take all of our local food and use it as building blocks for making other cuisines. We do not use it to make food that is local.  It really bothers me that there is no taste of Chicago.  Luckily,  I have an idea where to look.

A couple of weeks ago, I ate herring in a bathrobe with Mike “SkyFullofBacon” Gebert. Him being a worldly food person, I asked him a question I’ve long wondered. Why has not the New Nordic caught on in Chicago. After all, this is food based on it being very cold. We can relate. We need root cellars. Instead, over and over and over and over again, the restaurants that are opened in Chicago look South. Often South like Big Jones or Carriage House. Just as often, in Southerly directions, all those Italian and Spanish or Tex-Mex diners, and when those get boring, how about more Italian? I asked Mike, why when the big guns worldwide are clamoring for potatoes cooked in decomposed forest leaves, we’re putting another branzino on the table. Having only put one shot of post-schvitz vodka in him, he had no good answer.

My answer, however, as I thought about it, was that Chicago aint Sweden. We should not look to the North to make our plates as polar vortex-y as its been of late. First of all, polar vortex aside, we’re not that North. Stockholm is only 500 miles from the Arctic Circle, and Stockholm is way on the bottom of Sweden. They make our growing season seem like California in comparison. Second, and more important, all of those countries, Sweden and Denmark and such are surrounded by water. Their cuisine revolves around herring, salmon, shrimps and other sea creatures. How can we duplicate that in Chicago. Not with local food. Do you know what the Serbian National Tourism Board says Serbs eat for fish: carp, perch, and catfish. That’s some swimmers we can net. Want to know who we should be following to make a local cuisine? The Serbs.  Look at that picture above, does that not look like something from around here.

Perhaps, you see my case, that we should continue to model our food after the Italians. I mean as much as Beet Reporter Robert Haugland tries, we’re not getting a lot of artichokes here. Now, they say that only Warsaw has more Poles than Chicago (not Googling to see if true…). Maybe we should take heed in the popularity of paczki day and make all our days Polish food days. Believe me, I’m tempted, there’s a lot more to Polish food than good donuts. We might look there for inspiration. Still, it’s food of the North. The leading vegetables in Poland are the beet, the cabbage and the carrots. Surely, we have more. The food available to Chicago is both cold weather and hot weather. We need cabbage and beans in the winter but lots of peppers in the summer.

Serbian Food Facebook Page

Serbian Food Facebook Page

That is why we should look to the Serbs. If you travel to farm stands and markets around the Midwest outside the big cities, you would think all the farmers were Serbs. What do you, often what only will you see: tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, and eggplants.  The building blocks of Serbian food.

Except what do you see when you see a plate of Serbian food. Meat sided with more meat, right?  That was dinner not too long ago at a Serbian restaurant in Brookfield. Where’s the peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, etc. Don’t scoff. They’re there. The Serbs just like to put them on their own plates and eat them as appetizers or side salads. Sounds a little suspiciously like the Italians and their antipasti and contorni, no? In fact, my proposition is that Serbian food tastes like what Italians would eat if they lived in Serbia (and had Polish Aunts). Need further proof, look at the cuisine of Trieste. Why Serbia over Istria? It’s all about the coast baby. Land-locked Serbia has as much access to fresh oysters as we do. Serbian food is our food, and we should make our food Serbian food. Eating local demands more than harvesting food from nearby soil. It means tasting dishes that taste of that soil, of the local forests, fields and streams. What Serbian food tastes like. Homework: start learning more about Serbian food. I’m not done here.

The Local Calendar 2/20/15 Charc Week, 6th Annual PGP Seed Swap 3/1, 28 Days to GFF, Green City Market This Weekend

Posted: February 20, 2015 at 9:00 am


Spring is surely around the corner because the local calendar is abundant with events, farmers markets and happenings. If you are contemplating an urban garden or have that planting idea in your head that you didn’t follow through with last year, the Peterson Garden Project has a class, workshop, and information to enable you to execute that plan. The PGP website is a “go to” for any urban gardener and now cook, since they have opened the Fearless Food Kitchen. To think only 6 years ago, they had their first seed swap. The PGP 6th Annual Seed Swap is on March 1st.

It is only 28 days until another event that has grown and evolved over the years, the 3 days (3/19-21) of the Good Food Festival. Rob Gardner continues to report on new developments and the GFF website is another “go to” resource for information on people, issues, chefs, farmers who are all a part of the good food movement.

Do you live on the north shore and are interested in sustainable farming, gardening, or food?  The Talking Farm is your  ”go to” resource for all things farming and good food. Their “Spring Thaw” Celebration is 3/22 5-8pm.

Finally, it is not Shark Week but Charc WeekThe fine art of encased and prepared meats made locally is celebrated next week at many restaurants in Chicago, check out the schedule and the week is capped off with the Charc Bites party on Thursday, February 26 at The Dawson. Green City Market is back this weekend, with a new executive director in place Melissa Flynn, Empty Bottle market, Evanston, lots more on the calendar, check it all out! One last thought, if you can’t make it to a market, instead of going to Mariano’s, Whole Foods or Plum Market, if you are nearby stop by our friends The Green Grocer at Grand and Noble!! They source from a lot of the same farmers that go to the markets, Cassie has been a strong advocate for GMO free food and they are just great people!!

Saturday February 21

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

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

Chicago - Delilah’s Vintage Beer Fest - Noon – 5pm  2771 N. Lincoln Ave. Delilah’s hosts its Eighteenth annual vintage beer festival. More than one hundred beers, primarily strong ales, barrel-aged beers and live beers, from over 50 breweries will be tasted – side by side – many in multiple vintages.

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

Sunday February 22

Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Floriole Monthly Supper Series - 6-8pm Racine and Webster

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.

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


February 23 – 27

Charc Week - Includes 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 23

Chicago (West Loop) - Choucroute Dinner with Chef Lee Wolen Wines from Michael Malat Austria at Tete Charcuterie

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

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

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

Chicago (Lincoln Park)Slagel Family Farm Dinner at White Oak Tavern & Inn - Farmer LouisJohn will leave the farmstead and deliver to their kitchen his freshest stock of farm-raised, hormone free meats. Chef John will plan on the spot the final, multi-course menu, which will be served family style that same evening. LouisJohn will join the dinner, prepared to discuss his famed family-run operation and what goes into producing quality meats. $90 per person plus $30 for wine/cocktail pairings. For reservations for this very special evening call 773-248-0200

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

ChicagoPerfectly Paired – A Charity Dinner for Cooking Matters Chicago - Vera Chicago 6-9pm $125 Lake and Morgan

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 6-8

Chicago/Oak Park4th Annual One Earth Film Festival -

March 7

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

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

March 8

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

March 14-22


March 14

FM - Chicago (Hyde Park/Woodlawn) - 61st Farmers Market at Experimental Station - 9am – 2pm 6100 S. Blackstone (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 FarmsOrganic Bread of HeavenMint Creek FarmA10 Homemade PastasSauce & Bread KitchenGrowing PowerThe Urban CanopyThe Eating Well and many more.

March 15

Chicago –   Chicago Food Swap at The Chopping Block

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

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

Chicago8th Annual Pinot Days 2-5pm Navy Pier

March 22

Evanston - The Talking Farm “Spring Thaw” Celebration at Farmhouse Evanston 5-8pm

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.

March 30

Chicago - CHOWDAH FEST is back! Chowdah Fest is back and takes place at the most scenic venue for an event, The Columbia Yacht Club. Some of our favorite fish people will be there like Dirk’s Fish who seems to be the crowd favorite every year!!

April 4

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

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

Chicago - Pastoral 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.

Us and Green Grocer Go Way Back….RECYCLED – Eating Green by Cassie Green

Posted: February 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Help Needed


Green Grocer was the first sponsor of the Local Beet, and we wholly appreciated their support.  Not too long ago, they declined to renew their ad, and they mentioned to us that things were not quite as good as they could be for a vital store like theirs.  We gave a couple of nudges to see if they’d reconsider, but we’ve gone on without the Green Grocer ad.  Regardless of that, we’re a little shocked, to see a little candor and confession recently expressed by them across various platform.

“Our little store has seen a significant decline in the number of people shopping with us daily. We have some theories on things that might have affected this, the loss of much of our parking zone, competition from new big box grocers, some of our very regular regulars moving out of the area and possibly things we aren’t aware of, but regardless of the cause, our little store is struggling.
It is incredibly difficult for me to write this email but I’m hoping that some of you who perhaps have forgotten about us or maybe don’t get by as often will consider trying to come in more. I truly believe that having an independently owned grocer that focuses on the highest quality foods (local and otherwise) is very important to our neighborhood and to the city. I can only hope you also feel there is value to a store that became one of the biggest purchasers from small local family farms (it’s very cool when you hear a small farm can buy a new tractor because of your purchases with them). We have only accomplished this because of your support.
Anyhow, I guess what I’m trying to say is that we need our community now more than ever. If you say you believe in local, organic and ethically sourced foods as well as independently owned businesses, I ask you to please put us on (or back on) your routine. If those things are not important to you, I respect that and only ask that you consider letting your friends know about us.”

Green Grocer has been more than a sponsor to us. They’ve played an important role in finding and getting us local food, especially when finding and getting local food was not so easy. Since we shared a mission, Green Grocer Head Grocer, Cassie Green, contributed this piece, with recipes in 2009.

Eating Green

Each year starts thrilling, almost intoxicating, for me. I find it even more exhilarating than the holidays preceding. Instead of mass consumption, mass excess and mass amounts of cookies, I seek fresh, clean, strict and healthy…or at least that is how it starts. If you are anything like me, you find yourself making all sorts of lofty promises. This year my promises ranged from the ambitious (“Do an hour of yoga every day!”) to the stringent (“Eat no sugar, flour or dairy ever again!”) to the downright stupid (“Lose the same 10 pounds you’ve been resolving to lose the last five years!”). Typically the “new me” lasts about 3-4 days until I get so annoyed with my own rules that I promptly order a pizza and decide to try again next year. On the other hand, here we are, into spring and I am still on tract with some very important goals made before the New Year began.

Early in 2008, I opened Green Grocer Chicago, a small market dedicated to selling the best local and organic foods possible. In coordination with my new business, I had the goal to simply try to eat as many local and organic foods as possible. I have always enjoyed eating healthily, with an occasional cookie/brownie binge for balance. But with the store, I realized my food choices could actually benefit the greater good (yes, one person can make a difference!).

Through my research for the store, I realized how much one person’s eating choices can add up to a lot of good for their own health, the health of their local economy and the health of our shared planet. I had always belonged to the club of “eat your vegetables and fruits” but until the past couple of years, I had never thought about where my food came from, how it was grown, by whom it was grown and how it got to me. Once I started thinking about those things, it became increasingly clear to me that I needed to give my eating habits a makeover (not the EXTREME kind where I hardly recognize the old version but just a gentle shift in the daily choices I make). One thing I try my best to stick with is to eat within the seasons. I have found that eating locally and seasonally has allowed me to eat the sweetest fruits and most flavorful vegetables. I do not crave asparagus in January, strawberries in October, or tomatoes in April. Why? Because I have tasted all of those foods in their growing season and for lack of a better term, they rock. When they are out of season here (and shipped anywhere from Chile to Australia to Florida), they look like their sweet seasonal counterparts but taste like nothing. And they are expensive! Why would I deprive myself of great taste?

It’s April in Chicago, and it snowed not too long ago. Other parts of the country are enjoying their first harvests of peas, asparagus, and other spring vegetables, not us. We live in Chicago. Certainly, nothing can grow around here this time of year you say. Well, I thought those exact same things. I have learned that there are things being harvested (as well still ticking away in cold storage) now. A century ago, before one could hop in a car and head to the grocery store that stocks everything under the sun, people actually grew their own food regionally and (gasp) lived! People found a way to make it through April snow. They even found things that would grow well and be delicious harvested under a spring frost. Am I suggesting that you pour a bunch of soil on the 2 x 3 wooden slab your realtor calls a deck and start farming to tide you over? Well, if you want to, absolutely! Luckily, we have options that require less work and less mess. How about buying food grown in the Midwest? Right here in Chicago!

I continue my resolution for the environmental impact of eating local and organic foods. Where ever you stand politically or even where you stand on global warming, there are a few things we can probably agree on: less chemicals in our food/bodies=good, less chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in our soil and drinking water sources=good, less air pollution from unnecessary cross country food shipping=good. These are not political statements; they are just “good common sense” as my Depression-era grandmother would say. (“Duh” as my 12-year-old cousin would say).

So now you see why I have managed to stick with this resolution. You might be asking, “How can I eat more locally and organically?” especially on a budget and in April. You can do it! Here are my top ways to make local eating possible during the leanest times.

Get to know your root vegetables. Hate to say this but spring kicks off where winter just ended. Some of the earliest products farmers coax out of the cold ground are beets and turnips. Farmers also have carrots and parsnips that can safely be stored away all winter, ready when there are no other fresh foods. Sometimes these items are “overwintered”, left in the ground, where they gain incredible sweetness. There are also supplies of potatoes and onions from storage that will do you well.

Experiment. Ever taste a ramp before? Chicago was named for this wild onion, one of the first thing emerging from our soils. Local chefs have taken to this vegetable, creating many dishes. It is possible now to find ramps and other rare spring treats at farmer’s markets and my store.

Eggs-they are not just for breakfast. Traditionally, spring was the time when hens took to laying again. There is no more potent symbol of spring than the egg. Whip up a simple frittata with onions and potatoes for a great dinner. Eggs are an excellent (or egg-cellent as it were) and economical source of protein. Local, pasture raised eggs are the only way to go. They taste vastly better and offer more nutrition. Be wary when an egg carton says, “Cage free or free range”. It certainly does not tell the full story. The only places to buy truly good and fresh eggs are from the farmer directly or a store like ours.

Say “mooooooo”. Small, local dairies whose cows are eating grass (not corn) offer the sweetest and freshest milk. Spring also means the time of year that our cows are getting away from a diet of hay and silage and back to pasture. Milk is a spring thing too. Whenever possible, buy non-homogenized milk. Homogenization means that the fat molecules have been irreversibly forced with the sugar molecules, making it difficult to digest. In fact, studies show that people with lactose intolerance can often digest non-homogenized milk. Also, you’ll open up your milk bottle to find a delicious line of cream at the top. This is normal and how milk should be. Milk from grass fed cows has also been shown to be vastly more nutritious than milk from corn fed cows.

Urban farms find ways to grow. Chicago farms like Windy City HarvestGrowing Home and Growing Power have cold weather facilities. Hoop houses and green houses allow the harvest to keep on rolling. Experiment with nutritional powerhouse Spring greens like collards, kale, Swiss chard and mustard greens.

Freeze the summer’s harvest. I realize this doesn’t help you today but plan ahead for the upcoming big growing season by buying lots of local fresh berries, peaches, beans, asparagus, corn and every other fresh fruit or veggie you love and freeze it for exactly this time of year. You can find information about how to freeze and otherwise preserve your harvest from this Local Beet article.

Befriend beans. Dried and canned beans from the northern Midwest are a healthy way to bulk up your meal without slimming down your wallet. Eden Organic brand works exclusively with US farmers, most of which are in this region or north of us. They are a great source of fiber and protein.

Use meat as a treat. Much of the meat we find in stores and restaurants is chock full of hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, fecal matter, mercury, toxins and other unsavory things. Meat-producing animals have eaten foods they were never meant to eat while being kept in quarters so close that any living thing would lose its mind. This is why most meat is so cheap. Is it cheap for your health, the environment, or the welfare of fellow living things. On the other hand, when farmers raise meat on small family operations, with open pasture and care, it tastes much better. This meat has been given a true life. It enhances the environment around it. While this causes the price tag to rise, the benefits match. To offset the higher cost, make meat a treat (once or twice a week instead of once or twice a day). Buy meat from small, local farms. You support better taste, health, animal treatment, and environmental practices.

Get the special meat treat. There is such a thing as spring lamb, although few people have ever tasted this delicate, special meat. Eating locally means having relationships with farmers who can supply this seasonal special.

Know your resources. In a society that generally considers local eating to mean stopping at the McDonalds at the end of your block instead of the one two miles away, it can be hard to find people who actually can help guide you on your new and yummy way of eating. Green Grocer Chicago is full of ideas on how to eat locally and healthily.

Be flexible. You will not always be able to eat local or organic foods. I still enjoy citrus fruits, bananas, and avocados. They will never be local. They can be nutritious and organically grown, at least at our store. I do not beat myself up for choosing those foods on occasion and you should not either.

Empower yourself. You live in a country where change is just a step away. Start demanding your grocer stock local food. Choose to buy foods when they are locally grown, eat them until you are sick of them and then do not buy them again until the following year. Know that when you start spending your money on local and organic foods, more companies will start to do business that way (they follow money the way a lion stalks its prey). One person can change the world.

Here are some recipes to get you through the final few days of cold.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Hash (serves 2)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (1/2 inch cubes)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons cumin
1 shake or two of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion for a couple of minutes. Add sweet potatoes, lower heat and sauté until fork tender (could be 15-20 minutes-add a little water to the pan if it’s getting too dry). When sweet potatoes are done, add beans and seasonings. Stir just to heat up. Enjoy!

We make this for breakfast many times and add a fried egg on top. Or for dinner, prepare a side of greens or a salad (spinach and lettuces are growing in those urban farms I mentioned) and bread.

Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches (serves 2)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 Portobello mushrooms-stems removed and cap wiped with a damp cloth
4 tablespoons ricotta cheese (or any other soft, spread able, mild cheese)
4-5 sun dried tomatoes, chopped finely
4-5 black or Kalamata olives
2 fresh buns or English muffins (whole grain preferred)

Heat a stovetop grill pan (you can do in a sauté pan but the grill is nice). Brush mushroom on both sides with oil and place on pan for about 5-7 minutes each side. Meanwhile, mix cheese, olives and sun dried tomatoes to make a spread. Toast buns and when center of mushroom is tender to the fork, remove and place on bun. Spread cheese mixture on one side of bun, assemble and enjoy! Also serve with a side of greens or salad.

Roasted Root Vegetables (serves 2-3)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1 potato
1 sweet potato
1 beet
1 turnip
1 parsnip (if large, remove woody center)
1 carrot
Rosemary and thyme (fresh use 2 tablespoons each, dried use 1 tablespoon each)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 425.

Chop all vegetables into somewhat uniform pieces (1 inch or so). Use a combination of whatever vegetables you like or have on hand. Toss in a bowl with oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet and bake in oven for one hour to one and a half hours or until all veggies are fork tender.

Serve as a main course with a side of sautéed Spring greens or a salad and some bread. Serve as a side for a piece of meat or tofu. Use as a filling for an omelet along with some soft goat cheese.

An Effective Locavore Takes Short Cuts

Posted: February 19, 2015 at 10:43 am

The Local Pantry is Not All What You Think

locavore shortcuts

“Make some food.” Ok, that’s what I heard in my head. The Condiment Queen, a/k/a the Cookbook Addict, surely said it much nicer. The point, you may be happy with the bagels you bought for dinner but I need something healthier. There was lentils in the orders too. She was dropped off at her afternoon job. I had the kitchen. And a pantry.  Get to work I was told.

I have never advocated extreme adherence to a locavore diet, or let me put it better, being a locavore does not mean needing to limit one’s food to a very small range of “food miles.” Why 100 miles? What about salt? Cooking without olive oil? Getting up without coffee. The reasons for eating local do not include deprivation or ridiculousness. More importantly, a well-stocked pantry is the solution to keeping a happy Local Family. She said ready, set, and I was gone an hour or so later with five dishes.  Here’s two main dishes I concocted.   I relied on a few helpers a long the way.

winter tomatoes

Helper number one, my daughter, Sophie. We agreed that I would take out Molly if she hunted down onions, found lentils in the basement storage room, and cleared the stove. Helper number two, my winter Tomato Mountain CSA box. I said the other day that I planned on saving the jarred tomatoes for the summer. I mis-spoke. For the lentils, it was an onion and a few carrots, sweated, a dried local pepper crushed between my fingers, a half-quart jar of black lentils, a quart of whole roasted tomatoes, and then about another quart of water. I took it to a boil and then turned to a simmer. When it got a bit crusty, I added more water. When presenting my results later, she said, “that’s not soup, that’s stew.” OK, it was lentil stew.

So, the lentils were not local, but the rest of the dish was. Here’s one where I took the opposite approach, with another helper.  You will notice, good or bad, that I do not write recipes. I do that because I believe that a narrative recap may better teach, but mostly because I never use recipes. You should not either. Cooking should be simple, intuitive, fast and easy. That’s the easiest way to eat local. Have some good friends in your pantry. Some of my best friends are these cans of Thai curries. First, of all, if the labels are to be believed, and I think they are, they pass the Michael Pollan rule. Second of all, they all taste great. Third, shop around and you can usually find a can for less than a buck and one can covers a couple of dishes. Finally, well, they’ve done all the work.

Remember that cabbage? Here’s how I finally dealt with it. I trimmed off the layer now black, from waiting so long. I shredded the rest. Sliced an onion and more carrots (we have lotsa local carrots, a subject for another post soon). I got those started in a neutral oil. Then, I added 1/2 can of red curry paste. Cooked that a minute or so in the oil. Added the cabbage and some tofu. Dropped the fish sauce bottle over the pan about five times, the agave syrup bottle one time. Often, next, I’d pour in the can of coconut milk, but here I decided for a more “dry” or “jungle” curry flavor. So just water to cover. Cooked on medium heat until the cabbage was soft, about twenty minutes. Spicy.

We can all be local families with a bit of effort. Subscribe to a CSA. Go to winter markets. Put away food. Getting it on the table from there should be the easiest part. What’s in your pantry should help.

Congratulations to the Sugar Beet and Other Eat Local Links

Posted: February 18, 2015 at 5:39 pm

The Weekly Harvest

Way to go, partners in Beet!

Eat old local cheese (bring lotsa $$).

How local is your beer?

Eat local blue gills.

Eat local tofu.

And local grains.

Drink local booze (did you know Koval means “black sheep?).

A local she-devil.

Who doesn’t love Beet sponsor Vera?


Eat Local Later Now Because My CSA Did All the Work

Posted: February 17, 2015 at 9:03 am

Squash in a Bag

As often noted, my wife works for Tomato Mountain Organic Farm. Over her several years of employment there, she’s handled several duties. You will mostly find her in markets selling frost-kissed winter spinach and all the other TM stuff, but she has gone into the kitchen too. When the Tomato Mountain farmers cooked up their idea of a four season CSA, they knew they need to cook up a few things to have ready to meet the eat local needs of their winter customers. That’s how Sheila found herself, one time, in Brooklyn (Wisconsin), roasting butternut squashes. Her and others turned that roasted squash into puree and then stuck that puree into two quart bags, where it could arrive on a very cold night in February. Yes, I have a few winter squash laying around myself, but could I have a squash dish done in less than a half-hour.

Do you know what took the longest time? Defrosting the bag of squash. With foresight, I could have let the nature do the work. No, I decided around three pm, to bake a squash dish. It took at least 15 minutes of defrost cycles to get the squash soft enough to mix in the other ingredients. From there, I pretty much winged it. Two eggs, a small glug of  maple syrup, about two tablespoons of butter–a combination of Nordic Creamery red pepper and Nordic Creamery cinnamon–grated nutmeg and a bam of salt. I greased the baking dish with a bit of oil.   Topped the mix with some leftover pecan.  The oven was hot from roasting vegetable earlier. At 350, it took about twenty minutes. I finished it under the broiler. You can see from that picture above, where I took a taste. That work ahead of time by my wife and Tomato Mountain paid off.

My Winter Tomato Mountain CSA Gets Me Ready for Summer

Posted: February 16, 2015 at 10:35 am

Eat Local Later

winter tomatoes

At the height of the harvest season, you cannot finish all the produce stuffed into the Tomato Mountain* CSA box. The idea, with that bounty, is to put aside some for the dark, down months of the year. The locavore’s job is to constantly balance what’s around now with what should be around later, so make pickles some of those first ramps; pits and freezes the tart cherries for holiday pies; turns all that cabbage and peppers and leftover green tomatoes into relish, and cold stores plenty of beets, potatoes, onions and garlic to get by all year. The putting away does not stop come winter. Last week’s Tomato Mountain CSA box contained rutabagas, carrots, frost-kissed spinach, and frozen squash. I’ll be getting to those things soon, especially the spinach. The box also contained three quarts of whole roasted tomatoes. Thank you very much, but I’ll save those for later.

Whole roasted tomatoes are a great friend in the kitchen. Summer oozes from the jar as soon as its opened. I can make pasta sauce with the mere addition of sliced garlic or braise meats with pretty much no other additions. With just the idea of a good tomato months away, why not dig into my whole roasted tomatoes. Because whole roasted tomates go best with summer foods. We are most familiar with green beans braised in tomato sauce, but the same treatment works well with summer squash, greens, cabbage. Asparagus has a great affinity for tomatoes, you’ve probably seen recipes for tomatoes and asparagus. Then you wonder, what kind of place brings tomatoes and asparagus together at the same time. Surely not around here. Except with your jars of whole roasted tomatoes, you are ready to cook make it happen, the asparagus-tomato marriage you’ve only dreamt.

Tomato Mountain gives us plenty of their namesake tomatoes in their summer and fall CSA boxes. I live on variation of Turkish breakfast/Greek salad during that period.  When they cannot put tomatoes in the box they put jarred tomatoes in their boxes. Winter brings whole roasted tomatoes in the CSA.  They’re trying to treat us now. The illusion of summer in a snow-covered box. I am not fooled. I’m putting away these jars for later.

*Wife works for Tomato Mountain

What’s In Season and Where to Find It – Sponsored by Vera Chicago

Posted: February 11, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Eight Markets for Your Eat Local Needs


Vera-LOGO-Fpattern (1) (1)

Who eats local in February?  You do.  Your sponsors at Vera do–go listen to Chef Mendez kvell over his 1871 milk.  We’ve updated our list of winter markets for Valentine’s weekend.  You’ll find plenty of places.  A little work (get up early?), and there’s no reason you cannot fill your larder with more local food this weekend.  And don’t forget, local food is not just the “fresh” stuff.

What’s In Season Now

We believe you should be able to find the following local items by shopping at winter markets (see below) or at these places.   In addition, look for local food where ever you shop.  For instance, you may find FarmedHere items at your local supermarket.  Likewise, there are still Michigan apples to be had.

Indoor Crops

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Sprouts

Storage Crops

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Apples
  • Squash
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Celery root
  • Turnips
  • Radishes

Year round

  • Meats, poultry, lake fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk, cheese and other dairy
  • Mushrooms
  • Grains and breads
  • Preserved and jarred products

Where to Find Local Food

In addition to the following markets, there are several stores in the Chicago area that focus on selling local foods.

Oak Park

Our friends Dennis and Emily Wettstein bring organic meat and eggs to the Buzz Cafe on Saturday February 14 from 12 PM to 23o PM – 905 S. Lombard


All sorts of food including sausages and tofu plus all you can Nosh await Sunday, February 15 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market - 2755 N. Milwaukee Av

Good friends of the Beet continue with their 61st Winter Farmer’s Market at Experimental Station.  Saturday February 14 from 9 AM to 2 PM - 6100 S. Blackstone

Faith in Place Winter Market at Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park on Saturday, February 14 from 9 AM to 1 PM.  - 5500 S. Woodlawn

A great little market happens in Pilsen on Sunday February 15 from 11 AM to 330 PM – 1213W. 18th (Honky Tonk BBQ)

Did you know that the Andersonville Farmer’s Market meets in the winter?  Their next market is Sunday February 15 from 11 AM to 2 PM – 5211 N. Clark (Swedish Museum)


Weekly winter market at the Evanston Ecology Center on Saturday, February 14 from 9 AM to 1 PM, with a chance to catch the Condiment Queen selling - 2024 N McCormick Blvd


Community Winter Market on  Saturday, February 14  from 9 AM to 1 PM - 327 Hamilton


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

What's In Season and Where to Find It - Sponsored by Vera 1023 W. Lake, Chicago

What’s In Season and Where to Find It – Sponsored by Vera 1023 W. Lake, Chicago

The Next Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

Posted: February 11, 2015 at 11:26 am

Challenges to Big Ag and More Food for Thought


Don’t agree with a lot of the sentiments in this piece (like why have your brethren so actively campaigned against the good food movement?), but what they hey, the more the merrier.

Not so much having to do with local food, but something just as vital.

Speaking of vital and just as not local food, something else near and dear to us.

Be a better reader.

Eat less pesticides.

Eat more fat (sound).

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Eat Local Smoked Fish

Posted: February 9, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Smoke Em if Ya Got Em

Smoked whitefish salad on mish-mosh bagel, both from New York Bagel & Bialy in Lincolnwood

I like fish and seafood. I like fish and seafood a lot. I also think we see it on too much of it on area menus. A couple of forces drive the abundance of fish and seafood on our menus. For many, many years, now, there has been a push to eat fish as a healthy alternative to meat. Moreover, various sea creatures played huge roles in trends over the years. I mean we all nearly netted the redfish out of existence when cajun food was the rage. Finally, I think fish and seafood are fun to play with for chefs. Something as basic as raw fish can be gussied up with fancy add-ons and great knife skills. Thus, Chicago has several restaurants that specialize in seafood and many key restaurants feature seafood strongly on their menus. Should they. Just look at the current posted menus at a couple of places. North Pond’s seasonal tasting menu features kampachi (crudo!) and scallops. Lula has octopus and cured salmon roe. Like I say, I want to eat this stuff. I love crudo. I love octopus. I love most seafood. Just keep it away from me. Serve me something local instead.

The acceptance of freshwater fish in local restaurants is greater now than when I started these rants. That aforementioned Lula also currently offers Rushing Waters trout on the menu. Blackbird has walleye for dinner and seared whitefish on their lunch menu (believe me, good). Of course, I so miss Mado and the way they treated fresh water smelts like anchovies. With these things on the menu, we get a sense a place. Food that truly is local. That tastes of its locale. Anyways, I’ll leave the rest of this argument for some other post.

How about smoked fish. I find it a bit amusing that one can go all over the USA and be fed our local cuisine. In LA, Wexler’s Deli has been posting amazing pictures of our fish on their Instagram account (#smokefisheveryday). In New York, people are clamoring for all the freshwater fishes at Russ & Daughter’s Cafe (man I clammor in my dreams!). Coast to coast, they’re eating our food. Shouldn’t local smoked fishes be a bit more our thing?

There is no doubt that smoked lake fishes are widely available in the Chicago area. For one thing, you have all these people who’ve immigrated in recent years from Eastern Europe, Poland and Russia. They come from lands where octopus and  kampachi rarely graced menus. So, go to an outstanding Polish deli, like Kolatek not too far from me, and (near the weekends mostly) you can get delicious house-smoked trout and whitefish. Or go to a grocery catering to Russian newcomers, like Fresh Farms for other smoked fish options. Then there are the Jews. Any extant deli in the Chicago area carries various smoked fishes. Also, don’t forget, our friends at Jake’s Country Meats.  They carry some pretty cool local smoked fish, including rare to find, locally caught lake salmon. You can have local smoked fish, but do you?

Is it food for alter kockers and those with short ancestry in the USA? We can have it too. Do we celebrate it. Relish it. Shove it in the face of TV food crews the way we do italian beef, hot dogs and Burt’s deep-dish? Like I say, I get the impression they like our lake fish better away than here. We need to make smoked fish one of the true, respected Chi-CAW-go things. And there is no better place to start than at New York Bagel and Bialy’s in Lincolnwood. It is not critical to have a bagel with one’s smoked fish. In fact, a good pumpernickel or even those rye cracker thing-ee’s work well with smoked fish. Still, a bagel tastes very good with a nice whitefish salad. I’ve always found the bagels at NYB&B to far exceed anything else in Chicagoland. Their lox (or nova), on the other hand, not so exceeding. Good thing I discovered recently what Michael Morowitz has known for 25 years, the whitefish salad at NYB&B is excellent. I will say that I did not grow up a whitefish salad aficionado. In our lox box, there would be lox and a chub, but never whitefish salad. It was only when I went to that third bastion of great lake fish, North Miami Beach, did I discover, at Bagel Bar, not far from where my wife grew up, the pleasures of whitefish salad. Problem, I rarely find whitefish salad as good as Bagel Bar (can’t get Bagel Bar whitefish salad anymore either but that’s another story too.) It can be way too mayo-heavy, or mucked up with crap like celery. Like a good crab cake, the less of anything else, the better the whitefish salad. If you start at NYB&B, you’ll know what I mean, and you’ll know what I mean about eating more local smoked fish.

Recycled – Resist the Tyranny of the Fresh Friday, February 6th, 2015
Vera Wants You to Know What’s in Season Now and Where to Get It Thursday, February 5th, 2015
This Week There Will Be a Harvest of Eat Local Links Monday, February 2nd, 2015