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

Posted: January 29, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Did You Get a CSA Box?

CSA - 150129

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Seeds 2 Sucess II – Greater Peoria Food Summit

Posted: January 28, 2015 at 2:42 pm





Downstate Food Summit:

Planning for a Sustainable Food System

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

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

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

o   Farm to School: Success Stories and Strategies

o   Farm to Veteran:  Supporting Military Veterans through Agriculture

o   Farm to Market: Making Local Agriculture Financially Viable

o   Community Gardens: Growing Community Involvement

o   Local Foods Policy: Responsible Strategies for Local Government

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

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

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

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

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



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

Posted: January 26, 2015 at 10:21 am

Eat Local Now

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

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

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

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

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Winterize your Chickens to Keep Them Healthy and Laying

Posted: January 25, 2015 at 1:56 pm

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




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

Chickens nibbling on some scrap carrots

Chickens nibbling on some scrap carrots

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


Heater watering bucket Photo:

Heater watering bucket Photo:


Submersible tank heater Photo:

Submersible tank heater Photo:


Submersible tank heater

Submersible tank heater

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

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

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

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


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


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


Further information:


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Where To Source Local Foods Now – UPDATED for 2015!

Posted: January 21, 2015 at 11:02 am

During the colder months with fewer farmers markets to choose from, here are some ideas for locally produced products and foods and beverages. Below the source local group is a list of resources and organizations that provide tons of events and information in regard to urban agriculture and sustainable food in Chicago.


These stores specialize in local foods:

NEW!Carnivore – 1042 Pleasant, Oak Park

NEW!Baker Miller Bakery and Millhouse – 4610 N. Western

NEW!River Valley Farmer’s Table – 1820 W. Wilson

NEW!Cellar Door Provisions – 3025 W. Diversey

NEW!Belli’s Juice Bar – 1223 W. 18th

Bang Bang Pie Shop - 2051 N. California Ave.

Butcher and Larder - 1026 North Milwaukee in Noble Square

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

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

Edible Alchemy Foods Co-op - The co-op has grown to five locations in, including Hyde Park, River North, Lakeview, and Logan Square

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

Green Grocer 1402 West Grand Ave in West Town

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

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

Marion Street Cheese Market 100 South Marion St. Oak Park

Plum Market - 1233 N. Wells St.

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

Provenance Food & Wine - 2 locations Logan Square 2528 N. California Lincoln Square 2312 W. Leland Ave . Lincoln Square locale wine tasting every Thur 6-8pm, Logan Square wine tasting Saturdays 3-6pm

Publican Quality Meats – 835 W. Fulton, Chicago

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

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

Standard Market 333 West Ogden Ave. Westmont

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


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Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

Posted: January 21, 2015 at 10:11 am

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


This news is massive.

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

Bittman on the State of Food.

But did you hear any of this during the SOTU?

Way to go Seattle.

Get local money for your local food enterprise.

An eat local chain in the works?

Some tips for winter eating.

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

Posted: January 21, 2015 at 9:58 am

Eat Local Now


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

Posted: January 20, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Eat Local Now

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

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

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

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

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

tomato mountain in winter

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Oh Precious Cabbage, What Do We Do With You

Posted: January 15, 2015 at 11:30 am

Locavore Problems

cabbage in winter

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

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

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

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

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Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

Posted: January 14, 2015 at 3:25 pm


Can you imagine this list has 12 now?

Some very good charts.

Locavore in winter.

Eat local sprouts.

Eat local research paper.

Eat local lettuce now.

Another good reason to remember Mario Cuomo.

Here’s to a sustainable 2015.

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

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

Posted: January 12, 2015 at 10:24 am

A Community of Community Supported Agriculture


Winter CSA - 142202

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

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

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


Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

Posted: January 7, 2015 at 2:04 pm


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

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

Eat local trees.

Which side were you on?

When our side won.

Our kinda place.

Lots more.


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The Coldest Farmer’s Market Ever

Posted: January 6, 2015 at 10:52 am

Baby It’s Cold Outside

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

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

*Tomato Mountain employs the Condiment Queen.

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The Local Calendar 12/19/14 Last Green City Market of the Year, Pilsen Community Market, All Chili Considered, KAM Isaah Food Justice in January

Posted: December 19, 2014 at 7:00 am

Winter RadishYunnan Hancock tree

Last Green City market of the year tomorrow. As we move into winter, the offerings from the farmers get sparse. However, winter radishes are one vegetable that stays on the tables. Publican Quality Meats is offering a beautiful, colors of winter salad, containing radishes, green onion, endive and escarole on their current menu. Not all of the ingredients are local but they do show how you can use some of the winter produce in creative ways and the salad, hit that, “I need some salad” spot in a very good way.

Another alternative for the winter is spicing up your food and trying out new recipes. The Yunnan Cookbook, by Annabel Jackson and Linda Chia offers some simple but tasty recipes. Yunnan is the most bio-diverse province of China and it borders the provinces of Buangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan and Tibet to the east and north, Burma to the west and south, then, Vietnam and Laos which contributes to it being ethnically diverse. The cuisine runs the gamut of recipes because of the abundance of produce as well and utilizes a lot of foraged things like mushrooms. In the winter time, trying a different cookbook and new flavors is a way to change up your food when the farmers tables are not so abundant.  This particular corner of China, is one, where the different ethnic minorities use local ingredients then spices and herbs to create their style of food. Pork Rib & Radish soup, Bai Chicken soup, Mixed Mushrooms with Mustard Greens (you can substitute another winter green), Pork Loin with Mustard Greens & Preserved Vegetables, Spicy Tofu with Fresh mushrooms. So options where local meat, winter greens, radishes, mushrooms can all be sourced from farmers here. A cookbook like this makes a nice holiday gift, for yourself, as well.

Holiday trees are out in full force, like the white lighted tree at the John Hancock Tower. As we move into the next year, keep your local purveyors in mind, like Green Grocer, SBK Kitchen, Provenance Food and Wine, Publican Quality Meats, The Spice House, the Butcher and Larder, Baker Miller, Chestnut Provisions and the much anticipated Local Foods grocery store, and the growing coop Chicago Market. As you make end of year donations, keep some of these dynamic organizations that are really making a difference to the Chicagoland/Illinois sustainable foodscape on your list, The Talking Farm, Angelics Learning Center, Spence Farm Foundation and the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. The January calendar is already building with KAM Isaah’s Food Justice weekend set for mid-January, Growing Power now has a urban farmer incubator program in place(the deadline for applications is 1/5/15) This weekend is the last for Green City Market, you can get to the All Chili Considered Cook-Off sponsored by Graze Magazine at the Empty Bottle on Sunday

The Week’s Local Calendar and Beyond

December 20

Happy Hanukkah!

Chicago(Edgewater) - Fearless Food Kitchen (Peterson Garden Project) 2pm-4pm- 5917 North Broadway Cooking Class Raised With Love: Homemade Gingerbread Houses Hands-on, $55

FM – Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Green City Market Indoor – 8am – 1pm Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Fullerton and Cannon Drive The Indoor market will take place ( 1/24/15, 2/7, 2/21, 3/7, 3/21, 4/4, 4/18) All of their purveyors undergo a rigorous application process that details their farming and/or production practices.

December 21

Registration opens for the January 18, 2015 Chicago Food Swap, this fills up fast!

FM – Chicago (Hyde Park)Artisans Bazaar and Farmers Market – 11am – 4pm The Promontory Neighborhood artisans, local farms, and jazz all wrapped up in the second floor lounge of Hyde Park’s Promontory Restaurant at Lake Park and 53rd Street.

FM- Chicago (Logan Square) -  Logan Square Winter Market (Through March 29) 10am -3pm 2755 N. Milwaukee

FM – Chicago (Pilsen) - Pilsen Community Market - 11am -3:30pm Honky Tonk BBQ 1213 W. 18th St. -Complete your holiday shopping, buy delicious, fresh foods, and support local artisans and businesses all at once!

Chicago (Wicker Park) - All Chili Considered - 12-4pm The Empty Bottle 1035 N Western Need a way to warm up on a chili day in December? The people from Graze Magazine has just the thing! Sixteen home and professional chefs will compete for the Most Outstanding Chili award, as judged by their panel of esteemed culinary experts, and YOU, the people.  Get your tickets ahead of time to ensure that you have a place among all the chili and bread, music, and coziness we can offer. PLUS it’s a dollar off the ticket price at the door! ($9 advance tickets/$10 day-of)

December 25

Merry Christmas !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 1

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 11

FM – SkokieFaith In Place Winter Market 10am – 2pm Temple Judea Mizpah 8610 Niles Center Road

January 13

Chicago(Edgewater) - Fearless Food Kitchen (Peterson Garden Project) Cooking Class 7-9pm- “Taste Test” Series: Haejangguk (Korean hangover soup) Hands-on, $25

January 14

Chicago(Edgewater) - Fearless Food Kitchen (Peterson Garden Project) Cooking Class 7-9pm- Plant Powered Meals Hands-on, $55

January 15

Chicago(Edgewater) - Fearless Food Kitchen (Peterson Garden Project) Cooking Class 7-9pm- Cooking for 1 or 2 Hands-on, $55

January 16-18

Chicago (Hyde Park )6th Annual MLK Food Justice and Sustainability Weekend “Climate Change and Civil Rights”  The weekend-long program begins on Friday, January 16, at 7:30 p.m., with a Shabbat service. Following the service Robert Nevel, KAM Isaiah Israel president and founder of the congregation’s award winning, nationally recognized food justice and sustainability program, will deliver the weekend’s keynote address. The title of his talk is “Climate Change: A Sacred Approach To A Profane Problem.”On Saturday afternoon, January 17, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., in a community design workshop, leading growers and planners will design an urban food forest with input from the audience. The distinguished group includes Breanne Heath, Farmer, The Pie Patch; Rob Kartholl, Farm Manager, KAM Isaiah Israel; Annamaria Leon, Manager, Edible Landscapes Department, Christy Webber Landscapes; Elan Margulies, Director Of Teva, Hazon; Ellen Phillips, Soils Consultant, CP Enterprises and Michael Thompson, Co-Founder of Chicago Honey Co-op. A reception will follow at 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, January 18, from 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., over a dozen workshops will be offered by tree and plant experts, social activists, environmentalists and urban farmers from such well-known organizations as Possibility Place Nursery, the Chicago Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Growing Home, University of Illinois Extension, Openlands and Bike a Bee.

January 18

Chicago (Edgewater) – Chicago Food SwapFearless Food Kitchen Peterson Garden Project Broadway Armory 5917 N. Broadway

February 7

Chicago – The 3rd Annual Cider Summit - Artisanal ciders from around the world. Navy Pier This event sells out!!

March 19-21

Chicago - The Good Food Festival and Conference sponsored by Family Farmed


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11 shocking things you didn’t know about beer! (It’s a parody, folks.)

Posted: December 14, 2014 at 7:08 pm


There are many sites on the interwebs that purport to tell you “shocking” things that “you didn’t know” about all sorts of things. They often start with semi-truths, and then extrapolate the hell out of them to get to silly, meaningless conclusions.

Here’s our version of one of those sites about my personal passion, beer.

Beer isn’t just a liquid. It’s also a gas. Most beer has carbon dioxide dissolved in it. Without the carbon dioxide, you couldn’t vigorously shake the beer bottle and then spray beer all over your unsuspecting friends. And by doing so, at the same time, you’ll be releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming, which, if it really works, is much appreciated here during winter months.

You may be drinking a fungus. Many beers are filled with fungi. Not so much the highly-filtered macro brews, but many craft beers are chock full of saprophytic fungi. Ewwww. (Some people may call these saprophytic fungi “yeast.”)

Beer is a significant source of silicon. Dietary silicon from beer can help increase bone density. And, for decades, many eyeglasses were made from glass — which is made from silicon. So splashing a little beer on your spectacles may actually make them a little stronger. It’s certainly easy to accomplish late at night at your favorite bar.

Beer depletes the world’s supply of fresh water. Most beers are between 90% and 95% water. Many areas of the country — and the world — are experiencing drought. Cute little kids are dying. By not drinking that beer, you might actually save someone from perishing of dehydration. Of course, guys can return that water — somewhat processed — into the nearest urinal. I have no idea what women do.

Beer makes members of the opposite sex appear much more attractive. This is totally true. Note that for members of the LGBT community, use of the word “opposite” is optional.

Cans used for beer almost always have their insides coated with Bisphenol A (BPA). A 2010 report on BPA from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified possible hazards to fetuses, infants, and young children from BPA. There’s absolutely no evidence that any more than negligible, harmless levels of BPA from cans actually get into your beer, but why risk it, especially when you’re serving beer to your fetuses, infants, and young children?

Beer is often sold in glass battles. Those bottles can occasionally shatter, especially if you hit them hard enough with a sledge hammer. Do you really want to risk dangerous, gut slitting glass shards in your belly by drinking beer?

The beer you drink today, you may not be able to drink tomorrow. That beer glass won’t refill itself. Especially with some of Chicagoland’s best craft breweries, you’ll find out they frequently make one-off versions of their excellent specialty beers. A few weeks later that special beer won’t ever be available again. We’re looking at you, Pipeworks.

Most heroin users tried beer before they tried heroin. Do you really want to become a heroin addict by consuming that next glass of beer?

You probably can’t drink as much beer as you’d like. When you go to your favorite taproom, you might walk out with a few growlers of beer. Most growlers contain approximately 1/2 gallon of beer. So, if it’s a Barley Wine or Imperial Stout, despite what you’d like, most doctors recommend you should limit yourself to less than four growlers per hour.

Beer may kill you. In one single undocumented study, men in their 80s and 90s who drank even a single glass of beer per day had a significantly higher 10-year mortality rate than children between 6 and 8 years of age, who didn’t drink any beer. So, if you value your life, don’t drink beer. (Note that coffee, milk, juices, water, and all other liquids also showed higher mortality rates among the 80 year old plus population who drank them, compared to 6 to 8 year olds. Thus, if you really want to live a long time, you should probably avoid consuming any liquids. And avoid solids, too.)


More of Tom’s musings on beer can be found here.

The Local Calendar 11/19/14 Indoor Markets Open This Weekend Then A Short Break, Food Film Fest, Holiday Rock N Roll, Pilot Light, Cider Summit 15 Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
Doctor, Your Tomato is Ready in Surgery Thursday, November 13th, 2014
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The 2014-2015 Local Beet Guide to Chicagoland Winter Markets Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
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The 3 Tastes of Winter Monday, November 3rd, 2014
It Got Cold, Stock Up Monday, November 3rd, 2014
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2014 LOCAL AND REGIONAL FOOD SUMMIT Sunday, October 26th, 2014
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A 2014 Embarrassment of Local, Organic Riches Friday, August 1st, 2014
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Tails From The Prairie Friday, June 27th, 2014
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Governor Quinn Approves Legislation Supporting Farmers Markets Monday, June 23rd, 2014
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The Local Calendar 6/4/14 What Is Your Favorite Market? Piggy Benefit at Big Jones Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
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Illinois General Assembly Approves Smarter Rules for Farmers Markets Legislation Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
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The Local Calendar 5/21/14, Memorial Day, The Start of the “Summer” Market Season Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
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