The Local Calendar 4/16/14 One Last Soup and Bread, Mint Creek Brunch, Green City Market

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Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:55 am

ramps illianamintcreekeggs Kinni

Spring ramps have made it to some of your favorite restaurants, Chef Stephanie Izard tweeted Wednesday, “Ramps being delivered today! Hitting goat menus tomorrow! Yay spring might actually be here!!”, Lula Cafe tweeted today, ” Working on the first course for farm dinner tonight! Skatewing, clams, first of the season ramps.”

Farm dinners(should be called farm meal, some are brunches, lunches or dinners) with some of the most well known farmers get booked really quickly. Mint Creek is offering the first event of the season Easter brunch this Sunday. Here is Slagel Family Farm’s schedule for the season (5/3-10/4) . Their first dinner is Saturday May 3rd with Chef Paul Virant. Prairie Fruit Farms has announced their schedule(5/25-12/4) but they stagger their offerings, so their first 5 dinners went on sale and they just announced 2 family style brunches on May 3 and May 10. The offerings for the rest of the summer will be available for sale at the end of May. The best way to stay informed about ticket availability for these dinners is to sign up for the farm newsletters on their websites.

PGP(Peterson Garden Project) is one of the leading organizations in Chicago providing classes, programs and resources to teach you how to grow your own food, including a book “Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland” and soon it will be opening the Fearless Food Kitchen in Edgewater to teach you how to cook the food that you grow.

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

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

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

Lots going on, 2 weeks until the Green City Market goes outdoors! The local calendar is picking up, now onto the week ahead, take advantage of the incredible markets and farmstead/craft/artisanal food and beverage scene that Chicago has to offer! We are very lucky!!!

The Week’s Local Calendar

April 16

Chicago - Soup and Bread at The Hideout - 6pm Last week! –  The Hideout 1354 West Wabansia Bread is donated as ever by their pals at Publican Quality Meats. Pay what you can donations benefit a local food pantry.

April 19

Chicago - Edible Gardens Workshop Green City Market - 9a;30am – 10:15am Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum  Planting the Garden of your Dreams Jeanne Nolan, founder of the edible-garden business The Organic Gardenerand author of the new book From the Ground Up, explains how to shatter the winter blues with a spring garden.

Chicago - Green City Market Indoor Market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum  8am -1pm Opening Day for Outdoor is May 3!  Preorders for the new Green City Market Cookbook can be placed here.

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

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

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

April 20

Chicago - Dark Matter, Brooklyn Brewery and Half Acre Present Devil’s Lettuce Release Party (FREE) 6pm The Double Door 1572 North Milwaukee

Chicago - Logan Square Indoor Market  10am–3pm Logan Blvd 2755 North Milwaukee. The NOSH will share space with the Indoor Logan Square market at the old Pierre Bakery Building. Last day of the Logan winter market, spring/summer starts May 19th.

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

Kempton(90 min from Chicago) - Mint Creek Easter Brunch - 11am Ticket price ($75) includes a fabulous brunch prepared by Chef Guia Hoffman at the beautiful and inviting Greenhouse Bed and Breakfast, of which she is part-owner. According to Harry, no one does brunch better than Guia — and all who know her are inclined to agree. Mint Creek meats will be featured, as will local produce (from the Greenhouse Bed and Breakfastand Three Plaid Farmers) when seasonally available. You’ll also enjoy a first-hand, interactive tour of the farm, where you’ll get out amongst the animals and learn all the ins and outs of the place from head farmer/owner Harry Carr.

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

April 21

Evanston – Free Screening Growing Cities at Farmhouse 703 Church St. 6:30pm Sponsored by Whole Foods Evanston

April 21- 25

Chicago – Checkout all the Whisky Week events!

April 22

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

SAVE THE DATE

April 25

Chicago – 15th Annual Whiskyfest Chicago – This has SOLDOUT already but keep checking the calendar for all the other ancillary events that happen during this week!

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

April 26

Chicago – TND Presents 2nd Annual Safari Supper – 6pm   TND (Tuesday Night Dinner) Presents: invites you to join them for the 2nd annual Safari Supper, a progressive dinner showcasing Chicago’s underground dining community. Guests will travel to several distinct Chicago venues, each hosted by a different supper club. Included in the event are paired drinks, curated art and live music – all by way of bus. This sounds like A LOT OF FUN!!!!!!!!!! Tickets and more information here VIP

April 27

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

Lincoln Square - Salute to Women in Wine & Cheese - 7-8:30pm Provenance Lincoln Square  2312 W. Leland Avenue With Mother’s Day on the horizon, they are  inspired to create a different take on their wine & cheese pairing class. Taste a lineup of offerings made by great women cheese & wine makers. Join senior staff members Richard & Nicole for a fabulously tasty lineup! Cost is $35 per person. Participants receive 15% off any purchases made that night.

May 2

Chicago - Spring Off The Avenue – 5:30pm -8:30pm 444 W. Chicago Ave. The Chicago Lights Urban Farm and Free Write Jail Arts and Literacy are joining together for an event showcasing what’s growing in these two Chicago Lights programs.  The evening will feature art, poetry, and performances by Free Write Jail Arts, along with food, drinks, and networking in a beautiful greenhouse setting.

May 2 – 3

Ottawa - Midwest Morel Fest

May 3

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

ChicagoOpening Day of the Green City Market Outdoor Location!

Chicago – Graze Issue 5 Release Party 8-11pm The Charnel House 3421 W. Fullerton

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

May 8

Chicago – Beats and BBQ Growing Power Iron Street Farm - 5:30pm We’ll have delicious BBQ and veggies from the farm, as well as local beer to quench your thirst. Duane Powell of Maximum Audio Visual will be providing the “beets” for our BBQ. They’ll have tours of the farm at 6pm and 7pm.  Come see what’s growing, taste honey from our six bee hives, pet our adorable goats, and see the newest commercial compost facility in Chicago. Your ticket and donation help fund their work in Chicago.  Thanks to our Advisory Board for coordinating this exciting dinner.

May 10

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

May 11

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

May 12

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

May 15

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

May 20

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

May 25

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

May 31

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

June 11

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

June 14

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

June 21

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

June 28

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


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Vegetables are People Too!

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Posted: April 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

Help Peasant Plot Through Their Kickstarter

Ok, it’s not our name, nor our kickstarter, but it’s a cause and some farmers we like.

Spend a bit of time around the many eat local wonks populating our region, and you’ll here we need more farmers, that the eat local ethos teeters on the ability to grow more eat local suppliers. Todd and Julia McDonald heard that call, and they’ve been trying to do their part to grow.  They have a farm, Peasant Plot,  in Manteno, Illinois.  They try hard to grow it the right way.

And spend a bit of time around local farmers, and you’ll here there’s never enough money to take care of things; upgrade; expand.  Farming, sustainable farming, aint easy.  At the end of the day, there’s rarely enough coin left for growth.  Hence, farms often take to alternative fundraising efforts.  Here, Julia and Todd went to Kickstarter.  They’re hoping to raise $15,000 for needed equipment and infrastructure improvements.  They call it Vegetables are People Too.  Not our name, but it’s a cause and some farmer’s we like.  Consider helping.  The Kickstarter goes through April 28, 2014.


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Next Weekly Harvest of Flawed Indices & More Eat Local Links

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Posted: April 14, 2014 at 8:40 am

Hopefully you can find away around Crain’s paywalls to read this update on Local Foods.

Mariano’s also looking to get bigger, better into local foods.

Vegetables are people too.  Consider this kickstarter.

The great whitefish crisis of 2014.

Given some time, I’ll explain why the “Locovore Index” remains flawed.

But Maine likes where it sits.

Remember you read about local matzah on the Local Beet first.

Happy Blog-a-versary to the Minnesota Locavore.

Eating local does not require giving up on Chocolate.

 


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Eat This

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Posted: April 11, 2014 at 11:52 am

tomato mountain spinach

Ok, you’re walking right past the asparagus display this week at Whole Foods. Right. You don’t feel the need to violate your eat local principles just because it’s “Spring.” Shelling fava beans does not meet some primordial call of the Motherland does it. You can resist the urge/a> to have peas, because, frankly unless they’re frozen you’re really not getting good peas now anyways.

What passes for the Spring season is still weeks away in the Chicago area. Can you manage as a locavore. Of course. Commit to eating local now and you’ll never waver. Scoff at those who think they have to put distant items on their menus now. You are eating this instead.

For instance, frost kissed spinach season came very (very) late this year. Normally, we’d be extolling the virtues of cold grown Wisconsin spinach in the middle of winter, but this year it got too cold even for this green. It’s finally arrived. It’s a true treat of the season. Unlike shipped in asparagus and peas that will taste wane, imitations of what they can be. This will taste alive and special. It carries sweetness a plant creates when battling against the elements. Do you think those coddled California plants do that. It’s highly versatile. You can bring frost kissed, local spinach, across a spectrum of temperatures from raw, as a salad; wilted (as a salad again!), sauteed, to more fully braised. What you get this time of year is so ample you can expand your repertoire. Make local dolmades with the giant leaves. Use the stems as an entire second cutting of the species. Juice to detox.

Need another unique, seasonal, treat? How about over-wintered parsnips. Something else the everlasting gardens out West cannot duplicate. You can get asparagus later. Can you get these roots with flavors amped up by extra time in the ground. Again, cold is our friend. Again, the plant in battling the elements produces something tastier, special.

You can find what’s in season now, now. Irv and Shelly have local spinach on their roster. The Vivacious Condiment Queen should also have spinach at the year-round Evanston market. Growing Power is a great source for seasonal parsnips. When your friends wonder how you did not put asparagus on your Seder table; peas on the Easter buffet, you can tell them, eat this. This local stuff actually in season.


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Fruit Vendor Wanted for PCC Austin Produce Market

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Posted: April 11, 2014 at 10:52 am

PeachesBlackberriesStraw:GCM

In the spirit of spreading good food to all communities, this request came in:

 Fruit vendor wanted!

 

PCC Community Wellness Center (PCC) is in need of a Chicago area fruit vendor to help us provide fruit at our summer market, the PCC Austin Produce Market. PCC is a non-profit community health center that provides affordable, quality healthcare to the Austin community. The Austin community is a known food desert that lacks adequate access to fresh food. Now entering its fourth year, the PCC Austin Produce Market is one of many ways PCC creates better access to full body health and wellness for individuals and the community. A vendor who can drop off fruit is preferred.
Please contact Lucy Flores, Program Manager, at 708.524.7685 or email at LFlores@pccwellness.org for more details.


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What’s Not in Season is In Season

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Posted: April 9, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Klug asparagus

Despite my best intentions, I managed to skip Local Family blogging the entire month of March. When we last met, I went before you to insist myself and my family remained a Local Family despite the lack of posting. I explained that we continued to eat local; it was just we were not throwing ourselves into full born Everlasting Meal mode. When one does not do a lot of tamar-ing, one falls into lazy locavore mode. Opening a jar of summer pickles here, making do with raw radishes there. Eating local with as little effort as possible. I’ve been accumulating pictures of #lazylocavore meals for an actual post, but I am not ready to post. It’s not so much that needing to be posted as this. What’s not in season.

What’s in season? My yearly griping about getting ahead of Spring. See here for instance. I’ll get a whiff that asparagus is showing up on area menus before it’s broken through any local dirt, or I’ll hear about a delicious pea dish being offered. Usually, it’s the chefs and restaurants I like the most that provoke me. Ten months of the year, they’ll prowl the markets, building meals out of what is local and seasonal. Even in the darkest periods they’ll abide by the locavore ethos. Then we get to Mid-March, early April. The idea of one more root crop dish drives them batty. It has to be the season for asparagus, peas, fava beans. Hell, someone’s even selling squash blossoms. They go for it, getting all that Spring things from outta of the area. It drives me batty.

Why cannot all of us wait. This Local Family will not put anything green on its Passover seder table (OK, we’ll cheat with some parsley and other herbs). The meal will have potatoes, carrots and beets and cabbage all from our remaining larder. We’ll manage just fine without any asparagus.

Abiding by What’s Not In Season In Season makes things burdensome. Yet, I enjoy the suffering. Waiting, waiting, waiting for the really good asparagus just adds to the pleasure. Like completing an especially grueling workout-of-the-day, we train ourselves to better compete in the Eat Local games. You have to be ready to eat this way any day, right? The pain in scrounging for one more local meal as the others given in to Cali-produce builds esprit d’corp in the Bungalow. We are proud we know what’s in season and eat accordingly. In my several years of Spring griping, I am not sure I have turned anyone away from what they perceive as being in season now. Will you be the person to give in to join us in the burden.

I may be a very lazy locavore these days, with a terrible recent track record for postings. It may be another month until I post again. Months. Whenever I post again, I guarantee you sometime early next Spring, you’ll see another post like this.


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The Local Calendar 4/9/14 CoffeeCon, Cochon 555, Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival

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Posted: April 9, 2014 at 8:00 am

GrowingPowerPastoralartisanCochon555

Coffee, cheese, and pig are on the calendar this weekend besides the markets. You can pick up these incredibly vibrant salad greens at Growing Power Chicago Iron Street Farm Saturday from 10am to 3pm. It’s very cool that the greens can be found at select Walgreens on the south and west sides as well.

It is that time of year to start scheduling your farm dinner!!! Farm dinners(should be called farm meal, some are brunches, lunches or dinners) with some of the most well known farmers get booked really quickly. Mint Creek is offering the first event of the season Easter brunch. Here is Slagel Family Farm’s schedule for the season (5/3-10/4) . Their first dinner is Saturday May 3rd with Chef Paul Virant. Prairie Fruit Farms has announced their schedule(5/25-12/4) but they stagger their offerings, so their first 5 dinners went on sale and they just announced 2 family style brunches on May 3 and May 10. The offerings for the rest of the summer will be available for sale at the end of May. Mint Creek, The best way to stay informed about ticket availability for these dinners is to sign up for the farm newsletters on their websites.

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

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

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

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

Lots going on, the local calendar is picking up, now onto the week ahead, take advantage of the incredible craft/artisanal food and beverage scene that Chicago has to offer! We are very lucky!!! Now onto the week ahead:

The Week’s Local Calendar

April 9

Chicago - Soup and Bread at The Hideout - 6pm   “Tastes Like Chicken” –  The Hideout 1354 West Wabansia Only 2 weeks left. Bread is donated as ever by their pals at Publican Quality Meats. Pay what you can donations benefit a local food pantry.

April 10

Chicago - The Art of Simple Food Alice Waters in Conversation With Ruth Reichl The Chicago Humanties Festival 6pm The Art Institute (The lecture is sold out but there still are tickets available for the reception) Reception following benefitting the Edible Schoolyard Project and Green City Market. Tickets

Chicago – Corner Farm Spring Fundraiser at Whirlaway - 7-11pm  3224 West Fullerton Ave. Spring is finally here! Join them to grow some green for CFC at one of their favorite neighborhood watering holes, the Whirlaway Lounge. Money raised goes directly into the farm for seeds, materials, soil and more! Maria is, as always, your kind & generous host.

Chicago – Presale tickets go on sale for the Chicago Gourmet Festival including tickets for the Grand Cru tasting as well!(SOLD OUT immediately)

April 11

Chicago – Cochon 555 Chef’s Course Dinner Series - The evening begins at 6 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres designed by each chef and an impressive offering from Prosciutto di Parma, all paired with a welcome cocktail featuring Breckenridge Distillery bourbon handcrafted by Sepia Head Bartender Griffin Elliott. The cocktail reception is followed by a sit-down, seven-course dinner at 7 p.m., with Goose Island Beer Co. beer and Breckenridge Distillery bourbon pairings that emphasize the high-quality produce and ingredients available from the Midwest’s finest farmers and purveyors. Finally, the evening ends with a Breckenridge nightcap and a sweet treat prepared by Sepia Pastry Chef Cindy Shuman.

Chicago – Alma Graduate School’s MBA Food and Wine Event – 5:30pm – 7:30pm Eataly Want to get an MBA in Food and Wine in Italy, yes this program actually exists!! There is a  €15,000 scholarship available for a US citizen as well. Free event, just rsvp@paramountpr.com

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

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

April 12

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

Chicago - 4th Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival - French Market 11am – 3pm Every year this free event gets ever more crowded. So this year I suggest being strategic, get there early to meet the actual producers of many of the cheeses and products that Pastoral sells. Friends don’t let friends eat stale cheese, talk to the producers to learn how cheese should be maintained so you can be a smarter shopper.

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

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

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

April 13

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

Chicago/Roger’s Park – Glenwood Sunday Indoor Winter Market – 9am – 2pm 6962 N. Glenwood Glenwood Bar (Next market May 4)

Chicago - Logan Square Indoor Market  10am–3pm Logan Blvd 2755 North Milwaukee. The NOSH will share space with the Indoor Logan Square market at the old Pierre Bakery Building. Last day of the Logan winter market, spring/summer starts May 19th.

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

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

April 15

Chicago - Re-Thinking Soup What A Waste – Food Loss and Recovery - 6-7pm Jane Addams Hull House Museum 800 S. Halsted Free Guest Presenters: Ken Dunn, Resource Center, Rajesh Karmani, Zero Precent, Greater Chicago Food Depository Tossing last week’s leftovers or the wilted lettuce, still wrapped in the store packaging (yikes!) is indeed wasteful. But consumer behavior is only one dimension of the global food loss issue affecting agriculture today. In fact, food waste affects every step of the supply chain between farm and fork – from transport to processor to retail, to yes, your home kitchen. According to USDA estimates, between 30 and 50 percent of all food produced is discarded, much of it edible.

SAVE THE DATE

April 17

Happy April Food Day!

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

April 19

Chicago – Edible Gardens Workshop Green City Market – 9a;30am – 10:15am Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum  Planting the Garden of your Dreams Jeanne Nolan, founder of the edible-garden business The Organic Gardenerand author of the new book From the Ground Up, explains how to shatter the winter blues with a spring garden.

Chicago - Green City Market Indoor Market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum  8am -1pm Opening Day for Outdoor is May 3!  Preorders for the new Green City Market Cookbook can be placed here.

April 20

Stelle(90 min from Chicago) - Mint Creek Easter Brunch – 11am Ticket price ($75) includes a fabulous brunch prepared by Chef Guia Hoffman at the beautiful and inviting Greenhouse Bed and Breakfast, of which she is part-owner. According to Harry, no one does brunch better than Guia — and all who know her are inclined to agree. Mint Creek meats will be featured, as will local produce (from the Greenhouse Bed and Breakfastand Three Plaid Farmers) when seasonally available. You’ll also enjoy a first-hand, interactive tour of the farm, where you’ll get out amongst the animals and learn all the ins and outs of the place from head farmer/owner Harry Carr.

April 21- 25

Chicago – Checkout all the Whisky Week events!

April 22

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

April 25

Chicago – 15th Annual Whiskyfest Chicago – This has SOLDOUT already but keep checking the calendar for all the other ancillary events that happen during this week!

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

April 27

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

Lincoln Square - Salute to Women in Wine & Cheese - 7-8:30pm Provenance Lincoln Square  2312 W. Leland Avenue With Mother’s Day on the horizon, they are  inspired to create a different take on their wine & cheese pairing class. Taste a lineup of offerings made by great women cheese & wine makers. Join senior staff members Richard & Nicole for a fabulously tasty lineup! Cost is $35 per person. Participants receive 15% off any purchases made that night.

May 2 – 3

Ottawa - Midwest Morel Fest

May 3

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

ChicagoOpening Day of the Green City Market Outdoor Location!

Chicago – Graze Issue 5 Release Party 8-11pm The Charnel House 3421 W. Fullerton

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

May 10

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

May 11

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

May 15

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

May 25

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

May 31

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

June 11

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

June 14

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

June 21

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

June 28

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


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Know Your Farmer, Know Your Cheesemonger, Know Your Cheese! 4th Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival

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Posted: April 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

PraireFruitgoat1Pastoralartisan

Try this test, buy some cheese sitting in that large freezer case, full of chunks of cheese wrapped tightly with saran wrap, that looks pricewise as a good deal and then buy the same cheese from a reliable cheesemonger like Pastoral Artisan or Provenance Food and Wine. Go home and taste both, you will taste a difference, really you will!!! Whether it be soft or hard cheese, cheese is a living product that ages much like wine aging in a bottle and how that cheese is maintained while it is on the shelf makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN TASTE!!!

You don’t believe me? Well, this weekend is your chance to meet farmstead producers in person at the Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival at the downtown French Market this Saturday from 11am to 3pm and it is FREE!! You can taste cheese, ask questions, find out how cheese is made, what the taste difference is between sheep, goat and cow’s milk cheese and there will be lots of other producers to go along with that cheese, beer, wine, charcuterie and more.

I have referenced the book, Goat Song by Brad Kessler previously on The Local Beet. For anyone wanting to learn more about the farmstead cheese process, what the difference between chèvre, tommes, croutons and brebis are? What does transhumance mean? This book is well written, captivating and chock full of information about the process of making cheese.

As an aside, Pastoral is particpating in the “Adopt An Alpprogram, “We adopted an Alp and in return we are delivered these beautiful alpage cheeses made according to the ancient practice of transhumance.” The cheese is called alpkaese, “This cheese is made from milk gathered as the cows graze the pastures of Alp Kohlschlag up to an altitude of 6400 feet above sea level. Transhumance is the ancient practice of grazing animals in high pastures in summer and moving them to lower pastures in winter. The cheese reflects the true terroir(taste of the land), the grasses and flora of the mountain.

Since it isn’t the easiest to fly off to Switzerland to taste cheese in the alps, the Producer Festival gives you a chance to taste cheese, many of the cheeses from the farms here in the midwest, across the US and Europe. In most cases you can meet the farmers themselves. Most of all, you can find out for yourself how cheese that is maintained well by a knowledgable cheese monger tastes so MUCH BETTER!!! Remember, know your farmer, know your cheesemonger and eat great cheese!!

(The author does not work for Pastoral or was paid by Pastoral to write this, she just really loves good cheese!)


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Each Week, We Harvest Some Eat Local Links for Your Extra Reading

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Posted: April 7, 2014 at 9:19 am

This week we found ways to eat local greens, local and in Brooklyn and many places focused on challenging themselves to eat more local overall.

Greens & Gills aquaponic farm.

They’re getting local greens in Brooklyn too.

Eat local Geneva (that’s Geneva, New York–”Lake Trout Capital of the World!”)

Eat local Mt. Pleasant, Texas.

Eat local at the ballgame.

Eat local British Columbia.

Hoping to eat more local herring.

We’re waiting, Wendy.

They take eat local Charleston very seriously.

And Vermont.

Finally, they were eating local in New Orleans before they knew about eating local, but they’re also gearing up for a special month of eating local.

 

 

 


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Local Purveyors on the Top of the List for The Sugar Beet Co-op Products

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Posted: April 7, 2014 at 8:37 am

Editor’s Note: When you put Beet in your name, you get on our radar soon. We’ve been happily following the emergence and growth of Sugar Beet Co-op since they came on the Eat Local scene a few years ago. As you may know, the reality of their operation quickened recently, with the annoucement that they have a space and a lease. Their store should be around soon, and they plan on ensuring they’ll be carrying the good stuff.  More, the Sugar Beet is just one of several food co-ops launching (or launched!) in the Chicago area helping us eat better.  We’ve asked Judy Klem, who’s a friend of Beets, Sugar and Local, to provide a little update on things.

The Sugar Beet Co-op  is over two years into its planning—mere adolescence in the life of a community-owned food cooperative—but recently put its plans on the fast track with the signing of a lease for space in Oak Park. The space, located at 812 W Madison St, is the sole retail space on the ground level of a renovated, LEED-certified building that has 52 affordable housing units on the upper four floors. Also on fast track are the Co-op’s membership campaign and a capital campaign to fund the build-out of the store, with an anticipated opening in early 2015.

AboutGrid - sugar beet

With a projected opening less than 12 months away, the Co-op will soon undertake a search for a General Manager who will be tasked with staffing, sourcing products, and stocking the shelves when the store opens. The goal is to have a GM in place up to six months before opening. It’s likely that the GM will come from the broader cooperative movement and could be unfamiliar with the Midwest farmers and producers the Co-op hopes to support.
The Sugar Beet enlisted Robin Schirmer, an early Co-op supporter—and no stranger to The Local Beet—to use her knowledge of the local food scene in Chicago and the Midwest to compile a list of local farms, meat and dairy producers, artisan food crafters, and small-scale distributors to provide a jumpstart to our GM when s/he comes on board.

Robin’s entrée into the local foods arena began in 2007 with the coordination for three seasons of the Winter Farmers Markets that popped up from November through March on a one-time basis in area churches. (That function is now served by Faith In Place.) She more recently worked for five seasons with Tomato Mountain Farm, coordinating the farm’s Chicago area farmers market presence and its large, home-delivery CSA. She’s feeding her passion for local foods since leaving that position by volunteering in various capacities with the Sugar Beet Co-op and by working with 80+ CSA farmers that serve the Chicago area to help to form a CSA coalition. Stay tuned for more about that at a later date.

The Co-op’s Product Sourcing Guidelines indicate a preference for foods that are locally produced, organic and/or sustainably produced, GMO-free, as whole as possible, etc., but the guidelines—prepared by the initial organizers of the Co-op—are flexible and subject to the needs and desires of the membership.

For now, Robin is compiling a list of the many food items that can be purchased from local purveyors in a wide variety of categories from Alcoholic Beverages to Fruits to Refrigerated Grocery items—and everything in between. Not all of the sources she’s uncovered will be willing or able to sell to a retail establishment, but it’s hoped that relationships with key sources will make for a steady supply of goods when the store opens. And with the critical mass of new cooperative stores in formation* added to the Dill Pickle Food Co-op in Logan Square and the South Suburban Food Co-op in Park Forest, there may be opportunities for collaboration among cooperatives in coming years.

If you are a farmer, producer, or other food purveyor or distributor who sells to retail stores and you want to make sure you are listed on this ongoing sourcing list, please email Robin at robininwinter@aol.com, or use the comments below.
**********************
*Prairie Food Co-op, Lombard; Chicago Cooperative, North Side of Chicago; Rogers Park Co-op, North Side of Chicago; Shared Harvest, Elgin; and Green Tomato, Batavia.


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The Talking Farm Holds Fundraiser To Support Expansion of Urban Farm

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Posted: April 4, 2014 at 7:42 am

talking farm

 

The Local Beet has long been fans, friends and supporters of Evanston’s Talking Farm.  Long time Beet contributor Wendy Aeschlimann currently sits on the Board of Talking Farm.  You may have heard that they have a fundraiser coming up in a few days.  Well, there’s a just a few tickets left, and we want you to get them.

Since 2006, The Talking Farm, a non-profit organization based in Evanston and Skokie, has been dedicated to cultivating healthy, sustainable communities by promoting the production and appreciation of locally grown food through educational initiatives and hands-on learning programs. For years, they have operated the successful Edible Acre school garden program with Evanston Township High School. They provided technical assistance to groups looking to start community or school gardens. But their dreams were loftier — they wanted enough land that would produce a significant amount of food, as well as ease the expansion of their intensive educational initiatives. They wanted a farm. A place where people could learn, from top to bottom, how to organically grow vegetables through hands-on learning, and where the fruits of their labor — beautiful, locally-grown produce — would be distributed back to the community that grew it. A place where people could intern and learn about urban farming. Or to host community or corporate groups and teach them about the odd sense of satisfaction from a day of pulling weeds out of the ground.
In 2011, the Skokie Park District answered their call, and generously offered them 2.75 pristine acres of undeveloped parkland to use as an urban farm on Howard Street in Skokie. They called it the Howard Street Farm, and through thousands of volunteer hours, began the process of transforming wild land into neat, organized crop rows. They built a 10,000 square foot demonstration garden with raised beds that was used by community groups to grow ethnic heritage crops. The catch? It wasn’t zoned for them to sell or distribute produce grown on the farm. So, they began the long process of seeking a special zoning adjustment. And, after more than a year, in February 2014, the Village of Skokie gave them final approval to operate as a full-fledged farm.
The bad news is that fundraising was stifled by the zoning process. As a result of the zoning approvals, they now need costly infrastructure to operate as a “real” farm, such as irrigation and a processing shed to wash produce grown on the farm. So, this Sunday, they are partnering with locavore powerhouse-restaurant Farmhouse in Evanston, and are holding a fundraiser, “Celebrate the Growing Season,” which not only pays homage to the excitement of the upcoming growing season — their first — but raises badly-needed funds. $50 from each ticket will directly support The Talking Farm, and includes passed hors d’oeuvres, a generous, full buffet, dessert, and two drinks. Music will be provided by The Greenleaf Band. In other words, eat local food to support the growth of local food. A small price to pay to help this organization achieve its goals.
For more information on and to see the menu, go to Celebrate the Growing Season.
Get your tickets here.

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Asparagus – a Springtime Delight and a Great Addition to Any Garden!

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Posted: April 2, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Asparagus Photo: Organic Gardening

Asparagus
Photo: Organic Gardening

If you have ever tasted asparagus fresh from the garden, then you know the benefits of growing your own. Harvested in spring, it comes back year-after-year and is a very easy to grow perennial. It will do well in any area that has cold winters (take that Florida!). It is very hardy and has escaped into the wild in many parts of the country. In my neck of the woods I have seen it growing along fence rows and railroad tracks.

Asparagus is grown in beds that will last twenty years or more. Therefore, choose a spot well – one that you will not need for a couple of decades.  Make sure that this area is well drained and sunny. A little shade will not hurt your asparagus bed, but it will do much better in an area with full sunshine. Standing water, or generally wet soil, will cause disease and rot in asparagus, so the area that you choose to create your asparagus bed should be well drained.

Asparagus coming up in the spring. Photo: urbanext.illinois.edu

Asparagus coming up in the spring.
Photo: urbanext.illinois.edu

An asparagus bed should be about four feet wide with the length determined by the number of plants you start. The soil should be double dug (two shovels deep) with plenty of compost added into the soil. If the soil is hard or has a lot of clay, add some gypsum to loosen it. Keep in mind that, as the bed will not be dug again for a long time, when you are first preparing it is the time to make sure that the soil is conditioned well for the asparagus to grow.

Asparagus plants are usually started from one year old plants sold as dormant roots in bunches. The roots should be planted in your asparagus bed at a depth of 6 inches, with the crown up, in a trench 12 inches wide. Space plants about a foot apart to give the plants room to grow. The crowns should be covered with about 2 inches of soil. Asparagus likes alkaline soil over acidic. Wood ashes or lime can increase alkalinity, but only add if your soil has been determined to be high in acid!

After several years, asparagus plants will tend to rise in the soil, exposing the crown. You may want to cover the crowns with more soil at this time. You can start asparagus from seed, planting at a depth of ½ inch in rows 12 inches apart. This will increase the time before you can start to harvest the stalks, though.

Asparagus plants are monoecious, which is to say they are either male or female. The female plants will produce more stalks than the male plants but they will also produce berries and this will take some of the energy away from the production of the stalk. Also, the berries have seeds that will produce more plants that will overcrowd the asparagus bed and these plants may not grow true to the variety that you have planted. White asparagus that is seen in stores is not a variety per se, but is blanched by pulling soil or mulch up over the plants as they grow. This cuts off the sun from the plant turning it white.

Mature Asparagus Photo: Bonnie Plants

Mature Asparagus
Photo: Bonnie Plants

There are old varieties of asparagus on the market, such as “Mary Washington” that generally have both male and female plants included in the bunch when purchased. This is true of open pollinated varieties, as well. Newer varieties have been created to produce only male plants including Jersey Giant, Jersey Knight, and Viking KBC.

An asparagus bed will form a mat of roots, sending up stalks in the spring that will become a tall fern-like plant as they grow through summer. The first couple of years, the stalks will be thin and spindly and you should wait until the third year to start harvesting. Harvest by snapping the stalk. The stalk will naturally snap where the tender parts end and the more woody part of the stalk begins. You can cut the stalk with a knife to harvest, but you may wind up with some of the more woody parts that will have to be cut off later anyway. Asparagus should be mulched from year-to-year to keep down weeds and to protect it in the winter.

Asparagus is susceptible to Asparagus Rust, especially in moist weather where moisture is present on the plants for more than 12 hours at a time.  Asparagus will also be preyed upon by the Asparagus Beetle. Several insecticides, including neem oil, will control these, as will hand picking. In my experience, Japanese beetles have also been a problem in years when Japanese beetle populations have been large.

Asparagus Beetle Photo: Organic Gardening

Asparagus Beetle
Photo: Organic Gardening

As it is very easy to grow and is something that will come back from year-to-year, asparagus is a great addition to any garden!

 

For further information:

University of Illinois Extension info on asparagus

University of Missouri Extension info on asparagus

Organic Gardening article about growing asparagus

And if you have chickens….

 

 


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Irv and Shelly Welcome You to Fresh Picks + Farmers, Pig Roast & More – Sunday April 6

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Posted: April 1, 2014 at 7:05 am

It’s the start of April. This is the hungry season for locavores. Winter stores have depleted. The idea of “Spring” crops remains highly illusive. As many bananas and artichokes you’re willing to cheat with, you still want to eat local. What to do? Well, even in these lean times, Irv and Shelly offer a variety of local fruit and vegetables. Their current inventory of local foods includes apples, carrots, celery root, cabbage, onions and potatoes. They even have some local herbs right now. See, Irv and Shelly know the region. They cultivated relationships with all sorts of growers, ranchers, and artisans. So they want to share some of that with you this weekend. On Sunday April 6, from 3 to 6 PM, Irv and Shelly are hosting an open house and tour at their facilities in Niles (5625 W Howard St). It’s a chance to see what they do; how they do it, and also have a little fun.

They’ll be roasting a Gunthrop Farm hog, including a vegetarian cooking demo; fermented drinks range from Goose Island beer to Kama Kombucha. Several local farmers will be there to meet and greet and talk dirty to you (you know what we mean). Sounds like a great way to support the local food community.

Additional details can be found here. They’d love for you to RSVP to answers@freshpicks.com so they can help their chefs plan!


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

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Posted: March 31, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Look Who Showed Up in This Week’s Harvest

 

Jeannie’s not just for the Beet.

Like walking on to the Portlandia set.

Change the way we farm!

Eat local in the Bahamas.  Indonesia?

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

We’re not the only ones hawking local matzah.

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

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

 


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

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Posted: March 26, 2014 at 9:09 am

SlagelLunch table on the porchAngelicTheFarm

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

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

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

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

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

The Week’s Local Calendar

March 26

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

Chicago - Cider and a Movie- Tierralismo at Uncommon Ground - 6-8pm Uncommon Ground 1401 West Devon Join Growing Home in this unique opportunity to enjoy Virtue cider and appetizers while exploring the intriguging, relevant, and inspiring world of Cuban agriculture! Harry Rhodes, Growing Home’s Executive Director and leader in Chicago’s urban agriculture movement, will speak about his recent trip to Cuba and discuss how Cuban agricultural practices relate to urban farming and development in Chicago. Following the discussion, you’ll screen Tierralismo by Alejandro Ramirez Anderson, an inspiring documentary about a 26-acre farming co-op in the outskirts of Havana.

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

Springfield - 2014 Local Foods Awareness Day at the Capitol 10am to 4pm The State Library & Capitol Complex Join local food consumers, farmers and advocates from around Illinois working to promote and raise awareness about local food systems and sustainable agriculture in Illinois. Sponsored by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.

March 27

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

March 28

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

March 29-30

Chicago –  2-DAY WORKSHOP: “HIGH BIONUTRIENT CROP PRODUCTION - 9:30am – 4:30pm Garfield Park Conservatory  Learn from a life long Farmer of his understanding and first hand experiences utilizing a Biological Approach to crop production. Dan Kittredge, Executive Director of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA) & the Real Food Campaign, will lead the workshop.  Cost: $150.00, with Scholarship funds available for Farmers. *For Event Information*: please contact the North Lawndale GreeningCommittee – Dr. Shemuel Israel, President NLGC – cell: 773-332-7887; or Annamaria Leon, Director, Education & Community Outreach cell: 414-339-55537, or email at  nlgreeningcommittee@gmail.co

March 29

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

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

Chicago - Green City Market Indoor Market at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum  8am -1pm Chef demonstration Heather Terhune Sable 10:30-11:30am Next markets will take place:, 4/5, 4/19. Preorders for the new Green City Market Cookbook can be placed here.

ChicagoGrowing Power Iron Street Farm Stand - 10am – 3pm 3333 South Iron St. With their hoop houses they have fresh produce all winter

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

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

March 30

Chicago - Logan Square Indoor Market  10am–3pm Logan Blvd 2755 North Milwaukee. The NOSH will share space with the Indoor Logan Square market at the old Pierre Bakery Building. Last day of the Logan winter market, spring/summer starts May 19th.

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

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

March 31

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

Chicago - Chowdah Fest is back at Columbia Yacht Club

April 1

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

SAVE THE DATE

April 3

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

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

April 4-5

Beloit, WI – The Right to Food Conference with Vandana Shiva Beloit College Co-sponsored by Angelic Organics and the Weissberg Program in Human Rights

April 4

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

April 5

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

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

April 6

Chicago - Chicago Food Swap 3pm The Chopping Block Sign up for their newsletter to get all the information on signup and how it works

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

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

April 10

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

Chicago - The Art of Simple Food Alice Waters in Conversation With Ruth Reichl The Chicago Humanties Festival 6pm The Art Institute Reception following benefitting the Edible Schoolyard Project and Green City Market. Tickets

April 11

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

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

April 12

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

Chicago – 4th Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival – French Market 11am – 3pm Every year this free event gets ever more crowded. So this year I suggest being strategic, get there early to meet the actual producers of many of the cheeses and products that Pastoral sells.

April 13

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

April 15

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

April 17

Happy April Food Day!

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

April 22

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

April 25

Chicago – 15th Annual Whiskyfest Chicago – This has SOLDOUT already but keep checking the calendar for all the other ancillary events that happen during this week!

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

April 27

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

Lincoln Square - Salute to Women in Wine & Cheese - 7-8:30pm Provenance Lincoln Square  2312 W. Leland Avenue With Mother’s Day on the horizon, they are  inspired to create a different take on their wine & cheese pairing class. Taste a lineup of offerings made by great women cheese & wine makers. Join senior staff members Richard & Nicole for a fabulously tasty lineup! Cost is $35 per person. Participants receive 15% off any purchases made that night.

May 3

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

May 15

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

May 25

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

May 31

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

June 11

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

June 14

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

June 21

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

June 28

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


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Brussels Sprouts Monday, November 4th, 2013
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